Andrew Postman – My Dad Predicted Trump in 1985 – It’s not Orwell, He Warned, It’s Brave New World

neil-postman-amusing-ourselves-to-death

Neil Postman’s son, Andrew, writes for The Guardian, an article in which he suggests that, given the mess in which our world is, in the age of Trump and post-truth, we could get more insight about it from his father’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, than from Orwell’s book 1984, as it was intensely (and effectively – as proven by the sudden increase in the sales of this book) suggested lately.

I share here a few excerpts of this brilliant article, in the hope this will motivate you to read it in its entirety.

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The central argument of Amusing Ourselves is simple: there were two landmark dystopian novels written by brilliant British cultural critics – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – and we Americans had mistakenly feared and obsessed over the vision portrayed in the latter book (an information-censoring, movement-restricting, individuality-emaciating state) rather than the former (a technology-sedating, consumption-engorging, instant-gratifying bubble).

“We were keeping our eye on 1984,” my father wrote. “When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.”

Unfortunately, there remained a vision we Americans did need to guard against, one that was percolating right then, in the 1980s. The president was a former actor and polished communicator. Our political discourse (if you could call it that) was day by day diminished to soundbites (“Where’s the beef?” and “I’m paying for this microphone” became two “gotcha” moments, apparently testifying to the speaker’s political formidableness). Continue reading “Andrew Postman – My Dad Predicted Trump in 1985 – It’s not Orwell, He Warned, It’s Brave New World”

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Englewood Review of Books – Ten Social Critics that Christians Should Be Reading

Englewood Review of Books

The work of social critics is vital for the health and flourishing of the church, because they remind us of the brokenness of the world and challenge us to imagine new and more healthy ways of sharing life together.

Here are ten social critics whose work has been particularly helpful for me in trying to discern how to live faithfully in the twenty-first century. With each critic, I’ve included an excerpt that will serve as an introduction to that writer’s work.

Here is the list, with a few details about each author:

Wendell Berry

A Kentucky farmer and writer, Berry’s work challenges us to live peacefully within the created created and to find ways to vitalize our local communities.

Jacques Ellul

Ellul (1915-1994) was a French lawyer and scholar, renowned for his criticisms of technological society.  He also wrote a number of insightful theological works.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, whose 2015 book Between The World and Me won the National Book Award, among many others. Continue reading “Englewood Review of Books – Ten Social Critics that Christians Should Be Reading”