Trolling Ourselves to Death

Media Communication and the Post-Truth World

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

7:00 p.m. on ZOOM* 

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Professor Jason Hannan

Associate Professor, Department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications, University of Winnipeg.

After completing his PhD in Communication at Carleton University, Dr. Hannan became a Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  He taught at Northwestern prior to joining the University of Winnipeg in 2013.

Dr. Hannan is  currently working on a new book for Oxford University Press that greatly expands on the ideas in Neil Postman's classic work Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Originally published in 1985, Postman’s book outlined the corrosive effects of television on politics and public discourse in a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. Postman warned that television was reshaping our culture and trivializing public life by turning it into entertainment. He was concerned that television’s ability to so inundate us with irrelevant information we would lose sight of what was important and meaningful, and we wouldn’t care as long as we felt entertained.

Dr. Hannan's new book greatly expands on the ideas in Postman's work and is titled: Trolling Ourselves to Death: Democracy in the Age of Social Media. Here is a summary:

"There are at least two ways of framing the problem of post-truth politics. One is to focus on the media, or journalism. A second is to focus on media, or technologies of communication. Between the two, which can be said to be the driver of our post-truth world?

This paper follows the second framework, locating the problem of post-truth politics in social media. It further suggests that trolling has gone mainstream, shaping politics and even legislation. Adding a twist to Postman’s classic thesis, this book argues that we are not so much amusing, as trolling ourselves to death."


Faculty Profile


Postman, Neil.  Amusing Ourselves to Death.  Methuen Pub. Ltd. (January 31, 1987)

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