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历年考研英语阅读理解2004年02

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[00:05.61]2004 Text2

[00:07.36]Over the past century,

[00:09.18]all kinds of unfairness and discrimination

[00:11.80]have been condemned or made illegal.

[00:14.82]But one insidious form continues to thrive: alphabetism.

[00:20.63]This, for those as yet unaware of such a disadvantage,

[00:24.72]refers to discrimination against those

[00:27.24]whose surnames begin with a letter

[00:29.39]in the lower half of the alphabet.

[00:32.37]It has long been known

[00:34.02]that a taxi firm called AAAA cars has a big advantage

[00:40.05]over Zodiac cars when customers thumb

[00:43.19]through their phone directories.

[00:46.12]Less well known is the advantage

[00:48.25]that Adam Abbott has in life over Zoe Zysman.

[00:53.39]English names are fairly evenly spread

[00:55.91]between the halves of the alphabet.

[00:58.44]Yet a suspiciously large number of top people

[01:01.47]have surnames beginning with letters between A and K.

[01:06.72]Thus the American president and vice-president

[01:10.15]have surnames starting with B and C respectively;

[01:14.88]and 26 of George Bush's predecessors

[01:18.10](including his father) had surnames in the first half

[01:21.80]of the alphabet against just 16 in the second half.

[01:27.04]Even more striking,

[01:28.45]six of the seven heads of government

[01:30.47]of the G7 rich countries are alphabetically advantaged

[01:35.10](Berlusconi, Blair, Bush, Chirac, Chrétien and Koizumi).

[01:42.74]The world's three top central bankers

[01:45.65](Greenspan, Duisenberg and Hayami)

[01:49.58]are all close to the top of the alphabet,

[01:52.71]even if one of them really uses Japanese characters.

[01:56.64]As are the world's five richest men

[01:59.27](Gates, Buffett, Allen, Ellison and Albrecht).

[02:04.08]Can this merely be coincidence?

[02:07.20]One theory, dreamt up in all the spare time enjoyed

[02:10.59]by the alphabetically disadvantaged,

[02:13.02]is that the rot sets in early.

[02:15.81]At the start of the first year in infant school,

[02:18.95]teachers seat pupils alphabetically from the front,

[02:22.37]to make it easier to remember their names.

[02:25.39]So short-sighted Zysman junior gets stuck in the back row,

[02:30.65]and is rarely asked the improving questions posed

[02:33.96]by those insensitive teachers.

[02:36.89]At the time the alphabetically disadvantaged

[02:39.49]may think they have had a lucky escape.

[02:42.13]Yet the result may be worse qualifications,

[02:45.34]because they get less individual attention,

[02:48.17]as well as less confidence in speaking publicly.

[02:52.42]The humiliation continues.

[02:54.82]At university graduation ceremonies,

[02:57.54]the ABCs proudly get their awards first;

[03:01.77]by the time they reach the Zysmans most people

[03:04.60]are literally having a ZZZ.

[03:07.81]Shortlists for job interviews,

[03:10.12]election ballot papers,

[03:11.74]lists of conference speakers and attendees:

[03:14.87]all tend to be drawn up alphabetically,

[03:17.69]and their recipients lose interest

[03:20.01]as they plough through them.

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