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Hmm I'm not convinced. I find some cable and PBS programming to be the most educational.

Funky J

I'm not convinced that television is "Good for You", but I do think American television has improved greatly.

Carnivale, Desperate Housewives, Lost and Battlestar Galactica (as well as 24) are intelligently playing with the usual notions of television viewing.

However, what I am worried about is that while the viewing public may be getting wiser, are the network executives? The success of these shows may cause the networks to drag them out longer than they need to be.

I don't want to see another X-Files, where the story gets so crazy that they lose literally lose the plot, or friends where you lose interest in the characters.

Whilst the public may want a story which is rich and detailed, they also want that story to end, and end appropriately.

I don't want to see Lost turned into Gilligan's Island just so advertisers can get more money.

Avenging Dentist

To be honest, the skills you gain from watching television are ones that most people should already know. Dealing with social networks and detecting "flashing arrows" are basic skills you need to have in order to interact with others. The ability to deal with multiple threads of information is something that people would (I assume) have by nature. It's necessary to keep track of information in different contexts; people do this all the time. Most people are able to keep track of events both at home and at work without any trouble, and I very much doubt this is due to "practice" from watching TV.

In general, I don't think TV, videogames, or reading fiction are particularly good for you, at least not in any fundamental sense. Sure, reading helps improve your vocabulary and reading comprehension, and videogames help improve your ability to process large amounts of information at once, but I rarely use these skills outside of the contexts of games and books. As for TV, well, you're a much more passive participant than with games or books. With games, you obviously have to "push the buttons", and with books, you're forced to imagine the events taking place, since you can't directly perceive them.

In fact, I'd suggest the amount of actual effort you have to put into an activity determines its worth, for the most part. Reading may be nice, but writing certainly does more to help your language skills and to train you to better express your thoughts. I'd also disagree with Johnson and say that watching TV really doesn't require much effort at all. I've never found myself forced to actually *think* about a TV show, but then I do mostly watch shows like Robot Chicken.

Honestly, I think Johnson is trying to justify something that doesn't need to be justified. TV isn't particularly beneficial, but it's a nice distraction. Even "educational" TV isn't that great, and shows on TLC or Discovery tend to focus more on cool explosions or flashy contraptions than actual learning...


heh... who sponsors him - what media outlet owns the times? (yeah... i went to a liberal (canadian) university and studdied psych and communication ;))
i am such a cynic ;)


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