Children are the Living Messages We Send to a Time We Will Not See (Neil Postman, 1982)

This is a special request from my good friend Lance Strate. Today is the 80th anniversary of Neil Postman’s birth, and he want us to help in an effort to correct an injustice that exists online.

Lance says that Neil’s most memorable quote is, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”  But if you Google that quote, you’ll find that more often than not, it is attributed to someone else, specifically John W. Whitehead (the rightwing lawyer who represented Paula Jones against Bill Clinton).

The idea is to start a campaign on this day to spread the word, and set the online record straight, at least as much as possible. Lance explains the full story in this post:

This post is very interesting, so I recommend it.

This a part of the history:

…The Disappearance of Childhood  was the second of Postman’s major works providing a critical analysis of television’s influence on culture.  It was preceded by Teaching as a Conserving Activity, and followed by Amusing Ourselves to Death.  And if you find Postman’s media ecology scholarship at all interesting and valuable, and especially if you’ve read Amusing Ourselves to Death and you haven’t read The Disappearance of Childhood, then you will find The Disappearance of Childhood to be a delightful companion piece, a well-crafted extended essay, and important work of cultural criticism.

Postman begins by writing that “children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see,” because he was writing about communication, which involves the sending of messages through a channel to a receiver.  In the case of messages sent to the future, the receiver may be unknown to us, but the basic idea still applies…. (read the full story)

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