高英Lesson 6

1. Those ad campaigns celebrating the Big Apple, those T-shirts with a heart design proclaiming " I love New York," are signs, pathetic in their desperation, of how the mighty has fallen.


2. New York City used to leave the bragging to others, for bragging was " bush." Being unique, the biggest and the best, New York didn't have to assert how special it was.


3. It isn't the top anymore, at least if the top is measured by who begets the styles and sets the trends. Nowadays New York is out of phase with American taste as often as it is out of step with American politics.


4. Once it was the nation's undisputed fashion authority, but it too long resisted the incoming casual style and lost its monopoly. No longer so looked up to or copied, New York even prides itself on being a holdout from prevailing American trends, a place to escape Common Denominator Land.


5. Its deficiencies as a pacesetter are more and more evident. A dozen other cities have buildings more inspired architecturally than any built in New York City in the past twenty years.


6. The giant Manhattan television studios where Toscanini's NBC Symphony once placed now sit empty most of the time, while sitcoms cloned and canned in Hollywood, and the Johnny Carson show live, preempt the airways from California.


7. Tin Pan Alley has moved to Nashville and Hollywood. Vegas casinos routinely pay heavy sums to singers and entertainers whom no nightspot in Manhattan can afford to hire. In sports, the bigger superdomes, the more exciting teams, the most enthusiastic fans, are often found elsewhere.


8. New York is never a good convention city- being regarded as unfriendly, unsafe, overcrowded, and expensive- but it is making something of a comeback as a tourist attraction.


9. Even so, most Americans would probably rate New Orleans, San Francisco, Washington, or Disneyland higher. A dozen other cities, including my hometown of Seattle, are widely considered better cities to live in.


10. Why, then, do many Europeans call New York their favorite city? They take more readily than do most Americans to its cosmopolitan complexities, its surviving, aloof, European standards, its alien mixtures.


11. Perhaps some of these Europeans are reassured by the sight, on the twin fashion avenues of Madison amd Fifth, of all those familiar international names-the jewelers, shoe stores, and designer shops that exist to flatter and bilk the frivolous rich. But no; what most excites Europeans is the city's charged, nervous atmosphere, its vulgar dynamism.


12. New York is about energy, contention, and striving. And Since it contains its share of articulate losers, it is also about mockery, the put down, the loser's shrug (" Whaddya gonna do?"). It is about constant battles for subway seats, for a cabdriver's or a clerk's or a waiter's attention, for a foothold, a chance, a better address, a larger billing. To win in New York is to be uneasy; to lose is to live in jostling proximity to the frustrated majority.


13. New York was never Mecca to me. And though I have lived there more than half my life, you won't find me wearing an "I Love New York" T-shirt. But all in all, I can't think of many places in the world I'd rather live. It's not easy to define why.


14. Nature's pleasures are much qualified in New York. You never see a star-filled sky; the city's bright glow arrogantly obscures the heavens. Sunsets can be spectacular; oranges and reds tinting the sky over the Jersey meadows and gaudily reflected in a thousand windows on Manhattan's jagged skyline.


15. Nature constantly yields to man in New York: witness those fragile sidewalk trees gamely struggling against encroaching cement and petrol fumes. Central Park, which Frederick Law Olmsted designed as lungs for the city's poor, is in places grassless and filled with trash, no longer pristine yet lively with the noise and vivacity of people, largely youths, blacks, and Puerto Ricans, enjoying themselves. On park benches sit older people, mostly white, looking displaced. It has become less a tranquil park than an untidy carnival.


16. Not the glamour of the city, which never beckoned to me from a distance, but its opportunity- to practice the kind of journalism I wanted- drew me to New York. I wasn't even sure how I'd measure up against others who had been more soundly educated at Ivy League schools, or whether I could compete against that tough local breed, those intellectual sons of immigrants, so highly motivated and single-minded, such as Alfred Kazin, who for diversion (for heaven's sake!) played Bach'sUnaccompanied Partitason the violin.


17. A testing of oneself, a fear of giving in to the most banal and marketable of one's talents, still draws many of the young to New York. That and, as always, the company of others fleeing something constrict where they came from. Together these young share a freedom, a community of inexpensive amusements, a casual living, and more rough times. It can't be the living conditions that appeal, for only fond memory will forgive the inconvenience, risk, and squalor.


18. Commercial Broadway may be inaccessible to them, but there is off-Broadway, and then off-off-Broadway. If painters disdain Madison Avenue's plush art galleries, Madison Avenue dealers set up shop in the grubby precincts of Soho.


19. But the purity of a bohemian dedication can be exaggerated. The artistic young inhabit the same Greenwich Village and its fringes in which the experimentalists in the arts lived during the Depression, united by a world against them. But the present generation is enough of a subculture to be a source of profitable boutiques and coffeehouses. And it is not all that estranged.

但是,波西米亚式献身的纯洁性可能被夸大了。这些文艺青年居住在格林威治村及其周边地区, 当年大萧条时期,一批艺术实验主义者也居住在这里,联合在一起对抗一个敌对的世界。但如今的这一代年轻人形成的亚学问群体,足以成为精品店和咖啡馆的利润来源。而且他们也不是那么与世隔绝的。

20. Manhattan is an island cut off in most respects from mainland America, but in two areas it remains dominant. It is the banking and the communications headquarters for America. In both these roles it ratifies more than it creates. Wall Street will advance the millions to make a Hollywood movie only if convinced that a bestselling title or a star name will ensure its success.


21. The networks' news centers are here, and the largest book publishers, and the biggest magazine- and therefore the largest body of critics to appraise the films, the plays, the music, the books that others have created. New York is a judging town, and often invokes standards that the rest of the country deplores or ignores. A market for knowingness exists in New York that doesn't exist for knowlege.


22. The ad agencies are all here too, testing the markets and devising the catchy jingles that will move millions from Mcdonald's to Burger King, so that the ad agency's "creative director" can lunch instead in Manhattan's expense-account French restaurants.


23. The bankers and the admen, the marketing specialists and a thousand well-paid ancillary service people, really set the city's brittle tone- catering to a wide American public whose numbers must be respected but whose tastes do not have to be shared.


24. The condescending view from the fiftieth floor of the city's crowds below cuts these people off from humanity. So does an attitude which sees the public only in terms of large, malleable numbers- as impersonally as does the clattering subway turnstile beneath the officer towers.


25. I am surprised by the lack of cynicism, particularly among the younger ones, of those who work in such fields. The television generation grew up in the insistent presence of hype, delights in much of it, and has no scruples about practicing it.


26. Men and women do their jobs professionally, and, like the pilots who from great heights bombed Hanoi, seem unmarked by it. They lead their real lives elsewhere. In the Village bars they are indistinguishable in dress or behavior from would-be artists, actors, and writers.


27. The boundaries of " art for art's sake" aren't so rigid anymore; art itself is less sharply defined, and those whose paintings don't sell do illustrations; those who can't get acting jobs do commercials; those who are writing ambitious novels sustain themselves on the magazines. Besides, serious art often feeds on the popular these days, changing it with fond irony.


28. In time the newcomers find or form their own worlds; Manhattan has many such worlds, huddled together but rarely interacting. I think this is what gives the city its sense of freedom. There are enough like you, whatever you are.


29. And it isn't as necessary to know anything about an apartment neighbor- or to worry about his judgment of you- as it is about someone with an adjoining yard. In New York, like sees like, and by economy of effort excludes the rest as strangers. This distancing, this uncaring in ordinary encounters, has another side: in no other American city can be lonely be as lonely.


30. So much more needs to be said. New York is a wounded city, declining in its amenities, overloaded by its tax burdens. But it is not a dying city; the streets are safer than they were five years ago; Broadway, which seemed to be succumbing to the tawdriness of its environment, is astir again.


31. The trash-strewn streets, the unruly schools, the uneasy feeling or menace, the noise, the brusqueness-- all confirm outsiders in their conviction that they wouldn't live here if you gave them the place. Yet show a New Yorker a splendid home in Dallas, or a swimming pool and cabana in Beverly Hills, and he will be admiring but not envious. So much of well-to-do America now lives antiseptically in enclaves, tranquil and luxurious, that shut out the world. Too static, the New Yorker would say. Tell him about the vigor of your outdoor pleasures; he prefers the unhealthy hassle and the vitality of urban life. He is hopelessly provincial. To him, New York-- despite its faults, which he will impatiently concede ("So what else is new?")-- is the spoiler of all other American cities.

垃圾满地的街道,秩序混乱的学校,不安的感觉或威胁,喧闹和无礼--所有这些使局外人确信就算把纽约给他们,他们也不会在这里居住。但是,如果一个纽约客看到达拉斯富丽堂皇的住宅或游泳池和浴室,他会心生羡慕但绝不会嫉妒。因此美国许多富人超然地居住在宁静而奢华的地方,与世隔绝。纽约客会说,太无聊了。对他讲激情四射的户外活动的乐趣,他更喜欢都市生活不健康的喧嚣与活力。他的思想观念狭隘得无可救药。对他来说,纽约-- 尽管他们不耐烦的承认它的缺陷(“还有什么是新的呢?”)-- 比美国其他城市都要优越。

32. It is possible in twenty other American cities to visit first-rate art museums, to hear good music and see lively experimental theater, to meet intelligent and sophisticated people who know how to live, dine, and talk well; and to enjoy all this in congenial and spacious surroundings. The New Yorker still wouldn't want to live there.


33. What he would find missing is what many outsiders find oppressive and distasteful about New York-- its rawness, tension, urgency; its bracing competitiveness; the rigor of its judgments; and the congested, democratic presence of so many other New Yorkers, encased in their own worlds. The defeated are not hidden away somewhere else on the wrong side of town. In the subways, in the buses, in the streets, it is possible to avoid people whose lives are harder than yours.

他会发现那缺少局外人眼里的纽约令人难以忍受和反感之处-- 它的粗俗,紧张和急迫;它那令人振奋的竞争;它缜密的评判;还有拥挤在一处,不分尊卑贵贱,活在自己的世界里的诸多纽约客。失败者不必躲在城市的角落里,在地铁上,公交车上,大街上,比你生活更艰难的人比比皆是。

34. With the desperate, the ill, the fatigued, the overwhelmed, one learns not to strike up conversation (which isn't wanted) but to make brief, sympathetic eye contact, to include them in the human race. It isn't much, but it is the fleeting hospitality of New Yorkers, each jealous of his privacy in the crowd. Even helpfulness is often delivered as a taunt: a man, rushing in the traffic light, dashes in front of an oncoming car. "Watch it, Mac," shouts the man behind him. "You want to be wearing a Buick with Jersy plates?"-- great scorn in the word Jersey, home of drivers who don't belong here.

对于失望透顶,疾病缠身,痛苦不堪和不知所措的人,不要与之交谈(交谈不是人们希望的),一个短暂的同情的眼神就够了,表明他们也属于这个圈子。这看起来不算什么,但是对唯恐在公众面前暴露隐私的纽约客来说,这就是稍纵即逝的友好的表示了。纽约客甚至会用嘲讽的方式帮助别人:一个闯红灯的人冲到一辆开过来的汽车前面。“兄弟,当心点,”后面的人喊道。“你想要让一辆泽西牌照的别克汽车撞到吗?”-- “泽西”这个词有很强的嘲讽意味,指的是外地司机的家乡。

35. By Adolf Hitler's definition, New York is a mongrel city. It is in fact the first truly international metropolis. No other great city-- not London, Paris, Rome, or Tokyo-- play host (or hostage) to so many nationalities. The mix is much wider- Asians, Africans, Latins- than when that tumultuous variety of Europeans crowded ashore at Ellis Island. The newcomers are never fully absorbed, butt are added precariously to the undigested many.

按照阿道夫希特勒的定义,纽约是一个杂种城市。事实上它是第一座真正意义上的国际性大都市。其他的大城市-- 伦敦,巴黎,罗马或东京-- 都没有接纳(或收留)这么多的民族。比起当年熙熙攘攘的欧洲人登上埃利斯岛的时候们,现在的混杂程度有过之而无不及。这些新来者从未被完全接纳,但却不确定加入到同未被接纳的人群当中。

36. New York is too big to be dominated by any group, by Wasps or Jews or blacks, or by Catholics of many origins- Irish, Italian, Hispanic. All have their little sovereignties, all are sizable enough to be reckoned with and tough in asserting their claims, but none is powerful enough to subdue the others. Characteristically, the city swallows up the United Nations and refuses to take it seriously, regarding it as an unworkable mixture of the idealistic, the impractical, and the hypocritical. But New Yorkers themselves are in training in how to live together in a diversity of races-- the necessary initiation into the future.

纽约太大了而不能被任何一班人马所支配,无论是盎格鲁,犹太人还是黑人,或者有众多起源的天主教徒-- 爱尔兰人,意大利人和西班牙裔美国人。所有这些人都有自己的小领域,并且人数众多,在维护自己的主张方面又恨强硬,这些都足以引起重视并谨慎对待,但没有一方能强大到足以制服另一方。典型的是,这个城市吞并了联合国,不把它当回事,认为它是由理想家,不且实际的人和虚伪做作的人组成的无法运作的混合体。但是,纽约客自己正努力学会如何在多种族的社会里和平共处-- 这是迈向未来的必要开端。

37. The diversity gives endless color to the city, so that walking in it is a constant education in sights and smells. There is a wonderful variety of places to eat or shop, and though the most successful of such places are likely to be touristy hybrid compromises, they too have genuine roots. Other American cities have ethnic turfs jealously defended, but not, I think, such an admixture of groups, thrown together in such jarring juxtapositions.


38. In the same way, avenues of high-rise luxury in New York are never far from poverty and mean streets. The sadness and fortitude of New York must be celebrated, along with its treasures of art and music. The combination is unstable; it produces friction, or an uneasy forbearance that sometimes becomes a real toleration.


39. Loving and hating New York becomes a matter of alternating moods, often in the same day. The place constantly exasperates, at times exhilarates. To me, it is the city of unavoidable experience. Living here, one has the reassurance of steadily confronting life.