is that comment really necessary?
alice roosevelt longworth was the eldest daughter of american president theodore roosevelt. she was a writer and during her long life (she died in 1980 at the age of 86), she was a popular hostess who gave many parties in washington, d.c. she was also a famous gossip (爱说三道四的人).
in her home, where many powerful politicians came to visit, there was a cushion (靠垫) on the sofa which said, "if you don't have anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me." alice delighted in hearing the worst about people, but she treated gossip (闲言碎语) with a sense of humor. it wasn't meant to be harmful; it was a way of making important people seem more human.
it's hard to imagine what alice would think about all the gossip flying around the internet today, and all the unpleasant comments people make on social media. she probably wouldn't like it because the comments are aimed at ordinary people and they are meant to be hurtful. the internet is now filled with "trolls" who feel entitled to criticize others and shower negative comments on people they don't even know.
this "troll" behavior has become an ugly trend and psychologists say it is harmful to society and to people's mental health. when the internet is filled with negative comments, we start to distrust others and only see their bad side. and, if you happen to be on the receiving end of unpleasant comments, it can cause depression, anxiety and pretty much ruin your life.
however, trolls, at heart, may not be bad people. they may just get carried away by the unique characteristics of the internet: anonymity, distance, and the use of written words. anonymity, because no one knows who is making the comments. distance, because the person receiving the comments seems far away. and because internet comments are made in writing, it's easier to say things that you wouldn't say out loud.
humans are social creatures, so making comments about other people is as natural to us as breathing air. however, we should try to think carefully before we post a comment online and ask ourselves these questions: am i being fair? am i being hurtful? is my comment really necessary?
1. do you like making comments on social media? why or why not?
2. how do you feel when you receive an unpleasant comment about you on social media? how do you usually respond to it?
scan and answer
scan the article in one minute and tell if the following statements are true or false.
1. alice roosevelt longworth was a politician and writer.
2. alice didn't mean to hurt anyone by delighting in hearing gossip.
3. trolls rarely make comments on people they don't know.
4. the "troll" behavior is harmful to people's physical and mental health.
5. the person receiving online comments doesn't always know who made them.
key: 1. f 2. t 3. f 4. f 5. t
1. alice delighted in hearing the worst about people, but she treated gossip with a sense of humor. it wasn’t meant to be harmful; it was a ... seem more human.
l delight in ... 以……为乐
l a sense of humor 幽默感
l be meant to be 有……之目的
l human adj. 有人情味的
2. and, if you happen to be on the receiving end of unpleasant comments, it can cause depression, anxiety and pretty much ruin your life.
l happen to do 碰巧做某事
l depression n. 精神忧郁
l anxiety n. 焦虑，忧虑
l ruin v. 破坏，糟蹋
3. however, trolls, at heart, may not be bad people. they may just get carried away by the unique characteristics of the internet: anonymity, distance, and ...
l at heart 本质上
l get carried away 失去自制力
l characteristic n. 特征，特点
l anonymity n. 匿名，名字不公开
i. choose an appropriate word for each sentence and fill in the blank with its proper form.
criticize depression anonymity necessary fair
1. i'm ____________ at the thought of all the hard work ahead.
2. he has a real sense of ____________ and hates injustice.
3. he ignored the ___________ of his friends.
4. a good book is a(n) ____________ when traveling.
5. the donor wishes to remain ______________.
key: 1. depressed 2. fairness 3. criticisms
4. necessity 5. anonymous
ii. translate the following sentences into english.
3. 我激动得不能自持，冲着电视机大叫起来。(get carried away)
key for reference:
1. please forgive me—i didn't mean to be rude.
2. some people delight in disagreeing with everything anyone else says.
3. i got carried away and started shouting at the television.
i. choose the best answer.
1. alice roosevelt longworth took an interest in gossip as _____.
a. she was writing a humorous book on gossip
b. she delighted in hearing the worst about people
c. she wanted to do harm to famous people
d. she wanted to make famous people seem more human
2. why did the author think alice probably wouldn't like all the gossip flying around the internet today?
① because the comments are focused on ordinary people.
② because there are far too many comments on the internet.
③ because the comments are meant to be hurtful.
④ because the comments are not very humorous.
a. ①② b. ③④ c. ①③ d. ②④
3. what is the author's advice on making comments online?
a. stop making comments on the internet.
b. make comments on famous people only.
c. never make comments using written words.
d. think twice before making comments online.
key: 1. b 2. c 3. d
ii. answer the following question.
1. what harm may negative comments do to us, according to psychologists?
key for reference: we may start to distrust others and only see their bad side. negative comments may also cause depression and anxiety to the recipients and pretty much ruin their lives.
2. according to the article, how could the use of written words on the internet influence the "troll" behavior?
key for reference: the use of written words may make trolls feel it easier to say things that they wouldn't say out loud.
humans are social creatures, so making comments about other people is as natural to us as breathing air.
☞ as ... as ... 是我们在平常的英语学习中经常遇到的一个语法结构，它通常用来表示同级比较。该结构中的第一个as为副词，其后一般跟原级的形容词或副词；第二个as为介词（后跟代词或名词）或连词（后跟从句）。用于比较的两者在性质和形式上一般需要保持平行。比如在上例中，用于比较的两者为making comments about other people和breathing air，它们都是现在分词短语。
translate the following sentences into english.
key for reference:
1. he doesn't study as hard as his brother does.
2. i earn only half as much as you do.
3. this is as good an example as the other is.
4. you've made as many mistakes as i have.
question for further discussion:
what do you think we can do to ensure the comments we make are harmless?
well, in my opinion, a rule of thumb here is to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are on the receiving end of our comments. suppose we are going to receive these comments; how will we feel? will we feel depressed or frustrated? we must be well aware that a very brief comment we make could leave a strong influence on others' lives. if we don't have anything good to say, why not just remain silent?
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