精简版的 I Have A Dream

今天认真读了William Zinsser 的名著<On Writing Well>,深受启发.

他认为,写作是人们面临的一大难题.当前无数的英语文字作品中充斥着大量冗余,重复,空话,罗嗦,无信息量的表达.而他书的主题是告诉人们,怎么样精简,压缩,删改,使得文字更有力,更有美感.

We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.

But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what— these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence. And they usually occur in proportion to education and rank.

书的精髓是Simplification.有感于此,我学了书中的若干技巧,跃跃欲试.于是我试着把经典演讲I Have A Dream精简了一番.我曾被篇演讲倾倒,因为觉得语言优美,气势恢宏.对考GRE无疑帮助巨大,故立志背下所有段落,对文字本身却没有深究.

如今,我尝试去掉了空话,套话,废话,无意义的话,及重复的话,变成了现在这个样子.不尝试不要紧,一精简居然发现,马丁路德金的演讲,翻来复去,就三句话:

Slaves are seared in injustice and captivity.

We need justice, democracy, and freedom.

Hey guys, you know what, I am really really having a wonderful damn dream! 😀

然而,这三句话被unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon包围着,再配以演讲者带有咏叹调的嗓音,诗人般的激情.成为经典.人们已经不关心他说的文字,而是被排山倒海的气势感染得如痴如醉,奔走传诵.这堪称史上最牛的文字包装了.下面我用红色标出精简后的版本(原文还有结尾的三分之一没有被尝试精简.)

此外,我在上个星期读完了莫言的<红高粱家族>.赞美之辞就先免了.我认为此书最大的毛病,就是作者不厌其烦的凑字数,罗嗦,冗长,无节制地描写无关紧要的东西.整本书如果精简一番的话,有可能不超过500字即可表达完成.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

> i am happy to join you today.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

> 100 years ago, an American signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It brought hope to slaves seared in injustice and captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

> But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. Their life is crippled by segregation, discrimination, and poverty. They exiled in American society. So, here we come.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

> We come here to cash a check. The architects of our nation signed a promissory note promising we all guarantee the right of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. However, defaulted on this note, America returned Negro a bad check marked “insufficient funds”.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

> But we disbelieve the bank of justice is bankrupt. So today we come to cash the check. We remind America to justify the promises of democracy, remove segregation, and build brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

> 1963 is just a beginning. We will not stop until Negro’s citizenship rights is granted.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

> We cannot fight wrongly. We must struggle in dignity and discipline without violence.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

> The destiny and freedom of all write people is tied up with ours.

We cannot walk alone.

> We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

> We shall march ahead.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”¹

> We can never be satisfied if Negro is under brutality. We will be satisfied until justice arises.

… (后面的三分之一略去,因为说来说去一句话:

Hey dude, you know what, I am really really having a wonderful damn dream! )  😀

上面的精简只是对Simplification伟大精神的一次尝试.不管怎么说,不管在什么情况下,我还是非常喜欢这篇演讲的!

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