Everything Bad is Good for You
That said, the logic here is severely shitty. Thesis: modern films, television, and other technologies are more complex than they used to be. People nowadays have slightly higher IQs on average than they used to have. Therefore, modern media is making people smarter.
This is flawed in too many ways to name ...more
Because popular media (TV, video games, movies, etc.) are becoming more complex, and requiring more cognitive work to process them, they are making us smarter. This is the so-called "sleeper curve."
The logic of this argument is identical to the claim, "market heroin is steadily growing in purity, therefore heroin is good for us." HOW DOES ANYONE BELIEVE THIS RUBBISH? It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that its target audience consists o ...more
A sensational thesis opens the discussion: those once-dismissed hours spent playing video games watching reality TV are actually making you smarter!
Sounds too good to be true, right? That depends if you buy the author's argument: the average IQ has continued to rise over the past 30 years due to more intellectually demanding media, i.e., more complex video games, film, and television. Sadly, the author's case ...more
Excellent book. Not a convincing argument, but a very refreshing and provocative contrarian perspective.
Johnson provides evidence that much of our mass entertainment, even the stuff we often shudder at, is gradually pushing the IQs of its consumers steadily up. He focuses our attention on aspects of television -- including reality TV!, video games, and much else in this effort.
Two things are crucial to note, though.
First, Johnson’s title and subtitle (”How Today’s Popular ...more
Johnson argues that over the last three decades, popular culture has become more complex, sophisticated and challenging, in spite of everybody's eagerness to dub it "lowbrow fluff." That is, for all the crap they get, programs on "the idiot box" and "those damn video games" ar ...more
my main problem with the book is the lack of data to support the hypothesis that johnson argues. if it were simply a polemic arguing that media has become more complex, and that complexity warrants closer inspection and not dismissal, i'd forgive it.
however, johnson begins the book by admitting that he isn't a scientist and then goes on to try to support his claims with scientific data. i'm not a scientist either, but ...more
(you can hear the Bill & Ted in my voice, right?)
Johnson's idea is that the entertainment that everyone else says is bad for you really isn't, it's really good for you. Because IQs are steadily rising over time. It must be crappy TV and video games.
Yeah, that's pretty much the quality of the logic. me, I'm inclined to believe that the entertainment some says is bad for you isn't any worse for you than anything else, and neither highbrow art (Mozart for brilliant babies?) nor lowbrow v ...more
My favorite passage is one where he describes a theoretical land whe ...more
Johnson's thesis is that since games and TV shows have become more complicated over the years, they require more of the audience's attention and thus make them smarter. That's the entire book. (I skipped ahead a little bit.)
I knew he'd lost me in the forward when he went on and on ...more
The crux of Johnson's argument relies on the increasing complexity with which our popular culture is deliberately built, a complexity which forces its audience to multi-task, follow and understand multiple narrative threads, all the while developing advanced cognitive abilities ...more
"[Y]ou get to a point where there's a sequence of tasks you know you have to complete to proceed further into the world, but the tasks themselves are more like chores than entertainment . . .". -28
"For parents, if your selection principle is built around cognitive challenge, and not content, then you needn't limit your children's media intake to dutiful nightly exposure to Jim Lehrer ...more
Long story short, boring book, half-assed arguments, and I don't think my personal choice in hobbies did me any favors in the long run, other than entertain me, which is what their intended purpose was anyway.
Pretty much the only thing I could relate to was this: "The dirty little sec ...more
But before we jump into quick judgments about the book, let's first try to understand what the book is actually trying to tell us, the book is try ...more
This would ordinarily have gotten four stars from me, but I give it five to cancel the silly deluge of very bad reviews based on sciencey catchphrasing and moral bias.
Yes, "correlation is not causation", thanks for the cliché, but Johnson doesn't really claim to have good evidence. In fact, he says quite clearly that he could have made the argument, as his evil twins on the other ...more
Of course I'm going to like a book like this! If only I can somehow convince my wife that the hundreds of hours "wasted" on video games is actually time spent making me a better person. Johnson's book argues that video games instill within players the skills required to think critically and analyze complex relationships. For example, SimCity teaches players the delicate balance of taxes, industry, and gover ...more
i'll start by saying that this is a quick read and well-written. i find myself ...more
Johnson's basic theory is that popular culture has gotten more complex and challenging over the last few decades, and our consumption of such has assisted us with problem solving and dealing with complex relationships, referring to this as the Sleeper Curve. He also referenc ...more
Though the research behind Johnson's theories proves interesting, most critics found a few quirks in the construction of its delivery. Driven by a fervent desire to prove that today's media are more beneficial to the human mind than they are damaging, Johnson, author of several books on science and technology (see Mind Wide Open, **** May/June 2004), fails to adequately define his agenda other than showcasing his research. Though his prose is captivating and his enthusiasm infectious, Johnson do...more
For those who want a tiny bit more: the book chronicles how pop culture entertainment such as TV & video games has gotten more and more complex and required more brainpower to follow, asses, and figure out than in the past.
He also notes that an American philosopher and civil-rights activist James Flynn investigated IQ scor ...more
It was interesting to think about gaming and other media as good for the brain, but other than that, I thought his writing was boring and his arguments thin - he didn't really answer everything he brought up.
Attempting to deal with morality and flesh and blood relationships was beyond the scope of the book and he couldn't adequately address those things.
I'm sure modern media does stretch us, but I'm also sure that a cognitive six-pack isn't the best ...more
|Fringe Fiction: Is the Sleeper Curve partially responsible for the increased popularity of serieses?||16||28||Apr 13, 2014 11:25AM|
|Reading Alternate Dimension||1||5||Apr 30, 2012 10:22AM|
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Steven Johnson is the author of the bestsellers Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, Everything Bad Is Good For You, and Mind Wide Open, as well as Emergence and Interface Culture. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites—most recently, outside.in—and writes for Time, Wi ...more