Neil Postman wrote a book titled "Amusing Ourselves to Death" in which he described the dangers of passivity when it comes to our use of entertainment. When we watch or listen to entertainment we need to always be aware that there is a message (a worldview) that is being relayed within the entertainment. If we are not discerning about what we watch or listen to we can subconsciously adopt the values being presented by the creator of that entertainment. Their values may very well become our values.
A benefit of studying worldviews is that we become more discerning about how ideas are interwoven into entertainment. Yet, most people are unaware of how their thinking is being manipulated by the individual or group that originated the entertainment. The same is true of news shows and educational presentations. The result is that large numbers of people can be manipulated to adopt values that they really never would have had they knew that they were being manipulated to accept them.
The lesson here is that we should not be passive when exposing ourselves to entertainment. Rarely will entertainment be neutral. Who ever originates the entertainment has a reason for making it. We need to be aware that this is part of the entertainment culture and not approach our entertainment with a passive attitude.
Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.
“A brilliant, powerful, and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World