Monday, September 30, 2013

Are You Being Tracked?

And other links of interest:

The Deep 2

Read the handout from the book Deep Ecology. Now apply the questions it asks of technology to  screen -- TV, laptops, portables, etc. Based on Postman's analysis in Amusing Ourselves. . . and your own experience, do screen media meet the criteria for a "fully informed, appropriate technology"? Please post your comments by  4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct 2.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


In the last few pages of AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH, Postman makes several suggestions for fixing the problems represented and created by modern media, particularly TV and computers. Do any of his suggestions strike you as feasible? Which one seems most feasible? Why? Do you have a suggestion of your own? You should. Please respond by 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29.

Wordsworth -- on Technology?

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. --Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


What do you think is the main point of Chuck Klosterman's essay, "Fail"? (Or, to put it another way, why is the essay titled "Fail"?) Can you relate to his predicament vis a vis technology?  How so? (Or, conversely, why not?)

Please respond by 4 p.m.,  Wednesday, Sept. 25. No late responses will be accepted.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Attention, Please

How does King and Elliott's explanation of the existence of infotainment -- and the blurring of genres in general -- differ from Postman's?  Do they have a solution? Do  think realistic? Why or why not?

Your response is due by  4 p.m., Sunday, Sept 22.

Please remember that I accept no late assignments. Refer to the syllabus for more details.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Evening News

Would Postman approve of Stafford's evocation of the news in his poem? Why or why not? Would he approve of his solution to the kind of threats that TV news seems to pose? Why or why not?

Your response is due by 4 p.m., Wed., Sept. 18.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Amusing 3

Describe what Postman means by the term "information-action ratio." Now answer his question: How often does it occur that news causes you to alter plans, take some action, etc.? (He's not talking about weather or traffic news, but so-called "serious" news, the kind that shows up on the network evening news or the front page of a newspaper or as the lead item on a news Web site.) What does your answer tell you about the nature of what passes for news today?

Please respond by 4 p.m, Sunday, Sept. 15.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Amusing Ourselves. . . , Part 2

Please follow the link below to a NY Times article;

Please discuss by  4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, whether and how "The Daily Show," as described in the New York Times article and as you have possibly experienced it on TV, confirms, modifies, or refutes Postman's thesis in Amusing Ourselves to Death.