I admit that I like watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Tonight’s guest on the Colbert Report was Steven Johnson, author of the book Everything Bad Is Good For You: How today’s popular culture is actually making us smarter. The basic premise of his book is the idea that contrary to popular belief, many of today’s TV programs and video games are actually stimulating thinking skills and problem solving abilities of kids today. Besides the usual entertaining, subtle and not-so-subtle, sarcasm and satire of Stephen Colbert, the interview with Steven Johnson offered up a lot of food for thought about positive aspects of our culture and media on our intellect. I do remember thinking when our kids were small that shows such as “Wheel of Fortune” taught the alphabet, reading, and spelling and video games such as Nintendo’s Marioland and Sim City offered opportunities to develop strategy and problem solving skills. And I think that The Simpson’s is largely recognized now as a show that deals with relevant issues and gives viewers a lot to think about. Even South Park, if you overlook the language and sometimes blatantly gross references, usually illustrates conflicting viewpoints of a current social issue that leads to higher level thought processes. I also think it’s important that parents of young kids watch the TV programs their kids are watching and are aware of the video games/Internet sites/etc. that their kids are exposed to so that they can discuss the issues found in the media. So Steven Johnson’s interview tonight caught my attention. This book and others he has written look like they would be interesting reading!
Trying to look at the sunny side…
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