This book is a series of essays, some solid and good, some mere book jacket summaries of other books he’s written, and some truly bad satire. He’s a definitively unfunny writer and his satire is obnoxiously bad. And like most of his books, the ideas are there, the thinking is never as deep as it should be, the solutions are simplistic or impossible, and his annoyances are too thin-skinned. He’s best at asking questions, and not great at answering them. If he could take a cue from the poststructuralists he hates, he might realize some confidence to leave the impasses where they are.
I keep looking for Neil Postman chapters and essays to present to high school students, and man if he doesn’t pepper nearly every single one of them with just something a little too close to the line for my own good. I don’t mind the outdated references because we can bring those up to date, and I don’t mind the religious imagery, because those are interesting. His casual use of old school references to mental illness, his bad habit for casual political digs at conservatives (again, I don’t mind, but I am not trying to alienate students and get attention from parents), and other little things.
“…everyone practices stupidity, including those of us who write about it; none of us is ever free of it, we are most seriously endangered when we think we are safe. That there is an almost infinite supply of stupidity, including our own, should provide educationists with a sense of humility and, incidentally, assurance that they will never become obsolete.”