The New York Times says that ‘watching TV makes you smarter’:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/magazine/24TV.html?ei=5090&en=e08bc7c1e7acbb59&ex=1271995200&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print&position=. They make sense too:
bq. For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the ”masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But as that ”24” episode suggests, the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less. To make sense of an episode of ”24,” you have to integrate far more information than you would have a few decades ago watching a comparable show. Beneath the violence and the ethnic stereotypes, another trend appears: to keep up with entertainment like ”24,” you have to pay attention, make inferences, track shifting social relationships. This is what I call the Sleeper Curve: the most debased forms of mass diversion — video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms — turn out to be nutritional after all.
I find it hard to watch older sitcoms like the 70’s shows or Fraisier – they’re just to simplistic. There’s nothing to keep track of as everything is spoon fed to the viewer. This is what this article is about – that what everyone has assumed since time immemorial may be wrong: that the most debased forms of mass diversion — video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms — turn out to be nutritional after all – the idiot box has hit rock bottom and is now turning upwards in a _Sleeper Curve._