Finally got to read this, and though it’s dated, many of its main ideas still apply today. To wit, it was Huxley, not Orwell, who had it correct about our future. Cataloguing Huxley’s forecasting, Neil Postman writes something like: People will come to ‘adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think’; there would be no reason to ban a book, for ‘no one would want to read one’; ‘truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.’ You get the idea.
Postman laments the demise of what he calls typography — the logical, well-thought-out and thoroughgoing structure of the printed word and written arguments — first at the hands of the telegraph, then by the medium of television, which had zero economic or socioeconomic barriers to participation, and whose delivery of seemingly unconnected, rapid-fire imagery was the antithesis of typography. He concludes that logic and reason and meaningful information have been replaced by ‘show business’. The need to mindlessly entertain had superseded the need to logically persuade.
Had Postman been around to comment on the primacy of social media today, we daresay he would understand that our society had gone far beyond the need to be merely entertained and amused by show business; the democratization of the production of entertainment has resulted in a populace that is amusing itself to death by generating content that is amusing everyone else to death.
As well, it is no longer enough for the audience to be entertained; the social-media giants require us to react viscerally and emotionally, often bypassing the logical brain. We are in on the act, no longer passive. But it’s an illusory action, certainly; we’re still doing not much more than staring at a glass rectangle, tapping on it, typing out letters, typography reborn somewhat, but at a stunted and shouting 280 characters at a time, no room for cohesion or development of argument or thesis.
In short, perhaps he’d say we were Performing, Reacting & Then Amusing Ourselves to Death. What a society!
Moral of the story: In the land of TikTok & Insta, seek refuge in Audible.com, at least; preferable to that is an iPad or Kindle book; or, if you are an unreconstructed adherent of typography, get crosseyed in a real dead-tree paperback or hardcover.
#10 Timeless Bounty ($121.20, BestLine Fair Odds 11.82-1)
#4 Too Much Johnnie ($20, BestLine Fair Odds 4.92-1)
#4 Neon Dreams ($24.20, BestLine Fair Odds 3.55-1)
There was one selected Mountain race yesterday. There were three win-overlay wagers, one of which won at $16-even.
WMF Report / Track-Trend Notes:
No advisory today.
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The Zongo Race Club suggests ParXXX 6, 7.