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Why so few Americans want to be famous



Pre-reading task

Longman dictionary defines the word “fame” as the state of being known about by a lot of people because of your achievements. Comment on it; try to enlarge it, adding the information that you think is necessary.

The following words and phrases are in the interview. Match them with there definitions.

1.     recent

a.     the process of finding out what people think about something by asking many people the same question, or the record of the result

2.     survey (v)

b.     a sheet of heavy material that comes down at the front of the stage in a theatre

3.     reveal (v)

c.      the state of being able to be alone, and not seen or heard by other people

4.     poll

d.     a lawyer

5.     accomplishment

e.      having happened or started only a short time ago

6.     attorney

f.       a situation in which someone receives a lot of attention, especially from newspapers, television etc

7.     limelight

g.     to ask a large number of people questions in order to find out their attitudes or opinions

8.     privacy

h.     careful and thorough examination of someone or something

9.     scrutiny

i.       to make known something that was previously secret or unknown

10.           curtain

j.       something successful or impressive that is achieved after a lot of effort and hard work



Why so few Americans want to be famous

If you want to find some information concerning the ways of becoming famous, you can just look it up in the Internet. There you’ll find hundreds of articles giving practical advice for both parents and children. In all those articles it's said that everybody wants to be a famous star. But that may be a thing of the past.

A recent Harris Poll survey reveals that most people do not have any desire to be famous. Only three in 10 Americans are interested in becoming famous, the survey indicates.

The national poll surveyed more than 1,000 adults in July of this year and asked them: "Would you like to be famous, that is popular, well-known or widely recognized for your accomplishments, activities, abilities, expertise, or opinions?"

Sixty-nine percent of the people said they would not want to be famous, while thirty percent said they would want to be famous and one percent said they did not know.

JET contacted experts to see why so few Americans want to be famous.

Dr. Paris M. Finner-Williams, a psychologist and attorney based in Detroit, believes that many people are shying away from the limelight because of the loss of privacy that fame brings.

"People don't want to be judged, they want to relax," Dr. Finner-Williams notes. "They want to be at peace and comfortable with life, and sometimes, if you are famous, it lends to criticism and scrutiny. There are too many cameras on you, too many microphones in your face. You can't be relaxed, you can't be informal. You have to stay on the stage. The curtain is always up for people who are famous."

Dr. Huberta Jackson-Lowman, Tallahassee, FL-based clinical community psychologist and Southern regional representative of the Association of Black Psychologists, agrees that Americans don't feel that fame is worth their privacy.


Discussion points.

1.     The author of the article and the experts state only one main reason explaining why the Americans don’t want to become famous. What is it? Can you think of any other reasons to explain this fact?

2.     What are the advantages and the disadvantages of being famous?

3.     What do you know of the star fever? Do all famous people have it? What can be done to “cure” it?

4.     Is it possible to become famous and to preserve your private life?

5.     Why do people want to become famous: for respect and acknowledgement… or just for money?

6.     Is it sufficient to be really talented to become famous?

7.     Would you like to be famous? Why or why not? If yes, than do you want to be a famous inventor? Scientist? Politician? Philanthropist?


Answer Key

1 e; 2 g; 3 i; 4 a; 5 j; 6 d; 7 f; 8 c; 9 h; 10 b.