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Critical Reading


You cannot believe everything you see on TV, or everything you read in a newspaper, or book, or on the web—or anywhere. Equally, you achieve nothing by being too cynical to believe anything you read. Here, we'll look at an interesting example of the problem.

Charlton Heston is famous as a filmstar and as former president of the National Rifle Association. He is extremely right-wing, and said to hold all sorts of views many consider politically unacceptable. Yet what he says here seems very reasonable, as most people who have seen this piece have agreed.

How will you recognize all this? How will you evaluate him?

Read him, check on the links, see where he is coming from, how he seeks to produce an uncritical gut conviction in his own favour. And then decide - is this useful, or should you write your own speech instead?

Charlton Heston on freedom of speech in Academia