I love Project Runway. There, I said it. Heidi Klum is gorgeous and nice (two characteristics that rarely go together) and Tim Gunn is even, if possible, nicer. Plus, he’s got great fashion sense. (Watch enough episodes and it’s always the idiots who don’t listen to his thoughtful “hmmm…I don’t know about the hot pink ruffles” who get auf wiedersehen’ed that night).
“How is this relevant to an LSAT blog?” you ask. Well, there is one thing about the show that caught my LSAT eye: the utter inability of the designers to make clothes for real people.
Let me explain. The contestants/designers on Project Runway are provided with your standard issue super thin model with a kilo-a-day coke habit and measurements around 34-24-34. However, every season involves at least one challenge where the contestants must design an outfit for a “real” woman—mothers, divorcees, and cancer survivors come to mind. These challenges are met with reactions that run the gamut from groans of disgust (“I can’t believe she weighs 140 pounds!”) to terror (“I’ve never done anything like this before!”) to condescension in the guise of acceptance (“It’s important to be able to design for real people, too”).
Which I think is just crazy. CRAZY. Who do you think you’re designing for if not “normal” people? The .01% of the population that eats only leafy vegetables and has perfected the art of purging without getting viscera on the lid? It’s like a dentist refusing to treat anyone with bad teeth.
The same idea pertains to the LSAT. When people learn LSAT skills, they tend to think it’s only for the test. But it’s not. It’s for REAL LIFE. Especially if your real life includes a job as a lawyer. After all, reading contracts and understanding them draws upon skills learned in reading comprehension, spotting logical fallacies is honed in logical reasoning, and figuring out how to seat 11 jury members into 5 courtroom seats is a page out of logic games. (This last one doesn’t really happen).
But even if you’re not a lawyer, the ability to spot fallacies is important. To illustrate my point, please watch the following commercial for Mountain Dew, made in 1966.
This ad exploits two pivotal parts of a redneck’s life: the hillbilly hottie and the coon rifle. Apparently, if you give a girl a Mountain Dew, she will bestow sexual favors upon you (note the animalistic growl Sal emits after Clem gives her a Dew). Moreover, it is apparently the case that if you drink a Mountain Dew, you will become a sharpshooter. One shot after a “nip” of Mountain Dew and Cousin Luke bags a veritable hailstorm of turkeys.
The fallacies in this particular ad have been multiply instantiated in various media outlets for years: drink Bud Light and get hot women. Drink Gatorade and have Michael Jordan’s jumpshot. Applying LSAT lessons, like how to spot a causal fallacy, can keep you from falling prey to the mindless consumerism that pervades American culture.
So the next time you study for the LSAT and wonder why you have to learn diagramming, the fundamentals of logical inferences, and huge loads of stinking fallacies, remember that the real life application is probably the most important. Afer all, in LSAT study, as in Project Runway, you have to Make It Work.
Article by Jodi Triplett of Blueprint LSAT Preparation.