Everything Bad is Good for You

Everything Bad is Good for YouTune In, Turn On And Get Smarter The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto We Re Constantly Being Told That Popular Culture Is Just Mindless Entertainment But, As Steven Johnson Shows, It S Actually Making Us Intelligent Here He Puts Forward A Radical Alternative To The Endless Complaints About Reality TV, Throwaway Movies And Violent Video Games He Shows That Mass Culture Is Actually Sophisticated And Challenging Than Ever Before When We Focus On What Our Minds Have To Do To Process Its Complex, Multilayered Messages, It Becomes Clear That It S Not Dumbing Us Down But Smartening Us Up. Despite the critical readers on here giving this book one star for not, you know, being RELIABLE, I m going with four I m rating it based on what I usually rate books on entertainment value That said, the logic here is severely shitty Thesis modern films, television, and other technologies are 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, but I m gonna give it a shot first of all, I don t think Transformers 2 or Harry Potter 6 are really that much complex than Alien or Taxi Driver, thankya very much Movies now, as I notice every fucking time I go to one, FUCKING SUCK THESE DAYS Have y all seen Repo Men Television, if we just look at shows like The West Wing, House, Lost, and The Sopranos, looks like a pretty thoughtful terrain But we can t forget about 2 and a Half Men, The Flava of Love, and The Bachelor Television has stations now, so the variety is a lot greater than it was back in the days of Green Acres, but most of it s still pretty stupid And other technologies Well, there s this website, which pretty much proves the web is frickin awesome But, you know, there s also this The web is a pretty mixed bag We have greater ACCESS to knowledge through the web, but I don t think that proves the average man in Pennsylvania actually uses it for anything but finding videos of
This book is so poorly written that I don t know where to begin By the end of the introduction, Steven Johnson has already told us that he doesn t care about morals, and apparently neither should we Well, I do Knowledge with out serious thought about the implications of misuse of such knowledge is worse than ignorance I think that nuclear technology is amazing, but I don t think that we should make bombs out of it and use them Morals helps us to decide how to use technology I think that a discussion of morals is very important to assessing any impact of technology on a society I would tend to think that the increase in the IQ of the general population has to do with the fact that of us are educated My grandma dropped out of school in eighth grade, my grandpa wouldn t have been considered functionally literate A story like that is not as common as it use to be More of the population can read, of the population learns about history, people learn about science We are well educated Also, I have a BS in physics The physics that I was learning as an undergraduate is what people were writing PhD dissertations about and spent their whole lives studying in the early 1900 s So, one could argue that as an undergraduate in physics I knew physics than did those making amazing discoveries at the beginning of the 20th century Tha
This book makes the following its central thesis Because popular media TV, video games, movies, etc are becoming complex, and requiring 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 of vapid headed slobs sucking down oreos and 4 hours a day of Joe Millionaire with their globulous buttocks quivering inside their couch cushions, desperate for someone to affirm the worth of their pitiful, mediacentric existence, now would it See Ryan s review from 06 04 for some suggestions on why Johnso
Correlation and causation there s a difference, and the author doesn t understand it 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 intellectually demanding media, i.e., complex video games, film, and television Sadly, the author s case fumbles through specious argumentation and an embarrassment non sequiters To wit, he boldly asserts the Lord of the Rings film trilogy to be intellectually stimulating than the original Star Wars series Why Because there are characters That s it That s the argument Aside from Lucas himself citing Tolkien s trilogy as an inspiration for Star Wars, the character count should hardly be thought to represents a film s intellectual bent Alas, this is the type of evidence you can expect Speaking of evidence, the citations annoy the hell out of me As in, there aren t any Not one There are a few occasional notes in
i wanted to throw this book against a wall, many, many times while reading it 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 complex, and that complexity warrants closer inspection and not dismissal, i d forgive it.however, johnson begin
In Everything Bad is Good for You, Johnson attempts to de bunk the popular narrative that the culture industry is making us stupider, by feeding us and banal television shows, video games, and movies He argues for understanding a Sleeper Curve in popular culture that is actually making texts complicated over time That is, many video games, television shows, Internet sites, and movies are making us smarter by challenging out mental faculties we have to make mental and social connections, these texts leave out information that we have to figure out, and they rely on delayed gratification, and we have to figure out the rules of the game text because they aren t told to us explicitly Johnson shows that IQ tests scores have been improving over the last few decades, and while it s problematic to compare IQ tests across cultures, races, and locations because the tests probably are biased , it s not as problematic to compare them across generations He readily admits that IQ tests don t actually test all of our mental capacities, but rather serve as an indicator that at least gives us some data I think Johnson provides some pretty good nuance to his book and gives some pretty strong evidence for his case A lot of the first half of the book reads like James Paul Gee s What Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Lit
A refreshing thesis and a convincingly told story, paired with a healthy dose of cultural and psychological optimism 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 clich , 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 side have done repeatedly, purely ad hoc and without any data to back it at all, but chose not to in order to encourage research being started And I wholeheartedly agree that too little is done to counter the insulting arguments cropping up every time somebody does something bad and has played a computer game before doing it.Of course it is entirely possible, likely even, that the Flynn effect of rising average IQs is caused by a number of other things, and that the complexity of entertainment has risen along with the rising demand of audience brains fo
Much of what I love about this book is its polemicising effect on readers that helps me to distinguish the culture snobs from the rest of us particularly helpful because culture snobs tend to be snobs not just culturally but also socially There isn t much new in Johnson s work that can t be found in Flynn s examination of the rise in IQ and various structuralist literary and cultural analyses, but it s nice to see the argument being made outside of sociology and cultural studies that the distinction between high and low culture is a socially construct
If everything bad is actually good for you, like the title of Steve Johnson s study of pop culture suggests, then his book must be the best thing since penicillin In attempting to make the argument that pop culture is actually making mankind smarter, Johnson is guilty of huge lapses in logic which stems from a very limited view of reality that pretty much totally misses the point on almost every level Even the one tool of pop culture that actually is improving mankind, that being the internet since the internet has obviously evolved into one of the most important sources of information and communication in modernized civilization , Johnson s off base argument is that the Internet s value comes from its ability to allow fans of pop TV shows to gossip about the fictional characters and plots in their favorite the shows What he doesn t explain probably since it isn t true is how gossiping on a Desperate Housewives website better is for you than actually talking to a live person about real things happening in your real life.Throughout his book Johnson continues to grasp for straws as he reaches one bizarre, unscientific conclusion after another in his attempts to legitimize all the time he has wasted in his life watching sitcom melodrama TV and playing fantasy games on the computer One such bizarre conclusion Johnson reaches is that
Sept 2010 update below 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 Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter are deeply ambiguous, since Smarter and Good for You are extremely subjective concepts He really shouldn t have used such loaded terms, and doesn t go anywhere near far enough to explain and narrow his objective His text only does an excellent job at arguing that many aspects of modern culture are making humans better at solving certain kinds of puzzles, and better at thinking about complex situations.He provides fairly persuasive evidence that consumers of mass media can now understand and enjoy entertainment that would be bewilderingly too complex for the masses just a few decades ago He provides broad evidence for this, but most convincingly in television and video games The reason behind this is quite astonishing in order to keep voracious audiences coming back for , producers have to keep it fres