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讀紐時學英文
2018/06/18 第219期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
 
 
紐時周報精選 Seize the Day-Some Other Time 真正精采的畢業演說屈指可數...把握今天?改天再說吧
So Many Ways to Celebrate a Century of Leonard Bernstein 指揮家伯恩斯坦百歲冥誕 全球歡慶
紐時周報精選
 
Seize the Day-Some Other Time 真正精采的畢業演說屈指可數...把握今天?改天再說吧
文/Henry Alford
譯/李京倫

In days of yore, graduation speeches were fiery or throat-clenched battle cries, highly reliant on one or more familiar themes. Be bold, these call to arms exhorted: Dare to tilt at windmills with your own handmade pole vault. Question everything, they counseled — light a fire underneath your inner Ralph Nader. Make the world a better place, they goaded — you’ll be too tired to do so once your newborn is power-blasting your shoulder with boysenberry-hued vomit.

But today’s commencement speeches, as evidenced by a new book (“Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You’ll Never Hear”) by novelist Carl Hiaasen and cartoonist Roz Chast, and another (“In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It”) by actress Lauren Graham, are less fife-and-drum than plaintive bagpipe. Inspiration is superseded by skepticism or a shiny decal that might read: “You Are Enough.”

遙想當年,畢業典禮演說盡是激昂或聲嘶力竭的衝鋒吶喊,老圍繞一個或幾個類似的主題打轉。要勇敢,這些戰鬥號召令勸勉著:要敢於用你親手製作的撐竿跳用具跳過風車。質疑每件事,這些口號建議著:點燃你內心如美國現代消費者運動之父拉爾夫.納德那般的熱情。讓世界變得更好,這些口號激勵著,等到你新生的娃兒把波森莓色的嘔吐物噴得你滿肩時,你會累到沒力氣這樣做了。

然而,如今的畢典演說卻比悲涼的風笛聲更沒有戰鬥味,正如小說家卡爾.希亞森與漫畫家蘿茲·查斯特合著的新書「假定最壞的情況:你永遠不會聽到這種畢典演說」,和演員蘿倫.葛拉漢寫的另一本新書「結論是,別擔心」表明的那樣。鼓勵的調子不流行了,取而代之的是懷疑,或者是一張發亮的轉印貼紙,上面可能寫著「做你自己就{了」。

—‘Lower Your Expectations’

Hiaasen applies pragmatic scorn to “If you set your mind to it, you can be anything you want to be,” pointing out that if Bill Gates had tried to be a professional bronco rider, “he wouldn’t have made it past his first rodeo ... and Microsoft would today be a brand of absorbent underwear.” Meanwhile, Chast breaks up the text with her signature blend of bug-eyed bedragglement.

Graham’s book, like most in this genre, is a speech she actually delivered. Last year the “Gilmore Girls” star told the graduates of Langley High in her hometown McLean, Virginia, that receiving her Langley diploma in 1984 felt like “an empty victory”: the pleather folder given to her was empty because Graham had never returned a copy of “Robinson Crusoe” to the school’s library.

●「降低期望」

希亞森從實際的角度嘲諷了「只要下定決心,你想成為什麼樣的人都辦得到」這句話,他點出,假如比爾.蓋茲當年試圖成為專業馴馬師,「他連第一次馬術表演都過不了關…而微軟也將成為吸水內衣褲的品牌」。另一方面,查斯特則以她招牌的瞪大眼的人物和混濁畫風,為本書文字配上插圖。

葛拉漢的書就像大多數同類型的書一樣,是她實際演講的文稿。去年這位美國影集「奇異果女孩」的明星,在家鄉維吉尼亞州麥克萊恩地區對蘭利高中的畢業生說,1984年她拿到蘭利高中文憑時,覺得只是「空洞的勝利」:葛拉漢收到的假皮文件夾裡面是空的,因為她從沒把借來的一本「魯賓遜漂流記」還給學校圖書館。

— ‘Take a Chill Pill’

Indeed, the contemporary commencement speech sometimes posits failure as an end in itself, and not necessarily as a slough from which to rebound. In 2008, JK Rowling praised failure in her Harvard commencement address, several years after Steve Jobs told Stanford’s graduating class that death is “the most wonderful invention of life,” because it “purges the system of these old models that are obsolete.”

In the end, maybe it’s only fitting that graduation speeches now sometimes come in a new flavor (bitter melon). Graduating seniors, in the eyes of these texts, are neither lumps of clay nor young warriors equipped with lightsabers. As young folk take their seats and wonder what sort of medicine they’ll be dispensed of — wide-eyed cheerleading? grim vérité? — they are getting a powerful preview of the suspense and open-endedness that their next few years will bring them.

Welcome to life.

●「冷靜點」

的確,當代的畢典演說不時會把失敗視為目的本身,而未必是須從中反彈的泥沼。2008年,「哈利波特」系列小說作者J·K·羅琳在她的哈佛大學畢典演說中讚美失敗,而幾年前,蘋果公司創辦人史提夫.賈伯斯告訴史丹福大學的畢業生,死亡是「生命最奇妙的發明」,因為死亡「把系統中過時的老舊模式一舉清空」。

最後,當下畢典演說時而呈現新味道(苦瓜味),也許這樣才與時代相稱。從這些書的角度來看,這些畢業生既不是聖經所說的「一團泥」,也不是佩著光劍的年輕戰士。當這些年輕學子就座,並猜想演講者會配給他們什麼藥,是天真的啦啦隊式口號,還是殘酷的真相時,他們得到的是強而有力的機會,一窺未來幾年人生會帶給他們的懸疑和無限可能。

歡迎面對人生。

※說文解字看新聞

本文評介了兩本關於畢業典禮演說(commencement speeches)的新書,主張勵志型的畢典演說已經過時(obsolete),應該呈現苦澀的人生真相。本文以諷刺為主調,可說是諷刺作品(satire)。諷刺是一種藝術形式,以奚落(ridicule)、嘲笑(derision)等手法,批判人類的缺陷、愚蠢、惡習或不道德行為。

例如第一段的「要敢用手製作的撐竿跳用具(pole vault)跳過風車,也就是用自己的創意和本事去挑戰現狀,超越障礙(如唐吉訶德迎戰並不存在的假想敵人,被他誤當成巨人的風車) 」,這個比方要從反諷角度來解讀,意思是「畢典演說勸你去做的事,聽來偉大,卻不切實際」。

「一團團泥土」(lumps of clay)是聖經裡對人的比喻,以窯匠(potter)和泥土闡述神與人的關係,譬如羅馬書寫道:「窯匠難道沒有權柄從一團泥裡拿一塊做成貴重的器皿,又拿一塊做成卑賤的器皿嗎?」意思是人要向造物者臣服,無權決定自己成為怎樣的器皿。

 
So Many Ways to Celebrate a Century of Leonard Bernstein 指揮家伯恩斯坦百歲冥誕 全球歡慶
文/Shivani Vora
譯/李京倫

Whether you’re a fan of show tunes, operas or classical music, the name Leonard Bernstein quite likely inspires a familiar melody.

The composer, conductor and educator, who died in 1990, would have turned 100 on Aug. 25. This year, events to commemorate his centennial, collectively called “Leonard Bernstein at 100,” are happening all over the world.

不論你是百老匯音樂劇歌曲、歌劇還是古典樂的粉絲,倫納德.伯恩斯坦這個名字都很可能在你心中激起熟悉的旋律。

這位作曲、指揮兼教育家1990年過世,今年8月25日是他的百歲冥誕。今年,紀念他百歲冥壽的活動統稱為「倫納德.伯恩斯坦100」,正在世界各地展開。

Bernstein’s three children, Jamie, Alex and Nina, own Leonard Bernstein Office Inc., and according to their research, there are some 3,000 celebrations honoring their father.

The majority of them take place this summer, and a full, searchable calendar is available on their website — leonardbernstein.com — so you can find an event near you.

伯恩斯坦的三個孩子傑米、亞歷克斯和妮那,擁有伯恩斯坦辦公室公司,根據他們的調查,紀念他們父親的活動共有3000場左右。

絕大部分的活動在今夏舉行,他們的網站leonardbernstein.com提供完整且可搜尋的行事曆,讓你找到就近的活動。

Among the most notable homages to Bernstein is an exhibition, “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music,” running at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia until Sept. 2.

Bernstein has a special connection with Philadelphia. He earned his conducting diploma at the Curtis Institute of Music and frequently returned in subsequent years, according to the exhibition curator, Ivy Weingram.

最著名的紀念活動之一,是費城美國猶太人歷史國家博物館的展覽「伯恩斯坦:音樂的力量」,展到9月2日。

伯恩斯坦跟費城有特別的淵源。策展人艾薇.溫葛倫說,伯恩斯坦是在費城寇蒂斯音樂學院取得指揮文憑,且其後幾年經常回來。

Spread over 2,200 square feet, the show includes more than 100 artifacts from Bernstein’s life, including his Steinway piano (a gift from his piano teacher, Helen Coates), and an annotated copy of “Romeo and Juliet”in which he formulated ideas for “West Side Story.”

Another noteworthy commemoration for the artist is BBC Proms, a classical music festival in London’s Royal Albert Hall that runs from July 13 to Sept. 8.

展場面積達2200平方英尺(約204平方公尺),展出100多件伯恩斯坦使用過的手工藝品,包括他的史坦威鋼琴(他的鋼琴老師海倫.寇茲所贈),和一本莎士比亞劇作「羅密歐與茱麗葉」的注釋本,他從中得到音樂劇「西城故事」的靈感。

另一個值得一提的紀念活動是「逍遙音樂會」,是在倫敦皇家阿爾伯特音樂廳舉行的古典音樂節,從7月13日到9月8日。

The lineup features more than 10 concerts where Bernstein’s work will be played, including a performance Aug. 11 of music from “West Side Story.”

Also, on Aug. 31, Marin Alsop, who was a student of Bernstein’s, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform Bernstein’s “Slava! A Political Overture” as well as his “Symphony No. 2.”

節目一大特色是有10多場音樂會演出伯恩斯坦作品,包括8月11日演出「西城故事」音樂。

另外在8月31日,伯恩斯坦的門生馬林·阿爾索普將指揮巴爾的摩交響樂團,演出伯恩斯坦的「斯拉瓦!政治序曲」和他的「第二號交響曲」。

But perhaps one of the biggest birthday celebrations will be in Lenox, Massachusetts. The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer season at Tanglewood, running from June 15 to Sept. 2, is called “Bernstein Centennial Summer — Celebrating Lenny at Tanglewood!” and will pay tribute to Bernstein’s contributions to the festival from 1940 to 1990. The lineup has 14 performances that include Bernstein’s works like the opera “A Quiet Place” and his operetta “Candide.”

The culmination, on Aug. 25, is a gala concert that features artists and ensembles from the worlds of classical music, film and Broadway, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, concert singers Susan Graham and Isabel Leonard, and Broadway singers Jessica Vosk and Tony Yazbeck.

不過,也許規模最大的冥誕慶祝活動是在美國麻州萊諾克斯鎮。波士頓交響樂團在音樂表演場地「檀格塢」的夏季音樂節從6月15日到9月2日,名為「伯恩斯坦百歲夏季——在檀格塢讚頌倫尼(倫納德的暱稱)!」,為伯恩斯坦1940到1990年對檀格塢音樂節的貢獻向他致敬。節目表中有14場呈現伯恩斯坦作品,如歌劇「寧靜之所」和輕歌劇「憨第德」。

壓軸的是8月25日的音樂盛會,全球各地古典樂、電影和百老匯領域的藝術家和合唱、合奏團雲集,包括大提琴家馬友友、演唱會歌手蘇珊.葛蘭姆和伊莎貝爾.倫納德,以及百老匯歌手潔西卡·沃斯克與托尼.亞茲貝克。

 
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