After reading and analyzing both Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and You Just Don’t Understand, by Deborah Tannen, I have come to conclude that I prefer Tannen’s book over Postman’s. There are a variety of reasons for this particular choice. For one, Tannen’s novel offered a very relatable topic that applies to my everyday life. On the other hand, Postman’s argument was a bit too radical for my taste. Also, Tannen’s novel was very focused and clear. On the contrary, Postman had a tendency to ramble on about irrelevant topics or topics in which he already discussed. This type of behavior gave me an unfocused and confusing reading experience. Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand has a very ordered structure. Tannen organizes her book in an alternating point style. All of Tannen’s chapters are filled with sub-chapters. The sub-chapters contain material with a sharper focus on the chapter’s main topic. Throughout the chapters of the book, Tannen first specifies the various issues men and women face in conversation. Next, Tannen provides an example of the issue occurring in the everyday life. Lastly, Tannen offers either a solution or a way to compromise the problem. Additionally, in the start of the book, she begins with broadly focused chapters describing the reasons behind various miscommunications. As the book goes on, Tannen begins writing on more specific issues and solutions, pinpointing the main causes for misunderstandings between genders. Although Neil Postman provides a different structure than Tannen, it still has a very logical order. Postman’s book is broken down into two parts and arranged in a chronological order. Part 1 focuses on the history of the world before the television. Part 2 isolates the specific issues and customs that arise due to the establishment of the television. Each chapter offers various different, but related topics on the effects television has on public discourse. Additionally, Unlike Tannen, who give solutions to problems at the end of each main point, Postman chooses to wait until the close of his book to offer the reader solutions. The chapters appear in the way they do to illustrate the contrast in the worlds before and after television. In You Just Don’t Understand, Deborah Tannen makes the argument that men and women have extremely different conversational styles. She says that due to this difference in styles, men and women’s conversations are often interpreted differently than intended. Additionally, she argues that the primary goal of men is to preserve independence and authority. On the contrary, Tannen claims that women look at the world as being a network of connections in which they focus on community, connection, and intimacy.
In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman makes the argument that television has accustomed people to demand entertainment at all times. He says that television has caused people to expect everything in life to be in the form of entertainment. Postman claims that this expectation has negatively reshaped the culture we live in today. According to Postman, this stray from the typographic world into a world of entertainment has caused a great deal of harm to education, politics, religion, and the overall direction of public discourse.
Tannen’s argument regarding the goals of men and women, how different genders collide in conversation, and how the differing styles of communication effect interpretations is very convincing. The arguments Tannen refers to in her book occur in everyday conversations between men and women. Personally, I have experienced situations that relate directly to Tannen’s claims in the book. My experience has allowed me to both relate to and clarify Tannen’s claims as consistent and correct.
Similarly, the argument Neil Postman offers in Amusing ourselves to Death is also very persuading. The convictions Postman proposes in his novel play out everyday in contemporary America and on television....