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An Interview with Neil Postman

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MR: In Amusing Ourselves to Death, you have a chapter on the influence of entertainment on religion. Do you think that modernity comes to us in stealthlike fashion, and sometimes Christians and other groups can be naive in viewing style as neutral?
NP: I certainly think that it is a mistake to believe that style is neutral, especially if one means by "style" the form, or forms, in which messages address people. I try to make the point in Amusing Ourselves to Death that the style of television favors and amplifies the entertainment mode. In cases like politics, news, and especially religion, I think that poses a very serious problem, because religion-and Christianity in particular-is a demanding discipline. And although there is joy and exultation that results from religious experience, when we present religion as nothing different from a Broadway show, I think it trivializes and corrupts the religious experience. If there are people who think that it makes no difference how messages are conveyed to people, that one form is just as good as the other, I think these people are underestimating the power of the forms in media.

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1 [ Back ] Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (New York: Penguin, 1986), 55-56.
2 [ Back ] Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York: Knopf, 1992), 164
3 [ Back ] Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, 122-133.

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Issue: "Has Evangelicalism Lost Its Voice?: The Movement and Its Media" Sept./Oct. 1997 Vol. 6 No. 5 Page number(s): 32-34

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