Day #9: Everything Bad Is Good For You
Today is one of my favorite assignments in the class because it will probably challenge your assumptions about popular culture.
First of all, a primer on ‘popular culture:
There is always a lot of doom and gloom about how we are becoming ‘worse’ as a culture because of sex, violence and video games! There are many claims made that video games and screen time is having a huge, negative impact on children (watch this quaint, dated video):
We have covered a lot of themes and theories already, but this topic is one is of real relevance. The age-old-question that our parents often say about the younger generations: “they are dumber and less engaged than our generation!” This is often accompanied with a declaration of fear about the future of the country etc, etc…yawn.
Please watch this with an open mind:
This is Steven Johnson, author of the book, ‘Everything Bad Is Good for You’. His assertion is summarized thus:
“Drawing from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and literary theory, Johnson argues that the junk culture we’re so eager to dismiss is in fact making us more intelligent. A video game will never be a book, Johnson acknowledges, nor should it aspire to be — and, in fact, video games, from Tetris to The Sims to Grand Theft Auto, have been shown to raise IQ scores and develop cognitive abilities that can’t be learned from books. Likewise, a successful television, when examined closely and taken seriously, reveals surprising narrative sophistication and intellectual demands.”
So, according to Johnson, pop culture is making us smarter because it is far more sophisticated than ever before. My favorite show LOST was a great example of this:
You almost needed a PhD to understand this show! Needless to say, many people were disappointed with the finale, because so many questions were left unanswered.
So, here is the discussion question for today:
Do you agree with Johnson that popular culture is generally making us smarter? Please provide some example/s to support your answer either way.
So get stuck in! Remember, after your own (400) word post.
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