【纽约客】2018世界杯看点:梅西vs. C罗、预言帝猫咪、冰岛!!还有万人空巷的热烈场面

取经号JTW2018-06-23 18:58:08



作者:Brian Phillips



导读笔记 & 推荐阅读:朱小钊


本文选自 The New Yorker | 取经号原创翻译

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The biggest and strangest sporting event in human history resumes next week in Russia, where thirty-two men's national soccer teams will begin the month long competition for the strangely un-cup-like trophy given to the winners of the FIFA World Cup. For many of the world's best soccer players, the tournament offers a chance to become legends in their home countries and icons in the history of the game. For billions of soccer fans, the tournament offers a chance to participate in modernity's most sweeping collective frenzy, a spectacle that will shape the emotional context in which much of human life transpires for the next few weeks. For the United States men's national team, which did not qualify, the tournament offers a chance to feel gloomy while eating Cheetos on the couch.


There is a great deal to say about all this, but let's start with the cephalopods. The first octopus to attain wide notice as a soccer oracle was Paul—die Krake Paul, Paul the Octopus. Paul was hatched in Weymouth, England, in 2008. As a young octopus, he emigrated to Germany (this was, of course, before Brexit), where he spent most of his life in a tank at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen. In the summer of 2010, he successfully predicted the outcomes of all seven of Germany's World Cup matches, unerringly choosing to eat first from the box marked by what would prove to be the winning nation's flag. Hungry for glory and also mussels, he then correctly predicted Spain's win, over the Netherlands, in the final. Paul became a sensation, inspiring songs, TV segments, and a seventy-two-minute documentary. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was then the President of Iran, attacked him as an agent of Western propaganda; when Paul died at the age of two, in October, 2010, his death was covered by the BBC, the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, and the New York Times.


oracle ['ɒr.ə.kl] n. someone who knows a lot about a subject and can give good advice 行家,专家 

unerringly [ʌn'ɝɪŋli] adv. always accurate in your judgment or ability 永不犯错的;一贯正确的

sensation [sen'seɪ.ʃən] n.something very exciting or interesting, or something which causes great excitement or interest 轰动的事件;极有趣之物

After Paul's demise, new psychic octopi swam up to fill the tentacled void, which sounds like an H. P. Lovecraft novella but was, in this case, mostly an opening for retweets. In Andalusia, there was Iker the Octopus. In Australia, there was Cassandra. Other species came trumpeting, sometimes literally, into the field. The 2014 World Cup, in Brazil, inspired predictions from a trio of gentoo penguins, in Birmingham, England; a pair of miniature donkeys, in Somerset; and a Swiss guinea pig named Madame Shiva, who made her selections, somewhat counterintuitively, by pooping on the flag of the winning team. This year's tournament has produced a new animal prophet before it even begins: Achilles, a deaf cat who lives in the Hermitage Museum, in St. Petersburg, has been named, presumably by someone with the power to make this designation, the “official oracle” of the 2018 World Cup.

保罗死后,新的章鱼预测师涌现,这听起来像霍华德•菲利普•洛夫克拉夫特中篇小说中的描述,但作为转推开场白也许更贴切。在安达卢西亚,有章鱼伊克尔,澳大利亚则出现了章鱼卡桑德拉。而且动物预言帝并不局限于章鱼。关于2014年巴西世界杯的预测,有的来自于英国伯明翰的一群巴布亚企鹅,有的来自于英国萨默塞特的一对小型驴,还有的来自于瑞士一只叫做Madame Shiva的豚鼠,它会在获胜队的队旗上排便,可谓反其道而行之。而今年世界杯在开始之前就诞生了“官方预言帝”,一只居住于圣彼得堡冬宫的猫咪阿基里斯。这只失聪的猫咪被某位官方人士指派了这项重任。

译注:霍华德•菲利普•洛夫克拉夫特(Howard Phillips Lovecraft,1890年8月20日-1937年3月15日),有生之年是个不出名的科幻小说家,擅长怪奇小说,其小说多为中短篇。洛夫克拉夫特通过一系列围绕着非人诸神主题展开的关联松散的小说开发出了克苏鲁神话体系。

trumpet ['trʌm.pɪt] v. (of a large animal, especially an elephant) to produce a loud call (尤指象等大型动物的)吼声

Animal fortune-telling is, of course, a deeply silly endeavor (he said, pulling his jacket closed around what looked suspiciously like a Madame Shiva T-shirt). But, as an example of the kind of mad proliferation of instantly commercialized folk culture churned up by every World Cup, the clairvoyant-penguin industry is telling. Any run-of-the-mill billion-dollar sporting event can produce one magical animal; in less than a decade, the World Cup has generated an entire animal-oracle tradition.

动物预测显然缺乏科学依据(他一边说一边拉好自己的夹克外套,里面的T恤疑似印有豚鼠Madame Shiva)。然而,动物预测产业作为世界杯伴生的民俗文化,正以疯狂的速度扩散,产生了巨大的影响。任何数十亿美元规模的体育赛事都可以有自己的动物预言帝;不到十年,世界杯就已经形成了一个完整的动物预测传统。

churn [tʃɜ:n] v. to produce large amounts of something quickly, usually something of low quality (不顾品质快速地)大量生产;粗制滥造

What do they see, these creatures, when they gaze into the mists of the month to come? One question whose answer I am personally excited to learn is how the World Cup will affect the rivalry of the two defining players of their generation, Argentina's Lionel Messi, who plays his club soccer for F.C. Barcelona, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Barcelona's fierce nemesis Real Madrid. Both are over thirty now; each plausibly has one last chance to win the biggest trophy in his sport. If you haven't been following soccer, the contrast between them offers an almost absurdly tantalizing view of the range of stylistic possibilities enabled by the modern game. Messi is a tiny wizard with no shoulders who does not seem to control the ball so much as to moderate the ball's obsession with him. Ronaldo, though his game has narrowed a little as he's aged, remains a hard-charging nuclear superman, a god in a rhinestone belt buckle. When light touches Ronaldo, it touches him twice; when light touches Messi, it touches him zero times, because Messi got tired of waiting for the light to arrive and skipped off somewhere else.



tantalizing ['tæn.tə.laɪ.zɪŋ] adj. describes something that causes desire and excitement in you, but which is unlikely to provide a way of satisfying that desire 逗引性的;挑逗性的

It's an open question whether winning the World Cup is a reasonable criterion for establishing an individual soccer player's greatness. After all, the feat requires the help of twenty or so teammates whose quality is beyond any one player's control. That's probably why soccer fans tend not to care too much about whether Messi or Ronaldo ever win the World C—ha! I'm kidding. Of course people care; there's a non-stop industry devoted to intensifying and refracting their caring. On the colloquial level where these determinations are really made, what Messi or Ronaldo do at this tournament could establish either player as the greatest of all time. (Messi, who is generally seen to be leading in that debate, recently posed for an Adidas photo shoot with a series of actual goats, presumably in a nod to the acronym.) Both Portugal and Argentina are capable of winning the tournament, though I wouldn't pick either as the favorite. Portugal won Euro 2016 but (stand clear: advanced sports metric coming through) just kind of doesn't look all that good right now. The Argentine squad, which lost to Germany in the 2014 final, has talent to burn. But the Argentine Football Association, which governs the team, has recently lapsed into one of its periodic phases of self-created media crisis after controversially scheduling, and then cancelling, a pre-tournament tune-up match in Israel. Eight years ago, the legendary Argentine star turned hapless Argentine manager Diego Maradona ran over a journalist on the way to his own World Cup squad announcement; I sometimes think that Messi has a better chance of being named the king of Faerie than of winning a World Cup with Argentina. (I'd put his chances of eventually being named the king of Faerie at around ninety-six per cent, however, so who knows?)


译注:greatest of all time,缩写为G.O.A.T,代表“历史最佳”,通常用来形容某个运动员是公认最具天赋、能力最强的,2003年被录入美国Urban Dictionary。

feat [fi:t] n. something difficult needing a lot of skill, strength, bravery, etc. to achieve it 技艺;功绩;业绩;英勇事迹

refract [rɪ'frækt] v. when water or glass, etc. refracts light or sound, etc., it causes it to change direction or to separate when it travels through it 使折射

colloquial [kə'ləʊ.kwi.əl] adj. (of words and expressions) informal and more suitable for use in speech than in writing (词语或表达方式)口语的,俗语的,非正式的

Another question I'd love to consult a magic cat about is what this tournament will bring for Luis Suárez. Remember him? If you're a year-round soccer fan, you of course know Suárez as a wonderful, if mercurial, striker for Barcelona. If you tune in only for the World Cup, however, you're more likely to remember him as the Uruguayan chaos agent who's been ejected from the past two tournaments, first for a fateful handball against Ghana, in 2010, and then, in 2014, for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a match. (It's hard to explain, but there was a period in the mid-twenty-tens, closely but not precisely corresponding to the arrival of the second half of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series, when Suárez really, really, really liked biting people.) Uruguay has a population of just three and a half million people. Its soccer players perennially overachieve. There's a chance they could go far in this tournament behind the defense of Diego Godín and the scoring of Suárez and Edinson Cavani. But will Suárez behave under pressure? Or will he lapse back into bad, i.e., hilariously entertaining, old patterns? I wouldn't be surprised if he had a tidy, well-mannered tournament. I also wouldn't be surprised if he rode a bear onto the pitch. You never know in sports; that's why you play the games.


mercurial [mɜ:'kjʊə.ri.əl] adj. changing suddenly and often 多变的,反覆无常的

eject [ɪ'dʒekt] v.to order a sports player to leave the playing area during a game because they have done something wrong 将(犯规的运动员)罚下场

lapse [læps] v. to gradually get into a worse state or condition 陷入(更糟糕的状况)

Speaking of which: Iceland! I am so excited to see what Iceland will do in this tournament. Iceland, the country, is inhabited by only three hundred and forty-eight thousand people, roughly the same number as stand on the sideline for the average N.F.L. team. Yet the tight-knit Icelandic squad followed its incredible run through Euro 2016—where it beat mighty, or, anyway, mighty-ish, England to reach the quarter-final—by qualifying for its first-ever World Cup. The team, which has been drawn against Argentina in Group D, relies on a defensive style meant to contain more talented squads and create openings for sudden, furious counterattacks. A successful Iceland match feels, for the pro-Iceland spectator, like eighty-nine minutes of panic interrupted by three to five out-of-body experiences; it's incredible. Both tactically and in terms of its dramatic situation, Iceland is the opposite of Brazil and France, two star-laden soccer powers looking for redemption after years of recent disappointment. Brazil famously lost, 7-1, to Germany in the 2014 World Cup, of which it was the host team, and has been thirsting for revenge ever since. France won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000, but has spent the past eighteen years Gallically declining to win anything. Brazil's top star, Neymar, is a gracile wisp of murder, and France's squad is, on paper, mercilessly stacked. Either team could win the tournament, although the past two champions, Germany and Spain, will be equally strong contenders.


squad [skwɒd] n. a team in sports from which the players for a match are chosen 运动队

contender [kən'ten.dər] n. someone who competes with other people to try to win something 竞争者;争夺者

For mere human beings, it's impossible to foresee the course of a World Cup, in part because the combined attention of so many hundreds of millions of people creates a havoc of stories. Will the Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, who injured his shoulder in the Champions League final, be ready to play well for Egypt? Will young players on the verge of great success—Morocco's attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech, say, or the Russian striker Fedor Smolov—play their way onto big European clubs? Will Iran, Asia's highest-rated team for years now, hold up against tougher competition than it normally faces? Will the human spectacle of the tournament, which is so often beautiful and affirmingly bizarre, compensate for the moral ugliness of FIFA and its enablers? Will Clint Dempsey choose regular Cheetos, or will he go for the Flamin' Hot Puffs?



havoc ['hæv.ək] n. 大破坏;大毁坏;大混乱 Havoc is great disorder, and confusion.

enabler [ɪ'neɪ.blər] n. a person or organization that allows other people to do things themselves instead of doing things for them (使他人获得独立完成某事技能的)赋能者(赋予能力者)

We're about to find out. To the aquariums!




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