Critique of Postman

Neil Postman was a scholar who studied mass media and the rise of technology. In his article The Peek-A-Boo World, he argues that our world is diminishing because of technology. He believes that people are taking advantage of technology and how it is used. He believes that it is used for meaningless things such as having a boring conversation over the phone or having the television on while cooking dinner. He puts emphasis on these things to create his main argument which is technology is bad. I disagree with him because technology has done so many good things for our world. It helps us communicate faster, makes hard tasks easier, and gives us more opportunities in every field. I believe that his opinion is ignorant to the reason that technology exists.

He starts his article off discussing the invention of the telegraph. The telegraph was invented so people could communicate messages without being face-to-face. This was supposed to be helpful but Postman saw this invention as an attack on the discourse saying that it introduces “irrelevance, impotence, and incoherence”. I disagree because it allowed people to communicate with the people around them in a faster, more efficient way. A lot of the conversations that were held on the telegraph were conversations to loved ones that are away or to a co-worker about an important thing happening at work. This efficiency allowed people to receive important information in a more timely fashion.

Postman continues his article by going into the negative impact of photographs have done for our society. He believes that photographs lack syntax, offers no opinion, and it is preemptively a word of fact. I disagree because photography is an art which is to be interpreted. A picture says a thousand words and I cannot agree more. Postman is missing the point because a photograph can literally mean anything. The picture itself is a medium but what us behind that medium are many different messages. He also attempts to claim that painting used imagery to better communicate their purpose and the photograph assaulted that premise. I feel like the photograph is an updated version of the painting. Yes, the moment is captured quicker but they still have the same purpose. Both are still art forms that communicate a certain message that can be interpreted by others as much as they like.

He introduces the title concept of a peek-a-boo world at the end of his article. He defines a peek-a-boo world as a self-contained world without coherence that does not make sense that contains a lot of entertainment which is similar to a child’s game of peek-a-boo. He applies this concept with the effects of television and computers. First, he argues that television is a new type of command center. What he means is that we learn what phone system to use, what products to buy, who movies to see, what television programs to watch from the television set. I will agree that he is on the ball here but a viewer does not have to participate in what the television is trying to sell. They have a freedom of choice. They could be influenced or not care about what is being shown. It is up to the viewer to interpret the message being seen. The televisions’ purpose is to use visuals and video to expose us to things that we did not know before.

The final piece of technology that he discussed was the computer. He talked about how the computer has become so dominant that it is mandatory for children and adults to be computer literate in the workforce. This is the world we live in today. Computers are so beneficial to our society and they have done revolutionary work in every field. He also believes that both the computer and television control our knowledge about the ways of knowing our knowledge of the world. That is not entirely true. Yes, both the computer and the television play a dominant role in the way we learn but they are not the only way we learn about our world. We can learn new things by reading a book, going outside, enrolling in a class, and many more. To dismiss the accomplishments of both the television and computer is just silly to me because they are not the mind-controlling things that Postman claims them to be. Both have made huge accomplishments in the technological filed.

Due to these technological advances, we are now more efficient than ever in everything that we do. Postman should be appreciative of how technology has advance but instead he is whining about how it used to be. I do not know if he noticed but things change and if he does not like it, he does not have to comply with it but his critiques are so off-point. He does not understand how technology changed the world for the better. He does not get how technology presents us with opportunities that were not there before. He wants the past to stay in the past and unfortunately that cannot happen. His article was completely off base to the reality that we live in today. Because of these advances, we are in a faster, more efficient society than ever. If Postman does not see this as a positive thing, he is living under a rock.

The Problem with the Food Industry

In the 1950s, advertisements said that 4 out of 5 doctors recommended cigarette smoking. Now due public services announcements reporting the problems of cigarette smoking, this harmful habit is becoming less and less common every day. This cultural shift saved the lives of millions of Americans. If this technique can work with cigarette smoking, it can also work with the obesity epidemic that we are currently experiencing at the moment. More people are overweight than ever before, and it is all due to being constantly surrounded by unhealthy food. In America, the food industry constantly promotes itself on commercials, magazine advertisements, and billboards across the nation. Not to mention there are fast food restaurants everywhere you look. Are there as many health food stores as there are fast food restaurants? The answer is no because the government manipulates what we eat. The food industry is to blame for the obesity epidemic because of the mass advertisement, convenience, and government manipulation.

The food industry capitalizes its products by using mass advertisement. We see constant advertisements for unhealthy food everywhere we go. These advertisements use stand-out colors and usually have some crazy cartoon character, some sexy model, or a buff sports player to catch the public eye. This makes people curious on what product they are advertising and convinces those people that their product is beneficial to them. Then the general public buys these food products or goes to these fast food restaurants helping the food industry make money off of cheap, unhealthy meals. Unfortunately, people in this day and age believe anything that is in on the television whether it is realistic or not. As David Zinczenko states in his essay Don’t Blame the Eater, “Whatever happen to personal responsibility?”(pg 391). Well I can tell what happened to personal responsibility, it went away when Paris Hilton came on the television promoting the latest cheeseburger from Carl’s JR. Unfortunately, in our minds Paris Hilton is a sex symbol so people are more likely to pay attention to the advertisements and buy the product or go to that particular food place. Our minds tend to be attracted to things that look great but are really bad for us. Initially, people don’t know that they are damaging so they consume large portions of their snacks, meals, or drinks without seeing what they really are. Personal responsibility is taken away and replaced by the outcome of weight gain and health problems resulting from the over consumption of unhealthy foods. These advertisements stimulate the mind in the wrong way causing the loss of personal responsibility and overeating to take over.

Unhealthy food options are easy to find and even easier to buy. First off there are currently five times more fast food restaurants than grocery stores in the United States. Most of the fast-food places have drive-thrus which is convenient for our fast-paced lifestyles. No one wants to or seems to have the time to drive to a health food store and physically walk in the store in order to get their food. People usually want their food right away and they want that food to fill them up as quickly as possible which is why food places sell unhealthy snacks, drinks, and meals. They know that healthy food is not as filling and leaves people to still be hungry afterwards. Almost all food locations know this fact so they serve unhealthy food items to satisfy their customers. They do not care if what they are selling is healthy or not, they just want to have business. Manchester, Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest places in America with an obesity as high as 52 percent. One of the reasons for this shocking statistic could be that the residents of Manchester are surrounded by places that sell unhealthy food items. Pam Mathis, a resident of Manchester, Kentucky supported the statement above by mentioning that “the intersection…features a McDonald’s, a Wendy’s, an Arby’s and a Subway and just beyond that, there’s a Burger King, a Long John Silver’s, a Lee Famous Recipe Chicken, a Pizza Hut and a Wal- Mart where everything is sold in supersize helpings”(pg 409). Manchester is one example of the many American towns that are surrounded by fast food. Unfortunately these types of setups are everywhere in the United States and it is just not right. Health food stores could have easily been as accessible as fast food joints if only this point was established earlier. Easy accessibility to unhealthy foods is one of the key causes of this obesity epidemic.

The food industry makes unhealthy food convenient on purpose. It noticeably takes less time and money to create processed junk food then to grow a crop of healthy fruits and vegetables. After the food industry adds various chemicals and GMOS into the food, they put all the processed foods in all different stores, schools, all across the United States. Processed junk food is cheaper than healthy food because junk food is cheaper to make. The food industry knows that people buy the cheapest thing that will satisfy their needs especially in this economy so they make the cheapest foods taste really good and make the body want to eat more of that particular food. Once people start eating too much unhealthy junk foods, it starts to affect their health in a negative way. People then need outside sources to help them maintain their health. This creates business for all exercise facilities like the gym and creates sales for exercise products like sports gear and weights. These unhealthy foods also help the medical field because it increases the sales of medication, gives doctors’ offices, dentists, and hospitals more business and allows the government to install a costly healthcare plan. The food industry wants to make people sick so exercise and medical businesses can excel finding yet another way to have citizens give the government more money. The food industry makes processed food convenient because it is cheaper and give companies business.

The government has its hand in what choices the food industry makes. They realize that we are in currently in an obesity epidemic and as our nation’s leaders, they are trying to figure out a way that we could be healthier in our meal choices. To tackle this issue, the government is focusing on socialism rather than personal responsibility. The government wants us to pay for other people’s health problems. If someone has a heart attack, people have to take money out of their wallets to pay for that person’s medical bills and medication. As Radley Balko states in his essay What You Eat Is Your Business, “If the government is paying for my anti-cholesterol medication, what incentive is there for me to put down the cheeseburger?” (pg ) Clearly, our government should be working on a way to have American gain a sense of responsibility on what they eat and how they exercise. Instead of implementing nutritional practices over and over again, the government should figure out how they can create a cultural shift that will portray unhealthy food as it truly is: harmful to the human body. A cultural shift portraying cigarettes as a harmful habit instead of a relaxing fixation happened and now the number of people smoking cigarettes are decreasing every year. The same cultural shift effect could happen with unhealthy food if the government is willing to attempt to do this. The government’s solution to stop this obesity epidemic is not working and needs to be revised immediately.

Instead of placing the blame on other issues our nation should take action to stop this obesity epidemic. There are many ways that our nation’s leaders can help our country to lead a better lifestyle. One way could be to build more health food store and making them cheaper so more people can buy their products or just making healthy foods cheaper in general. Another way to stop this epidemic is to improve the way we are educated on food and personal responsibility to empower the public. The point is that the food industry needs to tell the truth on these food items and replace the unhealthy items with healthy items and they need to find a way to do it fast or else who knows what our nation will become.

Mom, Why Should I Go To College?

What are you going to do after high school? What college are you going to? Make sure all your applications are done! Get good grades and thank me later! These are common things that parents seemingly say to their children as soon as they enter high school. Parents these days are pushing their children to go to college because they want to ensure success in their child’s future. High school students probably do not understand or care about what their parents have to say but surely enough parents do know what they are talking about. Four year colleges provide so many opportunities for impressionable 18-year-olds to learn and grow by offering plenty of courses to take, having activities and clubs that apply to all interests, and the chance to completely be independent. All of these opportunities provide a great foundation for a successful future. People should go to college because it gives them a chance to challenge their minds, to get a liberal education, have more job opportunities, and become better versions of themselves.

People generally love to learn and challenge their minds. Once high school ends, graduates have the option to do whatever they want with their lives. There are plenty of options out there but most high school graduates decide to continue their education by going to college. College gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge, learn about what they are interested in, and apply their new-found knowledge towards a future career. Most universities provide all different types of minors and majors so anybody could learn anything they want to. Plus getting an in-depth high-level college education on whatever major of their choosing gives students a chance to develop ideas, moral, values, skills, and learning tools to use inside and outside the classroom. Adapting these things increases the amount of productivity in all areas and helps with different nessacery life skills such as time management, positive social skills, and the ability to set and reach goals. There a various learning techniques experienced in college like learning by teaching, conflict and debate, trial and error, and research and analyzing that will not only help us develop more learning tools but also allow our minds to expand further than our wildest imagination. College-level learning gives students positive psychological effects such as confidence and motivation helping them become more likely to succeed in the real world. College gives students a chance to expand their minds in the best way possible.

Attending a four-year college gives individuals an opportunity to get a unique education. There are plenty of majors, minors, and concentrations offered at every four-year college so students are usually bound to find something that they are interested in. Colleges these days use a liberal arts foundation for their curriculum. This form of education is a sensible and effective approach to learning in the 21st century and gives students a chance to explore all different types of perspectives on all different topics. In the essay Blue-Collar Brilliance, the author Mike Rose states “When we devalue the full range of everyday cognition, we offer limited educational opportunities and fail to make fresh and meaningful instructional connections among disparate kinds of skill and knowledge” (pg 254). Liberal arts classes do not devalue the full range of everyday cognition but instead better the range of everyday cognition by challenging the mind with new theories, propositions, and rhetoric questions that would make students want to learn the material that is given to them. This mental challenge gives the students a chance to learn attributes about themselves and the world that they never would have figured out, if it was not for the education college provides. A liberal education gives people the knowledge that will help them become successful.

College give students more opportunities to get better quality jobs. In this day and age, it is hard to get a decent, high-paying job without a college degree. Jobs are getting harder to find especially in this shaky economy making the job market extremely competitive. A college education equips students for the job market by providing the knowledge and sources to ensure that each individual succeeds. The knowledge that students gain from going to college gives them a better chance of finding a quicker path to a more stable career that they will enjoy. In the essay Are Too Many People Going to College? Writer Charles Murray says that “Employers do not value what the student learned, just that the student has a degree” (pg 233) which is simply not true because how would have the student gotten the degree if they did not retain the knowledge they learned at school. Employers are looking for future employees that know what they are doing in their field so what the student learned in college actually does matter when they are on the job. A recent study showed that men and women with a college degree are seven percent more likely to be employed than men and women who do not have a college degree. This proves the value of a college degree because it decreases the level of unemployment. Most colleges usually have connections to internships and jobs so people will have access to better opportunities for low-risk, high-paying jobs. Plus having a college degree gives people more flexibility when it comes down to career choices. The more educated one is, the better off they will be in the long run. College gives everyone a fair chance to acquire a great job.

College makes people into better versions of themselves. When people attend college, they are immediately on their own. They have to wake up on their own, get their own meals, and do all their chores without mom and dad doing it for them teaching them how to live on their own. This new-found independence does not show just within the walls of the dorm but in the classroom also. As a college student myself, I have noticed that students do not have easy access to the college professors as they did with their high school teachers. This forces students to pay attention in class and get accustomed to what each professor is looking for. The lack of assistance from the professors gives students a wake-up call and a realization that they have expectations that have to be met, forcing them to learn how to be responsible. College also teaches a person how to be responsible outside of the classroom. Socializing is a big part of college life because it is the only way that connects student with the college or university. Students usually have to make the first attempt to socialize in order not to be lonely on campus. Sometimes they make friends that are worth keeping while other times they could find themselves in a toxic friendship or taken advantage of without their knowledge. If they do find themselves in the latter, they would have to negative the situation to the best of their ability. These situations make people stronger because they are put into situations that they cannot avoid so they have to find the best way to get out of it. College is a fantastic way of getting an education while learning how to be on your own at the same time.

College is mainly one big learning experience if it is done the right way. The education a person gets from inside and outside the classroom can change their lives forever. Teenagers whom have just got out of high school need something to push them to discover themselves and I firmly believe that attending a four-year college is the right way to do that. College, not only gives people an education, but it can change one’s life for the better. It could make a person a better student, a better daughter or son, or an overall better version of themselves. At the end of the day, the high-school-now-college student will be thanking their parents for nagging them to finish their applications or to get on top of their studies because they are probably having the time of their life at whatever college they decided to go to. So kids listen to your parents, do the work, and go to college because I promise you college is worth it.

The Voodoo Coloring Book

Disclaimer: This is my draft for a picture book. I really liked this idea for a picture book because it is very creative with a element of horror in it. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures because I suck at drawing but I am willing to share my draft with you guys. Hope you guys like it.

It was a sunny day at Montgomery elementary school and Timmy could not wait to start kindergarten.

When he arrived at his classroom, he darted towards his desk, ripped open his red backpack and started coloring in his brand new coloring book.

He scribbled all different colors on every picture in the book. He colored the sky pink with green clouds, the dogs purple, the ocean black, and the beachfront red.

Timmy made sure his pictures were colored with the colors the object was not supposed to be.

The pictures ended up looking great but what happened next was not so great.

The next morning, Timmy woke up to the neighbors shrieking.

He opened his window and the sky was bright pink with green clouds. He ran outside. The houses were rainbow colored and every dog was purple.

This looked familiar to Timmy. Maybe he was dreaming and this would all go away. All of the sudden, he saw his neighbors running the other direction.

He turned around as a black wave crashed onto the red sand then a light bulb went off in his head. He colored those items in those exact colors in his coloring book yesterday.

“The coloring book is magic,” he whispered to himself.

He had to find that coloring book and reverse the spell.

Problem was he did not know where the coloring book was. He searched the whole house but it was nowhere to be found.

He looked in the kitchen, both bathrooms, and his bedroom still no coloring book. He tore up the house only to find his coloring book in-between the kitchen floor boards.

How did it get there? He thought. But Timmy had no time to wonder.

He grabbed the book and the eraser that came with it, and erased every bit of color in the book.

As he was erasing, the sky turned blue with white clouds, the ocean was blue again, the sand turned tan and the houses and dogs went back to their original color. Timmy saved the day!

The next morning, Timmy and his mother went back to the store to return the coloring book.

Another little boy was begging his mom for a new coloring book but his mom kept denying him.

Timmy took out his coloring book and gave it to the boy.

“You can have my coloring book!” said Timmy.

“Thank you” said the little boy.

“You’re welcome! Be creative! There is so much waiting in store!” said Timmy.

“Don’t worry! I will!” said the little boy.

Timmy and his mom left the store satisfied that another person will get to experience the same creative adventure that Timmy embarked on.

The end!

Happy Autism Acceptance Month

On October 22nd, 1998, I was diagnosed with Autism. Over the past 20 years, I have faced many challenges including how my disability is represented in mainstream media. As you all may know, April is Autism Awareness Month. This is how the mainstream media chooses to “celebrate” our community when in reality they are inadvertently harming our community with the choice of the word “Awareness”. Our voices are starting to being heard but we need to take it up a notch. As a member of the Autistic community, I think that it is crucial that the month of April should be changed to Autism Acceptance Month. Making this change will give Autistic people a voice, their own identity, and the respect they deserve.

The word “awareness” is defined as concerned about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development. Using the phrase “Autism Awareness” has basically been translated to “Warning: Autistic people exist, please proceed with caution” which perpetuates fear, uncertainty, and anxiety towards the Autistic community. Unfortunately, this is the way the mainstream media chooses to represent our community. This portrayal is extremely harmful to our community because it highlights all negative aspects of the disability and pushes for a “cure” for Autism. Autism does not need to be “cured” because it is a social disability. Neurotypicals tend to interpret this information in two ways. One way is that we are a burden to society. This allows bullying, harassment, and social isolation to occur without any repercussions. The second way is that we are charity cases. This allows neurotypicals to try and fix us so we fit in with the neurotypical majority. Both of these ways are harmful to our mental health because they dehumanize us. The mainstream treats us like we are the problem that needs to be solved when in reality how we are portrayed is the problem that should be solved.

The word “acceptance” is defined as an agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation. Using the phrase “Autism Acceptance” portrays a mutual understanding between the Autistic community and neurotypical majority. It is basically saying “you are you, and that’s pretty awesome. I am me, and that’s pretty awesome” which perpetuates equality, fairness, inclusion, and love towards the Autistic community. It looks at the commonalities we share with neurotypical people. The mainstream media needs to know that we have the same wants and needs as any other neurotypical person has, we just go about them in our own unique way. Using the word “acceptance” embraces us as we truly are, gets to know us on a deeper level, and sees us as multi-dimensional humans. Acceptance allows to enact our stims, quirks, and habits freely without judgment or punishment knowing that they are part of who we are. Most importantly, acceptance is about equality. Acceptance is viewing the wants and needs of the Autistic person to be equally as important as the wants and needs of a neurotypical person.

The mainstream media is our society’s main source of information. It can control the majority of the public’s perception on any topic including Autism. That is why it is critical that the mainstream media should change Autism Awareness month to Autism Acceptance month. This simple change would push for a more positive rhetoric and do wonders for their mental health. If the media highlighted all the positive aspects of Autism, the Autistic community would get treated with respect that they deserved. Using this rhetoric, the neurotypical majority would have a better understanding of the Autistic community. This will give us more opportunities to grow in multiple aspects of our lives. The more opportunities people with Autism have, the more likely they will be able to reach their full potential. Having our needs, wants, and desires be taken seriously would be a blessing for the Autistic community. More importantly, it would humanize us. Neurotypicals would be more likely to treat us as their equally and accept us for who we are. This type of treatment will create more confident, emotionally secure, and happier community of people with Autsim. This change is nessacery in order to create a better, healthier world for the Autistic community.

I know that it is halfway through April which means it is halfway through Autism Acceptance month. It is nice that we have a month to celebrate our existence and educate others about Autsim. However, celebrating and supporting the Autistic community should not just be happening in the month of April, it should be happening all year round. Autistic people have to face many adversities because of the stigma surrounding their disability. It is critical that the neurotypical majority utilizes the aspects of Autism Acceptance month and applies them when interacting with the Autistic community. This will help the Autistic community become more productive members of this society. We are much more then what the mainstream media says we are and it is about time that we have the opportunity to show it.