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

 

精英翻譯社轉自: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/328020/web/

 

文/Henry Alford

譯/李京倫

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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.

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。

 

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 Inspiration is superseded by skepticism or a shiny decal that might read: “You Are Enough.”

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「做你自己就够了」。

 

—‘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.

「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。

 

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.

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.”

「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」。

 

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.

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。

 

Welcome to life.

歡迎面對人生。

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