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0625 Being Famous and Anonymous

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 625: Being Famous and Anonymous.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 625. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. Support this podcast by becoming an ESL Podcast member or by making a donation on our website.

This episode is called “Being Famous and Anonymous.” “Anonymous” is the opposite of “famous,” no one knows who you are. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Erik: Why are you wearing that getup?

Juliana: I’m trying to stay under the radar. I don’t want to create a mob by going outside without a disguise. People are going to recognize me.

Erik: So? Are you trying to tell me that you think you’re famous after being in one play?

Juliana: Of course! I’ve had my name in lights and I have to expect people to know who I am. Losing my privacy is the price of fame. Everybody knows that.

Erik: I think you may be overestimating the size of your adoring public. How many people went to see your play?

Juliana: Enough. By tomorrow, the newspapers will have my picture plastered across their pages and I’ll have to say good-bye to my anonymity.

Erik: If the papers don’t come out until tomorrow, why are you going around incognito?

Juliana: I’m just getting ready to meet my fans.

Erik: Depending on whether the reviews are good or bad, you may be famous – or infamous.

[end of dialogue]

Erik begins our dialogue by asking Juliana, “Why are you wearing that getup?” “Getup” (getup – one word) is an informal way to say an unusual set of clothing, an unusual what we might call “outfit” (outfit). Your outfit refers to the clothes that you are wearing. I could talk about my shirt, my pants, and my shoes as being part of my outfit. My dress could be part of my outfit. Well not my dress, I mean…well, you know what I mean! Well, a getup is a very unusual outfit, something strange that someone is wearing.

Juliana says to Erik, “I’m trying to stay under the radar (I’m wearing this getup to stay under the radar).” This expression means to not be noticed, or to be unnoticed, not to draw attention to yourself. “He’s trying to stay under the radar,” he doesn’t other people to pay attention to him. Juliana, who apparently is normally famous and people know who she is doesn’t want people to recognize her. She says, “I don’t want to create a mob by going outside without a disguise.” A “mob” (mob) is a large group of people, often people who are angry or are very emotional about something, and they’re together in one place and they are making noise or they are causing problems. That’s a mob. “Mob” actually has a couple of different meanings in English; none of them are explained in the Learning Guide however. But you will get an explanation of the word “getup.” That does also have additional explanations that are in the Learning Guide.

So, Juliana doesn’t want to create a mob by going outside without a disguise. A “disguise” (disguise) is something that changes the way you look so that people don’t know who you are. “People,” Juliana says, “are going to recognize me (they’re going to identify me if I don’t wear this disguise).” Erik says, “So (meaning so what, why is that important)? Are you trying to tell me that you think you’re famous after being in one play?” “To be famous” means that you are very well known; people know who you are. If you walk down the street, they’ll say, “Hey, there’s Lucy Tse! I saw her picture on the Internet.” Really? Well, it’s just an example. So, Juliana thinks that she’s going to be famous because she was in a “play,” which is a performance – a public performance at a theater typically. You could be in one of Shakespeare’s plays for example.

Well, Juliana says that she is in fact famous because she was in a play. She says, “Of course! I’ve had my name in lights and I have to expect people to know who I am.” The expression “to have your name in lights” means literally that your name is being displayed typically on a large board – a large area in front of a theater so that people can see your name, people know who is performing in that play or movie. That’s to have your name in lights, to be a famous actor or actress and for people to know who you are because you’ve had your name in lights. She says, “I have to expect people to know who I am. Losing my privacy is the price of fame. Everybody knows that.” Your “privacy” (privacy – what in Britain they would pronounced as privacy) refers to keeping information about yourself secret, not letting other people know about your personal information. “Fame” (fame) means being famous, it’s when people know who you are. That’s to have fame. There was a popular television show many years ago called Fame about young students who were trying to become famous in the world of dance and theater. There was a song from that show that many people would recognize: Remember my name. Fame! I’m gonna live forever. I’m going to learn how to fly. High! “Remember my name,” meaning I am going to be famous. “Fame! I’m going to live forever.” The idea is that if you are famous people will always know who you are, even after you die. “I’m going to live forever. I’m going to learn how to fly. High!” If you could learn how to fly by yourself, you would definitely be famous – and I don’t mean smoking marijuana people!

Back to the dialogue: Juliana thinks that she is now famous. Erik says, “I think you may be overestimating the size of your adoring public.” “To overestimate” means to think something is bigger or larger than it really is. “To adore” (adore) someone is to show them a lot of love. So, “adoring public” refers people who would love you, your “fans,” people who think that you are a celebrity.

Erik says, “How many people went to see your play?” Juliana says, “Enough,” sufficient numbers to be famous. She says, “By tomorrow (before tomorrow), the newspapers will have my picture plastered across their pages and I will have to say good-bye to my anonymity.” When we say something is “plastered” (plastered) in this context we mean displayed in many places, easy for people to see because it is everywhere. Here in Los Angeles when there is a new movie, many times the movie companies will put up big signs announcing the movies. They plaster them everywhere – they put them everywhere. “Plastered” has a very different meaning – a couple of different meanings, and those can be found in the Learning Guide.

Well, Juliana thinks that she’s going to be famous, and therefore she will have to say good-bye to her anonymity. “Anonymity” (anonymity) means that no one knows who you are, to be anonymous in other words. She’s saying that I will no longer be anonymous; people will know me. Erik says, “If the papers (meaning the newspapers) don’t come out until tomorrow (meaning they won’t be published – they won’t be released until tomorrow), why are you going around incognito?” “Incognito” (incognito) is another way of saying in disguise, without letting people know who you really are.

Juliana says, “I’m just getting ready to meet my fans,” the people who love me so much. Erik says, “Depending on whether the reviews are good or bad, you may be famous – or infamous.” “Reviews” here refers to an article in a newspaper or a magazine that tells why someone likes or didn’t like a particular book, or TV show, movie, song, restaurant, play. Reviews are any descriptions of someone’s opinion about a certain thing. People often look at the reviews for books and movies before buying them; they want to know what other people think. Well, Erik says that depending on whether the reviews of the play are good or bad, you may be famous if they are good reviews, or if they are bad reviews you will be infamous (infamous). “To be infamous” means to be famous in the sense that you are well-known, but for bad things that you have done. Everyone knows who you are, but they know about the bad things you did. So if you say someone is infamous, you mean that they are well-known but they are well-known for having done something wrong or something bad. A similar word would be “notorious” (notorious), which is the same thing, to be famous for something that is bad or negative typically. Although, I’ve noticed in recent years many people using notorious to mean the same as famous instead of infamous, so the meaning is changing in the language, but the dictionary definition would tell you that it is being famous for something bad.

We hope you’re not famous for anything bad. In either case, even if you are, let’s listen now to the dialogue at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Erik: Why are you wearing that getup?

Juliana: I’m trying to stay under the radar. I don’t want to create a mob by going outside without a disguise. People are going to recognize me.

Erik: So? Are you trying to tell me that you think you’re famous after being in one play?

Juliana: Of course! I’ve had my name in lights and I have to expect people to know who I am. Losing my privacy is the price of fame. Everybody knows that.

Erik: I think you may be overestimating the size of your adoring public. How many people went to see your play?

Juliana: Enough. By tomorrow, the newspapers will have my picture plastered across their pages and I will have to say good-bye to my anonymity.

Erik: If the papers don’t come out until tomorrow, why are you going around incognito?

Juliana: I’m just getting ready to meet my fans.

Erik: Depending on whether the reviews are good or bad, you may be famous – or infamous.

[end of dialogue]

Our scriptwriter tries to stay under the radar for sure, but it’s not possible. We all know she is a wonderful writer, and her name is Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I am Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again, won’t you, on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
getup – an unusual outfit; strange clothing that one does not normally wear

* Did you see the getup that Dan wore to the costume party?

to stay under the radar – to be unnoticed; to not draw attention to oneself

* The boss gets angry very easily, but if you do your work quietly and stay under the radar, you won’t have any problems.

mob – a large group of people who want the same thing

* The store’s customers usually stand in orderly lines, but sometimes they form a mob, fighting over the things that are on sale.

disguise – something that changes one’s appearance to hide one’s true identity

* In this movie, undercover police officers use disguises to become part of criminal gangs and learn more about how they break the law.

to recognize – to identify something; to know what something is because one has seen, heard, or read about it before

* When Penny got a new haircut, I didn’t recognize her.

famous – very well known, often recognized by people whom one has never met

* The actor became famous all over the world after being in only one popular movie.

to have (one’s) name in lights – to have one’s name displayed on a large, lit-up board in front of a theater when one is performing, letting people know which shows they can see

* He dreams of having his name in lights, but so far he has been in only one school play.

privacy – the state of having information about oneself kept secret so that few people or no one knows it

* If we value our privacy, we should stop post personal information on social networking websites.

fame – being famous; the state of being very well known, often recognized by people whom one has never met

* Many writers dream of fame, but few of them actually become famous.

to overestimate – to think something is bigger or in larger numbers than it actually is

* We overestimated the number of people who would come to our party, so now we have a lot of leftover food.

adoring public – fans; the people who admire and respect a celebrity and want to know everything about the celebrity’s personal life

* When he was first elected, the president liked to interact with his adoring public, but as his popularity decreased, it became less enjoyable.

plastered – hung or displayed in many places; easy to see because something is everywhere

* Her bedroom walls are plastered with certificates for her academic achievements.

anonymity – the state of being relatively unknown; without other people knowing one’s name or identity

* Yurok grew up in a small town where everyone knows each other, so when he moved to Houston, he struggled with the anonymity of a big city.

incognito – in disguise; without letting people know one’s identity

* Restaurant reviewers go to restaurants incognito so that they can experience the food and service without being treated differently than other customers.

fan – a person who admires and respects a celebrity very much

* Sean is a big fan of Britney Spears and tries to learn all he can about her.

review – an article written in a newspaper or magazine stating why the author does or does not like a book, TV show, movie, play, song, or restaurant

* Let’s read the reviews before we decide which movie to go see.

infamous – famous for the bad things that one has done; very well known, but in a negative way

* The school cafeteria is infamous for serving bad-tasting food.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why is Juliana trying to stay under the radar?
a) Because she’s hiding from the police.
b) Because she thinks radiation is dangerous.
c) Because she doesn’t want to be recognized.

2. Why does Juliana think she’ll have to say good-bye to her anonymity?
a) Because she’ll have a lot of money.
b) Because everyone will know who she is.
c) Because she’ll have to move away.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
getup

The word “getup,” in this podcast, means an unusual outfit, or strange clothing that one does not normally wear: “Do I really have to wear this getup to go to the wedding? Can’t I just wear jeans and a t-shirt?” The phrase “to get up” means to wake up and get out of bed: “It’s almost 10:00! It’s time to get up!” The phrase “get-up-and-go” refers to the high level of energy and determination that one has for doing something: “We need to hire someone who has the get-up-and-go to get the job done without much supervision.” The phrase “from the get-go” means from the beginning, or from the first time one saw or did something: “We all knew the class would be challenging from the get-go.”

plastered

In this podcast, the word “plastered” means hung or displayed in many places, and easy to see because something is everywhere: “The walls of the artist’s studio are plastered with his favorite paintings.” When talking about construction, “to plaster” means to put a sticky, wet substance over the walls, which dries to become the final surface that is painted: “They plastered the walls in the new home, but they forgot to do the laundry room.” The verb “to plaster” can also mean to cover any other surface with something thick: “The little boy’s arms and legs were plastered with sunscreen.” Finally, “plastered” is an informal word used to describe someone who is very drunk and/or has taken a lot of drugs and cannot think clearly: “Give me your car keys. You’re plastered and you shouldn’t drive home tonight.”

Culture Note
Andy Warhol was a very famous American painter, “illustrator” (one who draws pictures to go with text or words), filmmaker, and author. In 1968, he once said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” That phrase “inspired” (gave someone the idea and motivation for) a movie called 15 Minutes of Fame. Since then, it has become a popular “expression” (saying) that is often used to talk about people in the entertainment industry.

The phrase can be “interpreted” (understood in a particular way) in two ways. First, it could mean that people are famous for only 15 minutes. This interpretation means that fame is “fleeting” (temporary; something that is present or true for only a short period of time). Certainly, many actors and musicians have fleeting fame. They may be very popular for a short period of time, but a few years later they are “virtually” (almost) forgotten. Relatively few people “attain” (achieve; get) fame that lasts beyond their lifetime.

The second interpretation of the phrase is that everyone will be famous in the future, “whereas” (although; in contrast) in the past it was more difficult to become famous. This, too, seems to be true. New technologies like YouTube and other social networking websites allow “unknown” (not famous) people to post videos of themselves doing unusual things. Links to the video are shared with many other people very quickly, and those people become famous for a short period of time in ways that would not have been possible in the past. Of course, this fame, too, is fleeting.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b