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Class Supplement, TOEFL Essay, Do the media concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people? -partly rewritten-

2012年4月11日

Wring Topic
Consider the following statement. The mass media (television, magazines, newspapers, and so on) concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people. Do you agree or disagree with this idea?

☆Let’s think:
What does the expression “too much” mean? When do we say it? We say, “Too much!” when something is over the necessary or acceptable amount, when something is violating some rule, or when something is giving us or someone else pain.

☆Hints for Points
Agree:
1. Most celebrity reports are illegal. A person’s privacy is protected by law unless hiding it is seriously against public interests. Then publicizing a famous person’s private information that has nothing to do with public interests is illegal.

2. Celebrity journalism is doing harm to innocent people. Some became mentally or physically ill, others died. It is clear that media coverage about famous people has gone too far.

3. Mass media are corporations and focus too much on unnecessary topics for profits. Media pursue higher ratings and for that purpose they will do anything. They produce demand. They try to sell unnecessary information, gossip.

Disagree:
1. Media just supply information in response to the demand. They provide gossip because there are audience and readers. Therefore, it is the consumers that are to blame.

2. Freedom of press should be protected at any cost. It provides important information that we should know which is often hidden from the public eye.

3. Celebrities need celebrity journalism. There is a symbiosis between celebrities and mass media. Celebrities use media attention for their career.

4. Transparent private life is the price you pay for being famous. If you do not like being watched, you should not want to be famous, and if you become famous, you should tolerate the attention.

5. Gossiping is part of age-old daily activities of humankind. Media are just doing to celebrities what we are always doing to others in our daily lives.

英文エッセイの書き方の基本
☆手順
1.Writing Topicの確認: 課題を正確に読みとり要求されている解答内容をイメージします。
2.Brainstorming: 課題に関して思いつくことを書き出します。(頭の中にある材料を頭の外に出して整理しやすくする作業です。)
3.構成: Brainstormingで書き出した材料を整理してエッセイの基本構造に合う形にします。(1)同じ事項に関するものは同じ段落に集めます。(2)段落を重要な順に並べ替えます。
4.書く: 構成でできた段落(本論)に導入と結論の段落をつけ、実際の文章にします。
5.見直し: 論旨の矛盾、説明不足、構文・つづり・句読点等のミスをチェックします。

☆構成
エッセイのTopicは様々ですが、英文エッセイの構造は基本的には同じです。ごく簡単に言うと【主張(~だと思う)→理由(なぜなら…だからだ)→結論(従って~だと言える)】という流れになります。
この流れの各部分は以下のようにintroduction (thesis), body, conclusionと呼ばれます。

英文エッセイの基本構造

主張=introduction (thesis) 導入
理由=body 本論
結論=conclusion 結論

主張=introductionでは意見と根拠の要旨を示します。エッセイの概略の段落です。
理由=bodyでは根拠を列挙します。
結論=conclusionでは本論から導き出せる結論を書きます。エッセイの総括の段落です。

Bodyでは示したい根拠の数だけ段落を作ります。例えば主張の理由が3つある場合、Bodyは3段落になります。
英文エッセイでは全体がこの流れになると同時に各段落もこの流れ(主張→理由→結論)にするのが基本です。
この基本構造に沿ったエッセイの構成をLesson 1のWriting Topicを使って示すと例えば以下のようになります。

Introduction
Agree
Reasons: 1) illegal 2) harmful 3) providing unnecessary information for profits

Body
Reason 1: illegal; invasion of privacy
e.g. coverage unrelated to the person’s job, beyond the bounds of decency.

Reason 2: doing harm to innocent people
e.g. celebrities who became mentally or physically ill or died, a bullying.

Reason 3: providing unnecessary information
e.g. pursuing higher ratings, producing demands for unnecessary information

Conclusion
Because today’s media attention on famous people is against law, is doing harm to innocent individuals, and is the reflection of unscrupulous economic activities, it can be said that mass media concentrate too much on the private lives of celebrities.

☆Essay for ideas and expressions
When we say something is too much, we mean it crosses some line or it is doing harm, or both. Celebrity journalism makes illegal reports and makes celebrities suffer. In competition for higher ratings, its coverage will go over the top. Therefore, I agree with the statement that the mass media concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people.

Most celebrity reports are illegal. While freedom of press is strongly protected in order to prevent important information from being hidden from the public, a person’s privacy is also protected by law unless hiding it is seriously against public interests. Then publicizing a famous person’s private information that has nothing to do with public interests is illegal. Just like other people, celebrities have no obligation to make their whole lives open to public. However, many reports invading celebrities’ privacy are being made just to satisfy curiosities of audience and readers. The reason why so few law suits are made is that there are too many cases and each case is too small, although not trivial, to file. But this does not change the fact that celebrity journalism goes beyond the bounds of decency.

In addition, innocent individuals suffer because of celebrity journalism. Many famous people have had their lives irreversibly affected by media reports for which they were not accountable to the public. Some became mentally or physically ill, others died. It is clear that media coverage about famous people has gone too far. Some gossipers might quip that transparent private life is the price you pay for being famous. However, the fact that Queen Elizabeth’s face without make-up will never be in print shows that not all famous people have to show every aspect of their lives. On the other hand, it seems that paparazzi have no qualms about taking any kind of private pictures of pop stars. When you make some people, especially those you consider “weaker” or “lower” than you, feel pain while you do not do the same to others, the action is called bullying. Gossiping can be a kind of bullying under the guise of attention.

Mass media, except for those independent, are by nature destined to focus too much on unnecessary topics. Like other profit-making entities, media pursue profits, in other words, higher ratings or circulation and for that purpose they will do anything. Also, like other companies, they produce demand. Just as other companies try to sell not really necessary things like potato chips, mass media try to sell not really necessary information, gossip, of which we weak humans cannot stop taking a bite. They advertise with sound bites and sensational pictures so that people will pay attention to gossip, while playing down serious matters related to their sponsors. To be precise, there might be no such things as are really unnecessary in this world, but watching what kind of information we register in our heads is as important as watching what we eat.

Because most media reports on famous people are illegal, harmful to the welfare of innocent individuals, and reflective of unscrupulous economic activities, it can be said that mass media concentrate too much on the private lives of celebrities. If the media, except for investigative journalism, reported only what celebrities want to share with their fans, we might become better people.

☆Making the structure of your essay
Now let’s make the structure of your essay. Write down key words and expressions for the introduction, each paragraph of the body, and the conclusion. Making the structure first and then developing each part will make it easy to finish in time.

Introduction
Agree/Disagree
Reasons:
1)
2)
3)

Body
About Reason 1)
e.g.

About Reason 2)
e.g.

About Reason 3)
e.g.

Conclusion

Note: What you write in the introduction and the conclusion are the same. Also, the reasons you provide in the introduction are the same that are dealt with in the body. Although you could use exactly the same words and expressions, using different words and expressions for the same idea is preferable. Make the introduction and conclusion shorter than the body. The body is the detail of the introduction. The conclusion is the sum-up of the body.

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