Lost in the Post 給偶像寫信

更新時間 2013年 7月 15日, 星期一 - 格林尼治標準時間10:36
An old letter

Is your idol actually reading your lovely letter?

Vocabulary: sending letters 詞匯: 發送信件

How would you feel if the letter you penned carefully and posted to your favourite star ended up in the recycling bin? That's where unopened fan mail sent to singer Taylor Swift was found in Nashville.

Swift's management said it was an accident, but dealing with piles of letters is a burden for most public figures. According to the BBC reporter Jon Kelly, at the height of his fame, Johnny Depp was said to receive up to 10,000 letters a week.

The dawn of the digital age - in which public figures with a Twitter account can be messaged directly - has made the process easier. The White House says it deals with 20,000 messages addressed to President Barack Obama each day.

Some celebrities don't want letters. In 2008, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr didn't mince his words when he announced he would throw them out because he was too busy.

Others do attempt to get through it themselves. Robert Pattinson, star of the Twilight films, claims that he reads "tonnes and tonnes" of letters from fans.

Many artists, however, outsource the task of opening, reading and replying. Sylvia "Spanky" Taylor, 58, has run a service in California that does just that since 1987. She and her staff deal with up to 20,000 items of mail a month on behalf of 26 celebrities.

Most letters are simply declarations of affection and admiration, she says. A few ask for money. A small number contain threats which require her to contact the celebrity's security team and law enforcement.

The biggest problem for Taylor is working out how to dispose of the correspondence. Presents such as soft toys are sent to local hospitals, and the letters: most of them "just get shredded and recycled".

Typically, correspondence is acknowledged by a photo with a printed "autograph". For some, this is enough, according to Lynn Zubernis, an expert at West Chester University. She says that the relationship between fan and celebrity may exist only in the mind of the former but it comes from a deeply-rooted human need for community.

Quiz 測驗

1. Who read the letters to singer Taylor Swift that were found in a bin?

Nobody. The letters were unopened.

2. Who told fans not to send any letters?

The Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr.

3. Is this statement true or false? Sylvia 'Spanky' Taylor tells the police if fans are threatening her celebrity clients.

True.

4. Which expression means a person who is well-known by his/her own choice?

Public figure.

5. Which word is used to refer to a lot of letters, placed one on top of the other?

Pile.

Glossary 词汇表 (点击单词收听发音)

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