Popular Culture Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 3 (page 2)
Popular Culture Critical Reading
Questions 1–7 are based on the following passage.
The selection that follows is based on an excerpt from a history of the game of Monopoly.
In 1904, the U.S. Patent Office granted a patent for a board game called "The Landlord's Game," which was invented by a Virginia Quaker named Lizzie Magie. Magie was a follower of Henry George, who started a tax movement that supported the theory that the renting of land and real estate produced an unearned increase in land values that profited a few individuals (landlords) rather than the majority of the people (tenants). George proposed a single federal tax based on land ownership; he believed this tax would weaken the ability to form monopolies, encourage equal opportunity, and narrow the gap between rich and poor.
Lizzie Magie wanted to spread the word about George's proposal, making it more understandable to a majority of people who were basically unfamiliar with economics. As a result, she invented a board game that would serve as a teaching device. The Landlord's Game was intended to explain the evils of monopolies, showing that they repressed the possibility for equal opportunity. Her instructions read in part: "The object of this game is not only to afford amusement to players, but to illustrate to them how, under the present or prevailing system of land tenure, the landlord has an advantage over other enterprisers, and also how the single tax would discourage speculation."
The board for the game was painted with forty spaces around its perimeter, including four railroads, two utilities, twenty-two rental properties, and a jail. There were other squares directing players to go to jail, pay a luxury tax, and park. All properties were available for rent, rather than purchase. Magie's invention became very popular, spreading through word of mouth, and altering slightly as it did. Since it was not manufactured by Magie, the boards and game pieces were homemade. Rules were explained and transmuted, from one group of friends to another. There is evidence to suggest that The Landlord's Game was played at Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1924, Magie approached George Parker (President of Parker Brothers) to see if he was interested in purchasing the rights to her game. Parker turned her down, saying that it was too political. The game increased in popularity, migrating north to New York state, west to Michigan, and as far south as Texas. By the early 1930s, it reached Charles Darrow in Philadelphia. In 1935, claiming to be the inventor, Darrow got a patent for the game, and approached Parker Brothers. This time, the company loved it, swallowed Darrow's prevarication, and not only purchased his patent, but paid him royalties for every game sold. The game quickly became Parker Brothers' bestseller, and made the company, and Darrow, millions of dollars.
When Parker Brothers found out that Darrow was not the true inventor of the game, they wanted to protect their rights to the successful game, so they went back to Lizzie Magie, now Mrs. Elizabeth Magie Phillips of Clarendon, Virginia. She agreed to a payment of $500 for her patent, with no royalties, so she could stay true to the original intent of her game's invention. She therefore required in return that Parker Brothers manufacture and market The Landlord's Game in addition to Monopoly. However, only a few hundred games were ever produced. Monopoly went on to become the world's bestselling board game, with an objective that is the exact opposite of the one Magie intended: "The idea of the game is to buy and rent or sell property so profitably that one becomes the wealthiest player and eventually monopolist. The game is one of shrewd and amusing trading and excitement."
- In line 16, what does repressed the possibility for equal opportunity mean?
- Monopolies led to slavery.
- Monopolies were responsible for the single tax problems.
- Monopolies made it impossible for poorer people to follow Henry George.
- Monopolies were responsible for Lizzie Magie's $500 payment and Charles Darrow's millions.
- Monopolies made it impossible for poorer people to have the same chances as the wealthy.
- How does the objective of The Landlord's Game differ from that of Monopoly?
- In The Landlord's Game, you can only rent the properties, but in Monopoly you may buy them.
- The Landlord's Game illustrates the inequality of the landlord/tenant system, while Monopoly encourages players to become landlords and become wealthy at the expense of others.
- The Landlord's Game teaches the problems of capitalism and Monopoly teaches the value of money.
- The Landlord's Game was a way for Quakers to understand the economic theories of Henry George, and Monopoly explains the evolutionary theories of Charles Darrow.
- In The Landlord's Game, players try to land on as many railroads and utilities as possible, but in Monopoly they try to avoid them.
- In line 38, what does swallowed Darrow's prevarication mean?
- ate his lunch
- believed his lie
- understood his problem
- played by his rules
- drank his champagne
- In line 28, the statement that the rules of The Landlord's Game were explained and transmuted relies on the notion that
- when people pass along information by word of mouth, it goes through changes.
- when people explain things to their friends, they take on a different appearance.
- friends rely on one another for vital information.
- it's not always easy to play by the rules.
- word of mouth is the best way to spread information.
- In paragraph 4, the author implies that
- Parker Brothers bought the game from Charles Darrow.
- it is not difficult to get a patent for an idea you didn't invent.
- Monopoly made Parker Brothers and Darrow millions of dollars.
- Lizzie Magie tried to sell her game to George Parker.
- The Landlord's Game was popular with Quakers.
- Why did Mrs. Phillips sell her patent to Parker Brothers?
- So a large company would market her game and spread the word about Henry George's single tax theory.
- So she could make money.
- So The Landlord's Game could compete with Monopoly.
- So the truth would be told about Charles Darrow.
- So she would become famous.
- All of the following questions can be explicitly answered on the basis of the passage EXCEPT
- Why did Lizzie Magie invent The Landlord's Game?
- Was was the object of The Landlord's Game?
- What were some of the properties on The Landlord's Game board?
- Who did Charles Darrow sell the game to?
- How did Parker Brothers find out that Charles Darrow didn't invent the game?
Questions 8–14 are based on the following passage.
The following selection is adapted from a news story about a bill recently introduced in Congress.
In the past thirty years, Americans' consumption of restaurant and take-out food has doubled. The result, according to many health watchdog groups, is an increase in overweight and obesity. Almost 60 million Americans are obese, costing $117 billion each year in health care and related costs. Members of Congress have decided they need to do something about the obesity epidemic. A bill was recently introduced in the House that would require restaurants with twenty or more locations to list the nutritional content of their food on their menus. A Senate version of the bill is expected in the near future.
Our legislators point to the trend of restaurants' marketing larger meals at attractive prices. People order these meals believing that they are getting a great value, but what they are also getting could be, in one meal, more than the daily recommended allowances of calories, fat, and sodium. The question is, would people stop "supersizing," or make other healthier choices if they knew the nutritional content of the food they're ordering? Lawmakers think they would, and the gravity of the obesity problem has caused them to act to change menus.
The Menu Education and Labeling, or MEAL, Act, would result in menus that look like the nutrition facts panels found on food in supermarkets. Those panels are required by the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which exempted restaurants. The new restaurant menus would list calories, fat, and sodium on printed menus, and calories on menu boards, for all items that are offered on a regular basis (daily specials don't apply). But isn't this simply asking restaurants to state the obvious? Who isn't aware that an order of supersize fries isn't health food? Does anyone order a double cheeseburger thinking they're being virtuous?
Studies have shown that it's not that simple. In one, registered dieticians couldn't come up with accurate estimates of the calories found in certain fast foods. Who would have guessed that a milk shake, which sounds pretty healthy (it does contain milk, after all) has more calories than three McDonald's cheeseburgers? Or that one chain's chicken breast sandwich, another better-sounding alternative to a burger, contains more than half a day's calories and twice the recommended daily amount of sodium? Even a fast-food coffee drink, without a doughnut to go with it, has almost half the calories needed in a day.
The restaurant industry isn't happy about the new bill. Arguments against it include the fact that diet alone is not the reason for America's obesity epidemic. A lack of adequate exercise is also to blame. In addition, many fast food chains already post nutritional information ontheir websites, or on posters located in their restaurants.
Those who favor the MEAL Act, and similar legislation, say in response that we must do all we can to help people maintain a healthy weight. While the importance of exercise is undeniable, the quantity and quality of what we eat must be changed. They believe that if wewant consumers to make better choices when they eat out, nutritional information must be provided where they are selecting their food. Restaurant patrons are not likely to have memorized the calorie counts they may have looked up on the Internet, nor are they going to leave their tables, or a line, to check out a poster that might be on the opposite side of the restaurant.
- The purpose of the passage is to
- targue the restaurant industry's side of the debate.
- explain why dieticians have trouble estimating the nutritional content of fast food.
- help consumers make better choices when dining out.
- explain one way legislators propose to deal with the obesity epidemic.
- argue for the right of consumers to understand what they are ordering in fast food restaurants.
- According to the passage, the larger meals now being offered in restaurants
- cost less than smaller meals.
- add an extra side dish not offered with smaller meals.
- include a larger drink.
- save consumers money.
- contain too many calories, fat, and sodium.
- In lines 15–16, the word gravity most nearly means
- the force of attraction toward earth.
- a cemetery plot.
- presumption of wrongdoing.
- According to the passage, why is the restaurant industry against the new Congressional bill?
- They don't want any healthy items on their menus.
- Because lack of adequate exercise is also responsible for the obesity epidemic.
- They don't want to be sued if they incorrectly calculate the calories in their menu items.
- They feel their industry is already over-regulated.
- Because people would stop coming to their establishments if they knew what was in the food.
- Why is the chicken breast sandwich mentioned in paragraph 4?
- It is an example of a menu item that contains more fat than one would assume.
- It is the only healthy choice on some restaurants' menus.
- It has twice as much salt as the recommended daily allowance.
- It has as many calories as three McDonald's hamburgers.
- It is a typical selection in a Value Meal.
- The passage explains that those in favor of the MEAL Act want nutritional information placed
- anywhere the consumer can make a menu selection.
- in print advertisements.
- on websites.
- on toll-free hotlines.
- on posters with print large enough to read from any position in the restaurant.
- If the MEAL Act is passed, consumers would see
- menus that tell them how to select the healthiest complete meal.
- menus that look like nutritional labels on packaged food.
- restaurants with more extensive information on their websites.
- less television advertising of fast food restaurants.
- restaurants that serve healthier food choices.
- e. Look back to lines 7–10, where George's single tax proposal (the idea The Landlord's Game was meant to teach) is described as aiming to weaken the ability to form monopolies, encourage equal opportunity, and narrow the gap between rich and poor.
- b. Lines 13–20 explain the first part of the question, while lines 52–55 contain the answer to the second. Don't be distracted by the other answers that contain true statements that are not, however, the objectives of the games. Note also that evolution was a theory of Charles Darwin, not Charles Darrow.
- b. Lines 35–37 explains that Darrow fraudulently claimed to be the game's inventor (he was introduced to it before he got a patent as its inventor). Parker Brothers bought his patent believing that it was genuine, meaning that they believed Darrow's falsehood.
- a. The answer is in line 26. Having the game and its rules spread by word of mouth means it will alter slightly from one person to another.
- b. To imply means to hint at, rather than to state outright. The other choices are all directly stated in the paragraph, while b is implied.
- a. Lines 46 and 47 say she sold it to remain true to her original intent, which was, according to line 11, to spread the word about George's single tax theory.
- e. Lines 42 and 43 say that Parker Brothers found out that Darrow wasn't the inventor, but nowhere in the passage does it say how they learned the information.
- d. In the first paragraph, where the theme is typically introduced, it states that members of Congress have decided they need to do something about the obesity epidemic (lines 5 and 6).
- e. The answer is found in lines 12–14: what they are also getting could be, in one meal, more than the daily recommended allowances of calories, fat, and sodium.
- c. Clues for this question are found in the first paragraph, in which the obesity problem is called an epidemic, and the staggering cost of the problem is mentioned.
- b. Paragraph 5 states that the restaurant industry has responded to the bill by pointing out that diet alone is not the reason for America's obesity epidemic. A lack of adequate exercise is also to blame.
- c. The answer is in lines 32–35: the chicken breast sandwich contains more than twice the recommended daily amount of sodium.
- a. Paragraph 6 explains that those who support the MEAL Act believe nutritional information must be provided where they are selecting their food (lines 46 and 47).
- b. The answer is in lines 18–20: The Menu Education and Labeling, or MEAL, Act, would result in menus that look like the nutrition facts panels found on food in supermarkets.
For more practice on popular culture critical reading questions, review:
- Popular Culture Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1
- Popular Culture Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 2
- Popular Culture Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 3 You are here
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