Everything Bad Is Good For You
The subtitle of this book is: "How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually
Making Us Smarter." The idea is that current movies, TV shows, and video games
are becoming more challenging, demanding more mental activity from
the consumer, than in the past. And, hence, make us smarter.
Fair enough. Johnson's thesis is of decent size for a longish essay
in (say) Wired. But arguing for it in a book makes for a lot of
repetition. There is no point so obvious that Johnson will let go without
mentioning. There is no element in his argument that he doesn't beat to
death by saying it over and over again.
And I think his argument is weakened by not considering some
pretty obvious objections. (For example: "Is current popular music
making us smarter? Hah!")
Or to quote an unimpressed Amazon reviewer:
Let's assume pop-culture is making us smarter. A different question
would be, is it also making is better? Is it actually good for us? Is it
building character, courage, heroism, altruism, and charity? I remain
unconvined that it is.
2005-09-03 7:47 AM EDT
Last Modified 2012-10-26 7:38 AM EDT