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Amusing Ourselves to Death

At the risk of being accused of posting off-topic, I wanted to make a plug for a book I'm reading that explains a lot about what's happened in this campaign and what has happened to our culture in general. Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business" explains how we've gone from a world influenced by the printed word to a world where image and superficiality rules. Although it was written in 1985--before the Internet became what it is today--it still properly describes television as the dominant communication medium of our time. (This also explains why most people who post online can't spell correctly.)

I think it's critical for us to understand what we're up against if we ever want to make serious changes in our country and in our world. Here's the foreward:

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.



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Razorwind Studios is an official endorser of Ron Paul, and we will live free or die! 14th alternate to MN state!
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video games, and dislike reading books (I like reading other things though), but at least I know the difference between their, there, and they're, and two, too, and to. 95% of people on the AOL forums apparently feel the need to preach the word of god and say how much better they are than everyone else, but they don't know the difference between the above mentioned words.

I love

Razorwind Studios is an official endorser of Ron Paul, and we will live free or die! 14th alternate to MN state!
---------------------------------------------------------

video games, and dislike reading books (I like reading other things though), but at least I know the difference between their, there, and they're, and two, too, and to. 95% of people on the AOL forums apparently feel the need to preach the word of god and say how much better they are than everyone else, but they don't know the difference between the above mentioned words.