The news, at its best, is often an indulgence, a relief, an escape from one’s own troubles, a flight from the mundane. News is not a civic chore. In fact, to treat reading the news as a duty is to treat ice cream like mustard greens–to believe readers must be tricked into eating it, and thus guarantee that they rarely will.
最好的情況下,新聞通常是一種放縱、放松,讓人從麻煩中解脫、逃離平凡。閱讀新聞不是一項公民義務。事實上,像對待義務一樣對待新聞,就好像對待芥菜一樣對待冰淇淋,認為讀者一定是被騙才吃芥菜,從而確信他們幾乎不會主動去閱讀新聞。

I’m going to propose that we should read news sites as ice cream–not as an obligation, but for stimulation, escapism, and even righteousness. At the same time we must admit to ourselves that–far from being a duty–news in heated times (and in the age of T witter) can often represent a full-tilt compulsion, and thus a habit to be judiciously managed.
我建議把瀏覽新聞網站看成是吃冰淇淋,不是履行義務,而是尋求鼓舞、逃離,乃至正義。同時,我們必須承認,身處激烈變革的時代(尤其是在推特時代),閱讀新聞和履行義務相距甚遠,讀者往往是全面被迫接受,因而,閱讀新聞作為一種習慣需要謹慎管理。

This new avidity and readerly sense of purpose began about a year ago, during the psychic upheaval of the presidential primaries, with the repeated shocks to our society’s manners, morals, and politics. The work of “being informed”–so long preached in social studies classes–now felt like the opposite of work. You didn’t have to force yourself to read the news. You had to force yourself to take a break.
大約一年前,在美國總統初選的激蕩中,這種全新的閱讀迫切感以及讀者目的意識便生根發芽了,社會的習俗、道德和政治一次又一次遭到沖擊。“正被告知”盛行社會研究課堂那么多年,現在感覺正好相反。你無需強迫自己閱讀新聞,反而需要強迫自己停下來。

There is everything to be gained by cultivating a personal stake in the lives of others, in the future of our nation, and in the world. But reading the front section as if it were the sports pages, with every line a credit or debit, a win, or a loss, has hazards. You begin to twist what you read. It’s what happens when the public’s consumption of news becomes too much about sides, about winning and losing, and less about empathy for our fellow men.
通過將個人利益同他人生活、國家前途和這個世界聯系起來,會有很多好處。但是,像讀體育版面一樣讀頭版頭條,讀每一行都在計較輸贏,這種做法很危險。你會開始曲解自己讀過的內容。大眾在消費新聞時,若是太過注重對立和輸贏,而很少同情同胞的遭遇,就會產生誤會和曲解。

So how do we combat this? By increasing our literacy. To become a better reader, we must borrow practices from higher-order reading, including the reading of fiction. Remember that the best characters and novels–and every single flesh-and-blood human and real-life event–mix good and evil. Suspend judgement. Let yourself be surprised by evidence that doesn’t fit your hypothesis. Take breaks.
那我們該如何應對呢?答案是提高文化水平。要成為更好的讀者,我們必須從包括小說在內的更高階的閱讀中汲取營養。記住,最好的人物和小說,包括每一個活生生的人和現實生活中的事件在內,都夾雜著善惡。所以不要急于下結論,要為與你假設不符的證據感到驚奇,偶爾強迫自己停下來。

But also, keep reading. It’s quite a story. And you’re part of it.
此外,你要繼續閱讀新聞。因為這是個很好的故事,而你是故事的一部分。

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(翻譯:Frank)