September 18, 2009

Homework #3 Answer

Detective-adventure series and other action programming on prime-time TV have been criticized for inciting some viewers, especially teenage boys, to commit acts of violence. The most carefully engineered studies have not, however, supported this assumption. Rather, it seems likely that someone who is frustrated and resentful, and therefore prone to violence, is drawn to the kind of programs that show characters who release their frustration in acts of violence.

Which one of the following would provide the most logical concluding sentence for the paragraph above?

A. In fact, action programming probably helps a frustrated viewer release his hostility without resorting to violence.

(A) is incorrect because the author makes no such claim, nor can this conclusion reasonably be drawn from any claim the author does make. The argument is that violence on television does not cause viewers to act violently; rather, people who are already prone to violence tend to watch, and like, violent shows. It's hard to imagine how anyone, let alone a frustrated and potentially violent person, could "release his hostility" by simply watching television.

B. Moreover, there are studies that indicate that teenage boys are more likely than other viewers to believe that the world shown in action programming is realistic.

(B) is incorrect. The stimulus' reference to "teenage boys" is a red herring; it has no effect on the argument at all. The argument would still be the same if the reference were taken out. Nor does the argument make or imply any connection between the perceived realism of TV shows and the violent behavior of viewers.

C. In other words, an unusual interest in action programming may be an indication of a violence-prone personality, rather than an incitement to violence.

(C) is correct. This is a restatement of the argument, which functions well as the concluding sentence of the paragraph. The argument criticizes the oft-stated notion that violent TV shows cause violent behavior, by suggesting that essentially the opposite is true. In other words, violent TV does not cause violent behavior, but violent people tend to watch violent TV.

D. Be that as it may, action programming continues to grow in popularity with the American TV audience.

(D) is incorrect because it changes the subject. This might be a good topic sentence for the next paragraph, but it doesn't work as a concluding sentence for the given paragraph. The argument is concerned about the relationship between violent TV shows and violent behavior. Overall popularity is a separate argument.

E. Therefore, the reasonable observer of the American scene will conclude that action programming should be banned from prime-time TV.

(E) is incorrect because it does not follow logically from the author's argument. If action shows don't cause violent behavior, there's no need to ban them from prime-time TV.