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傳神有趣的英文比喻
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: October 8, 2012 – 4:01 pm

版主最近幾天研讀 Tom Wolf 的書 Hooking Up。本書的第一章討論美國在公元兩千年時出現的光怪陸離現象,內容非常生動活潑,暗諷當時美國的時事與政治。

版主讀到第六頁時看到一個有趣的用法,文章節錄如下:

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Once the successful chief executive officer set up his old wife  in a needlepoint shop where she could sell yarn to her friends, he was free to take on a new wife, a “trophy wife,” preferably a woman in her twenties, and preferably blond, as in an expression from that time, a “lemon tart.” What was the downside? Was the new couple considered radioactive socially? Did people talk sotto voce, behind the hand, when the tainted pair came by? Not for a moment.

由於缺乏上下文,版主稍微更動了幾個字使行文流暢。這段文字概略意思是:美國許多總裁在功成名就之後就把糟糠之妻甩了,然後再娶二十歲出頭的金髮「戰利品妻子」。作者反問:「這些新婚夫婦會變成 radioactive socially 嗎?人們看到這對狗男女 (用詞好像有點重耶) 時會在背後說閒話嗎 ?當然不會!」

translation

今天版主要講的是 radioactive 這個字。它的基本意思就是:有輻射的 (sending out harmful radiation)。想當然爾,接觸輻射會致命的,所以某個人只要被形容成 radioactive,表示大家看到他都 「避之唯恐不及 」,沒人想與他搭上任何關係。

英文的優點就是可以在某個形容詞前面加副詞來修飾它,藉此擴展該形容詞的語義。因此,我們可以寫成 politically and socially radioactive,表示某個人在政治與社交的領域都不討人喜愛,人見人厭。

其實,版主早在七八年前讀《時代解讀》(January 2003 / No. 85 ; Page 89) 雜誌時就發現這個有趣的比喻說法,現節錄如下:

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After all, on the political correctness meter The Lord of the Rings is radioactive. Where are the women? Peter Jackson filled out Liv Tyler’s role for the movies (it’s much less prominent in Tolken’s version), but the Fellowship is still as much a boys’ club as Augusta National. And whiter too.

Time  – Sunday, Nov. 24, 2002

translation

這段話的意思是:畢竟,以政治正確的儀表來檢查,《魔界》有嚴重的輻射污染。女人都去哪了?彼得傑克森未這幾部電影刻意增加了麗芙泰勒一角的戲份 (在托爾金的版本裡只是個小角色),但是魔戒遠征隊還是如同奧古斯塔國家高爾夫俱樂部一樣,完全是男性的天下,而且膚色還更白。

譯文參考《時代解讀》(January 2003 / No. 85 ; Page 89)

作者藉由這段文字表示《魔界》跟 Augusta National (該俱樂部曾要求桿弟都要是黑人,甚至不准女性入會) 一樣,不僅重男輕女,而且還可能有膚色歧視。出現的男人都是白人,因此從政治正確的角度來看,《魔界》顯然不太正確喔!

(補充資訊)

有位美國網友看到上面這段文字之後,還投書時代雜誌表達不同看法:

Your story said that “on the political-correctness meter, The Lord of the Rings is radioactive,” and asked, “Where are the women?” There may not be many women in Tolkien’s fantasy world, but the few he depicts are strong and courageous–equal to or better than the men they interact with. The trilogy is a great form of escapism for women and men, and I would hate that people thought that it is misogynistic in any way. CHRIS BLAND Dallas

(source) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1003943,00.html

** misogynistic = 厭惡女人的

translation

有興趣的網友可去Urban Dictionary 查 radioactive 這個字的流行用法,可以得到網友熱心提供的其他解釋與用法。

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