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愚人节:愚人传统正在消亡?Is April Fools' Day Dying?
| 文章来源:英语点津 | 文章录入:随心飞扬 | 收集整理:嘉兴英语教学网 | 更新时间:2012-4-1 |

No joke: Researchers say we are moving away from personal, real-world pranks and into a world of media-driven jokes and Internet tomfoolery. Does this spell the end of April Fools' Day as we know it?

Though pranksters and joke-lovers in many countries now gleefully prepare to dupe friends and loved ones on April Fool's Day, no one knows exactly when or why, or even where, this tradition began.

The importance of this day of prank-pulling freedom is no laughing matter. It's integral to American culture, a day of funny is important to society, and also helps humans bond. Researchers say our take on comedy is changing, though. And that may mean fewer pranks in the future.

"The usual pranks that we would see 50 years ago are much less common," Gary Alan Fine, a sociologist at Northwestern University in Illinois, told LiveScience. "I think we are seeing the decline of interpersonal pranks."

"At one time, prankstering played a bigger role in American society. Some of the prankstering was also very harmful," Joseph Boskin, a professor emeritus of history at Boston University, told LiveScience.

This type of harmful prank-playing was usually directed toward marginalized sections of society. "Pranks have played a very big role in this situation, so I'm glad that the prankster part of it has declined, but the poking fun at life in general goes on," Boskin said.

The big problem is knowing where to draw the line between playful pranks and meanness on the verge of bullying, Fine said.

"Practical jokes of a certain sort shade into bullying, they shade into meanness and we are very concerned as a society about meanness," Fine said. "Finding out what that point is, is difficult for a society."

Because of our conscientiousness and desire to ensure equality, Americans may have drawn that line too far along the spectrum, hedging out playful pranking. And traditional pranking may be left out in the cold, Fine said.

绝非儿戏:研究人员表示,我们与切身的、现实生活的恶作剧渐行渐远,正走进充斥着媒体炒作的笑话和网络无聊蠢事的世界。这是否意味着我们所熟知的愚人节的消亡呢?

尽管很多国家的恶作剧达人和笑话达人正兴高采烈地准备在愚人节拿爱人和朋友开涮,但没有人知道这种习俗开始的确切时间、原因、甚至地点。

愚人节能随便开玩笑,但它的重要性却并非儿戏。它是美国文化不可缺少的一部分,搞笑的一天对社会很重要,有助于增进人们的关系。研究人员表示,我们的喜剧口味正发生变化,这意味着未来的恶作剧会更少。

美国伊利诺斯州西北大学的社会学家加里•艾伦•凡恩告诉科学生活网站:“50年前常见的恶作剧现在越来越少了。我认为人与人之间的恶作剧正在减少。”

波士顿大学的退休历史教授约瑟夫•博斯金告诉该网站:“恶作剧曾经在美国社会中扮演着更重要的角色,有些笑话也很有害。”

社会的边缘人群通常是这种有害的恶作剧的对象。博斯金说:“恶作剧在这种情况下影响很大,因此我很高兴见到恶作剧的衰亡,但一般来讲拿生活开涮的习惯还在继续。”

但凡恩说,最大的问题是知道如何分清幽默的恶作剧和近似于恃强凌弱行为的卑劣做法。

凡恩说:“某种类型的恶作剧渐渐会变成欺负人,渐渐变成卑鄙行为,我们对充满卑鄙行为的社会心存忧虑。但对社会而言,发现这点很困难。”

由于美国民众怀有确保平等的良知和意愿,在区别这两类时可能存在很大偏颇,将很多幽默的恶作剧排斥在外。这样一来,传统的恶作剧可能就被冷落了。

Vocabulary:

tomfoolery: 愚蠢的举动,无聊

no laughing matter: 正经事,不是闹着玩儿的

take: 反应

emeritus: 退休的,荣誉退职的

poke fun at: 取笑,拿……开心

on the verge of: 濒临于,接近于

shade into: 逐渐变为

hedge out: 隔开

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