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In this witty, often terrifying work of cultural criticism, the author of Amusing Ourselves to Death chronicles our transformation into a Technopoly: a society that no longer merely uses technology as a support system but instead is shaped by it—with radical consequences for the meanings of politics, art, education, intelligence, and truth.
Mixing provocative insights and oft-heard criticism, cultural critic Postman ( Conscientious Objections ) defines the U.S. as an emerging ``technopoly,'' a society in which machines and technology are deified to a near-totalitarian degree. Technopoly elevates experts to ``priestly'' status, whether in economics or in child-rearing; it maintains a bureaucracy to control the flow of information; it likens human beings to computers in reductionist fashion, misapplies statistics in IQ tests and public opinion polls, and uses advertising to ``devour the psyches of consumers'' through symbolic manipulation. In medicine, technopoly is evident in doctors who aggressively overuse machines and X-rays. Postman's arguments are sometimes strained (the Bible is an ``information control mechanism'') and he offers almost no solutions, yet his erudite jeremiad presents a stark, often terrifying vision of a soulless society beholden to machines. He is most original when discussing the social scientist as one who constructs stories using archetypes and metaphors. BOMC alternate; QPB selection.