鹿城读笔(十八)

(The 40s: The Story of a Decade, by The New Yorker Magazine)


INTRODUCTION

现任《纽约客》总编辑大卫·瑞姆尼克撰文回忆了杂志的创办人哈罗德·罗斯,以及在罗斯领导下的1940年代《纽约客》的转型和蜕变。时代与人文在历史空间的交汇,娓娓动人。看本雅明的时候正值《布达佩斯大饭店》,看这本书的时候又正一直在听《货币战争》,里面的各种权谋和政治,反倒让我在读完这篇序言之后格外感到清新;这本书厚达近700页,一时不知道该如何下手;《纽约客》杂志的标志性字体叫 Irvin。


PART ONE: THE WAR

A NOTE BY GEORGE PACKER

乔治·派克从撰稿人利布林在巴黎蒙马特一家餐厅享受火鱼美餐起笔,生动地讲述了二战的暴发是如何改变了《纽约客》的口味和“去政治性”,以及杂志里的每一个人。他说,《纽约客》在战争年代里从不讲什么政治大道理,而是从记者身边的人和事出发,去记述他们看到和听到的。征兵不断,很多人写到一半便被调至前线,很多文章甚至分不清是记者还是士兵所写;1946年8月31日的那一期只有一篇文章:Hiroshima。

  • The war opened The New Yorker to the wider world. Without changing beyond recognition, it became a more serious magazine; without sounding like Time or The New Republic, it became political. It rediscovered places it already knew, perhaps a little too well (London, Paris, Hell’s Kitchen), and it discovered places that it had never imagined (Tunisia, the Marianas Islands).
  • Hersey’s method of re-creating the destruction of the city through the fate of six individuals produced a daring new form of journalism, modeled on fiction. It portrayed civilians in America’s hated enemy, Japan, for the first time as human beings.

NOTES AND COMMENT, by E.B.White

E.B.怀特在二战爆发的第二天(1939年9月2日)写下这篇简短的笔记,急促的笔调让人愈发呼吸加速,战争加速的只是人的恐惧,而不是热血沸腾。

  • The world, on this Sunday morning, seems pleasingly unreal. We’ve been reading that short story of Tomlinson’s called “Illusion:1915,” which begins on a summer day in France when the bees were in the limes. But this is Illusion 1939, this radio sandwich on which we chew, two bars of music with an ominous voice in between. And the advertiser, still breaking through: “Have you acquired the safety habit?” Moscow is calling New York. Hello, New York. Let me whisper I love you. They are removing the pictures from the museums. There was a time when the mere nonexistence of war was enough. Not any more. The world is in the odd position of being intellectually opposed to war, spiritually committed to it … … Let me whisper I love you while we are dancing and the lights are low.

PARIS POSTSCRIPT, by A.J.Liebling

A.J.利布林以类似日记的方式,详实记述了1940年5月11日德军入侵荷兰比利时至6月10日法国政府撤离巴黎这一个月间自己在巴黎城的生活和所见所闻。说是生活,因为其中描绘的人和事再生活化不过,一对儿子在前线的老夫妻,酒店的侍应,饭馆经理,卖玫瑰花的店主,还有新闻发布会上的政府官员,全景呈现了巴黎还未被侵占时人们的生活和心理状态。这篇文章发表在八月份,利布林什么时候写下的这些倒并不清楚,真的是纪实还是追忆,我们不得而知。他笔触中的淡淡怅惘让人感触颇深。

  • Confidence was a duty. The advertising department of the Magasins du Louvre discovered another duty for France. The store’s slogan was “Madame, it is your duty to be elegant!” “They shall not pass” was considered vieux jeu and hysterical. The optimistic do-nothingism of the Chamberlain and Daladier regimes was, for millions of people, the new patriotism.
  • One staff officer later told me, “Weygand’s ideas are so old-fashioned that they have become modern again. He is just what we need.” Strategically, the two men cancelled each other, but politically they were a perfect team … … However, we were cheerful on the evening we heard about the appointments. The German advance was apparently slowing down, and all of us thought that Weygand might arrange a counterattack soon. A week earlier we had been expecting victories. Now we were cheered by a slightly slower tempo of disaster.
  • Paris reminded me of that conversational commonplace you hear when someone has died: “Why, I saw him a couple of days ago and he looked perfectly well.” Paris looked perfectly well, but I wondered if it might not be better for a city in such danger to show some agitation. Perhaps Paris was dying.
  • The rouget tasted too much as good rouget always had; the black-browed proprietor was too normally solicitous; even in the full bosom and strong legs of the waitress there was the assurance that this life in Paris would never end. Faith in France was now purely a mystique; a good dinner was our profane form of communion.
  • The countryside, hot and rich and somnolent, and the family, sitting on the lawn after a chicken dinner, mad me think of Sundays on Long Island. It was as if no war had ever been. We sat around in lawn chairs, fighting against drowsiness, talking unintently, resisting the efforts of one woman to get up a game like charades … … We talked of the Skoda tanks, built according to French designs in Czecho-Slovakia, that were now ripping the French army apart.
  • On the way I stopped at a florist shop and bought some fine pink roses. The woman in the shop said that shipments from the provinces were irregular, but that fortunately the crisis came at a season when the Paris suburbs were producing plenty of flowers. “We have more goods than purchasers,” she said, laughing.
  • “You remember when John Lloyd stopped Provoust last night and invited him to the Wednesday luncheon?” he asked. Yes, I remembered. “Well,” he said, “Provoust was in a hurry because he was leaving for Tours in a few minutes.” I said maybe we had better leave too, and we did.

SURVIVAL, by John Hersey

约翰·赫西记述了PT-109艇长(也是后来的总统)肯尼迪和其他十名船员在被船被击沉之后七天七夜艰苦的逃生过程。

  • It took over five hours to reach the island. Water lapped into Kennedy’s mouth through his clenched teeth, and he swallowed a lot. The salt water cut into McMahon’s awful burns, but he did not complain. Every few minutes, when Kennedy stopped to rest, taking the strap out of his mouth and holding it in his hand, McMahon would simply say, “How far do we have to go?” Kennedy would reply, “We’re doing good.” Then he would ask, “How do you feel, Mac?” McMahon always answered, “I’m O.K., Mr. Kennedy. How about you?”
  • In the middle of the night it rained, and someone suggested moving into the underbrush and licking water off the leaves. Ross and McMahon kept contact at first by touching feet as they licked. Somehow they got separated, and being uncertain whether there were any Japs on the island, they became frightened. McMahon, trying to make his way back to the beach, bumped into someone and froze. It turned out to be Johnston, licking leaves on his own.
  • The natives put Kennedy in the bottom of their canoe and covered him with sacking and palm fronds, in case Japanese planes should buzz them. The long trip was fun for the natives. They stopped once to try to grab a turtle, and laughed at the sport they were having. Thirty Japanese planes went over low toward Rendova, and the natives waved and shouted gaily. They rowed with a strange rhythm, pounding paddles on the gunwales between strokes. At last they reached a censored place.

THE SUSPENDED DRAWING ROOM, by S.N.Behrman

这是本章中第二篇来自伦敦的报导,因为我注意到了表示“伦敦大轰炸”的 Blitz一词。我 wiki了执行轰炸行动的德方空军首领也是纽伦堡大审中的重量级人物赫尔曼·戈林。从审判实录到最后的诀别与服药自尽,令人唏嘘; S.N.贝尔曼是美国一位剧作家兼《纽约客》撰稿人,他的伦敦之行很明显带有访问性质,那时已是1945年1月,战争结束的曙光就在眼前。此时,伦敦人民已在黑暗中,炮火轰炸中,防空洞的躲避中度过了五年,贝尔曼虽不是亲历者,但这一切他都看在眼里。战火对伦敦人的生活尤其是心理状态造成了难以逆转的影响;与专业记者相比,贝尔曼的落笔更加感性。

  • The nonchalance about bombs is general throughout England. A lady who drives a lorry to blitzed areas told me that she is never in the least frightened, no matter what happens, while she is driving, nor does she flinch no matter what gruesome charges she has to carry. It is only when she is lying in bed that she is frightened, and then more at the sirens than at the explosions, because, she imagines, the former are anticipation, the latter faits accomplis.
  • I never discussed an air raid with anyone in London except taxi drivers and chauffeurs. No one else will talk about them. Three or four lines in the papers will tell you that several bombs fell the day before in Southern England, but that is all.
  • We finally left the deep shelter. My companion wanted me to see still another type of shelter. I begged off. I simply couldn’t stand one more. I was aware that the people in them had been standing them for over five years.

D DAY, IWO JIMA, by John Lardner

约翰·拉德纳是硫磺岛战役的随军记者,他还原了登陆过程和战役前半段的经过,在艰难行进的过程中,他提到最多的是密密麻麻的枪林弹雨,和不成比例的美军海军士兵倒下的尸体。

  • It seems to take about twenty minutes under shellfire to adjust your nerves and evolve a working formula by which you can make progress and gauge, very roughly, the nearness of hits and the pattern of fire.
  • Lee and I, by agreement, finally left our gear in a trench near the shore and worked our way up the beach in the wake of Wornham and his men. There were Marines on all sides of us doing the same thing. Each man had a different method of progress.
  • Looking around, I had the leisure for the first time to think what a miserable piece of real estate Iwo Jima is. Later, when I had seen nearly all the island, I knew that there were no extenuating features. This place where thousands of men of two nations have been killed or wounded in less than three weeks’ time has no water, few birds, no butterflies, no discernible animal life — nothing but sand and clay, humpbacked hills, stunted trees, knife-edged kuna grass in which mites who carry scrub typhus live, and a steady, dusty wind.

portend: 预兆; vigil: 守夜; furlough: 放假; brood: 窝; proprietor: 老板; lash: 睫毛; petunia: 矮牵牛; artillery: 火炮; cartridge: 盒式磁带; bosom: 怀; squelch: 哗啦哗啦的; litany: 一连串; bombardment: 轰炸; tant pis: 好吧; gaily: 华丽地; battalion: 营; dame: 淑女; amphibious: 水陆两用; paroxysm: 发作; faits accomplis: 既成事实; tabernacle: 窝棚;

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