英语趣谈:A life of excess 黄金座厕的启示

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SOURCE都市报

原本在美国展出的黄金座厕运到英国历史建筑物Blenheim Palace展出,不消两天就被偷走。厕所以真金制造,价值差不多1000万港元。其实它是件艺术品,是意大利艺术家Maurizio Cattelan的作品。

作品的用意为何?

The artist intended the golden toilet to be a pointed satire about excessive wealth. Cattelan has previously said: “Whatever you eat, a $200 lunch or a $2 hot dog, the results are the same, toilet-wise.”
Pointed是形容词,解尖锐的;可用来形容实物,例如︰The church has a pointed roof.(教堂有个尖的屋顶。)Pointed用作形容词,亦解尖锐的、辛辣的,如a pointed commentary是尖锐的评论。 Satire是名词,解讽刺作品。

嘲讽炫富

Maurizio Cattelan没有详细解释为何称金厕为”America”,却说:“你吃200美元一顿的午餐,抑或两美元一只的热狗,从座厕的角度看,结果一点也没有分别。”作品的用意是嘲讽excessive wealth。

Wealth是财富。财富谁会嫌多?财富令人羡慕,也是很多人一生追求的目标,不论已拥有多少都要继续追寻。报道说,”prior to the theft, visitors to the Cattelan exhibition could book a three-minute appointment to use the toilet. This had proved popular when the toilet was on display at the Guggenheim.”

除了是真金制造,金厕亦是个真正可供使用的水厕,当在纽约Guggenheim博物馆展出时,参观人士可排队轮候使用,排队人多,所以每人最多限用3分钟。

金厕是件艺术品,制作精美,理应不舍弄污它,那为什么会想把它作真厕使用,反映的是否就是大家对excessive wealth和它带来的luxury的向往心态?
Excess用作名词解过量、过度,an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable;亦解lack of moderation, especially in eating or drinking,过分放纵,尤指饮食方面。 To eat to excess,吃得过量;亦解放肆的行为,a life of excess,是无节制的生活。 Excessive是形容词,解过分的、过度的、极度的。

Minimalist的生活
有钱谁想穷,有豪华谁要简约,这是社会普遍心态,但The More of Less的作者Joshua Becker推崇的是minimalist的生活,提醒大家要知道praising success和praising excess的分别。

Our world applauds(鼓掌、称赞) success. And well it should. It is entirely appropriate to champion(支持、推崇) those who develop their talents, work hard, and overcome obstacles. There are many successful people I admire in my own life . But our world is also fixated(念念不忘) on praising excess. We are not the first society to worship conspicuous consumption(引人注目的、高调的消费), but we do continue the practice.
“Conspicuous consumption”就是戴名表、用名牌手袋、驾名贵汽车。

Excess is rarely the wisest use of our money. Harvey Mackay once said, “If you can afford a fancy(精美的、高级的、奢华的) car, you can make more of an impact driving an ordinary one.” His statement is true. There are better things to do with our money than spend it on ourselves.

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