aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Everything Bad is Good For You
The thesis of Everything Bad is Good for You is this: people who deride popular culture do so because so much of popcult’s subject matter is banal or offensive. But the beneficial elements of videogames and TV arise not from their subject matter, but from their format, which require that players and viewers winkle out complex storylines and puzzles, getting a “cognitive workout” that teaches the same kind of skills that math problems and chess games impart. As Johnson points out, no one evaluates the benefit of chess based on its storyline or monotonically militaristic subject matter.
Johnson’s thesis emerges in a delightful and accessible blend of stats, anecdotes and argument. His chapter on television, which compares the plots of Dragnet, Hill Street Blues and the Sopranos, is a flat-out hoot, which made me re-think the way that I judge the value of TV. Likewise the stuff on video games, and the idea that the point of most games is to first figure out what the point of the game is, mirroring the real world, where the point is often to figure out what the point is.
Why “They” Hate “Us"Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
Guest post by Jen.
People like Pastor Ted Haggard, founder of New Life (megachurch in Colorado Springs, near Focus on the Family‘s headquarters) make me hesitant to identify as part of the Judeo-Christian tradition. In a Harper’s article this month entitled “Soldiers of Christ”:
Pastor Ted noted that the tsunami had hit “the number-one exporter of radical Islam”, Indonesia. “That’s not a judgment, that’s an opportunity”.
Yesterday was my first time to Panera Bread - love them! There’s no good bread where I live in Georgia. Hopefully there’s a Panera somewhere within 90 miles of my home.
And they have WiFi. Since I’m not a frequent traveler or user of public WiFi, I’m not used to having terms of service agreements to use it. Just for kicks, I read this one, and the legal gobbledy-gook didn’t let me down. A choice paragraph:
For purposes of your using this Service, Panera will assume (and by using this Service you warrant) that either you have legal capacity to enter into this Agreement (i.e., that you are of sufficient age and mental capacity or are otherwise entitled to be legally bound in contract), or that your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have consented to your use of this Service and accept this Agreement on your behalf. You are agreeing to this Agreement in consideration of your use and access to this Service and other good and valuable consideration…
I know we click agreement to these things all the time, but how on earth can it be that they are legally binding? The whole thing in the extended entry.