Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Book Review: The Disappearance of Childhood By Neil Postman

Today then ever before American culture is very significant. Effectively what American culture does the World will fellow, like it or not. Therefore, with this intention in the back of my mind I picked up Neil Postman’s “Disappearance of Childhood”. From the author’s title and reading the prologue I had a very good either about what the book was about. The title is in reality a question; is childhood disappearing?

After thinking about this for a while even before reading the book I came to the conclusion it is. Think about it, in England we now have Playboy products advertised as child toys, even to the extent of a pole for dancing, which was sold by some shops to children. Children’s clothes are getting even increasingly skimpier, to the extent that thongs and G strings are categorized as child wear. It occurred to me that yes we are losing childhood but we don’t even know it. The whole essence of Postman’s argument rest upon the fact that childhood as a social structure (not biological, but the condition of treating children as fundamentally different from adults) is disappearing from right beneath our eyes, and this is the main result of technology, especially pictorial such as the Television.

Postman uses cogent arguments with a little humor, and argues that in the past the main criterion to differentiate an adult from a child was literature and the ability to read and comprehend. He argues in the modern age we have revealed adult secrets to children through technology as thus as an effect are destroying childhood. For example, the secret of sex, which once only known to adults is now easily revealed to children by watching the television. Whereas, in the past, once children were at the correct age to comprehend this taboo, this secret was revealed to them. Postman takes us through the history of childhood, in this witty book the arguments about if childhood is socially constructed or was always there, nicely put to bed. Postman takes the reader though a history of the term, its etymology, its journey through the centuries, and the psychology of the concept very smartly and succinctly. After this Postman clearly with social and historical evidence expounds his argument that childhood is virtually dying and on life support and he cleverly does this by conveying how children are bombarded with violent and sexually imagery. Which decades and centuries ago could be learned only through reading, analysis, and adults. After reading, the reader I assure you will see how childhood is dying, if not already dead.

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