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FAMILY NAME:______________________________________________________ FIRST NAME(S):______________________________________________________ GROUP:______________________________________________________________


A. B. C.


_______/ 10 pts _______/ 5 pts _______/ 10 pts


_______/ 25 pts

GRADE _____/ 6

Preaching against corporate space-invaders
One man's crusade against consumerism in New York City
In a white suit and with a quiff of highlighted hair, Reverend Billy strides through the faithful throng of 350 supporters in the East Village, New York, to denounce the inherent evil of a $5 Starbucks café latte. "We're going to push them back," he says to a chorus of alleluias. "Lord, save us from the Shopocalypse. Can we do it? Someone say, 'Alleluia!'" 5 The crowd obliges. "Blessed are those who forgo the Gap*, because they will save our city." Reverend Billy is the head of the Church of Stop Shopping. He is not a real reverend. His real name is Bill Talen and he is an actor who mixes the manner of an evangelist preacher with the message of anti-globalisation. With the help of a very accomplished gospel choir, he delivers his own idiosyncratic sermons against the rampant consumerism that he 10 believes is suburbanising New York City. His aim, he says, is to mobilise people to "attain a state of exalted embarrassment" about what consumerism is doing to the world around them and, hopefully, to do something about it. One recent week held mixed fortunes. On Tuesday a "sneaker riot" broke out on the Lower East Side of Manhattan after shoppers camped out for up to 48 hours to buy a limited 15 edition of the Nike Pigeon Dunk skateboarding trainers. Only 150 pairs were manufactured and only 20 were on sale in New York. When some people began pushing in the queue, the police were called. "That's cultish consumerism right there," says Reverend Billy. "But there is hope. We are the diffi-cult." On Thursday came better news. Wal-Mart's plan to penetrate the New York market by 20 opening a 12,260-square metre store in Queens was shelved after popular opposition forced the developer to bow out. "Alleluia," says Reverend Billy. "The devil will not be coming to Queens." Bill Talen began his crusade in the late 1990s, when the then mayor Rudolph Giuliani's transformation of the city was in full swing. "There was a cultural cleansing of the city," says 25 Reverend Billy, referring to the area around Times Square. "They didn't just get rid of sex workers. They got rid of interesting people - poor people; people of colour. They made it safe for Disney." As an actor he saw the changes most markedly in the theatre. "There used to be 200 original shows on Broadway every year. Now they just turn big-budget movies like the Lion


30 King on stage. Only 12% of New Yorkers go to Broadway shows now. Unless you work there, no one from New York goes to Times Square any more. It's just for tourists." The best theatre on Broadway, he thought at the time, was taking place on the street, where store-front preachers were trying to save the prostitutes, beggars and drug addicts. He decided to adopt their style, but change the substance of their message. What emerged 35 was a spirited spoof of televangelism. Reverend Billy has been known to exorcise Starbucks cash registers, for which he spent three days in a Los Angeles jail during election week. Wal-Mart's setback may have slowed down the pace of suburbanisation in New York, says his partner and manager, Savitra D. But she admits that most of Manhattan already looks like a glitzy version of anywhere else in the US and, thanks to initiatives such as the 40 Olympic bid, the rest of the city may soon follow suit. "It's like a logo epidemic," she says. "What used to make New York great was that you were constantly pushed up against people who you would never otherwise interact with, and things would happen." But as public space gives way to corporate-owned space, she says, the chances of those chance happenings become increasingly rare. "There are no real 45 neighbourhoods in most of Manhattan any more." Or, as Reverend Billy puts it: "I'm drowning in a sea of irrelevant details." His sermons in New York take place monthly and are getting bigger each time. Increasingly, however, he likes to take them on the road. He has preached in England and Germany. He delivered one in the Houston cafeteria of Halliburton, the energy and defence 50 group once headed by the US vice-president, Dick Cheney. "At first they thought I was a regular right-wing preacher. But then I started telling them to quit their jobs and divest." Reverend Billy has yet to take his show into most of the South. Ms Savitra D fears he might be killed. "It's just a very different scene down there and we have to be careful," she 55 says. Mr Talen knows of what he speaks. He was raised by fundamentalist rightwing Christians; Ms Savitra D's father is a conservative Muslim. "There are a lot of preachers' kids in the choir," says Mr Talen, who would not describe himself as religious. "Half of the church is in recovery." (Gary Younge, Guardian Weekly, March 2005)

Note: *Gap produces clothes in 3000 factories in 50 countries around the world.




_______/10 points

I. Complete with information from the text:
1. Name of Reverend Billy's "church":___________________________________________ 2. The main message in Reverend Billy's sermons:_________________________________ 3. Reverend Billy's real job:____________________________________________________ 4. How often does Reverend Billy give sermons in New York? ________________________ _____/1 pt

II. Choose the best alternative according to information in the text.
1. In his crusade in New York, Reverend Billy is helped by his partner and a. 350 faithful supporters b. the Actors' League in New York c. a religious singing group d. prostitutes, beggars and drug addicts     _____/1pt

2. Reverend Billy started his crusade in New York a. because New York was invaded by tourists b. about 5 years ago c. because Starbucks opened a new coffee shop in New York d. after the "sneaker riot" in New York     _____/1pt


a. Are the following statements true (T) or false (F)? b. Copy from the text the sentence (s) to justify your answer.
Reverend Billy was once in prison for a week. a. T  F  b. Line 36: "...for which he spent three days in a Los Angeles jail..."


1. Reverend Billy has preached his sermons all over the United States. a. b. T  F 

___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ _____/1pt

2. Mr Talen is a fundamentalist rightwing Christian. b.

a. T 

F 

___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ _____/1pt 3

IV. Answer the following questions using information in the text.
1. What consequences has consumerism brought about in New York City? (Mention 2 of these consequences.) a. _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ b. _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _____/1 pt 2. Why are Rev. Billy and his group optimistic about their struggle? (Give 1 reason) _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _____/1 pt 3. Ms Savitra D fears Reverend Billy might be killed in the South. "It's just a very different scene down there and we have to be careful," she says. (line 54) What does Ms Savitra D mean by these words? (Give 1 possible explanation) _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _____/1 pt 4. Reverend Billy says, "...They got rid of interesting people - poor people; people of colour. They made it safe for Disney." (lines 26 - 27). Explain in your own words what Rev. Billy wants to suggest in this statement. (Give 4 different elements) a. ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ b. ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ c. ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ d. ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ _____/2 pts 4

Preaching against corporate space-invaders

(October 2005)



_______/5 points

Find words in the text that mean the same as the following. Example: people who follow, help or encourage a cause (l. 1-): supporters (l.2)
1. organize people to join in a cause or activity (l. 1- 12): 2. different/original/rather strange (l. 6 - 18): 3. more and more (l. 37- 52): ____________________ ____________________ ____________________

4. a difficulty, or problem, that stops progress or action (l. 32 - 40):____________________ 5. feeling of shame (l. 6 - 18): ____________________



_______/10 points

Write between 150-180 words on ONE of the following:

1. The positive and negative effects of globalisation in your country. 2. If you were to join a "crusade" for a cause, which cause would you be willing to spend time and energy on? 3. The advantages and disadvantages of shopping in a shopping mall compared to shopping in a village shop or the local shop.

4. Shopping in the year 2050. 5. Write a story which contains the following words: "Oh, how I hate going to the sales!"




_______/10 points

Topic:_________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

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