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Paparazzi passives lesson plan
by Nigel McGloin
- Materials

Paparazzi

Paparazzi Vocabulary


Look at the following sentences and match the words in bold with the meanings below.

1. When I got out of the swimming pool, I realised that I didn't have my swimming trunks on, it was so embarrassing.

2. I once saw George Michael being chased by a group of really crazy fans.

3. If you are found guilty of assault in Texas the minimum sentence is a year.

4. My boss is always harassing me, I feel so stressed.

5. When the judge acquitted him, I wasn't surprised, I always knew that he was innocent.

Definitions:

a) to continually annoy, or bother somebody

b) something that makes you feel uncomfortable, shy or ashamed

c) to follow someone in order to catch them

d) to attack and injure someone

e) in court to formally declare that someone did not commit the crime

Reading text

The term 'paparazzi' comes from a character called Paparazzo in the Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, who rode around on a scooter taking photographs of the rich and famous. Modern day paparazzi take photographs of famous people, hoping to get them in an embarrassing or compromising pose. The photograph is then sold for an enormous sum of money, sometimes close to a million dollars, to the tabloid press.
Some people say that celebrities are public property and that this invasion of privacy is to be expected - 'that's show business', they say. I think that this is true up to a point, but celebrities are being followed, harassed, chased, provoked and spied on in their own homes. That's not show business, that's criminal.

Unnecessary risks

Tom Cruise has been pursued at high speed through the tunnel in Paris where Princess Diana was killed.

Invasion of Privacy

Alec Baldwin gave a paparrazzo a black eye when he filmed him and his wife, Kim Bassinger, returning to their Hollywood home with their new baby. Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault, but he was later acquitted. Cindy Crawford has been filmed in her bathroom from over a kilometre away with a huge telephoto lens, and only last month the intimate photographs of a famous Hollywood couple were stolen.

Provocation

The paparazzi will often do anything to make people angry so that they can get a better picture. The American actor George Clooney was walking down the street with his girlfriend when a paparazzo shouted, 'Who's the fat girl?'. The picture of Clooney's angry face was on the front page of the newspapers the next day. However, the actor got his revenge on the paparazi when one of the photographers was hiding in his garden to get pictures of him and his girlfriend at home - the photographer was first chased, and then bitten by Clooney's Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. The paparazzi are out of control. Something must be done about it. There are some papers who have recognised what is happening and have refused to buy pictures when it's obvious that a person's privacy has been invaded. Other papers must follow their example.

 

Grammar Summary

In active sentences the subject is the 'doer' of the verb (the person who makes the action happen)

The paparrazi chased the movie star.
(subject) (verb)

In passive sentences the 'doer' of the verb is not the subject

The movie star was chased by the paparazzi

(subject) (verb) ('doer')

We use the passive in the following cases:

a) The main topic normally comes at the beginning of the sentence,
because it is more important what happened to the person or thing than who/what does it, compare:


The police arrested Baldwin and charged him with assault.
(main topic= the police)

Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault by the police
(main topic = Baldwin)


Notes: If the main topic is not the agent/ 'doer' of the verb, we need to use the passive.
You can still include the agent in the sentence, using 'by'

b) The agent is unknown, unimportant or obvious

The photographs were stolen! (=we don't know who did this)

Something must be done about it
(= it's not important who does this))

The photographer was chased and bitten by Clooney's Vietnamese pot-bellied pig (= it's obvious who does this)

c) Extra points

· Sometimes we use the passive when the 'doer'/agent is 'people in general'

Spanish is spoken in twenty countries around the world.
(= it is not necessary to say 'by people')


· The following passive constructions are common in formal contexts e.g.

It is claimed that........, It is believed that......., It is agreed that....
It has been proved that the new drug has already saved hundreds of lives.


· The passive can sound formal, to make speech sound more friendly and personal we can avoid the passive using a subject like we, you, someone, they, or people. Compare the following:


The town centre is going to be closed to traffic
(= perhaps from a newspaper)

Have you heard? They're going to close the town centre to cars
(= in a conversation)

The gold label credit card can be used worldwide.

You can use a Gold Label credit card all over the place.

 

Language focus

a) The police arrested Baldwin and charged him with assault.

b) Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault.

Answer the following questions.


1) Why does the text prefer to use the passive form (b), than the active (a)

2) Could you use 'by' in the passive sentence? Is it necessary?


Now look at this sentence


c) Only last month intimate photos of a famous Hollywood couple were stolen.


3) Why is the passive used in this sentence?

4) Could you use 'by' in this sentence?

 

Translation 1

- In pairs translate the sentences into Spanish.When you finish fold over the paper.

- Change your paper with another pair.


1. Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault.

2. The photograph is then sold for an enormous sum of money.

3. This invasion of privacy is to be expected.

------------------------------------------------
fold here


a) _________________________________

b) _________________________________

c) __________________________________


Look at the sentences above and translate them back into English, then look at the originals. Are they the same?

a) _________________________________

b) _________________________________

c) _________________________________

 

Translation 2

- In pairs translate the sentences into Spanish.When you finish fold over the paper.

- Change your paper with another pair.


1. Celebrities are being chased, spied on and harassed.

2. Something must be done about it.

3. Some papers have refused to buy pictures when it's obvious that a person's privacy has been invaded.

---------------------------------------------
fold here


a) ______________________________

b) ______________________________

c) ______________________________

Look at the sentences above and translate them back into English, then look at the originals. Are they the same?


a) _____________________________

b) _____________________________

c) ______________________________

 

Translations

1) Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault.

Baldwin fue arrestado y acusado de agresión.


2) The photograph is then sold for an enormous sum of money.

La fotografías, luego se venden por una elevada suma de dinero.

3) This invasion of privacy is to be expected.

Esta invasión de la intimidad es de esperar.


4) Celebrities are being chased, spied on and harassed.

Los famosos están siendo perseguidos, espiados, y acosados/agobiados.


5) Something must be done about it.

Se tiene que hacer algo al respecto.


6) Some papers have refused to buy pictures when it's obvious that a person's privacy has been invaded.

Algunos periodicos se han negado a comprar fotografías cuando es obvio que la intimidad de las personas ha sido invadida.

 

Gossip/News - Speaking stage

Discuss these questions and opinions:

- The text you read mentioned Princess Diana, do you think her death was caused by the paparazzi?

- The private lives of politicians and royalty should never be dicussed by the press.

- If you saw one of the photos below in a newspaper or magazine, would you read about it? Why / Why not?

- Is there any celebrity scandal in the news at the moment?

Biodata

Nigel McGloin has been teaching English since 1991 in England and Spain.
He has been teaching in Madrid at Interlang Language school since 1996. This consists of teaching a large number of business executives and groups, specialising in financial English.
His particular interest is in improving learners' listening skills.
Nigel

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