Ramblings & ephemera

Neil Postman: the medium is the metaphor for the way we think

From Tom Stites’s “Guest Posting: Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue?” (Center for Citizen Media: Blog: 3 July 2006):

In late 1980s the late Neil Postman wrote an enduringly important book called Amusing Ourselves to Death. In it he says that Marshall McLuhan only came close to getting it right in his famous adage, that the medium is the message. Postman corrects McLuhan by saying that the medium is the metaphor – a metaphor for the way we think. Written narrative that people can read, Postman goes on, is a metaphor for thinking logically. And he says that image media bypass reason and go straight to the emotions. The image media are a metaphor for not thinking logically. Images disable thinking, so unless people read and use their reason democracy is disabled as well.

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