Are Todays Tv Shows Making Us Smarter?

2025 Words9 Pages
Are Todays TV Shows Making Us Smarter? I recently read an essay written by American author Steven Johnson entitled Watching TV Makes You Smarter. Millions of Americans who are engrossed in today’s TV programming might be surprised at the concept. You see, for years, sitting down to watch TV was thought of as a lazy way to turn off your brain and veg out (to spend time idly or passively). (Britannica) While this may still be true, Johnson argues that the increased complexity in today’s TV shows forces us to become intellectually involved as opposed to merely entertained. The idea of TV increasing our intelligence would be a fantastic idea to most viewers. Dana Stevens (movie critic for Slate Magazine) offered a rebuttal in response to Johnson’s piece, struggling to make sense of his claims in her piece Thinking Outside the Idiot Box. Just from her title of describing the television as an ‘Idiot Box”, you can easily guess her thoughts on the subject. I believe that Johnson has presented some very intriguing evidence to back his claims while Stevens’ rebuttal offers little to no evidence to the contrary. Steven Johnson bases his argument on the observation of increased complexity we have seen in TV shows over the last thirty plus years. In spite of this, most critics continue to argue that TV has a way of dumbing down our culture. Instead of focusing on the aspects of values, violence, sexual content, and obscenity in TV, Johnson focuses on how much mental work is required
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