Steven Johnson, author of the excellent book Everything Bad is Good for You, made an appearance on Stephen Colbert's faux-news show last night to talk about "how today's popular culture is actually making us smarter." Johnson writes on his blog:
"... [Colbert] wasn't too over-the-top with his O'Reilly imitation in our chat last night. He played it a bit straighter than I had expected, which made the conversation a little easier. The interesting twist was that he chose not to do the 'you're destroying the youth of America' rant that you might have expected him to do; in fact, his major in character joke was that he agreed with my argument that books are a waste of time. (By the way, if you're just coming to the site for the first time, that's not my argument at all, of course.)"
Almost one year ago (to the day!) Johnson appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (video) pushing the same book and the same message. We're suckers for his argument (not that books are a waste of time, the other one: that video games aren't a waste of time), so we don't mind one bit. He name drops games like Civilization IV and Spore as games that are emblematic of his thesis that today's games are increasingly complicated. I don't know about you, Steven, but I can't stop playing UNO on Xbox Live Arcade. Not sure that counts though ...
More on Steven Johnson:
Why we should take games seriously
An open letter to senator Clinton
Video Games Are Good for You, Except When They're Just Bad
(Update: video is embedded after the break. Thanks, daneo!)