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The Warnings of Orwell
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According to Postman, the use of television has resulted into education becoming like a form of entertainment too. Some programs are designed so that represent the context of a classroom but with the intention of making the child interested in the program. Postman argues that the context of a lesson may be more significant than the content. The influence of TV over culture has resulted into the belief among students and teachers that education is supposed to be entertaining. This may contribute to boredom in class if the lesson is not as entertaining as when he observes it in television. Majority of teachers do not want to act against this and instead of trying to abolish the use of such facilities as teaching tools, they tend to embrace and apply it as a teaching tool.
A number of teachers show educational programs in class this has been hindered by few educational rules regarding education on television that has resulted into its inability to be used effectively in teaching. For instance, the program may not require any prior knowledge. A person only needs to tune in order to know what is being taught without any background in the subject in totality. Thus, the use of television violates the rule that learning should take place in stages with one lesson based on the previous lesson. In addition, there cannot be perplexity as any unanswered questions and difficulties in the topic under discussion, it is recommended that they are brushed over or not answered as an audience that is not concerned with them may change the channel. Lastly, the use of television in education cannot result into any exposition. Thus facts are exposed with least analysis as possible due to the fact that media does not tolerate situations of in-depth discussions and comprehensive debates. These facts explain that anyone trying to learn a topic through television programs cannot have information that exceeds the basic, elementary knowledge of the subject.
According to Orwell we need to understand the threat that television and other images contribute to the loss of democracy and freedom of information. According to Orwell, the suppression caused by the state can result into restriction of flow of information when restrictions such as banning of books take effect. Orwell recalls that historically, books had been under strict censorship, specifically when in the most part of communication arena. Orwell noted that Government control over printed information had serious consequences on the level of democracies in the western countries. This argument was being used in reference to the age of Print when the same problem was addressed by the people who wrote the United States Constitution. At the time the constitution was written, most free men could only contact their communities through leaflets, newspapers or spoken words. This enabled them to share their political opinions in the form of contexts that they could control and manage. The only worry was the possibility of censorship by the government. The Bill of rights mainly prescribes ways in which the government can be prevented from restricting the smooth flow of information and ideas. However, what the Founding Fathers did not know is that tyranny of the government may be overcome by another difficulty altogether that is the corporate form of governance which controls the manner in which public discourse flows in America. According to George Gerbna, Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication, television has become a new state religion under the control of a private Ministry of Culture that offers universal curriculum for all people that is managed by hidden taxation that is not under representation. However, Orwell notes that the confrontation that we are faced with now is the difficulty caused by the economic and symbol nature of television. The people in charge of television are not restrictive in the level of our access to the information but make it wider. He explains that the Ministry of Cultures Huxleyan, nor Orwellian. It ensures that we continue watching continuously. However, the content we watch is medium representing information that makes it simplistic, without substance, not historical and lacking context. In brief, it is information that is mainly entertainment. He observes that Americans are never denied the opportunity to amuse themselves.
Orwell explains that tyrants in America have always noted the benefits of amusing the masses as a way of preventing discontent. This is the reason why tyrants have usually relied and will continue relying on censorship.
The book, ‘Amazing Ourselves to death’ is focused on sensitizing people on the conditions of lifestyle that is currently being developed by most people around the world. The book continues to get public attention. This is an illustration of postman’s ability to see more than a fad without considering what was accomplished. It illustrates the transition from the popularity of word and rise in popularity of the use of image. It was significant to be aware of the rise of image and fall of the word, the increase in popularity of amusement and decline in popularity of discourse. It was his prediction of the current saturation of our lives with television and how it would affect our lives in the way we understand politics, religion, education and other areas that are significantly dependent on media. In this stage of transition from the television-based practices to computer based practices, the popularity of image continues to increase. Probably, we can be described as having amused ourselves to the point where it is not possible to return. Televisions can contribute towards its main function-entertaining. The fact that the key things that take place in television are junks and no one can be threatened by them makes them highly popular. It is aimed at addressing the issue of the shift from epistemological approach towards assessing events to the use of engineering aspects towards the process. Postman suggests that people are currently not concerned with determining the cause, base and reason for a particular argument. They are not concerned with the principles that are used to describe certain belief. The manner in which people learn is mainly dictated by the situation and the easiest way in which learning process can be achieved. This is the reason why the use of images has been popularized over the years in the media. It is aimed at showing the concern that the culture of listening to what someone is saying is gradually getting replaced by the use of entertainment to convey information. He foresees that this may result in total lack of information and lack of accountability for what a person has does, particularly politicians in high political offices.
The ability of politicians to manipulate presidential campaigns has been majorly contributed by the increasing popularity of the use of images and the fall in the use of words. It is recommended that politicians use the word in order for their presidential campaigns to be regarded as effective. However, the shift from the belief in content of information to amusement derived from information has made understanding of presidential campaigns policies become difficult. This is because of lack of entertainment in speeches. It would be recommended that future presidential aspirants make speeches in front of the public like it was in the 19th and18th centuries. In other areas of political activities, it would be advantageous if those in government abolish the use of media facilities such as television and newspapers to convey their policies to the public as they would not be interested in what they are saying but the level of entertainment they would derive from using these facilities.
In addition, media personnel who air news in televisions and newspapers regarding national issues such as government accounts need to be trained to ensure that the information they present in the media show lack of bias by illustrating both the achievements as well as the failures of the government. The use of a country’s resources also needs to be reported in a transparent manner according to the way it has been used by the government. The level of amusement to the public should not be used as a determining factor when it comes to reporting of government accounts of activities that are of benefit to the public. In addition, the public need to be sensitized to be less concerned about amusement they get from government information as it contains valuable information that is likely to directly affecting their state of life.
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