Many things make people think artists are weird and the weirdest may be this: artists' only job is to explore emotions, and yet they choose to focus on the ones that feel bad.
This wasn't always so. The earliest forms of art, like painting and music, are those best suited for expressing joy. But somewhere in the 19th century, more artists began seeing happiness as insipid, phony or, worst of all, boring as we went from Wordsworth's daffodils to Baudelaire's flowers of evil.
You could argue that art became more skeptical of happiness because modern times have seen such misery. But it's not as if earlier times didn't know perpetual war, disaster and the massacre of innocents. The reason, in fact, may be just the opposite: there is too much damn happiness in the world today.
After all, what is the one modern form of expression almost completely dedicated to depicting happiness? Advertising. The rise of anti-happy art almost exactly tracks the emergence of mass media, and with it, a commercial culture in which happiness is not just an ideal but an ideology.
People in earlier eras were surrounded by reminders of misery. They worked until exhausted, lived with few protections and died young. In the West, before mass communication and literacy, the most powerful mass medium was the church, which reminded worshippers that their souls were in peril and that they would someday be meat for worms. Given all this, they did not exactly need their art to be abummertoo.
Today the messages your average Westerner is bombarded with are not religious but commercial, and forever happy. Fast-food eaters, news anchors, text messengers, all smiling, smiling. Our magazines feature beaming celebrities and happy families in perfect homes. And since these messages have an agenda--to lure us to open our wallets to make the very idea of happiness seem unreliable. "Celebrate!" commanded the ads for the arthritis drug Celebrex, before we found out it could increase the risk of heart attacks.
But what we forget——what our economy depends on is forgetting——is that happiness is more than pleasure without pain. The things that bring the greatest joy carry the greatest potential for loss and disappointment. Today, surrounded by promises of easy happiness, we need someone to tell us as religion once did, Memento mori: remember that you will die, that everything ends, and that happiness comes not in denying this but in living with it. It's a message even more bitter than a clove cigarette, yet, somehow, a breath of fresh air.
The word “bummer”(Line 5. paragraph 5) most probably means something
本题定位信息明确,首先定位到第五段最后一句:Given all this, they did not exactly need their art to be a bummer too.根据all this往前定位:前面几句都在说已经有很多事情在提醒苦难(exhausted, few protections, died young, in danger, become meat for worms);再定位到此段第一句:People in earlier eras were surrounded by reminders of misery.(早期的人们被苦难的提醒包围着 。)结合因果关系:given(因为)早起的人们被苦难的提醒物包围,所以不
需要艺术再成为和苦难或痛苦相关的东西了 。所以C和D很容易排除,A选项可能会受到第三行句子的干扰,…the most powerful mass medium was the church, which reminded worshippers…有考生将bummer同church相对应得出“宗教的”答案,但是这里的church 起的不是宗教的作用而是苦难提醒者的作用 。