Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reading and Writing for Monday, September 30th

For Tuesday, October 1st, look at two articles from They Say, I Say from our reader's choice poll: "Watching TV Makes You Smarter," by Steven Johnson (p. 277-294), and "Thinking Outside the Idiot Box," by Dana Stevens (p. 295-298). Use the book if at all possible, but you if you need to you can find links to Johnson's article  here  and Stevens' article here.

In a post, write a paragraph that describes Johnson's main argument and at least one piece of evidence he uses to support it. In another paragraph, describe Stevens' response to Johnson. What does she disagree with and why? Look at chapter two of They Say, I Say for some guidelines on summary.

In this post focus on these two authors and their ideas. In class, will bring in our opinions and examples as well.


  1. In the passage "Watching TV makes you smarter" by Steven Johnson, I have noticed that his argument is not only about TV companies making us watch TV, but we also have to pay attention when we do. He seems to explain that TV shows have grown more and more complicated and we're actually getting smarter. He states that the shows on TV makes us think because we don't know what is going on so we try hard to understand and figure it out. Johnson says that " The open question is not "How will this end?". The question is "What's happening right now?" (Pg 286). He explains that when you watch the show, it's not only about thriller, suspense, and entertainment; you have to listen and observe to catch the little information that is important to know in order to understand the situation in the show. So by using our mind to think and observe and etc.. It makes us smarter and in different shows/genre's, we can learn a variety of things/skills like language or life lessons.

    In the passage "Thinking outside the idiot box" by Dana Stevens, I have noticed that she disagree's with Johnson's view about TV making us smarter. She is completely against him and thinks oppositely about it. She explains that the "medium seems neither like a brain - liquefying poison nor a salutary tonic" (Pg 298). She explains not only TV doesn't get you smarter, she states that by not watching TV does not get you any dumber either. It is solely for the purpose of entertainment for all ages and to watch what you enjoy in general. That is why she disagree's with Johnson because she believes that some shows have no learning advantages and are just pointless; just to watch and enjoy it like a comedy movie or etc.

  2. Interesting - what examples does each give to support their points?

    It's interesting that you mention "lessons" - think about the different arguments each are making about intelligence and morality - not the same thing.