Synthesis Using 2 Sources Johnson vs Carr

Topics: Television, Marshall McLuhan, Thought Pages: 4 (1343 words) Published: July 15, 2011
Synthesis Using Two Sources
Which one do you think is better; what we see on our television screens or what we see on our computer screens? In Steven Johnson’s, “Watching TV Makes You Smarter,” and Nicholas Carr’s, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” both authors highlight the ways media have changed the way we learn in the world today; Johnson argues that television is having a positive effect on society and, in fact, is making us smarter, while Carr contends that media, especially the internet, limits our ability for, “deep thought.” Johnson and Carr’s articles both examine the change in our society through the cognitive effects of today’s media. Johnson explains how the complexity of media like, television and video games, are helping kids multi-task, and think more deeply, thus becoming smarter. Johnson says, “The kids are forced to think like grown-ups: analyzing complex social networks, managing resources, tracking subtle narrative intertwinings, recognizing long-term patterns”(229). This shows Johnson’s idea that some of the skills learned by kids today, through television and video games are useful in other avenues as well as later on in life. Carr gives us his own examples of changes in media and their positive effects in the expansion of knowledge. Carr explains throughout the course of history, great minds have feared change; he speaks of Socrates and his worry about the written word, Carr tells us, “He could not foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom)”(970). We are able to see a parallel between Jonson’s explanation of mental labor and skills learned and Carr’s discussion of spreading information, spurring fresh ideas and expanding human knowledge. We also find that Johnson and Carr do not always agree on everything when it comes to media. Johnson believes the complexity in modern television shows story...

Cited: Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings. Second Edition. Bullok, Richard, Maureen Daly Goggin, New York: Norton, 2010. 961-973. Print
Johnson, Steven. “Watching TV Makes you Smarter.” They Say / I Say with Readings. First Edition. Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst, New York: Norton, 2009. 213-230. Print.
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