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Vocabulary to the text:

fancy ['fænsɪ]

модний, вишуканий

sumptuous ['sʌmtjuəs]

розкішний; пишний, чудовий

blessing = bliss

блаженство, щастя

backlash, to

мати зворотну реакцію

alleged [ə'leʤɪd]

гаданий, нібито наявний; такий, наявність якого стверджується; заявлений (про злочин тощо)

vicissitudes of fate

мінливості долі

genuine ['ʤenjʊɪn]

1) справжній, істинний, непідроблений 2) щирий

stalk, to [stɔk]

переслідувати

prank call

телефонний розіграш

sophisticated [sə'fɪstɪkeɪtɪd]

складний, технічно досконалий

fleeting

швидкоплинний, скороминущий

lead

перше, найбільш важливе повідомлення

  1. Questions to the text:

  1. Define the concept of celebrity.

  2. List the upsides of a celebrity lifestyle.

  3. List the downsides of a celebrity lifestyle.

  1. Additional questions and discussion:

  1. Is fame in your opinion worth efforts made to reach it?

  2. Is being a celebrity a fun or a responsibility?

  3. What are the major points of concern for celebrities?

  4. What do you know about celebrity families?

  5. Does a person have to work hard to become a celebrity or is it a question of 15 minutes of fame?

  6. Are people famous for real achievements or for being famous?

  7. What do you know about the cult of celebrity?

  1. Write short notes about the key issues raised in the text.

  2. Compose and write a plan of the text.

  3. Retell the text using new vocabulary.

  4. Prepare a report on the life story of a celebrity which may serve as an example of a challenging and thorny path towards fame (20 sentences).

Topic 27. English-speaking celebrities: histories of success.

Write a composition about one English-speaking celebrity, highlighting the most important events and achievements of this person.

Module 9. Mysteries, problems, oddities.

Topic 28. The nature and idea of mystery.

Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.

--Henry Miller

What is a mystery? The very term baffles the imagination... A mystery purveys the element of shock and awe. We explore hidden paths, or explore the unknown, until we discover the truth. Historically, mysteries were the secret rites of Greek and Roman pagan religion, or of any ancient or tribal religion, to which only the initiates were admitted. Now mystery is understood as something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.

Things that happen around us often have the element of some mystery. Starting with the very mystery of life, the mystery of our destinies, our destinations. American author Jim Woodring once said: “A tree is an incomprehensible mystery.” Undoubtedly so.

The public understanding of mystery is often associated with mysterious happenings, UFOs, strange lights and voices, ghosts, coincidences, reincarnations, conspiracy theories of all kind. For one, there is an issue of mysterious artifacts.

Official position of science presents the picture of the past in which humanity started from primitive beginnings, and steadily progressed upward in the development of culture and science. Most of the artifacts preserved in archaeological and geological records have been neatly arranged to fit this accepted linear view of our past. Yet many other unearthed "out-of-place artifacts" create obvious contradictions to the conservative picture of antiquity. They don't fit the established pattern of prehistory, pointing back instead to the existence of advanced civilizations before any of the known ancient cultures came into being.

Then there is a mystery of sites, preserved since ancient civilizations, like Egyptian and Mexican pyramids, the Easter Island, Stonehenge monument of England, strange Nazca lines and the Tunguska meteorite site.

Many popular experts suggest possibility that mysterious sites around the world were created with help of advanced knowledge and technology (possibly more advanced than our current one) possessed by lost civilizations. Others do not believe that there ever was very advanced civilization on earth and all of the superb knowledge was handed down to us by ancient astronauts who came down from heaven. Most scientists do not subscribe to any of these ideas and try to explain ancient enigmas on the ground of religion and ritual...

Also, there are ancient writings. The wisdom of our ancestors frequently puzzles modern people. Spiritual approach views the ancient writings as a source of religious methodology of spiritual self-perfection and knowledge about God, Life and Death, Evolution, and the meaning of life.  Literal approach treats ancient texts as a source of information about historical events (The Bible becomes a history book). Is there any truth about history of the mankind and our planet in ancient writings, or is it all religious fantasy and fairy tales? Can we penetrate the sacred wisdom hidden in the writings of our ancestors?

Present science, though unable to explain most mysterious phenomena, holds a strong grudge against attempts to explain them from the viewpoints of mysticism, saying that mysterious things simply cannot be explained by the science of these days, but some day will be explained in color and detail. Textbooks present science as a noble search for truth, in which progress depends on questioning established ideas. But for many scientists know from bitter experience that disagreeing with the dominant view is dangerous - especially when that view is backed by powerful interest groups.

So, is mystery a privilege of the ignoramuses or a yet unexplained phenomenon? Well, it is both. Everything has its explanation, be it scientific, divine or philosophical. We just don’t know the answers yet. Is it good or bad to have so many mysteries around us? We will try to answer this question with the words of an American historian, philosopher of technology and science and influential literary critic Lewis Mumford: “A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.”

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