March 25, 2011
Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman: So I finally get around to reading Postman’s great book and on p. 68 I’m challenged with the question: How often does it occur that information provided you on a morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, caused you to alter your plans for the day, or take to some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve? Published in 1986, Postman’s first audience could only imagine where his prophetic lament was headed! Sure, there is nothing inherently wrong with using media for pure entertainment, but how much of your day is consumed as entertainment under the guise of news? Most of the so-called news that flashes on my computer screen every morning is not helpful at all. Of what value are our blog posts and Facebook updates? How engaging are our conversations? Postman’s challenge has led me to some considerations for what I read, write, watch and say. I want my content to be profitable. One resolution I have made is to have at the forefront of my mind the eternal weight of our interactions. We may think that something we are watching or participating in only has a temporary, situational value, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Impressions are being made in our daily doses of data. Let Paul’s imperative be our ambition: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2).