Sunday, October 20, 2013

Postman's Postmodern Position.

Neil Postman is responding to Plato’s Phaedrus by comparing the invention of Thamus’ writing to advancements in technology in 1992. However outdated the computers or VCR’s he mentions from that time, the ideals are still applicable to the iPhones and tablets of today. While acknowledging the truth in the Kings response he is disputing that he is incorrect in only acknowledging what writing, is taking away and not what it could provide. Postman’s main point is that technology provides us with a new perception of reality. We aren’t in the absence of knowledge when watching entertainment on Television; we are learning to value a different experience, which is something we take into all aspects of our life. I believe that what motivates the writers argument is not only a strong interest in how media is portrayed, but also the ways the many changes in society have been discovered. The technological community, especially today, as a whole is affected meanwhile people who have access to all the knowledge the Internet provides do not know how they are effected. In both English and Mass Media class as well as on my own I have looked at how different mediums affect us. The reason English class or any class exists is due to the invention of the printing press as noted by Postman and the pop culture of 2013 is explored and advertised primarily through technology. In one section Postman recognizes grades given by professors as a technological form. In one section he mentions that it is “peculiar” to give someone a number or letter grade on his or her ideas and opinions and for someone who does not see it as that, it is due to the conditioning of society. Personally I can say adaptation and relativity are the two hardest concepts to grasp and the most important today. Whereas structure may have been prized around the time that Postman was writing. In a generation where the moment is what we are checking our Facebooks for the most chaotic and shocking instances are what get the most ‘Likes’. Its not anarchy that we are grasping for it’s the competition of capitalism that we learn from the day we get our first A. 


  1. "The competition of capitalism," is a very interesting statement. It does seem as though schools are designed to prepare us for the competitive working world and the concept of grades definitely plays a role in doing that. The funny thing is more and more school work revolves around group work since in the "real world" you are expected to work well with others. At the same time, in class your performance is still judged in terms of individual grades. So confusing!

  2. You're right, Dawn. Grading is a weird thing. I often wish school was more like teaching swim lessons. If a kid hasn't mastered a stroke he or she needs for the next level then they can repeat that level to master it. Why would you throw a fearful swimmer in the deep end if they're not ready? There should be no shame in needing more time to learn something, but the grading system we have now definitely makes it so.

    Great post and title, Annmarie! Be sure to add some quotes to support your answers when you put this in your essay.

  3. And also, what about learning for learning's sake? Knowledge is power, knowledge is priceless...grades are transient...

    1. Yes! A letter cannot determine your worth!

      One of the most interesting things I've found in grad. school is how little grades matter to most people. The students are either more concerned with whether or not they've learned the material than the grade given, and profs just want to see you produce something of quality for where you are in your studies.