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经济学人:当诺拉遇到乔治(1)

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Obituary;Nora Ephron and Lonesome George

讣告;诺拉·艾芙伦与孤独乔治

Nora Ephron, observer of sexual behaviour, died on June 26th, aged 71. Lonesome George, habitual abstainer, died on June 24th, aged perhaps 100

性行为观察家诺拉·艾芙伦,6月26日逝世,享年71岁。习惯性禁欲者孤独乔治,6月24日去世,可能已是百岁高龄。

THE first story Nora Ephron had to write for the New York Post—the one that made the guys on the city desk fall around laughing, got her the job, and launched her on a career of witty, wise writing on surviving modern life—was about a pair of hooded seals at the Coney Island aquarium. They were not only not mating, as they were supposed to, but also refusing to have anything to do with each other.

诺拉·艾芙伦为纽约邮报写的第一篇报道是不得以为之,这篇关于科尼岛水族馆冠海豹两口子的文章让编辑部的那帮伙计笑得满地打滚,也让她得到了工作,以风趣而睿智的笔触描写当代生活的职业生涯由此展开。那两只冠海豹本该交配而不成,非但如此,而且根本不想和彼此有一毛钱关系。

Lonesome George could relate to that. Though he was probably the last surviving example of the giant Galápagos tortoise Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii, he too refused to perform. Scientists, tourists, journalists, conservationists and the government of Ecuador all waited for two decades for him to mate successfully or, indeed, get it on at all. He wasn't playing. In 1993 two females of a slightly different subspecies were put into his corral. He ignored them. When at last he decided to do his duty, in 2008 and occasionally later, the eggs failed to hatch. Clearly, he was a slow burner. Possibly he was gay. He refused to be turned on even when a female Swiss zoology graduate, smeared with tortoise hormones, gave him manual stimulation for four months.

孤独乔治可能与此有点关系。尽管他极可能是世上最后一只加拉帕戈斯象龟平塔岛亚种,他仍然拒绝交配。任凭一帮科学家、观光客、媒体人、环保者以及厄瓜多尔政府等了二十年,为了看他成功交配或者只是雄起一下,他就是不给力。1993年,两只略有差异的亚种雌象龟被带到了他的围栏中。他对她们视而不见。2008年和稍后偶然几次,他终于决定要完成他的使命,但是雌龟产的蛋也没能成功孵化。很明显,他是个慢热型选手。也许,他是个基佬。即使是一位瑞士动物学女大学生抹上龟类的性激素,给他做了四个月的人工刺激,他还是拒绝有所反应。

At which stage Ms Ephron might have asked, couldn't he at least have faked it? Women did that all the time. The most famous scene of her highly successful screenwriting career—which included “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You've Got Mail” and “Julie and Julia”—was the one in “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) in which Sally faked an orgasm over lunch at a deli on New York's Lower East Side.# After she had reared, moaned, gasped and shouted “Yes!” for what seemed like five minutes, the elderly lady at a nearby table told the waiter: “I'll have what she's having.”

艾小姐也许会问,这是在哪个阶段,他就不能假装有点兴趣吗?女人总是这么做。她的编剧作品包括《西雅图夜未眠》《电子情书》以及《茱莉和朱丽叶》,杰出的编剧生涯中最为人熟知的一个桥段是在《当哈利碰上莎莉》(1989)中的一幕, 莎莉在纽约下东区一家餐馆里午餐时表演了一场假扮高潮。莎莉身体起起伏伏,呻吟频频,娇喘连连,更是忘情高喊“Yes!”,持续了大概五分钟,旁桌的老女人叫来侍应生:“我要点她正在吃的菜。”

George couldn't. But then he didn't have the advantage of living, like Ms Ephron, in Manhattan, where something was almost bound to happen to you if you simply stepped outside, and if it didn't happen you could pick up the phone and order it. He was living in a volcanic field on Santa Cruz island 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador, where you couldn't find a decent bagel if you tried: in fact, a place a lot like Washington.

乔治不这么做。但是那时他不像艾小姐,有住在曼哈顿的便利,只要你走出去,有些事几乎是必定要发生,即便是没有发生,你也可以拿起电话订购。他过去是住在距离厄瓜多尔海岸500英里的圣克鲁斯岛上的火山区,事实上,那里就像是华盛顿,你怎么找也找不到像样的百吉饼。

Besides, he was no looker. Ms Ephron, though striking and svelte all her life, worried in the niggling way of women that her breasts were too small, her neck too crêpy (“I Feel Bad About My Neck” was the title of one book), her skin dry and her purse just wrong. George, whose neck was three feet of scrag and whose skin would have made several dozen purses, all thick, dry leather, didn't care two hoots. His one concession to fashion was a shell in taupe. Ms Ephron preferred black; but taupe, especially on a couch, didn't show the dirt.

另外,他面容并不俊俏。虽然艾小姐一生模样俊秀、身材苗条,但她也以女人特有的琐碎,为她的胸太小、脖子皮肤太松弛太多皱纹(她的一本书便叫做《我的脖子让我感觉糟糕》)、她的皮肤太干以及钱包样式不对而焦虑。乔治的脖子三英尺长,他的皮可以做成几十个厚重的干革钱包,他对此毫不在乎。对于时尚,他做出了一次让步,就是他灰褐色的壳。艾小姐偏好黑色,但是灰褐色不显脏,特别是用在沙发上。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
corral [kɔ:'rɑ:l]

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n. 畜栏 vt. 赶入,围住,聚集

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stimulation [.stimju'leiʃən]

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n. 刺激,激励,鼓舞

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mate [meit]

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n. 伙伴,配偶,同事
vt. 使 ... 配

 
hatch [hætʃ]

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n. 孵化,舱口
vt. 孵,孵出

 
zoology [zəu'ɔlədʒi]

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n. 动物学

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volcanic [vɔl'kænik]

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adj. 火山的,猛烈的

 
concession [kən'seʃən]

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n. 让步,妥协,特许权,租界

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decent ['di:snt]

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adj. 体面的,正派的,得体的,相当好的

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advantage [əd'vɑ:ntidʒ]

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n. 优势,有利条件
vt. 有利于

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occasionally [ə'keiʒənəli]

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adv. 偶尔地

 


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