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Professor of Journalism, Lehigh University. Reader. Writer. I write about what I read.

I travel often to Cuba, leading a study abroad program with university students. Any study of Cuba, of course, has to include a discussion of the social, cultural, political and economic importance of — rum or ron.

A number of museums, including the Museo de Ron in Havana, a Havana…


Amusing Ourselves to Death is not a long book — 163 pages of text. But it is not a “fast read.” There is much to contemplate and ponder. I have dedicated 11 different posts to its important arguments.


In Chapter 10, “Teaching as an Amusing Activity,” Postman looks at another area of social life that has been transformed by television — education.

He starts with an apt subject: the long-running “Sesame Street,” an educational television program, designed by the Children’s Television Workshop, with colorful puppets, celebrities, sing-alongs and…


In Chapter 9, “Reach Out and Elect Someone,” Postman turns his focus to politics. Although much of Postman’s attention throughout the book is American civic life, this chapter narrows to elections. It is one of the best in Amusing Ourselves to Death.

He starts with a nod to Joe McGinniss’…


After the apocalyptic Chapter 7, “Shuffle Off to Bethlehem” seems muted and narrow. Its argument is relatively simple: Religion too has been bastardized on television and by television.

Postman tells us that to prepare himself for writing this chapter, he watched forty-two hours of television’s version of religion. (The names…


In Part II, Postman devotes separate chapters to areas of social life he feels have been transformed by the medium of television. The chapters offer excellent insights into American social life.

But Chapter 7, “Now . . . This,” in my opinion, is the tour de force of Amusing Ourselves…


Postman begins Part II, which focuses on aspects of American social life altered by television, with a brief overview chapter on “The Age of Show Business.”

He starts by ridiculing television as a literary device. He offers three parodic examples of TV supporting literature: as a light source to read…


In Chapter 5, Neil Postman is in the midst of tracing the demise of the age of typography and exposition and the rise of the Age of Show Business. But he declines to title the chapter, “The Age of Show Business.” Instead, he offers the playful title, “The Peek-a-Boo World.”…


In Chapter 4, Postman continues his meticulous dissection of the evolution — devolution — of American culture.

Chapter 3 outlined what Postman calls, “Typographic America.” Chapter 4 looks at the implication of such an America — “The Typographic Mind.”

He opens the chapter with a description of the Lincoln-Douglas debate…

Jack Lule: "On Reading"

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