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Review by Victoria Oliver
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
I was in the Psychology section for Newbies and I saw your essay. After reading it, I decided to do a review on it – primarily because I differ with your whole concept. Reading has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. All one has to do is look at a typical school to see that – kids in just about any grade level have learned how to read, but there are many who don't have a clue what they are reading. The dumbest kid in the class has learned the mechanics of reading, but he's still the dumbest kid in the class. Reading is just that – reading. You have symbols that are put together in various ways to form words. You relate those words to something else... it's a rote exercise.

If you want to make a comparison to intelligence, you need to look at someone's comprehension of what they have read. I'll give you a personal example. I sent my son to a private school when he was entering the first grade, and there was a lot of emphasis put on learning how to read. They didn't just emphasize interpreting the symbols, however, they focused on understanding what they had read. I did the same thing with him myself. For years we read a bedtime story – first I read to him, then later he read to me. We always discussed what the story was about, even his little truck books. Unfortunately, the private school I had sent him to was not able to stay open, so I had no choice but to send him to the public school the next year. Naturally, when I went to enroll him, they wanted to test him to make sure he would be properly placed in the second grade.

Of course, one of the tests was for reading. They did not just test for his ability to read, however, they tested to see what grade level his comprehension was at. As it turned out, his reading and comprehension were rated at 7th-grade level. Now - was that extraordinary rating because of his reading, or his intelligence? There's no doubt that he was intelligent, but the primary factor was that he could UNDERSTAND what he was reading. Along with understanding (or comprehension) comes curiosity. The more a person understands what he is reading, the more likely he is to be curious, and if a person is curious, they will move beyond what they are obliged to read, and try to find out more information about the topic. You have now moved into the realm of thinking, and when a person truly knows how to think, they are not going to allow their minds to be manipulated. That will be true whether a person is a super-genius or just an Average Joe.

I think that is basically the point you were trying to make, but I don't feel you did it effectively. It seems to me that you kind of meander around the subject, giving examples that did not seem necessary to make your point. You seemed to be opining about subjects you may feel passionate about, rather than clearly and subjectively sticking to your topic.

I also think that your equating condescension with high self-esteem is grossly inaccurate. There are many people who are condescending, but have very low self-esteem. In fact, I believe that would be more often the case than someone who is condescending having high self-esteem. People who are truly self-confident don't feel a need to be condescending towards other people. They don't have anything to prove – they know who they are, and are comfortable with who they are. Conversely, when someone tries to speak down to people they perceive to be inferior to them (which is what condescending is), it is usually because they have a need to feel superior – and that is an indicator of very low self-esteem.

Now, finally, you have quite a few punctuation and formatting errors. I'm not going to go into which ones they were specifically – I think if you review your essay again carefully – you will see that they are easy to find. I guess I'm going to be a little condescending here myself, but if you are going to write an article that purports to show us how intelligent you are, you might want to make sure that you've got all your t's crossed and i's dotted. The presentation of a paper can often be as much an indicator of a person's ability to communicate effectively (which is essential if you are trying to make a point about something) as the content of the paper itself.

I know this is a very negative review, and I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, but after reading it I really felt a strong urge to give you some feedback. That probably comes from my background – I am a technical writer, and your essay was meant to be persuasive – which is more technical than poetic. I guess you can't expect 5 stars from everyone. Just to be fair, I invite you to review my little story, which you will find in the Psychology section (The Session, by Renate Bergman.)

One of my son's friends put the following quote under his picture in their senior yearbook: “I think. That makes me dangerous.” I always thought that was interesting. People might interpret that in many ways, I suppose, but I always interpreted it that people who think for themselves, cannot be manipulated or controlled. Some people might very well find that dangerous.

Live and learn.
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