Reading Comprehension FAIL

I work as a private tutor, and one of the subjects I tutor is standardized test prep, SAT and ACT. That means I spend a few hours every week explaining critical reasoning and interpreting words in context to students during the school year.

Now, go watch this interview, in which Erin Burnett proves that she would fail the SAT reading sections. Let’s analyze the ad in question. The text reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad”

Now, in the USA, what examples do we have of Jihad? Terrorist mass killings. September 11 and Fort Hood, for example. This ad is running in New York City, which has had a very up-close and personal experience of jihad.

Now, the literal translation of the Arabic word “jihad” is “struggle” and can be used to refer to a spiritual struggle, not just violent conflict.

So we have a choice of definitions: does “jihad” mean the violent unprovoked killing of unarmed civilians (the common meaning of the word in the English language), or a spiritual struggle to better oneself (a meaning based on the Arabic language)? Which meaning does the context support?

Let’s break it down even further. If “jihad” means “a spiritual struggle to better oneself,” would the ad be grammatically parallel? These kinds of questions are quite common on the SAT, in which the definition of the word is given in the sentence and the word itself goes in the blank. Let’s take a look. What part of the sentence is parallel to the placement of the word “jihad”? “Savage.” Is “a spiritual struggle to better oneself” part of the definition of the word “savage”? No.

So the interpretation which Erin is laughably attempting to put on the word “jihad” in this context is so absurd that it fails on two counts. A student who answered questions in such a manner on the SAT vocabulary portions would end up with a NEGATIVE SCORE.

And then, based on a taffy-like twisting of the very, very clear meaning of the ad, Erin The Useful Idiot (see: Marxism and the use of Political Correctness), our attractive dunce makes the claim that the ad is anti-Muslim. The only way that this ad is anti-Muslim is if all Muslims are violent savages. That’s the only reasonable interpretation of that spin. Apparently Erin is the bigot here – but I don’t think that she is; she’s just a liberal who’s been taught to turn off her brain.

After all, the much-lauded “moderate Muslims” must be far more aware than the average Joe Smith that their co-religionists are out there murdering people every day in the name of Jihad. Why would moderates be offended by a call to support their own (presumed) position of civility instead of violence?

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About pancakeloach

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