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#1 - Critic: People today place an especially high value on

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Complete Question Explanation

Assumption. The correct answer choice is (D)

The critic highlights the tension (or, perhaps, hypocrisy?) between people's high value on respect for others, and their appreciation for disrespectful comedians. The critic explains this tension by saying that disrespectful comedians highlight and exaggerate regular people's failure to exercise respect for others, and this portrayal makes people laugh (thus producing "successful comedy.")

Answer choice (A): This answer choice would greatly weaken the author's argument, by showing that the fans of disrespectful comedians are not the population (people who place a high value on respect for others) whom the author speculates about. This cannot be the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (B): The author merely said that exaggeration of disrespect "often" forms the basis of successful comedy. The author never said that such exaggeration is the only basis of successful comedy. So if other bases for successful comedy exist, this would not undermine the author's argument.

Answer choice (C): Try assuming the logical negation of this answer choice: What if few people disapprove of the portrayal of disrespect in comedy acts? This would not disprove the author's argument; indeed, it would strengthen the author's argument by showing that disrespectful comedians are successful. The statement as actually written in the answer choice tends to weaken, not strengthen, the author's argument.

Answer choice (D): This is the best correct answer choice. Try assuming the logical negation of this answer choice: What if people who value an ideal especially highly do always succeed in living up to their ideal? In this case, there would be no "failings" for comedians to exaggerate, and thus there would be no basis for successful comedy, as described by the author. So the statement in this answer choice is necessary to make the argument work.

Answer choice (E): The stimulus made no reference to dynamic changes in popularity of comedians over time.
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I'll also note here, and what might be helpful to others who chose E, is that E is attractive because the stimulus makes use of words such as "Today" and "currently," to make it seem like they're comparing to another point in time.
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and their appreciation for disrespectful comedians

Where exactly is this assumed/drawn from the stimulus?
Adam Tyson
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The idea of "appreciation" here is a paraphrase for "popularity", adlindsey. If disrespectful comedians are popular, then their audience can be said to appreciate them. It's not a direct quote, but another way of saying they are popular. I hope that helps clear it up.
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I chose D because none of the other answers could possibly be correct. But I am still a bit confused. This seems to be just a restatement of one of the critic's premises ("But when people fail to live up to the very ideals . . . "). Obviously, a person assumes that his premises are correct in order to make an argument, but I didn't think that that was the kind of answer that the LSAT generally gives. Please clarify.
Steven Palmer
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Hi uhinberg,

You're exactly right, this is a restatement of a premise in a way. But that premise is presented in the stimulus as saying, "when people fail to live up to the very ideals..." which means that he depends on the fact that this is actually true.

Sometimes assumption question stimuli almost say, "assuming X, then Y" and the question stem says "what do we need to assume to get Y?" and the answer, even though it seems too easy, is X!

This question kind of says, "assuming people fail to live up ..." so that is the correct answer.

Hope this helps!
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Steven, can you elaborate on your statement. I have in my notes on assumption questions that I'm "looking for something mentioned nowhere in the stimulus because it's assumed". I didn't select D for this reason.
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You're correct that answer choices for assumption questions will include new information not included in the stimulus.

As Steven explained, if you read between the lines of what the critic is saying, you can infer the statement in answer choice (D) -- that many people who value an ideal fail to live up to it. But that actual statement is not included in the stimulus. The critic tells us that people place a high value of respecting others and, later, that when people fail to live up to their highest ideals, this provides great comedic fodder. The connection between those two ideas is provided in answer choice (D).

Hope this helps -- good luck studying!

Athena Dalton
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Hey guys,

I really got stuck in the stimulus and couldn't understand what they were trying to get across and just ended up guessing on this all other task takers, I seem to do the worst on questions when I can not understand the stimulus and what they are asking for or how they present the information. any advice for understanding a stimulus that just doesn't seem to make sense what they are saying or what they are asking you to do? anyways, can you re-diagramm plz? also is this supporter or defender type assumption question .
Adam Tyson
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First, when you do not understand a stimulus, you have a couple options:

1. Guess and move on, choose your battles, live to fight another day. This is especially powerful if you typically have a difficult time finishing a section in the time allotted with high accuracy, because you have to use your time wisely on the ones you can easily get right.

2. Try a mechanistic approach, like we often talk about with Justify the Conclusion questions. What are the odd elements in the stimulus that might need to be connected in some way to strengthen, justify, or fill in a supporter assumption? In this case, "failing to live up to your own ideals" is sitting out there by itself, so you might look for an answer that indicates that people are in fact, failing in that way.

3. Try dissecting the argument holistically. What is the author trying to prove? That the success of disrespectful comedians isn't surprising. Why? Because successful comedy is based on exaggerating our failings. What's missing? We are, in fact, failing (because if we weren't, then what the heck are these comedians exaggerating?)

Diagrams are but one way to tackle arguments, lathlee, and they can often get in the way if you rely on them too much. When the diagram isn't clear to you (or if diagrams are just not called for, like with an argument based on an analogy or an example), try stepping back and looking at it from another angle and a wider viewpoint. And, when that fails, guess and move along quickly, before you lose the chance to answer an easy question down the road!

Good luck!
Adam M. Tyson
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