In 1986, soon after the book was published and had started to make ripples, Dad was on ABC’s Nightline, discussing with Ted Koppel the effect TV can have on society if we let it control us, rather than vice versa. As I recall, at one juncture, to illustrate his point that our brief attention span and our appetite for feel-good content can short-circuit any meaningful discourse, Dad said, “For example, Ted, we’re having an important discussion about the culture but in thirty seconds we’ll have to break for a commercial to sell cars or toothpaste.” Mr. Koppel, one of the rare serious figures on network television, smiled wryly—or was it fatigue? “Actually, Dr. Postman,” he said, “it’s more like ten seconds.”


  1. Amusing Ourselves to Death