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How does the topographic mind differ from our visual culture?

define | argument | background | effects | evidence | text | journal


• Type, typographical means the use of movable type on a paper page -- the printing of documents to convey information, inform people, or instruct readers. The printing process was only invented in teh 1400s. Before that scribes would hand write (calligraphy) documents.

• Argument: Postman insists that this form of communication altered the content, and meaning, the form and conveyance of details, thus influence the message and our understanding of the meaning of those communique's (something sent or communicated from place to place). He hinges all of his further arguments on this general point: how we understand depends on the medium (media) used to present people with ideas.

• Background: In ancient Roman and Greek times, a person with a good voice that could be heard above the noise whould stand in a public place --a forum-- and call out announcement that they had been paid and instructed to make. This is an example of rhetoric or how statements where to be conveyed and thus -- ubless it was recorded by a scribe (transcribed) you had to be within earshot of the speaker to hear the message.

• Consequences:

Our literate culture--that is the ability of people to read written documents, books, plays, scripts or edicts--was given a tremendous boost by printing.

That is to say that the widespread ability of people to read, and the spread of significant ideas could only come about as it has with the formation of type, printing presses and typesetting (the art of arranging the letters on a page) to convey ideas.

• The typographic mind, then; is an expression of the transformation of communication by the invention, spread and acceptance of printing.

• Evidence:

Postman asserts that we have changed without being aware.

pp. = pages

Postman's arguments

Postman's evidence

Robert MCNeil

Narcotic escapism

Due this week: a letter inviting someone to Rollins to speak and why.


Neil Postman -- Amusing Ourselves to Death:Postman, pp. 64-80. Define discourse, “typographic view,” & epistemology..

last week:         Postman, pp. 30-63.  Film: Edward R. Murrow: “Harvest of Shame” in class.

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