英語趣談:A life of excess 黃金座廁的啟示

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原本在美國展出的黃金座廁運到英國歷史建築物Blenheim Palace展出,不消兩天就被偷走。廁所以真金製造,價值差不多1000萬港元。其實它是件藝術品,是意大利藝術家Maurizio Cattelan的作品。

作品的用意為何?

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是形容詞,解尖銳的;可用來形容實物,例如︰The church has a pointed roof.(教堂有個尖的屋頂。)Pointed用作形容詞,亦解尖銳的、辛辣的,如a pointed commentary是尖銳的評論。 Satire是名詞,解諷刺作品。

嘲諷炫富

Maurizio Cattelan沒有詳細解釋為何稱金廁為”America”,卻說:「你吃200美元一頓的午餐,抑或兩美元一隻的熱狗,從座廁的角度看,結果一點也沒有分別。」作品的用意是嘲諷excessive wealth。

Wealth是財富。財富誰會嫌多?財富令人羨慕,也是很多人一生追求的目標,不論已擁有多少都要繼續追尋。報道說,”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.”

除了是真金製造,金廁亦是個真正可供使用的水廁,當在紐約Guggenheim博物館展出時,參觀人士可排隊輪候使用,排隊人多,所以每人最多限用3分鐘。

金廁是件藝術品,製作精美,理應不舍弄污它,那為什麼會想把它作真廁使用,反映的是否就是大家對excessive wealth和它帶來的luxury的嚮往心態?
Excess用作名詞解過量、過度,an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable;亦解lack of moderation, especially in eating or drinking,過分放縱,尤指飲食方面。 To eat to excess,吃得過量;亦解放肆的行為,a life of excess,是無節制的生活。 Excessive是形容詞,解過分的、過度的、極度的。

Minimalist的生活
有錢誰想窮,有豪華誰要簡約,這是社會普遍心態,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的分別。

Our world applauds(鼓掌、稱讚) 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、高調的消費), but we do continue the practice.
“Conspicuous consumption”就是戴名表、用名牌手袋、駕名貴汽車。

Excess is rarely the wisest use of our money. Harvey Mackay once said, “If you can afford a fancy(精美的、高級的、奢華的) 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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