TO call Neil Postman a critic of television would be as inadequate as calling Bishop Tutu a critic of apartheid or Jerry Falwell a critic of abortion. In Mr. Postman's view, the much-criticized medium is a peril to our society, our culture, our civilization. The theme of his 16th book, ''Amusing Ourselves to Death,'' is that television is bringing us speedily to the condition of the residents of Aldous Huxley's ''Brave New World,'' who were seduced into happy mindlessness. He writes: ''When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.
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