Everything Bad Is Good for You (Essay)

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Pages: 7

The Innovation of Educational Tools Playing video games and watching TV shows are beneficial types of popular culture. Conventional wisdom would argue that new media is a bad influence and that the only way to be intelligent is by reading. In the book Everything Bad is Good For You, author Steven Johnson, argues that even though our popular culture seems to get dumber, it is actually getting smarter. Johnson proves his arguments by comparing and explaining the benefits of the complexity of modern video games, television shows, and movies that require active participation and critical thinking in order for players and viewers to understand what is going on. Modern popular culture requires a lot of mental work, active engagement and …show more content…
TV shows aren’t easy like before, now the viewer has to analyze everything or else they will not understand the show because there aren’t any flashing arrows.
Similarly, reality television shows are strengthening society’s skill to solve social problems. Conventional wisdom would argue that viewers watch these shows because they enjoy watching contestants being humiliated. However, people like watching modern TV shows because they are challenging and also because viewers like to solve problems by filling in missing information. Johnson explains where the viewers’ satisfaction comes in watching reality TV shows: “The pleasure in these shows comes not from watching other human beings humiliated on national television; it comes from depositing other human beings in a complex, high-stakes environment where no established strategies exist, and watching them find their bearings” (94). Evidently, viewers do not watch reality shows to laugh at participants being bullied or criticized, but rather to watch participants strategize in their constantly changing environments. Therefore, viewers learn how to be socially competent by placing themselves in the contestants’ situations. As a result, the audience learns to develop important skills that can be useful in their professional lives.
Finally, the reason why society focuses so much on popular media is because it delivers cognitive exercises in the most