Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"...and now on to the scores."

I tweeted earlier today that I was looking into Neil Postman, who's book Amusing Ourselves to Death I finally read five or six years ago. It had been a while since I had heard anything about him and I was curious to know if he had done any recent research.

I was prompted to look into him again, wondering what, if anything he has had to say regarding the acceleration of media, trivial information, and bizarre juxtapositions of news items brought on by the internet. His book, "Amusing..." out in the mid-80's before the internet explosion, and really before cable and satellite became mainstream, dealt with how the never-ending flow of information over the airwaves diminished intelligent discourse and robbed truly important events of their meaning by pairing them (unwittingly, usually) with "...and now a word from our sponsor."

Unfortunately, I discovered that he passed away in 2003.

What rekindled my interest in him and these thoughts was an emotional report I saw this morning on ESPN's Sports Center. The story was an update of the NFL players and friends who have been missing off the coast of Florida. A former coach was being interviewed, choked up, could barely finish his statement and then asked quickly to be excused from the cameras.

Back at the anchor desk, we heard (after an uncomfortable pause) "And now on to the scores."

If ever a triviality was unwittingly delivered on the same plain as a life and death event, it was exemplified here.