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Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Penguin Books, 1985 (184 pp.). Ostensibly about the way television and other mass media rob us of our humanity, this book is really about how televisionís pervasive influence affects the way we talk to one another, conduct public affairs, and build community. Postman is a wonderfully readable author, and quite funny at times. The book ends, as many of his do, with a call for better teaching so students will see through the television story. Almost 30 years ago, Postman co-authored the very popular Teaching as a Subversive Activity, and 1993ís Technopoly, in some ways a follow-up book to Amusing Ourselves to Death, looks at how the computer and other pieces of technology affect public participation and other aspects of community-building. Postmanís specifics might seem dated, but his general observations are very much worth heeding.


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