If you know me, and/or as you get to know me better, chances are you will find that something intriguing said to me is not often forgotten. It could be weeks, months or even years, but that one thing will sit in my brain and tumble around until one day it randomly pops back to the forefront with a new understanding, perspective or retort.
That being said, a few months ago, while working on one of his class assignments, my husband posed a question that suggested people were getting smarter from watching television because its programing has become more intelligent over the years. I disagreed by stating (a) there are still mindless and dumb shows out there that couldn’t possibly be making us any smarter (Sponge Bob Square Pants is a fine specimen) and (b) that perhaps, in consideration of shows that are actually better and “smarter,” people are just wittier in general than in the past and the writers are now writing more intelligent pieces for their more intellectual audiences (regardless of complexity).
After considerable contemplation (unconscious or subconscious—whatever floats your boat), I now wonder if perhaps he should have asked a different question: does life, in fact, imitate art? I’ve pondered that question a lot more just lately because it seems as though society follows similar patterns and trends in thinking and behavior. There have been studies (of which I, unfortunately, do not know specifically or enough about in order to point you to them) that have shown various pieces of advertising or propaganda to have influenced this type of change in humans. Those particular pieces are all different forms of art—think Rosie the Riveter (just one example).
So, perhaps, in a roundabout way, maybe his idea was on the correct path in that if life does actually imitate art and that art is in the form of an intelligent television show, it stands to reason that it could influence others to go out and get an education to be like or do what they had seen portrayed in a show or shows that intellectually inspired them (my artist aunt has always said that art wouldn’t be art if it didn’t evoke some sort of emotion or reaction). By doing so they become smarter and in an indirect way television made them smarter—or at the very least, challenged them to think more often, differently, or more analytically about other complex ideas, which potentially could be argued as a possible gain in intellectual capacity. Maybe.
Or, better yet, maybe he should ask: is pop culture proof that life imitates art? Unfortunately, there are still more variables to pick out and evaluate far beyond what I’m capable of or willing to contemplate tonight in order to determine the truth in the answer—if there is one. With that, I bid you adieu. Sleep tight!
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