Thursday, October 8, 2009

example of metacommentary (8)

In Dana Steven's opening paragraph of her article "Thinking Outside the Idiot Box," she uses metacommentary and other context clues to let the reader know she is summarizing the views of another author, Steven Johnson. In summarizing Johnson's article "Watching TV Makes you Smarter, Steven's references Johnson's ideas of more complex plots, multi-threading, and his overall thesis of watching TV makes you smarter. She introduces the paragraph with the author she is arguing against and the piece he has wrote that she is going to be referencing. She comes out saying she "could make no sense of Johnson's piece," and this lets us know she is arguing against him and is going to summarize his thoughts she disagrees with. This sentence in her article summarizes part of Johnson's argument; "As far as I can tell, his thesis is that television shows have slowly grown more and more complicated over the last two decades, so that now, like rates in a behaviorist's maze, trained viewers can differentiate among up to 12 distinct plot lines in shows like The Sopranos." As you can see she uses the metacommentary "As far as I can tell, HIS thesis is," in other words she is starting the sentence off with "I," saying that she is summarizing "HIS" thesis of the article. Another great example of metacommentary is Steven's use of "In other words," in her sentence "In other words, if I understand correctly, watching TV teaches you to watch more TV.." The use of "in other words" lets us readers know that Steven's is going to put in her own words and her thought, what Johnson has written in his article. The last sentence of her first paragraph is her view on the subject. "..Like Teletubbies, which is essentially a tutorial instructing toddlers in the basics of vegging out," in this Steven's in making her point that watching TV doesn't make you smarter by referring to "vegging out" as becoming vegetable like.

In my opinion, I agree with Dana Stevens point of view. When i was reading Johnson's article I was thinking the same things, "so in order to understand these more complex plots you must watch more TV?" "Plots have become more complicated, so what? That doesn't teach you anything new it just requires you to think." Although I agree some TV can make you smarter, but it all depends on what your watching.

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