Digital media: Amusing ourselves to death?

Gencarelli, Manhattan College Photo
Versión en español

Communications professors at Tec of Monterrey had a visitor last week, Thom Gencarelli of Manhattan College, who made us think about what we are teaching and how we are doing it.

Among the questions he left us with:
  • In 1985, Neil Postman wrote that the dominant media of a culture in fact shapes the culture, is the culture (Amusing Ourselves to Death). In his day, Postman saw television as degrading all aspects of culture -- religion, literature, education, politics -- to a form of visual entertainment. So how are digital media defining and shaping our culture today? he asked. Are they degrading or improving it?
  • Do the immediacy, urgency, and visual nature of digital media make us less capable of appreciating the culture of the written word? 
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