Amusing Ourselves to Death
Though he can sometimes sound like Jeremiah on a bad beard day, one admires the moral passion of The New York Times’ Bob Herbert.
In today’s column (available online only to TimesSelect subscribers), Herbert takes his cue from the late Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Here are the closing paragraphs:
No one can figure out what to do about Iraq or Al Qaeda. A great American cultural center like New Orleans was all but washed away, and no one knows how to put it back together. The ice caps are melting and Al Gore is traveling the land like the town crier, raising the alarm about global warming.
But none of that has really gotten the public’s attention. As a nation of spectators, we seem content to sit with a pizza and a brew in front of the high-def flat-screen TV, obsessing over Anna Nicole et al., and giving no thought to the possibility that the calamitous events unfolding in the world may someday reach our doorsteps.
Is there flat-screen TV on Charon’s wharf? If so, it will probably be playing re-runs of The Sopranos.