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今年のアカデミー賞で話題になったスピーチにStay Weird, Stay Differentがあります。学生生活になじめない人、学校カーストの底辺にいる人の苦しさを代弁してくれた素晴らしいものでした。

このような問題に対してRebecca Solnitさんは高校を廃止してしまおうと自身が高校に行かなかった体験を踏まえてエッセイを書いています。

EASY CHAIR — From the April 2015 issue
Abolish High School
By Rebecca Solnit

I didn’t go to high school. This I think of as one of my proudest accomplishments and one of my greatest escapes, because everyone who grows up in the United States goes to high school. It’s such an inevitable experience that people often mishear me and think I dropped out.


I was ravenous to learn. I’d waited for years for a proper chance at it, and the high school in my town didn’t seem like a place where I was going to get it. I passed the G.E.D. test at fifteen, started community college the following fall, and transferred after two semesters to a four-year college, where I began, at last, to get an education commensurate with my appetite.

What was it, I sometimes wonder, that I was supposed to have learned in the years of high school that I avoided? High school is often considered a definitive American experience, in two senses: an experience that nearly everyone shares, and one that can define who you are, for better or worse, for the rest of your life. I’m grateful I escaped the particular definition that high school would have imposed on me, and I wish everyone else who suffered could have escaped it, too.


Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, responsible for some 4,600 deaths per year. Federal studies report that for every suicide there are at least a hundred attempts — nearly half a million a year. Eight percent of high school students have attempted to kill themselves, and 16 percent have considered trying. That’s a lot of people crying out for something to change.

We tend to think that adolescence is inherently ridden with angst, but much of the misery comes from the cruelty of one’s peers. Twenty-eight percent of public school students and 21 percent of private school students report being bullied, and though inner-city kids are routinely portrayed in the press as menaces, the highest levels of bullying are reported among white kids and in nonurban areas. Victims of bullying are, according to a Yale study, somewhere between two and nine times more likely to attempt suicide. Why should children be confined to institutions in which these experiences are so common?

同じ年代でグループ化するとSuch units automatically create the conditions for competition, pressuring children to be as good as their peersが生じて、助け合いの精神がなかなか生まれなくなると指摘しています。またヘイトクライムやレイプなどの遠因となっているのではとも推測します。

Peer pressure
pressure from people of your age or social group to behave like them in order to be liked or accepted
Teenagers are highly influenced by peer pressure.

Since the 1970s, Norberg-Hodge has been visiting the northern Indian region of Ladakh. When she first arrived such age segregation was unknown there. “Now children are split into different age groups at school,” Norberg-Hodge has written. “This sort of leveling has a very destructive effect. By artificially creating social units in which everyone is the same age, the ability of children to help and to learn from each other is greatly reduced.” Such units automatically create the conditions for competition, pressuring children to be as good as their peers. “In a group of ten children of quite different ages,” Norberg-Hodge argues, “there will naturally be much more cooperation than in a group of ten twelve-year-olds.”

When you are a teenager, your peers judge you by exacting and narrow criteria. But those going through the same life experiences at the same time often have little to teach one another about life. Most of us are safer in our youth in mixed-age groups, and the more time we spend outside our age cohort, the broader our sense of self. It’s not just that adults and children are good for adolescents. The reverse is also true. The freshness, inquisitiveness, and fierce idealism of a wide-awake teenager can be exhilarating, just as the stony apathy of a shut-down teenager can be dismal.

A teenager can act very differently outside his or her peer group than inside it. A large majority of hate crimes and gang rapes are committed by groups of boys and young men, and studies suggest that the perpetrators are more concerned with impressing one another and conforming to their group’s codes than with actual hatred toward outsiders. Attempts to address this issue usually focus on changing the social values to which such groups adhere, but dispersing or diluting these groups seems worth consideration, too.


But abolishing high school would not just benefit those who are at the bottom of its hierarchies. Part of the shared legacy of high school is bemused stories about people who were treated as demigods at seventeen and never recovered. A doctor I hang out with tells me that former classmates who were more socially successful in high school than he was seem baffled that he, a quiet youth who made little impression, could be more professionally successful, as though the qualities that made them popular should have effortlessly floated them through life. It’s easy to laugh, but there is a real human cost. What happens to people who are taught to believe in a teenage greatness that is based on achievements unlikely to matter in later life?


ジュノ・ディアス × 円城塔 × 都甲幸治 「未来と文学」




I don't want to put the cart before the horse.


Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

President Obama Says 'We Don't Have a Strategy Yet' to Bomb ISIS in Syria
Aug 28, 2014, 5:52 PM ET

オバマ大統領が、ISISへの戦略についてWe don’t have a strategy yet.と答えたことが衝撃を与えていますが、直前に"I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet."とおなじみのイディオムを使っていましたね。

put the cart before the horse
to do two things in the wrong order


To Defeat Terror, We Need the World’s Help
John Kerry: The Threat of ISIS Demands a Global Coalition

By JOHN KERRYAUG. 29, 2014

IN a polarized region and a complicated world, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presents a unifying threat to a broad array of countries, including the United States. What’s needed to confront its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda is a global coalition using political, humanitarian, economic, law enforcement and intelligence tools to support military force.

In addition to its beheadings, crucifixions and other acts of sheer evil, which have killed thousands of innocents in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, including Sunni Muslims whose faith it purports to represent, ISIS (which the United States government calls ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) poses a threat well beyond the region.

ISISに対してits nihilistic vision and genocidal agendaとか、crucifixions and other acts of sheer evilとか、完全に悪とみなした書き方をしています。

Airstrikes alone won’t defeat this enemy. A much fuller response is demanded from the world. We need to support Iraqi forces and the moderate Syrian opposition, who are facing ISIS on the front lines. We need to disrupt and degrade ISIS’ capabilities and counter its extremist message in the media. And we need to strengthen our own defenses and cooperation in protecting our people.

Next week, on the sidelines of the NATO summit meeting in Wales, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and I will meet with our counterparts from our European allies. The goal is to enlist the broadest possible assistance. Following the meeting, Mr. Hagel and I plan to travel to the Middle East to develop more support for the coalition among the countries that are most directly threatened.


一方のマケイン議員は、オバマ大統領が議会承認を求めてから軍事行動をすると言ったこともあり、ISISへの軍事関与を両党派政策として進めるべきと米国内の視点から述べています。911の時もそうでしたが、“a matter of homeland security”として米国の安全保障として捉えているようです。

Stop Dithering, Confront ISIS
John McCain and Lindsey Graham: Confront ISIS Now


Such a strategy would require our commander in chief to explain to war-weary Americans why we cannot ignore this threat. ISIS is now one of the largest, richest terrorist organizations in history. It occupies a growing safe haven the size of Indiana spanning two countries in the heart of the Middle East, and its ranks are filled with thousands of radicals holding Western passports, including some Americans. They require nothing more than a plane ticket to travel to United States cities.

This is why the secretary of homeland security has called Syria “a matter of homeland security.” His warnings about ISIS have been echoed by the attorney general, the director of national intelligence and, now, the secretary of defense. Americans need to know that ISIS is not just a problem for Iraq and Syria. It is a threat to the United States. Doing too little to combat ISIS has been a problem. Doing less is certainly not the answer now.


One of the hardest things a president must do is change, and history’s judgment is often kind to those who summon the courage to do so. Jimmy Carter changed his policy on the Soviet Union after it invaded Afghanistan. Bill Clinton changed his policy in the Balkans and stopped ethnic cleansing. And George W. Bush changed course in Iraq and saved America from defeat.

ISIS presents Mr. Obama with a similar challenge, and it has already forced him to begin changing course, albeit grudgingly. He should accept the necessity of further change and adopt a strategy to defeat this threat. If he does, he deserves bipartisan support. If he does not, ISIS will continue to grow into an even graver danger to our allies and to us.






全然違った文脈の表現を紹介して恐縮ですが、ヒラリー元長官が退任前日にシンクタンクのCFRで講演をしたのですが、ハードパワーかスマートパワーかの二択はthat is a false choice. We need both, and no one should think otherwise.と語っていました。この講演についてはまた機会を改めて紹介したいと思います。

Remarks on American Leadership
Speaker: Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Department of State
Presider: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
January 31, 2013
Council on Foreign Relations

So technology, development, human rights, women -- now, I know that a lot of pundits hear that list, and they say, isn't that all a bit soft? What about the hard stuff?
Well, that is a false choice. We need both, and no one should think otherwise.

「TOEICか、生英語か」に対しても僕はthat is a false choice. We need bothと言いたいですね。生素材を読んでいる自分としてはTOEICに引きこもることを肯定するつもりはないんですが、990獲ったからってTOEICの題材のようなビジネスレターが書けるわけではないのですから。。。


We write to express our deep disappointment with

We understand that

Please consider correcting the impression that …

Thank you for your assistance on this important matter.



長いので全文は下記のいずれかのサイトでご確認ください。上院を示すUnited States Senateのレターヘッドは思ったよりも普通でした(笑)



この書き出しは単刀直入にWe write to express our deep disappointment withとしていますね。しかもthe film is grossly inaccurateとgrosslyという程度の大きい副詞をつけて書いていますので、大きな不満を持っていることがすぐにわかります。

Mr. Michael Lynton
Chairman and CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195

Dear Mr. Lynton:

We write to express our deep disappointment with the movie Zero Dark Thirty. We believe the film is grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.

一方的に批判するのではなく、配慮を見せつつ、また、なぜ不満に思うのかという理由を丁寧に説明をしているような書き方は、我々も参考にできますね。We understand …, but …なんてのはなんてことない表現ですので、実践したいですよね。

We understand that the film is fiction, but it opens with the words “based on first-hand accounts of actual events” and there has been significant media coverage of the CIA’s cooperation with the screenwriters. As you know, the film graphically depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees and then credits these detainees with providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the Usama Bin Laden. Regardless of what message the filmmakers intended to convey, the movie clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier for Usama Bin Laden. We have reviewed CIA records and know that this is incorrect.

配慮を見せつつ、批判すると言うパターンをもう一つ見てみます。We are fans of many of your moviesと褒めておいて、but the fundamental problem is …と問題点を指摘していますね。その問題がどうして問題なのかという補足説明もしっかりと書いているところも勉強になりますねえ。

We are fans of many of your movies, and we understand the special role that movies play in our lives, but the fundamental problem is that people who see Zero Dark Thirty will believe that the events it portrays are facts. The film therefore has the potential to shape American public opinion in a disturbing and misleading manner. Recent public opinion polls suggest that a narrow majority of Americans believe that torture can be justified as an effective form of intelligence gathering. This is false. We know that cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is an unreliable and highly ineffective means of gathering intelligence.