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英国人为何喜欢发牢骚?

2014-04-23    来源:21世纪    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

UK haunted by grumps

Bad weather, bad food, and grumpy people. That’s what seems to come to mind first when some people think about Britain. Many online commentators even joke that Britons are so grumpy precisely because it constantly rains and they are always hungry.
恶劣的天气,难吃的食物,脾气暴躁的人,一些人提到英国时总是首先想到这些。许多网友甚至开玩笑说,英国人这么喜欢发脾气,是因为那里老是下雨,他们还经常饿肚子。

But British pessimism isn’t just a fanciful claim — there’s evidence to support this notion. In 2011, a national Ipsos Mori poll found that more than 60 percent of respondents believed the UK was getting worse as a place to live and that it was unlikely that today’s youth would have a better life than their parents.
但英国人的悲观情绪并非无中生有——有事实为证。2011年,英国伊普索•莫利调查机构的民意调查显示,超过60%的调查对象认为英国越来越不宜居,现在的年轻人不太可能会过上比他们父母更好的生活。

An obvious reason for such pessimism is the 2008 global economic crisis, which the UK is still recovering from. Yet, many believe that Britons are inherently negative, in contrast to their neighbors across the Atlantic Ocean.
导致这种悲观情绪的一个很明显原因是2008年爆发的全球经济危机,英国至今还没有完全从这场危机中恢复过来。然而,有一部分人则认为英国人生来就消极,这与他们大西洋彼岸的邻居截然相反。

“The big difference is the Americans are more optimistic. And that’s due to the fact that Americans are told, they can become the next president of the United States,” Ricky Gervais, a British comedian, told online forum Big Think. “British people are told, it won’t happen to you. And they carry that. They carry that with them. We champion the underdog.”
“与英国人相比,美国人更加乐观。因为美国人会被告知他们有可能成为下一届美国总统。”英国喜剧演员瑞奇•热维斯在网络视讯论坛“大思想”上说到:“而英国人则被告知,那种事不会发生在你身上。于是他们就一直揣着这种认知:我们是十足的失败者。”

It’s no wonder that Britons’ reputation of having a “stiff upper lip” — being cold and not showing any emotion— precedes them.
难怪英国人比美国人更缄默、冷酷、不露情感。


Show of strength
奋武扬威


Britain’s reputation as a grumpy country may, however, simply be the result of a cultural misunderstanding. According to the BBC, British actor Michael Caine once said:
然而,英国之所以被看成一个脾气暴躁的国家,坦白来说是源自文化差异所造成的误解。据英国广播公司报道,英国演员迈克尔•凯恩曾经说过:

“I think what is British about me is my feelings and awareness of others and their situations. English people are always known to be well-mannered and cold, but we are not cold — we don’t interfere in your situation. If we are heartbroken, we don’t scream in your face with tears — we go home and cry on our own. It’s completely to do with your comfort — we don’t intrude on your space. That’s very English.”
“我对英国人的认识来自自身的感受和对他人及其境况的理解。众所周知,英国人向来很彬彬有礼、冷漠淡定。其实我们并非冷漠,而是不会干涉他人生活。如果我们受伤了,我们不会在你面前哭天喊地、泪流满面;相反我们会回家独自默默哭泣。这样做完全是为了让你心里好过,我们不会侵犯你的空间。这才是典型的英国人。”

A BBC reader noted that the perceived coldness of British people is actually their way of dealing with hardship. Remembering the terrorist attacks against London on July 7, 2005, Stuart Colley, who lived in the capital at the time, said: “It seemed to me that most people’s response was a grim determination to carry on and not to descend into an over-emotional outpouring of grief or anger — despite what many of us felt inside. Our stiff upper lip seems to be something that gives us strength as a society when we most need it.”
英国广播公司的一位读者说道,实际上,英国人就是利用这种冷漠来克服困难。记得2005年7月伦敦遭遇恐怖袭击时,当时住在伦敦的斯图尔特•科利说:“在我看来,大部分人都以坚韧的意志把持着,尽管我们中有很多人内心十分痛苦和愤怒,却没有因此情绪失控。在我们最需要的时候,缄默似乎能给我们带来力量。”


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