The Dis-Pursuit of Knowledge

In: English and Literature

Submitted By soccerchick
Words 1184
Pages 5
In the mid 1800s, Americans would listen to presidential debates that lasted multiple hours with interest and attention. In the past several decades, debates like these would be considered torture; instead, presidential debates nowadays consist of simple five-minute discussions. Ever since the invention of the television, America has become more and more centered on entertainment. What was once an intellectually strong nation has transformed into one that is ruled by the media and whose intelligence is quickly deteriorating. Now, essentially every part of daily life must be entertaining for Americans to pay any attention, whether it is politics, religion, or basic communication. Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death proclaims that public discourse has become entertainment, leading to apathetic generations; moreover, this causes the overall degeneration of knowledge.
As society moves away from text-based intellectualism and becomes less caring, it becomes more susceptible to media persuasion. Television and Internet can change opinions and notions with little effort. This can be seen through commercials, market advertising, as well as elections. In one case, Ramsey Clark was challenging Jacob Javits for his New York Senate seat. Clark used position papers to reach out to the public and show them his policies. Javits mainly used thirty-second television commercials. The commercials appealed to the instantaneous public: "He [Javits] won the election by the largest plurality in New York State history" (Postman 130). Society would much rather watch commercials and let them become the basis of its opinions than read researched position papers. The media wins out. This can also be seen in the modern day with so-called humanitarians attempting to help those who are miserable. A prime example is a viral video entitled KONY 2012. In this film advertisement for Invisible…...

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