Television Has Made Us Smarter?
Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter provides a rousing defense of popular culture, most especially modern television and video games. As someone who is now fighting hard to break the T.V. habit, I may have to reconsider. This looks like an interesting book....but television as chess? I wonder if Tyler Cowen, a former chess champion, agrees. According to one reviewer
The thesis of Everything Bad is Good for You is this: people who deride popular culture do so because so much of popcult's subject matter is banal or offensive. But the beneficial elements of videogames and TV arise not from their subject matter, but from their format, which require that players and viewers winkle out complex storylines and puzzles, getting a" cognitive workout" that teaches the same kind of skills that math problems and chess games impart. As Johnson points out, no one evaluates the benefit of chess based on its storyline or monotonically militaristic subject matter.
Terry Mateo - 7/22/2006
Here is a website dedicated to
refuting Mr. Johnson's argument.
David Timothy Beito - 5/24/2005
Thanks, I wasn't aware of this.
Jonathan Dresner - 5/24/2005
We discussed this a bit on Cliopatria when his publicist got him into the NYTimes.... By focusing on TV, he's taking a small slice of popular culture which was not always representative.