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聖誕節第12天,禮物已變廢物

新頭殼newtalk/林光餘譯 2012.12.27 00:00
每年我們都按時為聖誕禮品而大買特買;這些揮霍不少錢買來的垃圾產品中,大部分卻不是對方所要的。那你何必要如此大費周章?送一盒你自己烘製的蛋糕不就行了? Every year we splurge on pointless, planet-trashing products, most of which are not wanted. Why not just bake them a cake? 看來已沒有一樣禮物是他們必需的,沒有一樣是他們還沒有的,甚至沒有一樣是他們要的。因此你只好買給他們一具光電馬達推動的「揮手女王」公仔;一小盒刷臉小毛刷;鍍銀的冰淇淋杯架;一具充氣助步架;一隻電子罵人小綠蠵龜;或者,不知怎的我發現一種還有點意思的,叫做「玩完就刮」的世界地圖Scratch Off World Map。 There's nothing they need, nothing they don't own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly-button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub-holder; a "hilarious" inflatable Zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World Map. 這些玩意在聖誕節當天看起來還蠻好玩;第二天,有點蠢;第三天,一看就有點不好意思了。因此到了第十二天,它們可能已被當成入土為安的垃圾。這些被我們賦予「禮物」使命的玩意,僅值三十秒意義含糊的娛樂,或帶來比不上抽支菸更爽的刺激,但它對我們所造成的不良衝擊,卻是經年累月綿延到無數代的。 They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they're in landfill. For 30 seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations. 當我們研究安妮‧李奧納德的電影:《東西的故事》(The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard)就會發現,在消費者經濟中流通的物品,僅1%在售後六個月仍在使用。我們即使期望讓物品能使用久一點,卻因為東西快速變舊或故障,或被認為過時而難逃原始計畫中的淘汰。 Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that, of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (wearing out or breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable). 其實我們所購買的許多產品,特別是聖誕禮品,永不會過時。過時意指失去使用性,但它們從一開始就沒有使用性,所以永不會過時。這類玩意包括像電子鼓T-恤、黑武士撲滿、耳式iPhone盒、啤酒冰袋、電子醒酒器、音波遙控器、培根味牙膏、舞狗….。這些玩意沒有一件是聖誕節之後你還想要的,或想看一眼的。他們最多讓你開口說聲謝謝,或讓你看了小小恥笑一番,然後呢?甩在一旁,涼快一世。 But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine T-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped iPhone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog. No one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away. 但這些產品所呈現的愚昧,與它們對未來世界所造成的深遠衝擊相匹配。它們在製造上需要稀有原料與能源,複雜的電子設計,還要動用運輸,讓不同原料物資經過進一步加工,結合成徹底無意義的廢物。此外,我們委外的製造,不僅消耗化石燃料,而且連帶產生二氧化碳。這些在我們的生產及消費過程中所產生的二氧化碳,竟佔二氧化碳總排放量的一半以上。我們正為製造光電浴盆溫度計與迷你桌上高爾夫球手而摧殘著地球。 The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers. 東剛果戰區原本出產智慧型手機所需的礦產。然而這些礦物因持續減少而造成政府與地方軍頭的利益衝突;結果卻使其人民遭到大量屠殺。另一樁事是,為了要生產「個人化心型木質切板」(譯註:可烙上自己或親友名字的切版)而砍伐森林。還有,為了生產「講話魚」而在河川中下毒。這都是病態性消費例子───一種藉由廣告與媒體的宣傳而發作的世界性消費集體錯亂病,但我們幾乎未注意其來龍去脈是怎麼一回事。 People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smartphone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make "personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets". Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and by the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us. 2007年,記者亞當‧威爾茲(Adam Welz)曾作如此紀錄:在南非有十三頭犀牛死於盜獵。今年,截止目前為止已有五百八十五頭犀牛被射殺。沒有人知道牠們被射殺的全部原因。但其中有一個原因是,越南的鉅富現在喜歡將犀牛角粉撒在他們的食物上,或像吸食古柯鹼一樣吸食犀牛角粉,以壯其身。這樣行徑堪稱怪異,但與幾乎所有工業國家民眾所幹的事沒有差別──將活生生世界推入無止境的消費深淵。 In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot. No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food, or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It's grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption. 這股快速成長的生產與消費發展並非來得意外。為了鼓勵這股浪潮出現,我們的生活早被它所框住與定型。世界貿易規則正逼迫著各國參與垃圾產品製造大慶典。各國政府為刺激買氣而忙著搞減稅、解除商業管控與操作利率等措施。但這些政策執行者鮮有人停下腳步問:大家這樣花費,是花費在什麼上面?當富有的購買者所提出的,或所能想到的需求都為製造商家所接受與配合之後,消費成長就要看如何販售這些徹底無用物了。於是莊嚴的國家權力與尊貴,全掌控在宅配「罵人綠蠵龜」到府的工作上。 This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask, "spending on what?" When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors. 有愈來愈多的男性與女性,不僅獻身於生產、行銷這些垃圾玩意,而且譏諷所謂沒有這些玩意,照樣可以活下去的說法。電視的電子產品廣告中,有一婦人這樣說道:「我不買禮物,我經常是自己做禮物送人的….」,廣告旁白卻接著說,「你可不能像她這樣噢!…」。谷歌平板電腦廣告中有一對父子去森林露營,兩人樂在其中的卻是他們的Nexus 7上的特殊功能。生命中最美好之物是免費沒錯,但他們總有辦法讓你掏腰包買他們的東西。 Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. "I always knit my gifts," says a woman in a TV ad for an electronics outlet. "Well you shouldn't," replies the narrator. An ad for a Google tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7's special features. The best things in life are free, but we've found a way of selling them to you. 消費群快速發展的同時,也出現收入所得不公平的成長。這說明上漲的經濟潮流,不會沖抬起所有舟船。美國經濟在2010年有著亮眼的表現。該年美國總體收入成長的93%,竟都集中在收入最上層的1%人口之中。這種現象,以前的說法是我們必須讓生產遍地開花,讓地球充滿垃圾產品,以助窮人過活。這種說法現在說不通了。儘管幾十年來,錢多得不知如何花的超級富翁聚財有方,人們卻認為地球的前景黯淡之至。 The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010, a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this Earth are diminished. 政府、媒體與廣告業者在某些方面合作是很有效率的。他們將財富與歡樂與消費掛勾之後,就會讓你自責得無地自容。我們看到上星期電視Radio 4頻道的《道德迷津》節目,大多數受邀名嘴都在數落減少消費的想法,有人甚至將減少消費的觀念扣上一頂「獨裁主義」的帽子。當全球都進入拼命生產 + 消費的狂亂世界時,那些不肯參與者反而被視為瘋子。 So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week's edition of Radio 4's The Moral Maze, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it somehow with authoritarianism. When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics. 終歸一句話,看上帝面子,請別一面倒垃圾給地球,一面還說你關心它;如要送禮給親友,寫一句詩,烘一個蛋糕,送一個吻,或講一個笑話就夠了。 Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for God's sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don't. 注:這是文魯彬先生請託的翻譯文章,徵得光餘老師同意放在此。

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