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  • Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

  • Rob: And I'm Rob.

  • Alice: Did I see you arriving in a huge red pick-up truck this morning?

  • Rob: Yes. It's great, isn't it?

  • Alice: It's very big... and red.

  • But Rob, aren't you a supporter of the movement to preserve the environment?

  • Rob: Erm... Yes.

  • Alice: A gas-guzzling car for an environmentalist, Rob?

  • Isn't that a contradictionaren't you being a hypocrite?

  • Rob: Well, it's very fuel-efficient, Alice. It's quite eco-friendly actually.

  • Alice: That's ridiculous and you know it.

  • Hypocrisy is the subject of today's show, and maybe we should start by exploring the

  • meaning of hypocrite.

  • Can you tell me what did the Ancient Greek word "hypocrite" originally mean?

  • Was it... a) actor b) politician

  • Or c) horse?

  • Rob: OK, that's easy. I think it's b) politician.

  • Alice: Well, we'll find out whether you got the answer right or not later in the show.

  • Now, these days the meaning has changed, and a hypocrite means somebody who says one thing

  • and does another.

  • Rob: Like you telling me not to bite my nails because it's a disgusting habit...

  • and then I see you doing it later the same day.

  • Alice: Hmm. Well, sometimes it's hard to be consistent. I do think nail biting is disgusting

  • but then when I'm a bit nervous I do it without thinking.

  • Rob: We're often inconsistent in what we say or do, though, aren't we?

  • Inconsistent means changeable.

  • Alice: There is an explanation for us sometimes saying one thing and behaving in a very different way.

  • Let's listen to Professor Clancy Martin at the University of Missouri in the US.

  • He teaches Philosophy so he knows a thing or two about the way we think.

  • Clancy Martin: So while you might be enormously compassionate in your role as a teacher or a parent,

  • you might find yourself being quite harsh and direct when it comes to your role as a brother or a sister.

  • So then you see that - now wait a second if I've got all these inconsistencies all over

  • the place in my character can I really say that I'm a sincere and authentic individual?

  • Or am I just kind of blowing with which ever way my relationship winds kind of incline me?

  • Rob: Professor Clancy Martin.

  • So we play different roles in life and these roles may seem contradictory but they're just

  • part of being the same person.

  • Sometimes you're a bit harsh and direct with me, Alice, aren't you?

  • Do you see yourself as my sister? She used to pick on me.

  • Alice: Harsh means stern and unkind. I don't mean to be unkind to you, Rob.

  • Maybe I could try and be more compassionate towards you...

  • it means show a bit of sympathy and concern now and then.

  • Rob: Offer me good words. At least promise you'll be nice to me.

  • That you'll bring me tea and biscuits...

  • Alice: That's what politicians do.

  • They promise they will do what people want and ... often they don't.

  • And it's a big problem for them. Let's talk about politicians and hypocrisy.

  • Rob: They have to express opinions about so many things that it's easy to catch them out being hypocritical...

  • and then we, the public, get morally indignant about it.

  • Alice: Yes. To catch somebody out means to discover they have made a mistake.

  • And morally indignant means being angry about something, according to principles of right and wrong.

  • Let's listen to Professor Martin again talking about the difficulties of being a politician.

  • Clancy Martin: I think in our contemporary democracy it's become obvious to most of us that

  • the views that we expect from our politicians and the kinds of views that get our politicians elected are...

  • may be completely incongruous with the way they lead their personal lives and what they personally believe.

  • And this is how it can become very morally pernicious... very morally dangerous.

  • Alice: OK, so we elect politicians based on their views

  • for example on the environment, on education, on foreign policy.

  • But their public views may be incongruous or not in agreement with their personal views.

  • Rob: And the difference between their public and personal views can be pernicious - it

  • means deadly or destructive.

  • Alice: Politicians are under scrutiny all the timetheir personal lives, their public statements...

  • Now with social media, a thoughtless comment goes viral or spreads very quickly via the internet.

  • Rob: That's true. And actually... I posted a photo of my red pick-up truck earlier.

  • Alice: Has it gone viral, Rob?

  • Rob: No, but there is a negative comment from the local conservationists.

  • Alice: Oh dear. Well, Rob, I think it's time I told you the answer to today's quiz question.

  • I asked: What did the Ancient Greek word "hypocrite" originally describe?

  • Was it... a) actor, b) politician or c) horse.

  • Rob: And I said b) politician.

  • Alice: And you were wrong, I'm afraid!

  • Hypokrites was a technical term for a stage actor and was not considered an appropriate

  • role for a public figure.

  • In Athens in the 4th century BC, the great orator Demosthenes ridiculed a rival politician,

  • who had been a successful actor.

  • Well, we're running out of time so can we hear the words we learned today?

  • Rob: They are:

  • hypocrite

  • inconsistent

  • harsh

  • compassionate

  • catch somebody out

  • morally indignant

  • incongruous

  • pernicious

  • go viral

  • Alice: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Don't forget to join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Alice: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Alice.

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B1 UK rob alice politician morally martin indignant

BBC 6 Minute English June 02, 2016 - Do as I say, not as I do

  • 1940 74
    Adam Huang posted on 2016/06/09
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