鹿城读笔(二十)

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LETTER FROM A CAMPAIGN TRAIN, by Richard Rovere

理查德·罗维尔作为竞选列车的一名观察者,以马克·吐温式的笔触描绘了自己的所见所闻,并从文章一开始就对杜威和杜鲁门的竞选旅行,行事风格,和演讲效果等等进行了一番比较,诙谐生动,又有点漫不经心,应该很是《纽约客》本来的风格。结尾处他笔调轻轻一扬,抒写了几段还算切题的反思; 其实仔细想来以上读到的这三篇短文,里面的景象确实都很美国,而尤属这一篇最像电影《纳什维尔》里的那个美国。

  • The dope on Mr. High, as I got it from Hagerty, is that he is travelling with Dewey not as an author but as a former clergyman. His function, I was told, is to advise Dewey on the religious implications of political issues and on the political implications of religious issues.
  • The favorite beverage in the club cars on the Truman train, when I was on it, was the Kentucky bourbon highball, before, during, and after meals. I don’t recall seeing a single cocktail served. Highballs are often seen on the Dewey train, but Martinis and Manhattans are more in vogue. The principal diversion on the Truman train was poker, generally seven-card stud. At least two games were always in progress. If any poker is played on the Dewey train, it is played behind closed compartment doors. There are, however, several spirited bridge games going on all the time.
  • Office-seeking is a great leveller. Most men who engage in it are sooner or later forced to abandon themselves to the ancient practices of audience-flattering, enemy-vilifying, name-remembering, moon-promising, and the like.
  • … … the fact is that reason is outraged not only by the speeches of the candidates but by the very idea of this travelling up and down the country to make them. I have been unable to find, on the Dewey train, the Truman train, or anywhere else, a single impartial and responsible observer of national affairs who is willing to defend the thesis that this tearing around will affect the electoral vote in even one state.

SYMBOL OF ALL WE POSSESS, by Lillian Ross

莉莉安·罗斯的这篇“美国小姐”选美比赛实录也是《纳什维尔》般的人物群像大杂烩,她没有在刻意用力地表达什么,而是把所有想说的都埋在场景和人物对话中;我个人喜欢昨天的两篇,更有纵深。

  • The contest was called the Miss America Pageant. The fifty-two competitors went into it seeking, beyond the prizes, great decisions. Exactly what was decided, they are still trying to find out.
  • Frank told Miss Nalepa that a photograph of her taken from the rear had come out fine. “Wanda has a perfect back,” he said to me. “I’m getting this picture printed in the National Chiropractic Journal. I’m a chiropractor.”
  • Miss New York State, preceded by Hap Brander’s string band a float proclaiming the merits of Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy, got a big hand from the audience. Most of the other contestants merely sat and smilied, but she stood and waved and and laughed and shouted and seemed to be having the time of her life.
  • It worked. Miss Michigan decided to stay in Atlantic City. Everybody appeared to enjoy the party, and everybody made a determined effort to be Miss Congeniality.
  • Miss New York State said that most of the girls had trouble getting their breakfast down but that she had had orange juice, bacon and eggs, toast, marmalade, and tea. “I wasn’t going to sit there and let all that good food go,” she said. She didn’t know whether she had made a favorable impression on the judges. “I told Conrad Thibault I had never heard of him,” she said. “He didn’t seem to like that.”

onlook: 旁观; leveller: 均染剂; chiropractor: 按摩师; chaperone: 伴侣; elocution: 演讲术; congenial: 投机


PART THREE: POST WAR

路易斯·米南德(哈佛大学教授)对主讲战后的第三章的介绍。他重点提到了《纽约客》在二战期间新招募的专栏作家们,如埃德蒙·威尔逊,莉莉安·罗斯,理查德·罗维尔等。他们既是杂志转型的亲历者,也是这一转变的创造者。

  • In common with New Yorker artists like Helen Hokinson and Peter Arno, Ross was brilliant at taking the air out of stuffed shirts, a spieces of which Hollywood has its share. Her method was just to let self-important people talk. All she usually had to do was write down what they said.
  • A magazine that was identified by its name and its tone with America’s most cosmopolitan city, a place that, more than any other withe the possible exception of Hollywood, had flourished thanks to the influx of European artists and thinkers in the 1930 and ’40s, was nicely positioned to reflect back to its readers their new sense of themselves as citizens of the world.

hypochondriacal: 疑; parochial: 教区; insouciance: 漫不经心; giddy: 头晕

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