english4 - Felton 1 Leea Felton English 802 Assignment 4...

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Felton 1 Leea Felton English 802 November 19, 2009 Assignment 4 One of the most controversial issues of today, is whether or not the television, movies, and videos we play in today’s society, are making society as a whole “dumber.” Steven Johnson author of Everything Bad Is Good For You , makes a profound argument stating that these things actually stimulate the mind and indirectly make us smarter. Johnson also goes in depth with each type of media, explaining how and why said media is essential to the development of the human mind. His position on film is particularly interesting, and includes how movies “train him or her [the viewer] to hold those multiple threads in consciousness, a kind of mental calisthenics.”(129) Johnson defines the term “multiple threading” as, the idea of television shows and films having different story lines occurring simultaneously, to all affect the major plot. He also says that a film or television show proves to be stimulating when a person can watch it over and over, each time getting something new from it. Even so, Johnson still believes some movies, like the Sixth Sense, are “junk film” movies thrown at teenagers. What Johnson fails to realize however, is that through investigation of his claims, all movies, even movies such as the Sixth Sense display through threading, and active watching, how film has a drastic and positive effect on the sleeper curve. The Sixth Sense can be thought of as a pioneer of “movie stimulation,” in comparison to earlier science fiction movies that were typical and predictable to say the least. It is true they share the same purpose; to entertain an audience, however, the indirect effect drastically
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Felton 2 separates them. Where the audience can easily guess the ending of The Cyclops , an audience watching the Sixth Sense can barely understand its ending let alone predict it. Even so, both movies are equally entertaining to an audience. The differences between the two are not only reflective of the new way a writer create movies, but is a direct reflection of the sleeper curve in action. It supports Johnson’s theory that “ popular culture has, on average, grown more complex and intellectually challenging over the past thirty years.”(1) Looking at the structure and substance of older movies shows just how much of a difference there is in the demands of movie watchers before and after the curve. Take the very popular old movie Godzilla , for example. This old movie was made in 1954, just around the time when the sleeper curve was first beginning to move into action. The purpose of the movie? To entertain, and relieve the tension, and stress from a hard day of work. Minimal efforts were made in stimulating the mind, nor were directors worried about whether or
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english4 - Felton 1 Leea Felton English 802 Assignment 4...

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