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In discussions of Dana Stevens and Steven Johnsons articles one controversial issue in the book They Say I Say has been whether television makes a person smarter or dumber In Stevens article Thinking outside the Idiot Box she argues that television makes a person dumber However in Johnsons article he pointed out that media has gained realism and television portrays what goes on in the real world Both authors make good points but Johnson makes the stronger argument that watching television makes a person smarter The plots and characters of recent television programs require the viewer to pay attention and therefore these shows are getting more cognitively demanding not less also people watch the news and weather to stay updated to events in the worldRecent shows have become more demanding The viewer has to pay attention in order to understand whats going on Referring to Woody Allens movie Sleeper Johnson quotes the lines from the movie about how the foods people eat are nutritional and healthy Johnson compares eating healthy food to watching television both are nutritional one physically and one cognitively This is what Johnson introduces as the Sleeper Curve Johnson uses the show 24 as a show where one needs to pay attention to each character to understand the show 24 has complicated plots to keep the viewers interested People need to pay attention to the many characters in order to keep track of them all these characters are realistic like in real life they are not all happy or all sad or all evil Johnsons discusses the importance of Televised Intelligence for example You no more challenge your mind by watching these intelligent shows than you challenge your body watching Monday Night Football He states that intellectual work is happening on-screen not off
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