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The heart of Johnson's argument is something called the Sleeper Curve--a universe of popular entertainment that trends, intellectually speaking, ever upward, so that today's pop-culture consumer has to do more "cognitive work"--making snap decisions and coming up with long-term strategies in role-playing video games, for example, or mastering new virtual environments on the Internet-- than ever before. Johnson makes a compelling case that even today's least nutritional TV junk foodthe Joe Millionaires and Survivors so commonly derided as evidence of America's cultural decline--is more complex and stimulating, in terms of plot complexity and the amount of external information viewers need to understand them, than the Love Boats and I Love Lucys that preceded it. When it comes to television, even (perhaps especially) crappy television, Johnson argues, "the content is less interesting than the cognitive work the show elicits from your mind."
Johnson's work has been controversial, as befits a writer willing to challenge wisdom so conventional it has ossified into accepted truth. But even the most skeptical readers should be captivated by the intriguing questions Johnson raises, whether or not they choose to accept his answers. --Erica C. Barnett --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Johnson argues that video games, TV shows, music, and other elements of the popular culture are much more complex than they once were.
Johnson concludes his premise of the argument by saying: "Today's popular culture may not be showing the righteous path. But it is making us smarter."
Though Johnson misses the point much of the time, I give him credit for attempting to answer a number of devil's advocate counter-arguments.
This was a fascinating book to read. Even though I have strong feelings on the decline of intelligence and moral standards in our society as the years go by, I still read this... Read morePublished 1 month ago by DJ MichaelAngelo
I think everyone needs to read this book, even if its just to exercise your mind and challenge some of your beliefs.Published 1 month ago by Daffers
Like other books of Steven Johnson, he has illuminating insights. The conjecture that “popular culture” – defined mostly as visual culture of the media, including internet – is... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sceptique500
A more positve view of technolgies use. Good writer,brave writer.Published 3 months ago by Aress Almendares
Interesting read. I can agree with much of the logic behind Johnson's argument about why certain frivolous habits can be beneficial. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alejandro Guzman