"Thinking Outside the Idiot Box" by Dana Stevens vs. “Watching TV Makes You Smarter” by Steven Johnson

1125 WordsFeb 10, 20145 Pages
Jessica Tursi English Comp I Kayal 11/5/13 TV Does Not Make You Smarter There is no doubt that television holds a purpose in our society today, but is that purpose brain-numbing or actually beneficial to our brain development? The television, also known as: TV, the boob tube, the idiot box, as well as many other nicknames, has been around for almost a hundred years. Ever since cable TV became popular in the 1950’s, there has always been a worry that people watch too much TV. Most people believe that with exorbitant exposure to the popular media both dumbs us down as well as makes us more likely to tolerate acts of violence. Dana Stevens’ “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box” argues that television does not make you smarter, directly…show more content…
Stevens says, “Johnson’s claim for television as a tool for brain enhancement seems deeply, hilariously bogus” (297). She believes that watching television today does not make the viewer smarter but that it essentially just turns their brains into vegetables. Looking at the picture after reading this, I had a more clear understanding of this part of her argument. Also on the contrary to Johnsons article, Stevens discusses the examples of television shows that Johnson mentions that he is convinced enhances brain function by making the viewers pay attention, make inferences, and track shifting relationships between characters. Some of these shows are The Sopranos, 24, Hill Street Blues, and others. The show The Sopranos, is a prime example because this show will “connect multiple threads at the same time, layering one plot atop another” (Johnson, 283). Therefore, The Sopranos require a lot more attention from their audience engaging them with complex characterization and intertwining multiple episodes, which is what Johnson calls the “Sleeper Curve.” But does engaging in television shows such as this benefit the brain in anyway? Stevens says no; she believes in watching shows like these, “watching TV teaches you to watch more TV” (Stevens, 296).

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