Week ahead: 5

5 2/11 “Introduction” and “Games” from Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson
2/13 Superbetter, chapters 1 & 2
2/16 Side Quest 5: Sunday Sketches

Podcast episodes 1 & 2

On Tuesday, we’ll discuss Steven Johnson’s Sleeper Curve and his argument about games. These sentences from the introduction particularly resonate with the sort of arguments I’d like you to think about constructing for your podcast episodes:

The approach followed in this book is more systemic than symbolic, more about causal relationships than metaphors. It is closer, in a sense, to physics than to poetry. My argument for the existence of the Sleeper Curve comes out of an assumption that the landscape of popular culture involves the clash of competing forces: the neurological appetites of the brain, the economics of the culture industry, changing technological platforms. The specific ways in which those forces collide play a determining role in the type of popular culture we ultimately consume. The work of the critic, in this instance, is to diagram those forces, not decode them (9).

How does Johnson “diagram forces” in these pages, rather than “decode” them?

I’ll also bring in some board games for us to look at in conjunction with Johnson’s article. I’m going to ask you to play one of these games from the SDL game lending library within the next couple (I added the library to our texts and services page, with information about check out).

On Thursday, we will probably continue our discussion of Johnson some and also discuss Superbetter.

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