“Thinking Outside the Idiot Box” by Dana Stevens is a direct response to Steven Johnson’s article “Watching TV Makes You Smarter.” Johnson’s article claimed that today’s television is actually making viewers smarter due to plots being more complex. Dana Stevens on the other hand did not agree on this theory. She believes that television is neither a poison nor a salutary tonic. Will watching more TV make you smarter? Most likely no, today’s television programs aren’t interested in making their audience smarter; they’re interested on attracting the most viewers they possibly can.
The statement by Johnson is claiming that watching TV makes you smart is so vague. It’s really tough to follow his article because he does not specifically indicate what is being improved. Is our intelligence for the outside world actually improving or is just our intelligence over that shows trivia improving? Dana Stevens agrees it is a tough subject to follow by making her point “then I guess I need to watch a lot more of it, because try as I might, I could make no sense of Johnson’s piece” (295). Stevens argues that in Steven Johnson’s piece he does note how the complexity of the plots has viewers paying more attention resulting in the viewer having to think more, but never defines what intelligence is being improved.
All of the television viewers know that today’s shows in fact do make them think, but are they really thinking about how that episode benefited them intellectually or are they thinking about next week’s new episode? Mrs. Stevens states “Johnson’s claim for television as a tool for brain enhancement seems deeply hilariously bogus” (297). Dana Stevens is simply stating that television is no teacher and shouldn’t be relied on to enhance the human brain. As a child I used to think that watching television did make me dumber, only because my mother would warn me all the time about watching too much TV shows like WWE. Eventually as I got older, I realized that...
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