Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Neil Postman on Cyberspace (1995)

Here is a rarity: an intellectual on television who is allowed to speak his mind slowly and with gravity. It is Neil Postman on (I believe) "The McNeil/Leher News Hour." The clip is from YouTube. Every word Postman speaks is rich with truth and wisdom. Now go read his book Technopoly for the longer story on culture and technology.

6 comments:

Abbi said...

fascinating. I wonder what year that is from.

Yes, dear CC readers.... go read ALL of Postman's books, in fact. He's outstanding. I was quite sad when he died a few years ago.

What is most surprising is that he'd even go on TV at all, even to make the points he's making here.

Yossman said...

Very interesting. Coming from 1995 it stands in such remarkable contrast to the hype surrounding Apple's iPhone. People have actually been posting since yesterday at NYC's Apple Store at 5th Ave to make sure they won't miss out on getting one (http://tinyurl.com/yvfl42).

Paul D. Adams said...

Brilliant! Thanks for this post on Postman. The commentary on the "insufficiency of information" is very insightful and I could not help but think of the desperate need for virtue ethics, not only in 1995 but more so even now in 2007.

The use of personal computers in schools is interesting as well in that PCs erode the communal aspect of learning, which is a cornerstone of education. Hum.....

QNormal said...

Fascinating. You rarely hear such a calm, lucid evaluation of technology. The ease that accompanies technology disguises the effort needed to properly analyze its effect on us.

Douglas Groothuis said...

Technologies may deceive by their ease of use; but they can also vex by their disease of misuse:

1. Endless, yapping automated "voices" which (not who) cannot hear and cannot think.

2. Any technology that creates the reckless and depersonalizing "absent presence." People are in proximity to one another, but entirely elsewhere: on cells, using instant messages, zoning on iPods, etc. A woman on a plane ride told me the most "meaningful" interaction she had with her daughter was through text messages. Not knowing her, I said nothing, but felt sick. Humans are meant by God for better things.

David said...

Postman's insights are wise and prophetic. And to think, he was opining on these matters in 1995, when the ubiquity of the internet had not been fully realized.

By the way, did anyone else feel awkward about watching this interview on YouTube? I wonder if Postman was rolling over in his grave.