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2006年考研英语真题第4篇 The Art of Unhappiness

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Many things make people think artists are weird.

许多事情让人们觉得艺术家很古怪。

But the weirdest may be this: artists'only job is to explore emotions, and yet they choose to focus on the ones that feel bad.

最古怪可能是:艺术家的唯一工作就是寻找情感,然而他们所关注的对象大多是那些不幸的人。

This wasn't always so.

当然不总是那样。

The earliest forms of art, like painting and music, are those best suited for expressing joy.

艺术的最早形式,像绘画和音乐,都是最适合表达快乐的。

But somewhere from the 19th century onward, more artists began seeing happiness as meaningless, phony or, worst of all, boring,

但在19世纪的某个时期,更多的艺术家开始把快乐看成无意义的,假冒的,甚至是最糟的。

as we went from Wordsworth's daffodils to Baudelaire's flowers of evil.

我们可以从 Wordsworth 的《黄水仙》到 Baudelaire 的《罪恶之花》看出这种变化。

You could argue that art became more skeptical of happiness because modern times have seen so much misery.

你可能会争论艺术变得对幸福如此怀疑是因为在现代看到了这样的苦难。

But it's not as if earlier times didn't know perpetual war, disaster and the massacre of innocents.

但这并不是因为在早期不了解持久的战争, 灾难和大规模的屠杀无辜。

The reason, in fact, may be just the opposite: there is too much damn happiness in the world today.

事实上,原因可能与之相反:现在世界上有太多快乐要去谴责。

After all, what is the one modern form of expression almost completely dedicated to depicting happiness? Advertising.

归根结底,几乎完全致力于描写快乐的那种现代表现方式是什么呢?。

The rise of anti-happy art almost exactly tracks the emergence of mass media,

反快乐艺术的兴起几乎完全与大众传媒同步出现,

and with it, a commercial culture in which happiness is not just an ideal but an ideology.

而随之兴起了一种商业文化,在这种文化中,快乐不仅是一个抽象概念,而是一种意识形态。

People in earlier eras were surrounded by reminders of misery.

早期的人们被悲痛之使者所萦绕。

They worked until exhausted, lived with few protections and died young.

他们工作到筋疲力尽,生活几无保障,年纪轻轻就命丧黄泉。

In the West, before mass communication and literacy, the most powerful mass medium was the church,

在西方,在大众传媒和文学普及之前,最有效的大众媒体是教堂,

which reminded worshippers that their souls were in danger and that they would someday be meat for worms.

它提醒信徒们,他们的灵魂处于危险之中,他们总有一天会成为蛆虫的食物。

Given all this, they did not exactly need their art to be a bummer too.

在这种信仰下,他们对此已十分了然,无须其艺术再表现这种失落感。

Today the messages the average Westerner is surrounded with are not religious but commercial, and forever happy.

今天,你们普通西方人面对的围绕我们四周的信息不是宗教的,而是商业的,而且一直让人快乐。

Fast-food eaters, news anchors, text messengers, all smiling, smiling, smiling.

快餐食客、新闻主播、发短信的人,都在笑啊笑啊。

Our magazines feature beaming celebrities and happy families in perfect homes.

我们的杂志突出刊登满面春风的名人和美满幸福的家庭。

And since these messages have an agenda -- to lure us to open our wallets

这样的消息都有一项任务——即引诱我们打开钱包

-- they make the very idea of happiness seem unreliable.

使这些看起来并不可靠的快乐变得真实起来。

“Celebrate!” commanded the ads for the arthritis drug Celebrex, before we found out it could increase the risk of heart attacks.

“欢庆吧!”宣传关节炎良药西乐葆的这样号召道,随后我们却发现它能增加心脏病的发病率。

But what we forget -- what our economy depends on us forgetting -- is that happiness is more than pleasure without pain.

但是我们所忘记的是――我们的经济依赖着我们的遗忘――经过痛苦得来的快乐比没有经过痛苦得来的快乐好得多。

The things that bring the greatest joy carry the greatest potential for loss and disappointment.

带给我们最大快乐的事件,同时也暗含着巨大的损失和失望。

Today, surrounded by promises of easy happiness, we need art to tell us, as religion once did, Memento mori:

现在,在耳边充斥着能轻易得到快乐的承诺时,我们需要有人告诉我们,正如宗教曾经所做,死亡警示:

remember that you will die, that everything ends, and that happiness comes not in denying this but in living with it.

记住你会死,一切将会终结, 快乐虽然到来,但是它不能消除苦难,而是与其共存。

It's a message even more bitter than a clove cigarette, yet, somehow, a breath of fresh air.

这可能比抽烟更加毒害人的健康,然而,不知为何,也许会带来一股清新的气息。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
skeptical ['skeptikəl]

想一想再看

adj. 怀疑的

联想记忆
X
单词skeptical 联想记忆:
skept怀疑+ical表形容词,“…的”→怀疑的
 
mass [mæs]

想一想再看

n. 块,大量,众多
adj. 群众的,大规模

 
medium ['mi:diəm]

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n. 媒体,方法,媒介
adj. 适中的,中等

联想记忆
X
单词medium 联想记忆:
med中间+ium→中间物,媒介→媒介物
 
perpetual [pə'petʃuəl]

想一想再看

adj. 永恒的,永久的,一再往复的

联想记忆
X
单词perpetual 联想记忆:
per全部,pet宠物,ual:全部宠物都是我们永远的朋友-永远的
 
disappointment [.disə'pɔintmənt]

想一想再看

n. 失望,令人失望的人或事

 
emergence [i'mə:dʒəns]

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n. 出现,浮现,露出

联想记忆
X
单词emergence 联想记忆:
e出+merge=sink沉,没→沉的东西出现→浮现,出现+ence→浮现,出现
 
agenda [ə'dʒendə]

想一想再看

n. 议事日程

联想记忆
X
单词agenda 联想记忆:
ag做,end结局,a表示名词复数-为了完美的结局而做-议程,就是为了使会议顺利进行而作的安排。
 
tracks

想一想再看

n. 轨道(track的复数);磁道;轮胎

 
communication [kə.mju:ni'keiʃn]

想一想再看

n. 沟通,交流,通讯,传达,通信

 
misery ['mizəri]

想一想再看

n. 痛苦,悲惨的境遇,苦难

 


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