5. Fo Real

by 4linnea

Today in The New York Times, I found this hilarious article amidst devastating articles about the tsunami in Japan and the economic downturn.  Basically, the story is that on some versions of the SAT administered last Saturday, there was an essay question that has produced much ado. This was the essay question (1st of all, it’s just ridiculously worded and oddly specific):

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 mislead.  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 s0-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?

Now, this in itself is not that hilarious, however, within 3 days of this test, there were already 40 pages of comments from test-takers on the College Confidential website and some of these comments were great.  One test-taker said, “This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV“, “I don’t watch TV at all so it was hard for me.  I have no interest in reality TV shows“, and my favorite, “I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively.  I kinda want to cry right now“. 

SO funny, not because he wanted to cry, but because he was so disappointed in College Board’s idea of posing this type of question to gauge intelligence and writing.  So basically, there has been some scrutiny towards this essay, but College Board (bleh) officials have argued that it was not unfair to ask this question and its point is to gauge the writing skills of students. Most kiddos (obviously) enjoyed writing this prompt.  One kid (screenname: bandgeek156  !!!)  said, “I talked about American Idol and The Biggest Loser.  Wasn’t that hard from what I thought.”  Ahhh, I just think this is so hilarious.  The smarties felt kinda left in the dust because this essay either had zero relevance in their lives or it didn’t challenge them enough.  These kids will do great.  The smart cynics are the ones who get all the girls (albeit, nerdy girls, but girls nonetheless) like John Stewart, wut wut.

Needless to say, I loved finding this little gem in the paper literally surrounded by incredibly depressing articles.  (The other  articles on the same page are titled, Economic Downturn Holds Fierce Grip On Border Town and Executions In Doubt In Fallout Over Drug.  woh woh)

P.S. This post is dedicated to all the fellow lads & lasses from Eire.  Happy St. Patty’s day to ya!

Currently listening to (in honor of St. Patrick’s day) : Thomas Moore- The Minstrel Boy