May 5, 2014
Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communications

Review—Amazing Ourselves to Death: Neil Postman’s Brave New World Revisited

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Lance Strate has written a masterful book that sets the work of the noted media critic Neil Postman against a modern frame. More so, Strate pays homage to a man, and teacher, who influenced so many media students over the course of decades (among them Adelphi professors) and died in 2003. His some 25 books transcended American borders, vital ideas that resonated across the globe and were embraced by an avid community of scholars and luminaries from all walks of life.

Strate himself is a product of Postman’s Media Ecology Program at New York University and serves Postman well in bringing his mentor’s work into the 21st century in this thoughtful and articulate work.

Though it would be helpful to have read Postman before taking up Strate’s book, even novice readers will appreciate the vast scope of Postman’s thinking in areas of language, education, and media technology set against a moral stance that informs his critiques. Strate, a longtime Fordham University professor and a prolific media scholar in his own right, intended his book to serve as a companion to Postman’s classic work, Amusing Ourselves to Death. But he goes much further here. bringing to life both the man and his message.               

Postman in his way was a complicated personality – a serious public intellectual, with an often engaging, irreverent attitude. A cultural antagonist at times reviled by critics, and a beloved teacher, who remains in the memory of legions of students—many now teachers themselves—that proudly carry forward his lessons in media ecology along with his humanistic worldview.

It is this latter legacy that Postman, an inspiring educator, would be most proud of—as he would of Lance Strate’s insightful and moving tribute.

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Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communications