Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Postman Vs. Rose

The essay "The Judgement of Thamus" by Neil Postman is an essay covering numerous thoughts on technology. Postman opens his essay giving some background info on the main subject of his essay, Thamus. He claims that Thamus had an error of judgement. Postman writes, "The error is not in his claim that writing will damage memory and create false wisdom. It is demonstrable that writing has had such an effect. Thamus' error is in his believing that writing will be a burden to society and nothing but a burden" (201). Throughout the essay, Postman goes on to explain why he says that there is an error in Thamus' judgement. He also talks about Freud, who believes that technological advances should not be taken lightly. Freud writes, " child would never have left his native town and I should need no telephone to hear his voice..." (Postman 203). Postman then refutes this argument by writing, "The Technophile would surely answer Freud by saying that life has always been barren of joys and full of misery but that the telephone...have not only lengthened life but made it a more agreeable proposition" (203). Meaning that although some people wold rather do without technology, technology as actual made life easier. Throughout the essay, Postman points out, not only the errors in Thamus' judgment, but the things we should take from his judgement. He writes that technology does not add or subtract to the environment around us, but instead, it creates an entirely new environment. Towards the end of his essay, Postman writes, "We need to know if television changes our conception of reality, the relationship of the rich to the poor, the idea of happiness itself" (214). Overall, Postman is saying that there isn't anything necessarily wrong with technology and its advances BUT we should be aware of the effect of technology and its advances on the world around us.

"Connections" response:
Both Rose and Postman talk about technology in their essays, but in different ways. Rose's essay, unlike Postman's, is straight to the point. He identifies his claim (that we do not really want authenticity) and gives us reasons to support his claim. In order to identify the claims of Postman's essay you'd have to read more because it isn't as evident. Postman's article also has more than one claim but as you read on you find that there is one main central claim. Both authors do have the same attitude towards their subjects. Neither of the authors try to make it appear "wrong" if you do not agree with their claim BUT they both write in a way that makes the reader think about the opposition while agreeing with the author. I do not believe that the authors come to the same conclusion because Rose writes that we want to be immersed in technology but Postman believes that we should be aware of the good, bad and reality of technology.


  1. I agree with your brief summary of the article (I had the same one). Neil Postman just talks about how an Egyptian king's beliefs and how they can be good or bad. In your connections, I feel that Postman and Rose have different ideas. But of their topics have different effects on society. Rose was based on books and movies corrupting our sanity and Postman was based on technology backfiring on generations to come. After reading this, I think it is a pretty good blog entry.

  2. Good post and comment here. But where's your pic, Aliyah?