Poetry journal patron: Everybody who publishes in The Brick Wall Review has to agree in advance that if a poem is pr...

Ankit on April 1, 2016

Stimulus is confusing

Can you please clarify the stimulus? I got lost when the conclusion was stated. I understand that if agreed to publish in TBWR -> mag. right to reprint w/o MC. The conclusion mentions your magazine? I didn't understand what the argument was. Thanks in advance.

2 Replies

on January 15 at 11:16PM

Can you please explain this question? I am a little confused by the passage. I believe the conclusion is " So, if your magazine also published an anthology of poems first printed in your magazine, you could depend less on donations" but I am having a difficult time figuring out the correct answer. Thank you!

Ravi on February 19 at 10:47PM

@AnkitM and @Boram,

Happy to help. Let's take a look at the stimulus to clarify what's
going on before we look at the answer choices.

The stimulus tells us that at The Brick Wall Review magazine, everyone
who is published in the magazine must agree to be reprinted in the
magazine's annual anthology. Then, we're told that the Brick Wall
Review sells its annual anthology and makes enough money from the
sales to cover most of its operating expenses. The poetry journal
patron then says that most of the poems of your magazine are pretty
similar to the ones that are published in The Brick Wall Review, so
the poetry journal patron concludes that you could depend less on
donations if you published an anthology of poems first printed in your
magazine.

The poetry journal patron makes his argument by comparing your
magazine to The Brick Wall Review. His rationale is that if The Brick
Wall Review can do this with their anthology, then why can't your
magazine? However, there may be reasons why your magazine is different
from The Brick Wall Review. One or more of these reasons could explain
the reason that publishing an anthology for your magazine might not
result in your depending less on donations.

It's important to note that both of you guys correctly identified the
conclusion of the argument, which is "if your magazine also published
an anthology of poems first printed in your magazine, you could depend
less on donations." The support for this conclusion is the sentence
immediately before it, which states, "The Brick Wall Review makes
enough money from sales of its anthologies to cover most operating
expenses" and the final sentence, which states, "After all, most poems
published in your magazine are very similar to those published in The
Brick Wall Review."

The question asks, "Which one of the following, if true, most weakens
the patron's argument?"

In our analysis, we've already identified that there could be reasons
why an anthology might not work for your magazine in making you depend
less on donations. Let's look for an answer that provides a reason for
this, which would help us weaken the patron's argument.

(A) says, "Neither The Brick Wall Review nor the other magazine under
discussion depends on donations to cover most operating expenses."

The problem with (A) is that even if your magazine doesn't depend on
donations to cover most operating expenses, it's still possible that
you could replace some the donation revenue with sales from the
anthology, which would still mean that your magazine could "depend
less" on donations. Because of this, we can get rid of (A).

(B) says, "Many of the poets whose work appears in The Brick Wall
Review have had several poems rejected for publication by the other
magazine under discussion."

The issue with (B) is that it doesn't weaken the poetry journal
patron's conclusion, as the patron's conclusion doesn't depend on the
exact same poets being in both of the magazine's anthologies. Rather,
the evidence the patron provides supports the notion that the poems in
the magazines are similar, and she thinks this is sufficient to ensure
similar results with anthology sales. As a result, we can get rid of
(B).

(C) says, "The only compensation poets receive for publishing in the
regular issues of the magazines under discussion are free copies of
the issues in which their poems appear."

The problem with (C) is that we care about whether your magazine's
anthology would generate income so you could depend less on donations.
We're not concerned with how the poets are compensated. This does
nothing to weaken the patron's argument.

(D) says, "The Brick Wall Review depends on donations to cover most
operating expenses not covered by income from anthology sales."

Even if (D) were true, The Brick Wall Review is still spending less
donation revenue than it would have had there not been any income from
anthology sales. This is in-line with the patron's argument and
doesn't weaken her position.

(E) says, "The Brick Wall Review's annual poetry anthology always
contains a number of poems by famous poets not published in the
regular issues of the magazine."

In the patron's argument, she makes the assumption that the content of
each anthology would be similar. However, with the information we're
given in (E), The Brick Wall Review's anthology would be quite a bit
different from your magazine's anthology because the Brick Wall
Review's anthology also has poems from famous poets that weren't
published in previous issues. There's no guarantee your magazine would
have this, too. (E) brings to light one reason why The Brick Wall
Review might have made income from its anthologies, and it casts doubt
that if your magazine made an anthology just with poems it had already
published it would also make a lot of money to offset dependency on
donations. (E) helps weaken the patron's argument, so it's our answer
choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!