Saturday, June 15, 2013

Via - Amusing Ourselves to Death

I had the amazing experience this week of discovering something that I never thought I would find again.  In perusing the internet for some articles I wanted to reference I discovered that some fine individual had web-archived one of my all-time favourite websites!  I cannot tell you how excited I was (and still am) as I am now able to re-read some great articles that were integral in my spiritual formation around ~10-12 years ago.

The website was called 'Antithesis', and it was truly a voice for the revival of reformed theology in the early 2000s.  This was before there were popular 'Reformission Revs', and before it was cool to be 'Young Restless and Reformed'.  The website was created by a certain Rob Schlapffer, though I was never able to determine who he was or where he was from.  The form of the site was an internet magazine (e-zine), with a feature article each month, usually adapted from a popular book or speech by a well-known Christian author/speaker.


Since life is very busy, and since there are many articles from the site that are worth sharing; for the next several months I think I will post links to some of the excellent archived articles from the site along with highlights from the text.

It was difficult to choose the first one, but I decided to go with 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' by  Neil Postman.  Though the article does not come from an explicitly Christian perspective I believe there are numerous truths which Christians should ponder as we contemplate  the media and it's influence on our lives.

The article can be found here -->  Amusing Ourselves to Death 

Some highlights:

"Twenty years ago, the question, “Does television shape culture or merely reflect it?” held considerable interest for many scholars and social critics. The question has largely disappeared as television has gradually become our culture."

"When a television show is in process, it is very nearly impermissible to say, “Let me think about that” or “I don't know” or “What do you mean when you say ... ” or “From what sources does your information come?" "

"In courtrooms, classrooms, operating rooms, board rooms, churches and even airplanes, Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials."

"I should go so far as to say that embedded in the surrealistic frame of a television news show is a theory of anti-communication, featuring a type of discourse that abandons logic, reason, sequence and rules of contradiction....  ...the result of all this is that Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well informed people in the Western world."

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