时间:2018年07月18日 22:32:47

PARIS — I have just another piece about French decline and malaise. My first reaction is: Enough aly! As I’ve said before, malaise is to France as the Royal family is to Britain: a perennial condition that each people lives off.巴黎——我刚刚又读到一篇以法国的衰落和不安情绪为题的文章。我的第一反应是:够了!正如我以前所说,不安情绪之于法国,就如同王室之于英国:是每个人早就习以为常的东西。It was 18 years ago that, as a correspondent in Paris, I wrote: “France today is racked by doubt and introspection. There is a pervasive sense that not only jobs — but also power, wealth, ideas and national identity itself — are migrating, permanently and at disarming speed, to leave a vapid grandeur on the banks of the Seine.”18年前在巴黎当通讯记者的时候,我曾经写道:“怀疑和自省的氛围让今天的法国备受煎熬。人们普遍感觉,正以惊人的速度永远离法国而去的不只是工作机会,还有权力、财富乃至国家认同感本身,遗留在塞纳河岸的唯有空洞乏味的的伟大。”Well, almost two decades on France is still here, as are the jeremiads that accompany it. One should not mistake grumbling, in its French iteration, for unhappiness. That would be far too literal-minded, almost Anglo-Saxon!可是,过了将近20年,法国依然伫立在这里,与此同时,关于法国的种种哀叹依然没有消散。别以为法国人翻来覆去地发牢骚,就表示他们不幸福。那样的话就太死脑筋了,简直堪称盎格鲁-撒克逊式的死脑筋。France is stubborn. It is an idea, after all. Ideas must be defined against something. France has little choice but to define itself against the English-speaking world, rushing after money when other consolations abound. It was the French epicure Brillat-Savarin who noted: “I have drawn the following inference, that the limits of pleasure are as yet neither known nor fixed.”法国很固执。说到底,它是一种理念。理念总得靠点什么来衬托和突显。法国别无选择,只能用放着那么多别的慰藉不要、偏去追逐金钱的英语世界来衬托和突显自己。法国美食家布里亚-萨瓦亨(Brillat-Savarin)曾经说过:“我得出的结论是,到目前为止,快感的界限既不为人所知,也非固定不变。”Perhaps it’s the perfection of Paris in these early spring days that makes all the chat about moroseness seem facile — the sweet breeze, the wide bright sky on the banks of the Seine, the low-slung bridges with their subtle fulcrums, the early-morning silence (enveloping enough for the sound of a woman’s heels on the sidewalk to be audible), the city’s gentle awakening, the curve of a zinc roof, the flat-topped pollarded trees along the gravel pathways of the Tuileries, the etched shadows on limestone, the streets that beckon and the boulevards that summon.或许是这早春巴黎的完美无缺让一切与郁闷有关的话题都显得没了意义——习习的清风,塞纳河岸上方广阔明亮的天空,有着精巧点的低矮桥梁,清晨的寂静(寂静到可以听见一个女人穿着高跟鞋走在人行道上),缓缓苏醒的城市,锌皮屋顶的曲线,杜乐丽花园(Tuileries)里的碎石小径两旁顶部修剪得平平整整的树木,映在石灰石上的影子,摆手致意的小街巷,高声招呼的林荫大道。If this is the vapid grandeur of a fading power, I’ll take it!如果这就是一个衰落大国的“空洞乏味的伟大”,那我愿意接受!It is April, “mixing memory and desire,” as T.S. Eliot put it. Cruel would be an overstatement. There are places you come to at an impressionable age that will never leave you. Forty years ago, I lived as a student in a tiny apartment at the bottom of the Rue Mouffetard. I was studying French and giving English lessons three times a week in a lycée in a southern suburb famous principally for its prison. I would return in the early evening and wander around the market — the mackerel glistening on their bed of ice, the barded chickens, the plump endives, the serried ranks of eggplant, the bawdy invitations to buy the last of the silvery sardines for a song, acrid Gauloise smoke in the wintry air. Paris was release from a crimped Britain. A single window on the city was enough.正如T·S·艾略特(T.S. Eliot)所言,这是“混杂着回忆与欲望”的四月。用残酷一词来描述它未免显得太过夸张。如果你在容易受到外界影响的年纪到过某些地方,那它们就会永远留在你的记忆中。40年前,我还是一名学生,住在穆浮达街(Rue Mouffetard)尽头的一间小公寓里。我当时正学习法语,每星期在一所公立中学给学生上三次英语课。那所学校位于主要以监狱闻名的南郊。我会在傍晚时分赶回来,逛一逛穆浮达街市场——鲭鱼在冰床上闪闪发光,鸡肉被片成了薄片,菊苣丰满多肉,茄子密密匝匝地排成排,小贩发出猥琐的邀请,说只要唱首歌就可以把最后一点银亮的沙丁鱼买走,寒冷的空气中飘散着高卢牌(Gauloise)香烟的刺鼻味道。巴黎让我得以逃离束缚多多的英国。只要在这座城市里拥有一扇窗,对我来说就已足够。My Parisian sojourn culminated with the boiling summer of 1976. City fountains dried up. People sat dazed on park benches staring into the haze. Not a bottle of water could be found. The city was as romantic as a war zone. Pensioners died in little airless maids’ rooms under those zinc roofs. Nobody knew. Brittle leaves on plane trees dangled motionless.在1976年的那个酷暑,我结束了在巴黎的逗留。当时,城里的喷泉水流枯竭。人们坐在公园的长凳上,盯着雾霭发呆。一瓶水都找不到。当时的巴黎像战区一样夸张。锌皮屋顶下,老年人死在狭小且不通风的小屋里,无人知晓。悬铃木的树叶一动不动地耷拉着。Of course, Britain has raced ahead since, Thatcher-revolutionized itself, uncrimped itself, and London has become the global city par excellence, while Paris has merely burnished the credentials of its beauty. France has grown sullen in its defiance of global modernity. Well, so be it!当然,英国后来走到了前面,掀起了一场撒切尔革命,摈弃了诸多束缚。伦敦变成了出类拔萃的全球化城市,而巴黎只是把它美丽之都的招牌擦了擦。和全球现代化作对的法国变得郁郁寡欢。可那又怎么样!Few countries would have handled the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 with such rigor, transparency and speed. Watching Brice Robin, the Marseille prosecutor, I was reminded that public service in France is still a high calling that draws many of the country’s best minds. It is not a mere second-best to the lucrative private sector. Once again the police — applauded by left-wing crowds in the vast demonstration after the Charlie Hebdo killings in January — showed superb professionalism. President Fran#231;ois Hollande was measured and composed, his response appropriate at every step.鲜有国家能以法国那样缜密、透明和迅速地应对德国之翼9525航班坠机事件。看着马赛检察官布里斯·罗班(Brice Robin),我想起法国的公共务依然是一项要求颇高的职业,吸引了该国很多极优秀的人才。它可不是屈居富有的私营领域之下的次等选择。警方再次表现出了高超的专业水平。今年1月,在《查理周报》(Charlie Hebdo)杀人事件后出现的大规模示威游行中,警方就受到了左翼民众的称赞。总统弗朗索瓦·奥朗德(Fran#231;ois Hollande)慎重沉稳,每一步的应对都恰如其分。France is a country that works. It could work better. But it works in its way. And if it worked better, by the standards of the Anglo-Saxon world, it would also lose some essence of its particular functionality.法国是一个正常运行的国家。它可以运行得更好。但它有自己的运行方式。如果按照按盎格鲁-撒克逊世界的标准来看,它的运行达到了更好,它那独特的功用性就会出现一些本质上的损失。Last September, I wrote of my attempts to sell a village house I’ve owned for 20 years and the real estate agent who began her pitch by saying: “Monsieur, you cannot sell it. This is a family home. You know it the moment you step in. You sense it in the walls. You breathe it in every room. You feel it in your bones. This is a house you must keep for your children. I will help you sell it if you insist, but my advice is not to sell.”去年秋天,我写了打算卖房子的经历。那是一处在乡下的房子,在我名下已经20年了,房地产经纪人张口一句话却说:“先生,你不能卖。这是家宅。一走进来就知道。你能从墙里感受它,在每间屋里都能呼吸到它,你能在骨子里能感觉它。你必须把这座房子留给你的孩子。如果你坚持要卖,我会帮你,但我的建议是别卖。”Since then, I’ve been asked many times what happened to the house. I sold it. She was right: It was a mistake. The world needs real estate agents who tell you not to sell your home — and they are only to be found in France.从那时候开始,我多次被问到那处房子怎么样了。我卖了。她说得对:那是个错误。这个世界需要那种让你不要卖房子的房地产经纪人——只有在法国,才能找到这样的经纪人。 /201504/371240

文章编辑: 飞度名医