April 05, 2004
These examples came from an exercise on sentence generating in Chapter 3 The Sentence: Combining, Generating, Judging, which had nothing to do with persuasion, argumentation, or anything other than grammar. In fact, on the first page of the chapter where it introduces independent and dependent clauses, the sole example given is:
The level of poverty and squalor in large cities is appalling when one considers our country's wealth.
Can you pick out the dependent clause? Ha. The directions for the sentence generating exercise were to add a clause or phrase to each sentence provided (to practice working with dependent clauses and description). Thus these three sentences:
a. One of the odd things foreigners notice about Americans is their intolerance.
b. This intolerance frequently extends to race, creeds, and role expectations.
c. It often baffles foreigners, many of whom regard the United States Constitution as enshrining just the opposite principles of tolerance and understanding.
were fleshed out into this example given at the end of the chapter:
One of the odd things foreigners notice about Americans--whether Republicans or Democrats, urban dwellers or country folks--is their intolerance. This intolerance frequently extends to race, creeds, and role expectations, carrying with it a willingness to shun and physically punish the ones perceived as different. It often baffles foreigners, many of whom regard the United States Constitution, with its emphasis on respect for individual freedoms, as enshrining just the opposite principles of tolerance and understanding.
And the other sentences didn't lean Right by any stretch. My quick version of their topics:
1. A new real admiral takes over a fleet and waits for the enemy.
2. Baby boomers worry about infation and interest rates.
3. We must worry about nuclear holocaust.
4. Americans are intolerant.
5. Tennis is a sport for the millions.
6. We all struggle over physical traits that make us feel different.
7. The government should provide jobs for everyone.
8. Imagination is more important than knowledge.
9. Geoffrey was far from his goal of climbing the hill.
10.My anthropology teacher loved teaching.
The other seven are blandly non-controversial. Why the examples about intolerance and socialism?
How about another example from the chapter?
The pure individualist is an unhappy person whose memories of selfish behavior haunt her.
Compare that to the non-controversial example that follows it:
Newton's analysis of the light in a rainbow was a brilliant achievement that few people have matched.
There was one example of sentence combining that was not really biased either way:
a. The trouble between the Israelis and Palestinians is a clash between two cultures.
b. These cultures are fighting for supremacy in the Middle East.
(That one could have been a lot worse! Or a lot better...)
The only Right-leaning sentence example I could find was way down in Chapter 14 Causal Analysis:
Admissions quotas based on sex, ethnic background, or age are bad because they discriminate against the capable student.
No Right-leaning sentences in Chapter 3, though one of Joanne Jacob's readers says that we can find the same number of Right-leaning examples as we can Left-leaning, so this doesn't mean anything. On the contrary, I think there are more Left-leaning examples in Chapter 3 than I'd consider balanced.
Posted by: david at April 05, 2004 12:19 PM (EjwYl)
Posted by: florian at April 06, 2004 10:44 AM (hgLPQ)
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