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To Entertain Or To Learn? That Is The Question

1139 words - 5 pages

To Entertain or to Learn? That is the Question.
In her essay, “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box,” published in Slate on March 25,2005, Dana Stevens argues against what Johnson has to say about how television makes us smarter. Stevens explains how television is just a way for Americans to become overly obsessed with shows that have no value to the way our brains work. She wants her readers to know that television is just a form of entertainment and that there are more things to life than just a couch and remote. She explains how Steven Johnson is wrong about how TV is making Americans smarter. Parents used to make their children go outside and get exercise, but now they just put their ...view middle of the document...

Stevens wants her readers to know that Johnson is wrong in in his thinking. Stevens points out towards the end of her essay that frequent TV watchers need to take time away from the television and her streak of being sarcastic she cannot help but to add, “I’d participate in the experiment myself, but in my case, watching television is definitely a smart thing to do—I get paid for it” (298). By applying this sarcastic tone throughout Stevens’s essay it brings a more unrealistic feel to what Johnson was trying to argue about how television is making us smarter. Stevens is making people realize that television cannot make us smarter or dumber and that it is just a form of entertainment.
Not only does Steven use a sarcastic tone, but she uses her logic to argue about how television does not make the viewer smarter or dumber. Stevens states, “Shouldn’t grown men and women be trusted to judge their own dosages, just as they would decide on the number of drinks they can handle at the bar?” (298). People are watching too much TV and they need to learn to control the amount they watch. Stevens wants frequent TV watchers to be able to control how much they watch and for how long. Along with people watching too much, television shows try to be somewhat realistic without breaking that fictional grasp of the episode or series. “…isn’t a fictional program’s connection to real-life…one of the “social relationships” we should be paying attention to ?” (296). TV shows that use these “real-life connections” keeps the audience in tune with what is going on, but to the point where they do not have to think about it too hard. Stevens argues that TV watchers today would agree with what Johnson has to say when she states, “As long as Johnson defines intelligence strictly in quantitative cog-sci terms…his case may seem solid” (296). In other words, frequent TV watchers that read Johnson’s essay will think they are getting smarter and smarter with each episode they watch, but TV does not make one smarter or dumber.
Finally, Stevens refutes the opposing arguments by pointing out other people’s arguments and stating that they are wrong about what they are arguing. For...

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