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Museum of Complaint created in New York
纽约牢骚博物馆展出300年来市民投诉信
[ 2006-07-20 09:05 ]

A taxi dispatcher (2nd L) directs passengers outside the Port Authority Bus terminal in New York.

What are you complaining about? If you're a New Yorker, it's often about noise and trash and occasionally about politics or morals.

Those are some of the concerns expressed over the past 300 years by citizens writing to their mayor, as unearthed by an artist recently who mined the city's archives to create The New York City Museum of Complaint.

The museum is actually a tabloid newspaper reproducing 31 letters from 1751 to 1973, currently being distributed in city parks. Some letters are elegantly handwritten, others typed, and all of them complain about something.

"Some of them are on the verge of paranoia, others are on the verge of genius," said Matthew Bakkom, the artist who created the project.

The city has preserved complaints as far back as 1700, when the American colonies were under British rule. Bakkom discovered the archive while doing historical research and decided these disaffected voices from the past needed to be heard.

"It just seemed to me something very vital and very original and very striking."

The first in the collection, from 1751, seeks compensation for a series of ills. "The report of the small pox being in this city hinders the country people from coming to market," Andrew Ramsey wrote.

A 1900 letter on corruption from the president of the Citizens' Progressive League decries avarice: "The only thing purely 'American' that I can find in New York City, after many years' search, is the abnormally developed spirit of money getting."

The 1930s are represented by five letters, including one from 1935 that seeks a change in the law so "that girls in the burlesque shows in New York would be allowed to display their charms without more interference of the police."

Bakkom has a few favorites, such as one from the London woman Mary Elizabeth Cook who, calling herself an attractive brunette of 29, wrote in 1949: "Could you possibly help me find an American husband."

"I can send photographs," she added.

It was leaked to the press and produced a spate of letters from lonely people looking for mates, Bakkom said. 
 
(Agencies)

你会抱怨些什么?如果你是纽约人,噪音、垃圾会成为你经常抱怨的对象,政治或道德偶尔也会让你发发牢骚。

这是纽约市民们的一部分牢骚。近日,一位艺术家通过搜集纽约的历史档案,将300年来纽约市民写给市长的抱怨信一一展出,一座“纽约牢骚博物馆”由此诞生。

事实上,这座博物馆是一份小报,上面刊登了从1751年至1973年的共31封抱怨信,目前,此报在纽约的公园里散发。其中的有些信件用漂亮的手写体书写而成,其余的则是打印而成,可无论何种字体,所有的信件都无一例外的在抱怨些什么。

创办这座“博物馆”的艺术家马修·贝克穆说:“有些人到了有点偏执的地步,而有些人则很有才华。”

纽约市保存的投诉信档案可追溯到1700年,当时美国还处于英国的殖民统治之下。贝克穆在进行历史研究时,发现了这些档案,于是他决定让人们听到这些来自历史的不平音。

“在我看来,有些声音十分重要,见解很独到,也很鲜明。”

牢骚集的第一封抱怨信是1751年一个名叫安德鲁·拉姆齐的人写的,他想为一场瘟疫给自己造成的损失争取赔偿。他在信中写道:“就是因为一篇关于该市小范围内发生瘟疫的报道,人们都不来市场上买东西了。”

一封1900年的投诉腐败的信件来自市民激进联盟主席:“经过这么多年的观察,我在纽约发现的唯一具有美国特色的就是 ----- 不择手段追逐金钱的精神。”

上世纪30年代共有5封具有代表意义的投诉信。其中一封写于1935年的信要求修改法律,“进行滑稽戏表演的女孩应该能够展示她们的魅力,不应该受到警察的过分干涉。”

贝克穆个人对其中的一些信件很感兴趣,比如,自称黑发美人的29岁伦敦女人玛丽·伊丽莎白·库克在1949年写给市长的信中说:“您能不能帮我找一个美国丈夫呢?”

“我可以把我的照片发过去,”她说。

贝克穆说:“后来这封信件被媒体知道,引来了铺天盖地的来自单身汉们的觅偶信件。”


(英语点津姗姗编辑)

 

Vocabulary:


on the verge of:接近于;濒临于

disaffected :resentful and rebellious(抱不平的;不满的)




 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 
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