Saturday, March 19, 2011

Um, really?

SAT question on reality TV stirs controversy

The prompt:

Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular. These shows depict ordinary people competing in everything from singing and dancing to losing weight, or just living their everyday lives. Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic, but they are being misled. How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?

Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?

Apparently, some parents are weeing themselves because their precious snowflakes are too busy studying to watch reality TV and therefore they can't write a good essay off that prompt.


I'll admit it.  I own a television.  Granted, it's Erik's and not mine, and it's not even plugged in, but we own it.  Also, I watch stuff on Hulu.  Both the programs I watch on a regular basis (not that I watch Hulu regularly, but you get the idea) are in the Reality and Game Show section.  (COPS and Ghost Hunters, for the record.)  That said, I watch nothing that's what you think of when you hear the words "reality show"--no American Idol, no Jersey Shore, no Survivor.  I've watched a few episodes here and there--the last one I recall was an episode of Project Runway while on the treadmill at the Y. 

But it's not as though that is a complicated prompt, or that the SAT expects a full MLA-formatted paper with five to seven sources and quotes and such.  It's a simple opinion piece, and hopefully by the time you hit your junior or senior year of high school, you can bang out one of those well within the time limits, regardless of topic.  As the folks at the College Board said: "If presented with a topic about balancing the risk of climbing a mountain with the reward of reaching the summit, for example, a good writer could compose a strong essay without ever having reached the summit of Mount Everest."

Whining about how the essay topic is too tied in to popular culture smacks of a really irritating sort of elitism.  I find it very nearly as wearying as the many proclamations about not celebrating this-or-that arbitrary holiday 'cause you're Just Better Than That.

Come off it, in other words.


Mad Jack said... the time you hit your junior or senior year of high school...

I could do that one in grade school. The only trouble I ever had was my writing - literally. I lack coordination and my handwriting is somewhat less than stellar.

What's the literacy level of the parents? Children who are actually intelligent enough to formulate a valid complaint will fail to do so unless they're bored out of their minds. That leaves the balance, half of which are doing well to write their own names. The other half complains in the not altogether vain hope that they won't have to do anything at all. The parents complain because Mums doesn't have enough to do unless Nanny has quit again, and Daddums is busy with his career and his mistress. Or mister, I suppose.

TBeck said...

Reality TV isn't? Oh well, at least there's wrestling.