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Neil Postman, Chair, (1931-2003) New York University Culture and Communications Department Amusing Ourselves to Death Chapter 1 The Medium Is The Metaphor.

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Presentation on theme: "Neil Postman, Chair, (1931-2003) New York University Culture and Communications Department Amusing Ourselves to Death Chapter 1 The Medium Is The Metaphor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Neil Postman, Chair, ( ) New York University Culture and Communications Department Amusing Ourselves to Death Chapter 1 The Medium Is The Metaphor

2 What is the task of the social critic?

3 TO INDUCE DISSONANCE

4 "People who like to avoid shocking discoveries, who prefer to believe that society is just what they were taught in Sunday School, who like the safety of the rules and maxims of what Alfred Schutz has called 'the world-taken-for-granted,‘ should stay away from this course.“ Peter Berger Invitation to Sociology

5 "To believe that the world is only as you think it is, is stupid…The world is a mysterious place." Carlos Cataneda Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan

6 “I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking, and stopping the world is the first step to seeing. Stopping the world is not a cryptic metaphor that really doesn't mean anything. And its scope and importance as one of the main propositions of my knowledge should not be misjudged. I am teaching you how to stop the world. Nothing will work, however, if you are very stubborn. Be less stubborn, and you will probably stop the world with any of the techniques I teach you. Everything I will tell you to do is a technique for stopping the world.”

7 “Understanding Begins With Contradiction ” Susan Sontag

8 This I Am Wondering About….. This I Am Wondering About….. “The last sentence in the chapter, “our metaphors create the content of our culture, is a little confusing.” How can Postman make the jump from media to metaphor and from metaphor to content of culture?” “Why is television a metaphor? I could see when someone is talking or writing they need to compare things they are talking or writing about to something else to help create an image in their listener’s head, but television provides the image flat out??”

9 Pivotal Terms In The Study of Human Communication 101 Things I Learned in fourOne7 Message Social Cognition MediumCulture

10 If you wanna play the game, you gotta speak the language….. The Literal Definition Metaphor A metaphor asserts a structural similarity between two domains normally thought to be separate

11 All subjects are based on powerful metaphors which direct, and organize the way we do our thinking.

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13 The Raisin Bread Metaphor Imagine an enormous loaf of bread- dough with raisins scattered through it. The dough is expanding, and, as it does, it drives the raisins apart in all directions. If this is a model of the universe, the raisins are the galaxies, and space is being created between them all of the time..

14 Our raisin is the Milky Way galaxyMilky Way galaxy

15 What metaphors have been used to describe the Internet?

16 Cyberspace The Information Super Highway The Digital Frontier The Electronic Marketspace Virtual Community

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23 What do you think????? What are some of the metaphors which might be used to describe and think about the role of the teacher? Teacher As…...

24 Teacher as Gardener

25 Teacher as Mountain-Guide

26 Teacher as Entertainer.

27 Teacher as Information Conduit

28 ? Teacher as Coach.

29 Teacher as Evangelist.

30 Teacher as Salesperson

31 What do you think…..? What are some metaphors which might be used to describe intimate-romantic relationships? Relationships As…..

32 Relationship as uncontrollable force….. n “I was overcome…” n “We are just drifting…” n “I am falling fast…” n “It is almost like an obsession…” n “He takes my breath away…” n “I felt like a couldn’t breathe…” n “It was meant to be….” n “We are like magic…” n “Falling head over heals….”

33 Relationship as Danger…... n “You better keep on your toes….” n “It was almost frightening….” n “We both felt tied down….” n “Be careful…….” n “You may get hurt or burned….” n “In your arms I never felt more safe…” n “It is so good because we both feel safe..”

34 Relationship as Machine….. n “ The relationship is rubbing me the wrong way….” n “Seems to be lots of friction lately…” n “Been pretty much on-off, on-off…… n “God, the sparks just flew….” n “I think we are headed for a breakdown.” n “Things are really clicking….” n “Can’t complain, running smoothly…”

35 Relationship as Game or Sport n “You going out hunting?” n “It was a “rebound date.” n “Did you score?” n “Why do you play cat and mouse?” n “Would you ever cheat on me?” n “I need a kiss, it’s a rule.” n “It was nice to win one for a change.” n “Every time I hear something bad about my “ex” it’s like a trophy.” n “Stranded at first base again, huh?”

36 Relationship As Container n “I really feel trapped….” n “We both needed our space….” n “Just our inner circle…..” n “She was cramping my style….” n “Its an inside-outside thing….”: n “Outside interests were getting in the way” n “We have developed our space…”

37 Relationships as War n “I got ammunition to use against him…” n “It such a battle…” n “Your going to be another casualty…” n “Do you keep a body count?” n “I held off his advances….”

38 Relationships As Work n “We really need to work on it….” n “I know we can make things work.” n “We need to cement our relationship” n “We are rebuilding…” n “Are you going to work things out?” n “The foundation is a little shaky.” n “Its getting to be a real effort to love you.”

39 I'm bummed that I couldn't make this work. I'm really bummed that while there aren't kids to worry about in this marriage, I'm going to lose you and Tracy. Life sucks! From Suzanne (After the Divorce)

40 Relationships as Economic Exchange n “We forged a compromise…” n “She cut of the supply….” n “A favorable rate of exchange….” n “Gotta give a little, take a little…” n “Like buying a new car….” n “Really did not invest much….” n “We struck a deal….”

41 Relationship as Manufactured Product n “We were made for each other….” n “We are putting the parts back together..” n “We have some building to do…”

42 Relationship as Journey n “ We are progressing…” n “Things are going to fast, we need to slow down…” n “What a trip….” n “We are stalled, things are at the crossroads..” n “I think we are both headed in the same direction.” n “There is no turning back….” n “We on on our way to forever…”

43 Relationship as Adventure/Quest n “He is so intriguing….” n “We are still discovering each other…” n “I need to find myself…” n “There is so much to discover…” n “She is so mysterious…” n “It has opened so many new horizons…”

44 Relationship As Organism n “I can’t live without her…” n “She is lovesick…” n “We are in our infancy….” n “Need to pump some life into….” n “My love will never die…” n “Do you think we can survive…” n “We have grown so much…” n “It needs resuscitation…”

45 Relationship as Family n “He is like my big brother….” n “We take care of each other…” n “We watch out for each other…” n “We would kill for each other…”

46 Relationship as Fairy Tale n “This can’t be happening…” n “I was in his spell….” n “I was zapped…” n “How did I get so lucky….” n “How did we ever find each other…” n “ Do you think we will live happily every after..” n “You are my angel…”

47 What does it mean to say that the medium is the metaphor?

48 What are out culture’s media metaphors? The Voice The Voice The Printed Word The Printed Word The Television The Television The Computer The Computer

49 What does it mean to say that the medium is the metaphor?

50 1. Mediums function metaphorically by influencing how we think influencing how we think

51 What does it mean to say that the medium is the metaphor? n Not simply machines for conveying information n They function like metaphors to influence our view of reality

52 Media Metaphors Are Like Theories- They Furnish a Camera Lens n Through which we view the world n Through which we sequence the world n Through which we frame the world n Through which we classify the world n Through which we enlarge/reduce n Through which we color the world n Through which we make an argument about what the world is like

53 What does it mean to say that the medium is the metaphor? 2. Mediums assert a structural similarity between their content and the world of whatever portion of it they are representing. Media Imply They Are Showing Us “The World”

54 Agree or Disagree? “Also, even if the medium did change the message, it was only a slight change, today since television, radio, and even computers are so common, I don’t think that says the message is affected by the medium is as true as it used to be.”

55 Pivotal Terms In The Study of Human Communication 101 Things I Learned in Communication fourOne7

56 The Medium-Cognition Relationship How is your mind influenced by television? n How is the way you think about relationships about education about politics about religion about consumption n Influenced by exposure to this particular form of communication

57 This I Am Wondering About….. This I Am Wondering About….. “The last sentence in the chapter, “our metaphors create the content of our culture, is a little confusing.”

58 Mediums function like metaphors to shape out messages and our mind 101 Things I Learned in Communication fourOne7 Culture Politics EducationReligion

59 What does it mean to say that television is like radiation?

60 n Invisible n Always with us n Harmless in small doses n Fatal in high does n Damage that you can’t see n Effect take a long time to develop

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62 Very simply, sunburn and UV light can damage yourUV light skin, and this damage can lead to skin cancer. Most people receive 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun by 18 years of age. Remember, skin cancer is very slow to develop. The sunburn you receive this week may take 20 years or more to become skin cancer.

63 This I am wondering about….. “One thing I did not quite understand is Postman’s reference to smoke signals.” “When referring to the political arena, Postman states “you cannot do political philosophy on television. It’s form works against the content.” I am not sure what this means.”

64 According to the Boy Scouts n One puff meant ATTENTION. n One puff meant ATTENTION. n Two puffs meant ALL'S WELL. n Two puffs meant ALL'S WELL. n Three puffs of smoke, or three fires in a row, signifies DANGER, TROUBLE, OR A CALL FOR HELP.

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66 All Messages Have Form Substance Style 101 Things I Learned in Communication fourOne7

67 There is a relationship between medium form and message substance “Our attention here is on how forms of public discourse regulate and even dictate what kind of content can issue from such forms.” Neil Postman Amusing Ourselves To Death 101 Things I Learning in Com fourOne 7

68 n A medium favors certain types of message content n A medium may favor certain modes of representing or symbolizing the world n A medium may favor certain cognitive capacities. All Mediums Have Biases 101 Things I Learning in fourOne7

69 If all mediums have biases, and a medium may favor certain types of message content/message substance, what types of content does the televisual medium tend to favor?

70 What types of message content does the televisual medium favor? n 1. Conflict (harmony is boring) n 2. Drama (in the form of narrative) n 3. Immediacy n 4. Novel or the unusual (bad vs. Good) n 5. Simplicity vs. Complexity n 6. Visual (rapid visual imagery) n 7. Emotional vs. rational 101 Things I Learned in Communication fourOne7

71 Voices From The Front n “He begins talking about a clock..now if one looks at a watch to see what time it is, he or she is usually not interested in how the watch works…and it one watches TV, no one is not concerned with how it is controlling how one thinks…but than he begins to talk about….this section really confused me….”

72 “I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking, and stopping the world is the first step to seeing.

73 Why are media consumers so unaware of the influence these messages might be having on their attitudes, values and buying habits?

74 “It is because they don’t know about the power of the messages, how the media work or how to impact the system.”

75 Voices From The Front n ““I did find it hard to follow the part about Lewis Mumford’s idea of the clock and the creation of the idea of moment to moment” “What does “…in every tool we create, an idea is embedded that goes beyond the function of the thing itself,” mean?

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77 " The mechanical clock dates from the 14th Century... The machine that mechanized time did more than regulate the activities of the day: it synchronized human reactions, not with the rising and setting sun but with the indicated movements of the clock's hands: so it brought exact measurement and temporal control into every activity, by setting an independent standard whereby the whole day could be laid out and subdivided". Lewis Mumford Technics and Human Development 1967 Lewis Mumford Technics and Human Development 1967

78 We eat, not when we are hungry, but when the time is appropriate

79 We sleep when the clock denotes an acceptable hour, not when we are tired and we awaken not when we are fully rested, but when time necessitates us to do so

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81 We judge our relative success by how many hours of our day are filled with activity.

82 We judge the measure of our worth by how much an hour we can charge and as such, time is a commodity too valuable to be wasted

83 We even assess the relative health of our body, via its physiological rhythms, with the second hand of our watches

84 What is Intelligence?

85 The Medium-Technology-Culture Relationship What is the function of air conditioning?

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89 What is the function of the automobile? The Medium-Technology-Culture Relationship

90 The Medium-Technology-Culture Relationship The Medium-Technology-Culture Relationship n First-Order Effects n Second-Order Effects Lee Spoull and Sarah Kiesler New Ways of Working In The Networked Organization

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92 The Medium-Culture Relationship “When you add a new technology to a culture you do not get the old culture with a new technology, you get the possibility of a transformed culture.” Neil Postman Amusing Ourselves To Death

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94 “No More Teflon We Like It Sticky ” n Medium Function Like Metaphors n The Form Of A Medium Influences Message Substance n The Influence Of Technology On A Culture Is Always Multi-Functional

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96 Neil Postman,Chair Culture and Communications Department New York University

97 This I Am Wondering About….. This I Am Wondering About….. “The last sentence in the chapter, “our metaphors create the content of our culture, is a little confusing.”

98 After all, anyone who has studied the history of technology knows that technological change is never neutral. A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one- sided. Neil Postman “Informing Ourselves To Death”

99 Neil Postman n What is the problem to which this technology is a solution? n If there is a legitimate problem here that is solved by the technology, what other problems will be created by my using this technology ?

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101 “the greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence -- it is to act with yesterday's logic.” Peter Drucker Management Consultant

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103 "In this class we use the Socratic method. I call on you, ask you a question and you answer it. Why don't I just give you a lecture? Because through my questions you'll teach yourselves. Through this method of questions and answers, questioning and answering we seek to develop in you the ability to analyze that vast complex of facts that constitutes the relationships of members within a given society. Questions and answers. At times you may feel you have found the correct answer, I can assure you this is a complete delusion on your part. ”

104 You will never find the correct, absolute, and final answer. In this class there is always another question to follow your answer, yes your on a treadmill, my little questions spin the tumblers of your mind, your on an operating table, my little questions are the fingers probing your brain. We do brain surgery here, you teach yourself the law, but I train your mind. You come in here with a mind full of mush and you leave thinking like a lawyer."

105 Media are like synecdoche (substitute A part for the whole) Raymond Gozzi Ithaca College

106 syn·ec·do·che syn ec·doch ic (s n k-d k k) or syn ec·doch i·cal (- -k l) adj. –A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).

107 Riddle Me This Batman….

108 What is the “Teflon-Factor”


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