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Scandals Are Useful Because They Focus Our Attention On Problems In Ways That No Speaker Or Reformer Ever Could - With A Free Essay Review

PROMPT: "Scandals Are Useful Because They Focus Our Attention On Problems In Ways That No Speaker Or Reformer Ever Could." Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.

Man lives in a society. He learns speech, manners and philosophy from the society. Society gives life and protection. But sometimes, vices creep into the society. People are guided by blind faith and superstition.They believe in imaginary ghosts and spirits as the prime-mover of all social actions. They believe in animal sacrifice to please the deities. The social vices like childwives were in existence. The widows were not allowed to marry again. The wives were compelled to be burnt with their dead husbands and so on. All this may be irrelevent to the present day life. But how was it possible? How were all these evils and vices eradicated? Definitely not because of the scandals, it was the greats reformers and speakers who brought attention to all these problems. They created awareness, underwent lots of struggles and finally now we are living in a world where we come to know of these evils only in history books. Scandals draw the attention of people because they invade the front pages of newspapers and all the news channels, but they hardly bring any attention or solution to it after the scandal has been pushed down the list by another new scandal. People normally are distracted by scandals in most of the cases.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was against the evil custom in olden day Hindu society, Sati. This is a Hindu funeral practice in which the widow immolated herself on her husband's funeral pyre. Raja Ram Mohan Roy got this system abolished by his effective speaches. He pleaded widow remarriage. Similarly he has also worked against polygamy and child marriage. He believed that only the spread of education could help in removing social evils. So he set up the Presidency College at Calcutta.

Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna is considered a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the "Western" world, mainly in America and Europe. He was the pricipal reason behind the enthusiastic reception on yoga, transcendental meditation and other forms of Indian spiritual self improvement. He wandered around India acquiring first hand conditions in India. Then he travelled around the world preaching the best principles of India and also gaining ideas on where Indians need to improve. He founded that one of the major problem in India was lack of wide spread education and the the poverty. He contributed his best to encourage young Indians to study a lot, gave them a good knowledge about the outside world and their stand. Thats why even now he is projected as a role model by the Indian government. Many organisations promoting spiritual study are named after him like the, Vivekananda Samiti at IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur.

Above examples suggest the long standing power of the reformers. While considering scandals, there are many like corruption, sex scandals and so on. But what is the influence they have? On looking closer hardly few people are guided in a progressive way by those scandals. Considering one of the recent issues in the Defense Ministry of India, General V.K.Singh reported on an interview to the newspaper "The Hindu", that an equipment lobbyist offered him a bribe of Rs.14 crore, which he reported to Defence Minister A.K. Antony. After this allegation, what was the result?

The issue was the talk of the town. Every newspaper editors were commenting on different directions. Some blamed V.K.Singh and some A.K.Antony. Some people in the army were organizing strikes, some people considered it a drama. There was no progressive movements taken towards anti-corruption. On the other hand, consider the social reformer Anna Hazare, he is the face of India's fight against corruption. He has taken that fight to the corridors of power and challenged the government at the highest level. People, the common man and well-known personalities alike, are supporting him in the hundreds swelling to the thousands.

So I would like to conclude that the power of reformers in focusing the attention of the people is more when compared to the scandals. Some scandals might have brought good results but mostly they distract the people than bringing them together to fight against the root cause.In such cases scandals are not useful!



You make claims that are supported by examples and assertions; you also need to try to advance general reasons for the position you hold. For instance, your opening argument depends on a list of old problems that were not solved by having the attention of people focused on the problems by scandals. I'm inclined to believe you, but you don't give me a reason to believe you. Since you seem to think of scandals as a phenomenon of the modern technological age (the age of newspapers and so on), perhaps a more explicit form of your argument would be: "Scandals are a phenomenon of the modern technological age, but before the proliferation of news media, there were many problems solved thanks to reformers. This demonstrates that scandals are not needed to focus our attention on problems." That is not the most compelling argument in the universe, and on its own it doesn't refute the claim of the prompt, but it is explicit. Always be explicit. So instead of concluding your first paragraph with a description of what happens to scandals (they get pushed off the front page by new scandals), explicitly state what that means for your argument. For example: "Scandals are temporary. Even if they focus our attention on problems, they only do that for a short time. They are not useful." You might want to make the point more eloquently than that, but you certainly should make the point.

The problem continues in the next paragraph. The paragraph gives an example of someone who solved some problems. What exactly do you want me to think about the claim in the prompt as a result of reading about that reformer? I more or less know what you want me to think, but you need to tell me anyway. Again, make the link between the evidence and your overall argument explicit. There would be two parts to accomplishing this task:

1) What conclusion do you draw from the example (e.g., "it is possible for reformers to focus our attention on problems and solve them").

2) How does that conclusion relate to your overall position (e.g., "The claim that scandals alone can adequately focus our attention on problems is therefore false).

The next paragraph, which is about Swami Vivekananda, is just an extension of the previous paragraph; it's another example of the same thing. It demonstrates your knowledge of Indian history, but unfortunately your official reader is not going to care whether you know anything about Indian history. You get no points for having knowledge. (You also don't lose points, I suspect, for having erroneous knowledge.) The paragraph gets in the way of your demonstrating what you do need to demonstrate: your ability to make a structurally complete argument.

You move on to your discussion of scandal with another elaborate example. This time you give an example of a scandal that failed to effect change. Again, make your argument explicit: "This examples shows that scandals are sometimes not useful in effecting change."

Note that if you eliminated every example in your essay, you would be left with very little. You should aim to keep your examples brief and extend the explicit development of arguments. Note that the prompt does not require you to give examples (although of course, it is often very useful to have examples to elucidate your claims) but you give several elaborate examples. Note that the prompt does require you "to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position," but you don't do that. That's a bad strategy. Do what the prompt asks you to do. In this case, come up with the best possible reason or example one might be able to offer for thinking that scandals are useful in the stated way.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: LakshmiRam

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