When you think of the tremendous technological progress we have made, it’s amazing how little we have developed in other respects. We may speak contemptuously of the poor old Romans because they relished the orgies of slaughter that went on in their arenas. We may despise them because they mistook these goings on for entertainment. We may forgive them condescendingly because they lived 2000 years ago and obviously knew no better. But are our feelings of superiority really justified? Are we any less blood-thirsty? Why do boxing matches, for instance, attract such universal interest? Don’t the spectators who attend them hope they will see some violence? Human beings remains as bloodthirsty as ever they were. The only difference between ourselves and the Romans is that while they were honest enough to admit that they enjoyed watching hungey lions tearing people apart and eating them alive, we find all sorts of sophisticated arguments to defend sports which should have been banned long age; sports which are quite as barbarous as, say, public hangings or bearbaiting.
It really is incredible that in this day and age we should still allow hunting or bull-fighting, that we should be prepared to sit back and watch two men batter each other to pulp in a boxing ring, that we should be relatively unmoved by the sight of one or a number of racing cars crashing and bursting into flames. Let us not deceive ourselves. Any talk of ‘the sporting spirit’ is sheer hypocrisy. People take part in violent sports because of the high rewards they bring. Spectators are willing to pay vast sums of money to see violence. A world heavyweight championship match, for instance, is front page news. Millions of people are disappointed if a big fight is over in two rounds instead of fifteen. They feel disappointment because they have been deprived of the exquisite pleasure of witnessing prolonged torture and violence.
Why should we ban violent sports if people enjoy them so much? You may well ask. The answer is simple: they are uncivilized. For centuries man has been trying to improve himself spiritually and emotionally – admittedly with little success. But at least we no longer tolerate the sight madmen cooped up in cages, or public floggings of any of the countless other barbaric practices which were common in the past. Prisons are no longer the grim forbidding places they used to be. Social welfare systems are in operation in many parts of the world. Big efforts are being made to distribute wealth fairly. These changes have come about not because human beings have suddenly and unaccountably improved, but because positive steps were taken to change the law. The law is the biggest instrument of social change that we have and it may exert great civilizing influence. If we banned dangerous and violent sports, we would be moving one step further to improving mankind. We would recognize that violence is degrading and unworthy of human beings.
1. It can be inferred from the passage that the author’s opinion of nowadays’ human beings is
A. not very high.
2. The main idea of this passage is
A. vicious and dangerous sports should be banned by law.
B. people are willing to pay vast sums money to see violence.
C. to compare two different attitudes towards dangerous sports.
D. people are bloodthirsty in sports.
3. That the author mentions the old Romans is
A. To compare the old Romans with today’s people.
B. to give an example.
C. to show human beings in the past know nothing better.
D. to indicate human beings are used to bloodthirsty.
4. How many dangerous sports does the author mention in this passage?
5. The purpose of the author in writing this passage is
A. that, by banning the violent sports, we human beings can improve our selves.
B. that, by banning the dangerous sports, we can improve the law.
C. that we must take positive steps to improve social welfare system.
D. to show law is the main instrument of social change.
burst into flames 突然燃烧起来/着火
coop up 把……关起来
…two men batter each other to pulp in the boxing ring. 【结构简析】batter one to pulp = beat one to a pulp 狠揍某人，打瘫某人 【参考译文】两个人在拳击场内彼此狠揍，知道一个人被打倒在地，爬不起来。
…unmoved by the sight of one or a number of racing cars crashing and bursting into flames. 【参考译文】眼见一辆或多辆赛车相互撞击，突然烧起来而无动于衷。
A world heavy weight championship match is front page news. 【参考译文】世界重量级冠军赛总是头版头条新闻。
1. A. 不太高。文章一开始就点出科技巨大进步，而其他方面进展很少。人们以轻蔑的口气谈及可怜的古罗马人，因为他们欣赏竞技场上的屠杀。我们轻视他们，因为他们把这些屠杀视为娱乐。我们可以降阶/屈尊地谅解他们，因为他们生活在2000年前，显然，对好的东西不知道。在这里作者反问，我们的优越感是否正确呢？我们的嗜血性是不是少一些？为什么拳击比赛吸引那么许多人？在场的观赏者（观众）是不是也希望看到一些暴力呢？结论是：人类和过去一样残忍。唯一的不同点在于古罗马人很诚实，他们承认他们欣赏观看饥饿的狮子把人撕碎，活生生吃掉，而我们会找出各种精辟的理由来保卫早该制止的运动。第二段举出具体例子，如斗牛、拳击中把人打瘫在地、车赛中，车子碰撞起火，人们就坐在那里观看欣赏，参赛者是为了高报酬，观众付出大笔钱财是为了看到暴力。作者指出任何体育精神的说法纯粹是虚伪。如果一场打比赛（世界重量级冠军赛），两轮而不是十五轮就告结束，成千上百万人们会感到失望――这些都证明人的卑下，不文明。这两段似乎也证明作者的观点应该是C项――蔑视的。但在第三段谈及，好几个世纪以来，人们一直试图在精神上和情感上改善自己，又得承认不怎么成功。可至少我们不再容忍疯人禁锢于笼中，当众鞭挞，以及其他许多过去普遍存在的野蛮行径。监狱也不再是过去那种令人窒息的禁锢之地，社会福利制度在全世界许多地方推行。在财富公平分配上也作了很大的努力。这些变化的出现不是因为人突然改善，而是在改变法律上采取了 积极的步骤。如果我们禁止危险的暴力体育项目，那么我们在改善人类方面又前进了一步。我们会认识暴力是人类的堕落和卑下（人类不应有的）。从这段来看，作者对人类还抱有希望，不是很蔑视。所以选A项。
2. A. 法律应禁止堕落而又危险的体育项目。见第一题注释。作者从古罗马人欣赏残忍的体育项目说起，点出现代人也是嗜血成性，喜欢暴力体育项目。这是不文明，是堕落。必须制止，而法律是我们社会改革最强大的工具，它可应用，发挥强大的文明影响（第三段倒数第三句）
3. D. 人们在体育上习惯于“嗜血成性”，过去是，现在仍然是，不同点只是前者坦直承认，后者婉转掩饰。见第一题注释。
4. B. 5个。作者提到⑴逗熊游戏；⑵斗牛；⑶车赛；⑷拳击；⑸人狮斗。至于当众鞭挞和绞刑不能称作体育活动。
5. A. 通过制止野蛮体育项目，我们能改善人类自身。这在第三段讲的最透彻，见第一题和第二题注释。