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BBC随身英语 第525讲 The cult of celebrity 崇拜名人之风

更新时间:2014/8/9 10:42:57 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Lady Gaga! Paris Hilton! Kim Kardashian! Err… Kim Kardashian's hairdresser! These days we have so many celebrities.And some are famous for being… well, just famous. So I wondered: is this obsession with celebrities just a phenomenon of the 21st century?

But then I did a little research. First, let's consider the case of Lord Byron, an English poet who lived and worked 200 years ago. It turns out he has a few things in common with the Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

Byron was born in 1788. Some call him the world's first modern-style celeb. As with any show business sensation of today, he was flamboyant, had a love life full of scandals, and a legion of adoring fans.

Bieber, meanwhile, has become as famous for his gaffes as for his singing. Last year he wrote a message in a guest book at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, hoping the Holocaust victim would have been a fan. It caused outrage. The teenager has also had run-ins with the law, facing accusations of dangerous driving and vandalism.

Both Byron and Bieber rose to fame thanks to changes in society at the time. Byron's rise coincided with the rapid growth of literacy among the middle classes, especially women, in Britain. Bieber, on the other hand, was discovered via YouTube videos in 2007.

And the fans? Bieber has his 'beliebers'; Byron had his 'Byron maniacs'.

Dr Corin Throsby, an expert in English literature from Cambridge University, explains that: "What marked the birth of celebrity as we know today was the conversion of a personality into a commodity."

"There was a sort of a secondary industry of Byron stuff", she said. "There were Byron neck ties. People wanted to look like Byron. He no longer had control of his image, things were being done with his name that he felt very uncomfortable about."

Byron gave autographs. Books he signed are still sought after by collectors. Bieber lives in the era of selfies. But in the end, it was Byron's art that made him immortal. And fame, as we know, is fickle. Who knows how long the stars of today will be remembered for?

Quiz 测验

1. Who was Byron?
A famous English poet born in 1788.

2. Which word means 'silly mistakes'?
Gaffes.

3. Why did Justin Bieber have to talk to the police?
He was accused of driving recklessly and damaging property.

4. According to the Cambridge University expert, when are people considered celebrities?
When their personalities become a commodity.

5. What do we call a signature of a famous person collected by a fan?
An autograph.

Glossary 词汇表

celebrity 名人
obsession 痴迷,着魔
phenomenon 现象
show business 娱乐圈,演艺界
flamboyant 过分华丽的,炫耀的
scandal 丑闻
legion 大量的,众多的
gaffe 失礼,出丑
outrage 愤慨
run-in with the law 触犯法律
vandalism 故意破坏
to rise to fame 成名
commodity 商品
autograph 亲笔签名
selfie 自拍照
immortal 永恒不朽的
fickle 反复无常的,易变的

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