Chapter 8 Summary
In Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, he attempts to persuade Americans that television is changing every aspect of our culture and world. In chapter 8, Shuffle Off to Bethlehem, Postman uses three arguing styles very well: ethos, pathos, and logos, which help him push the reader, specifically televised religion viewers and churchgoers, to believe that televised religion is not a replacement for religion.
Throughout the chapter, Postman creates the feeling of guilt by making the reader see the faults with televised religion. For one, he explains that watching television does not have the same significance as going to church does, instead of focusing on God the viewer is focusing on the preacher, dismissing all mysticism and spiritual transcendence. In order to succeed in transcendence one must be in a specific place that is consecrated and filled with symbols, there must be certain observed behaviors and a sense of community must be present. These things cannot be achieved in a home, the author makes clear. Postman specifically makes the reader guilty in this instance by disgracing their place of worship when it comes to televised religion. The viewer could be doing whatever they pleased, as many of them do, most likely losing all spirituality. The very thing that many people use to watch televised religion is inherently secular – something that is used to broadcast profane things should not be expected to properly convey the spirituality of religion. Also, Postman makes the reader guilty because at any time the viewer can change the channel as well as the viewer is constantly interrupted with commercials that are secular. "The television screen wants you to remember that its imagery is always available for your amusement and pleasure” (Postman 120) and so it will always change the message to make the viewer amused, giving the viewer what they want instead of what they need.
In order to properly establish...
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