Friday, October 12, 2012

Stupid Cartoons

This tidbit caught my eye from a posting on Fark (via Business Insider):
"This issue of Pediatrics features the results of a small experimental study that found that children who watched 9 minutes of a fast-paced cartoon had impairment in their executive function compared with children who were assigned a drawing task and those who watched educational television."
Not readily apparent from the ensuing media flurry following last year's release of this study last was that it wasn’t so much the specific content of the program but the method of transmission that was crucial. In other words, it's nothing intrinsic with Sponge Bob per say, it's more the fact that the pacing of images (frames per second) is what's supposedly rewiring impressionable brains. Factors such as frame rate, cross-cutting and other aspects of "post-classical editing" might have a debatable impact on developing minds, affecting cognition and shortening the attention span of otherwise already overstimulated children. Then again, I did grow up on Looney Toons and blame Chuck Jones et al for deforming my formative years (an argument that starts to wear off in one's 40's).

Still, I haven't watched television for many years, and each random encounter with it confirms the escalating insanity of the contemporary editing pacing to the point it is literally a pain in the ass eyes to try and watch. Or perhaps it is the content that makes me mentally glaze over. Personally I have always preferred books, and reading presents a serious challenge to anyone who is programmed to assimilate vast streams of visual and auditory data which we are continually bathed with during our waking consciousness.

For me the obvious solution is to simply spend time drawing the cartoons instead of watching them. That way you get the best of both worlds, not to mention the makings of a fabulous babysitter in my experience.

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