Issue Task : Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
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01 Sep 2012, 15:02
This is my first attempt at an issue AWA task. I gave myself 30 minutes and used Notepad. Any critiques would be most appreciated.
Some people believe that government funding of the arts is necessary to ensure that the arts can flourish and be available to all people. Others believe that government funding of the arts threatens the integrity of the arts.
Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented

This is not a black-and-white issue; however, I believe that government funding of the arts does threaten the integrity of the arts.

First, how are this government funding to be proportioned out? Would the arts be ranked in order of popularity, with the most popular type of art receiving the most funding? This is not a good use of limited government funding because it, in essence, awards monies to forms of art that most appeal to the public. Instead of true patronage of the arts, the government would be funding a popularity contest. Forms of art already popular with the public are funded by paying customers and do not need government funding.

Second who determines what is worthy of funding? Are so-called community standards to be applied to each place where the goverment funds the arts? After all, what may be considered art, be it painting, music, theatre, etc., in New York City may not be considered art in Boise, Idaho. To establish a national standard of what is worthy of funding would be nearly impossible. In the early 1990s there was a controversary concerning Robert Mapplethorpe's sexually graphic photographs that had received public funding. The photographs may have well received by an audience in a large metropolitan area, but were deemed offensive by many people in middle America. Does this mean Robert Mapplethorpe should not have received any public funding? We risk going down a slippery slope of quashing innovation in the arts if we try to establish a national standard that panders to what appeals to the majority of the populace.

It can be arugued, however, that public funding of the arts is necessary. Funding of museums allows people to see visiting art exhibits they may otherwise never have the chance to see. Likewise, theatrical and musical performances, etc. are made available to audiences outside large metropolitan areas by public funding.

Ultimately, government funding of the arts is too fraught with problems to be an effective use of public money. To establish matrices of funding and codes of acceptability is an Orwellian nightmare and not an effective use of public monies.

EDIT: I am taking the GRE, not the GMAT. This site is a link from Magoosh Prep.
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02 Sep 2012, 13:59
tdpwvu wrote:
This is my first attempt at an issue AWA task. I gave myself 30 minutes and used Notepad. Any critiques would be most appreciated.
Some people believe that government funding of the arts is necessary to ensure that the arts can flourish and be available to all people. Others believe that government funding of the arts threatens the integrity of the arts.
Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented

This is not a black-and-white issue; however, I believe that government funding of the arts does threaten the integrity of the arts.

First, how are this government funding to be proportioned out? Would the arts be ranked in order of popularity, with the most popular type of art receiving the most funding? This is not a good use of limited government funding because it, in essence, awards monies to forms of art that most appeal to the public. Instead of true patronage of the arts, the government would be funding a popularity contest. Forms of art already popular with the public are funded by paying customers and do not need government funding.

Second who determines what is worthy of funding? Are so-called community standards to be applied to each place where the goverment funds the arts? After all, what may be considered art, be it painting, music, theatre, etc., in New York City may not be considered art in Boise, Idaho. To establish a national standard of what is worthy of funding would be nearly impossible. In the early 1990s there was a controversary concerning Robert Mapplethorpe's sexually graphic photographs that had received public funding. The photographs may have well received by an audience in a large metropolitan area, but were deemed offensive by many people in middle America. Does this mean Robert Mapplethorpe should not have received any public funding? We risk going down a slippery slope of quashing innovation in the arts if we try to establish a national standard that panders to what appeals to the majority of the populace.

It can be arugued, however, that public funding of the arts is necessary. Funding of museums allows people to see visiting art exhibits they may otherwise never have the chance to see. Likewise, theatrical and musical performances, etc. are made available to audiences outside large metropolitan areas by public funding.

Ultimately, government funding of the arts is too fraught with problems to be an effective use of public money. To establish matrices of funding and codes of acceptability is an Orwellian nightmare and not an effective use of public monies.

EDIT: I am taking the GRE, not the GMAT. This site is a link from Magoosh Prep.
Hi tdpwvu,

One of the things that distinguishes the GRE essays from the GMAT essay is that the prompt on the GRE changes, and you are graded on following the assignment precisely. Here, the question asks you "which opinion most closely aligns with your opinion." So you start of strong by pointing our correctly that government involvement in the arts is not "black and white," you get in trouble as soon as you say that "I believe that government funding of the arts does threaten the integrity of the arts." You immediately take exactly the side presented in the thesis, making it black-and-white!

For this prompt, a more proper introduction would have been something like, "I believe that art is not just threatened but critically endangered by government involvement" or "I agree in principal that government threatens the integrity of the arts, though this is a simplification of a complex issue" would start you off correctly. Both those example sentences adhere to the goal of describing your own position in terms of the dichotomy presented in the stimulus. But the essay your wrote doesn't quite fulfill the task you were assigned, and so your grade would be lowered as a result.

I hope this helps, and good luck on your test!
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02 Sep 2012, 14:14
Thank you for reading and your feedback. You make excellent points. I was quite unhappy with the essay when I wrote it and now understand more clearly the reasons why it is not a strong essay. I will definitely take your advice to heart.

I'm getting ready to try my hand at my first argument essay. I hope it goes better than the issue one!
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