Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Everything bad is good for you (including bullfights, BUT NOT INCLUDING THE NEW WEEZER)

This Magazine Staff

Hola cada uno. A Ethpanya hoy. El ningun blogging por 10 dias por lo menos. Si algunos cuidados, mi revision de todo malo son buenos para usted aparecen en Poste Nacional de manyana. Aqui esta un bromista:
Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter
By Steven Johnson
Riverhead Books, New York 2005
224 pp., $35.00

The current fashion in non-fiction is for the scientific equivalent of teen pop: a short, hook-driven fusion of neurology, psychology, sociology, economics, and mass-marketing. The format was perfected by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, and he’s had a number of successful followers, notably James Surowiecki’s recent book, The Wisdom of Crowds. Now, the science writer Steven Johnson steps up with his new book, Everything Bad Is Good For You.
As everybody who has read Hal Niedzvieki knows, our popular culture consists of homogenized and low-brow entertainment force-fed to the stupefied masses by media conglomerates interested in nothing more than increased profits. Thanks to the Greshamite logic of mass production, bad entertainment drives out good, and the whole cultural currency is steadily debased. We are amusing ourselves not to death, but into a state of numb passivity, thanks to the tawdriness of reality television, the violence and retarded sexuality of video games, and the inane navel-chat of the blogosphere.
But along comes Steven Johnson with some cognitive dissonance. Instead of a dumber-and-dumberer race to the bottom, Johnson argues that our culture is getting steadily more complex and neurally stimulating, year after year.
Counterintuitive, to say the least…

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