Essay about Is the Media Taking Over

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Tiffanee Childers
Composition I – Synthesis Essay
13 October 2014

Is the Media Taking Over? With so much to be said about our current society, where are we getting all of our information from? The media has come to play a vital role in our lives through hit television shows such as Family Guy and The Daily Show that involve much satire. The use of media proves to influence our everyday lives in many positive aspects. By allowing the shows to test our intelligence and level of tolerance regarding morally corrupt media, we become enticed to strengthen our grasp on how the media influences us. Modern day television has come to require much cognitive processes as it becomes something of importance to viewers across the nation (Johnston 278). In opinionated articles such as Watching TV Makes You Smarter by Steven Johnston, Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious by Antonia Peacocke, and The Good, the Bad, and The Daily Show by Jason Zinser, it is revealed that the mandatory standard of comprehension to interpret our modern day media is at its highest peak. According to Johnston, the level of complexity and concentration involved in discovering what is happening in television shows has exceeded the standards previously set by older shows from the ‘70s and ‘80s (278-280). Instead of merely comprehending the bright jokes that are being said on screen, he claims “intellectual labor” begins to play an important role in establishing the basis of comprehension within that segment (Johnston 287). This “intellectual labor” is considered to be the cognitive process coming into action, in other words, it is when the brain works harder to interpret the meaning of an idea (Johnston 287). Peacocke claims in order to get a grasp on the concepts portrayed in shows such as, Family Guy, attention to the media and its current displays of “what’s new” is considered a prerequisite (Peacocke 369). With “what’s new” being defined as popular news, more insight is given to understanding that in modern day satire television shows, there should be background information from current media. Satire news shows such as The Daily Show, pushes viewer’s range of intelligence to an entirely new level. It takes information from the current media and molds it into something of a challenge to comprehend. Johnston and Zinser both insist that even though the “products are fictional, not intended to be taken literally.” (Zinser 372) it is demanding in the sense that the audience is to engage more into what they are hearing and forces them to use less of the intelligence that is on screen which leads into accessing the cognitive processes that lies beyond the surface (Johnston 280). As we continue to focus our attention on mass media and the growth of our brilliance as a result, it leads to the assumption that media can be extremely beneficial. Tying our mental capabilities to hit television shows portrayed in the popular culture, or media, has not only furthered our understanding of current events, but it has provided an alternative route into innovation. Society, overall has become more influenced by the media in regards to morality. According to Johnston’s perception, television seems to have become more gruesome, explicit, and sexual in nature (279). The growth of the media’s influence on television and its repulsiveness leads viewers and critics to question whether or not it should be aired. However, with the claims of the media’s overtly explicit nature arising, the allegations of its positive influence seems to be more prominent amongst Johnston (279), Peacocke (304), and Zinser (364). The Sleeper Curve, which is addressed by Johnston (279), is a theory that claims intelligence is being improved primarily due to the complex, morally corrupt nature of the media being revealed to us through television. He emphasizes the idea that individuals may be concerned about the contents of the media but the mind enjoys the