纽约时报文摘 | 英国人想要一座安逸的小地狱

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ALRESFORD, England — IN summer, the land around Alresford, the rural market town in the south of England where I grew up, blooms in a way that seems almost terrible.
英国奥尔斯福德——我是在英格兰南部的乡村集镇奥尔斯福德长大的,每到夏天,它周围的土地便会以一种近乎骇人的方式繁盛起来。

My parents’ house stands in the middle of a 1980s housing development of suburban ugliness, all detached red-brick blocks and generously proportioned driveways. There is not supposed to be nature in the suburbs, but in Alresford (pronounced AWLS-fud) nature is still powerful — every year the grass at the top of the road will suddenly grow tall, and fill with wildflowers, hedgehogs, little birds of delirious and unusual colors. Every morning the birds wake you up at 4 with a chorus of hoots and trills.
我父母的房子位于上世纪80年代修建的一个丑陋的郊区住宅区中央,那里满是独立红砖建筑和宽敞的车道。郊区原本不该是自然的领地,但在奥尔斯福德,自然仍旧有其威力——年复一年,在道路的尽头,野草总会突然蹿高,那儿还有许多野花、刺猬,以及颜色艳丽罕见的小鸟。每天清晨,由鸟儿的啼叫和鸣啭构成的大合唱都会在4点把你唤醒。

But no sooner has nature started to assert itself than the grass gets cut back and the mornings return to being silent and still. Alresford becomes human again. Human in a normal, provincial English way, in a place where people own homes, save for pensions and vote to leave the European Union — as 55 percent of the population of Hampshire county did on Thursday.
但自然刚开始刷存在感,野草便又会被芟刈,清晨又会归于静寂无声。奥尔斯福德又会成为人类的天下。人们在这里以英国小地方的正常方式生活,有自己的房子,攒钱养老,投票脱欧——就像汉普郡55%的选民在周四所做的那样。

Sometimes, in the summer, I walk up the hill and I look out over it, the housing development on one side and the Georgian town center at the bottom of the other, and I have this fantasy image of how it once was, before Alresford was founded in the Middle Ages, when all of this was untouched: just the wild, untamed nature that it keeps wanting to turn itself back into. And sometimes, I think: I wish that would happen. Because all that humans have ever done here is ruin things.
有时候,我会在夏天步行登上小山,向下眺望,住宅区位于一侧,乔治亚镇中心位于另一侧的尽头;我眼前会呈现奥尔斯福德在中世纪建成之前,一切尚未遭到破坏时的梦幻景象:触目所及尽是野性未驯的自然——它一直努力想要回归的自然。有时候,我会想:希望真的可以回到过去。因为人类在这里除了破坏,什么也没干。

Alresford is my personal hell.
奥尔斯福德是我个人的地狱。

We are not used to thinking that a place like this — a pleasant town with a pretty center — might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live: Houses in the center easily sell for upward of a million pounds. (What they will cost once the vote to leave the European Union makes the economy crater remains to be seen.)
我们还无法适应这种想法:这样的一个地方——一个市中心漂漂亮亮的可爱小城——或许真的是地狱。这里几乎不知贫穷为何物,暴力事件只是偶然发生。这里有很好的学校,有各种店铺,还有一条观光铁路。事实上,这里似乎是许多人非常想要生活其中的那种地方:城中心的房子很容易就能卖出100万英镑的高价(投票脱欧损及经济之后,它们的身价会是多少,尚有待观察)。

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling. You can see them in the looks that residents give you when they pass; sneering snobs glaring down their noses with entitlement; small-minded townies, bullying you with eyes that you recognize from the primary school lunchroom; the old people, 80 and above, wearing blank stares. You can hear it in their bothered tutting at the bus stop (especially if they ever hear a visitor mispronouncing the name of the town), the shots that constantly ring out from across the countryside as they set about murdering as many of the local pheasants as they can.
但透过表象,你会发现魔鬼正蠢蠢欲动。当擦肩而过的居民望向你时,你能感受到魔鬼的存在:冷笑着的势利小人会颇具优越感地投来轻视的目光;心胸狭窄的城里人会用能在小学食堂里见到的那种眼神恐吓你;年逾八旬的老人目光茫然。当他们在公交站不耐烦地发出啧声时(尤其是听到外来者念错小城名字的时候),当他们开始尽可能多地猎杀当地的野鸡,枪声在野地里不停响起时,你能感受到魔鬼的存在。

As with any hell, the thing that really makes it so is that you can never leave. For one thing, poor public transportation makes leaving impossible in a practical, everyday sense — at least if you can’t drive. For another, the town thwarts any ambitions that stretch beyond its borders. From what I can tell, a young person from Alresford, forced to move back in with his parents after college, will typically find himself unable to get work that is not based in Alresford. As a result, it is full of people around my age, 27, stuck in dead-end jobs.
同任何地狱一样,最恐怖的是你永远不能离开它。首先,从实际的日常意义上说,如果你不会开车,糟糕的公交系统会让你根本不可能离开。还有,这个镇子会毁灭一切想要伸展出其边界之外的野心。以我自己的经验来说:一个奥尔斯福德的年轻人大学毕业后被迫搬回父母家里,便会发现自己在奥尔斯福德之外的地方基本上找不到任何工作。我今年27岁,最后,这里就聚集了一大堆我的同龄人,干着各种没有前途的工作。

And it is impossible to leave Alresford, because Alresford is not just a place: It is an ideology that infects your very soul. Let’s call it “Alresfordism.” It is an ideology of smallness, of contraction, of wanting to curl up in our own personal, financially secure hole and will everything amusing or interesting or exciting in the world away.
想离开奥尔斯福德是不可能的,因为奥尔斯福德不仅仅是一个地方,它是一种意识形态,已经侵蚀了你的灵魂。我们就管它叫“奥尔斯福德主义”吧。这是一种关于微小与收缩的意识形态,我们只想蜷缩在由自己的性格与财务所决定的安全洞穴里,把世界上所有好玩、有趣,刺激的东西关在外面。

Since my late teens, every effort I have ever exerted has been with the intention of escaping Alresford. And yet, I am an early-career academic and so I am forced to move back, every summer, to live with my parents because I cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere after my temporary teaching contract ends. Then, sometimes, I think: What if I’m actually secretly comfortable here? What if I have chosen the security of death in Alresford over the risks of life elsewhere? What if I am in fact fully in the clutches of Alresfordism?
十八九岁时,我所做的一切努力都是以逃离奥尔斯福德为目的。如今,我是个步入职场不久的大学教师,被迫每年夏天都搬回父母家里,因为临时教职合同一旦结束,我就负担不起任何地方的房租。有时候,我就想,在内心深处,我是不是觉得这里其实很舒服自在呢?我是不是宁愿选择老死在奥尔斯福德的这种安全感,也不愿冒着生命危险到处闯荡呢?我是不是已经彻底落入了奥尔斯福德主义的掌握之中?

It was for psychological reasons, as much as anything else, that I didn’t register to vote in Alresford. Registering to vote here would have felt like actually moving here. I registered in Essex, where I live during the academic year, for the recent local elections, so I just thought I’d retain that registration for the Brexit referendum. I also don’t like filling in forms, which is why I didn’t register to vote by mail or look into how I’d amend my registration.
我没有选择在奥尔斯福德注册选举,既有心理原因,也有其他因素。在某处登记投票选举,感觉就好像真的住在那里了一样。学期开学的时候我都住在埃塞克斯(Essex),所以最近的本地选举都是在那里登记,我觉得直到英国退出欧盟公投时,我也会保留那里的登记。我不喜欢填表格,所以也没有选择通过邮寄投票,或者考虑修改投票登记地点。

I admit that I was very complacent about all this. I didn’t think one vote would make a difference. And besides, I wasn’t particularly motivated to use my vote anyway. Brexit, supported by some very bad people, would definitely have some bad consequences, but on the other hand, who knows what positive effects it might have? I wasn’t willing to endorse it, but, hey, I certainly bought the argument that it might be a worthwhile shake-up to the system.
我承认,我对这一切都感到有点沾沾自喜。我不觉得一张选票能带来多大差别。另外,我对投票这事也不怎么积极。英国退出欧盟,这种事都是坏家伙才支持的,肯定不会有什么好结果,但是另一方面,这种事说不定也有什么积极作用呢,谁知道?我不愿意为它背书,不过,嗨,我肯定是听进去了一些讨论,脱离欧盟有可能是一种动摇体制的方法,说不定值得一试。

My complacency lasted until June 16, when Jo Cox, a Labour member of Parliament and a vocal defender of immigration, was killed; the man charged in her death, Thomas Mair, had ties to far-right groups and introduced himself in court by the name “death to traitors.” That shocked me into a realization that this referendum wasn’t really a referendum about whether or not we should remain in the European Union. It was a referendum on immigration and on race — on whether to have our borders open or closed.
我的这种沾沾自喜一直持续到6月16日,移民的积极支持者、工党下院议员乔·考克斯(Jo Cox)遭到枪杀,杀害她的人托马斯·迈尔(Thomas Mair)和极右组织有关,在法庭上,他说自己的名字是“叛国者死”。这令我大吃一惊,明白这场公投并非真的是关于我们是否应该留在欧盟,而是一场关于移民与种族的公投,是一场关于开放还是关闭国境的公投。

In short: Do we open ourselves up to new things, even if they might be unfamiliar, risky, unexpected, sometimes even undesirable? Or do we close ourselves down: a small island, trapped in its own smallness? So I knew which way I had to vote. This was a referendum on Alresfordism.
简而言之:我们还会对新事物保持开放吗,就算它们陌生、危险、出乎意料,甚至有时候不受欢迎?抑或我们会把自己封闭起来,只做一个小岛,完全困在自己的小天地之中?所以我知道自己必须投票选择哪一条道路了。这是一场关于奥尔斯福德主义的公投。

I SET out from Alresford on Thursday to register my protest against Alresfordism. Three hours on the train, through London, from Winchester to Wivenhoe, then back again, I thought. I was wrong.
星期四,我从奥尔斯福德出发,去表达我对奥尔斯福德主义的抗议。我以为要坐三个小时的火车,从温切斯特到威文霍,途径伦敦,然后再回来。但是我错了。

An electrical storm the night before had caused signal failures across southeast England. I managed to get to London, but when I tried to change for the train to Essex, I found that everything so far that day had been canceled. A convoluted series of changes on the Tube and on buses left me stranded in Romford, in outer London, where the train I had been told I could catch to Colchester had just been canceled. I tried my best, I thought, and I failed miserably. I went home.
前天夜晚的一场电子风暴令整个英格兰东南部的信号出现故障。我勉强到达伦敦,但是当我换乘到埃塞克斯的火车时,才发现当天的车次都被取消了。由于伦敦地铁与公共汽车一系列错综复杂的变化,我只能滞留在伦敦边缘的罗姆福德。我本该在那里换乘到科尔切斯特的火车,结果车次却被取消了。我想,自己已经尽了一切努力,结果却悲惨地失败了。于是我回了家。

Even if I’d managed to cast my vote, it would have been pointless. The Remain campaign didn’t just lose by my vote, we lost by more than a million. Britons wanted to make our world smaller. They wanted to make it more like Alresford. As far as I can tell, they are going to get exactly what they wanted.
就算我想办法投了票,最后也是毫无意义的。留欧阵营不仅仅是失去了我的选票而已,我们失去的是100多万张选票。英国人希望我们的世界更小一些。他们希望英国更像奥尔斯福德。就我所知,他们彻底得到了自己想要的东西。

As a result of this vote, Britain will withdraw rapidly. We will have fewer people coming here, enriching our culture and our lives. There will be fewer opportunities. We will have less of a chance to explore the world for ourselves.
由于这次公投,英国会很快离开欧盟。今后,来到这个国家并丰富我们的文化与生活的人将会愈来愈少。机会将愈来愈少。我们自己去探索世界的机会也会愈来愈少。

Brexit is the result of a deep nihilism among the British public. This nihilism has not just emerged recently; I’ve lived alongside it my whole life. This is the nihilism of Alresfordism, a security-driven retraction toward death.
英国退出欧盟,是由英国公众之中一种深层次的虚无主义导致的。这种虚无主义并不是近期才抬头;我毕生都在与它相处。这是奥尔斯福德主义的虚无主义,是安全感驱使下的一次向死亡的倒退。

A recession would not, in truth, matter much to the people of Alresford. It is a pretty affluent place, and if you are a true Alresfordian, you will always be happy in your small town. How much more will the effects of the Leave vote be felt by people who do not share their nihilism, people like my friends and colleagues who’ve come here to live and work from the European Union.
事实上,经济衰退对奥尔斯福德人来说没有多大影响。这里是个还算富裕的地方,如果你是真正的奥尔斯福德人,家乡小镇的快乐生活总是有的。更能感受到离开欧盟所带来的影响的,是那些不认同他们的虚无主义的人,比如我的朋友和同事们,他们从其他欧盟国家来到英国居住和工作。

All I can do is look out at the nature from the window of my room in Alresford. I’m from here, so I can’t be sure whether or not this is just another type of nihilism, but I think: Well, if all this nature is bigger than us, then I want it be get even bigger. I want it to become so big that it will consume all of our smallnesses, invalidate them, smother them out. Not just Alresford. I want a demented, throbbing, fecund nature to overrun this whole country, to overturn the wretched consequences of the laws that we have, in our stupidity, set for ourselves.
我所能做的只有在奥尔斯福德的家中,看着窗外的大自然。我的家乡就在这里,所以我不确定这是否是另一种虚无主义,但我想:好吧,如果自然比我们更大,我希望它能变得还要再大一些,大到吞噬我们的渺小,让它失去效力,把它淹没。不仅仅是奥尔斯福德。我希望生机勃勃、繁荣茂盛的大自然可以占领我们的整个国家,挽回我们——本着我们的愚蠢——为自己制定的法则所造成的不幸后果。

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