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TV Commercials

Neil Postman, professor of media ecololgy at New York Univ., in Dec, 1979 Youth letter, p. 92

Commercials are very interesting. We have been able to calculate that the average kid will see about 750,000 of them between the ages of six and 18, which makes them about the most important source of instruction of our children in America today. They are 30 second teaching modules, and the messages they teach are really quite striking. First, they teach that all problems are resolvable. Second, they teach that all problems are resolvable fast. And third, that all problems are resolvable fast through the means of technology. Television commercials do not stress that problems have origins or roots. Problems just seem to strike, which is, of course, very well suited to TV because TV always communicates a sense of the now, of the immediate.