鹿城读笔(二十一)

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GREEK DIARY: COMMUNISTS, SOCIALISTS, AND ROYALISTS

埃德蒙·威尔逊在希腊内战期间造访希腊,讲述了他与几位(不同政治立场的)希腊民众相处的经历,语调平实,冷静。

  • He [Svolos] lived in the same world as I did, where there were difficulties, doubts, confused issues, conflicts between expediency and principle. He reminded me a little of Silone, in Rome, … … Such people are anxious and intent; they are never unnaturally cheerful.
  • Nor do I mean to sneer at this. How many similar people in the United States, deprived of social standing and financial independence — which is what the Greek bourgeoisie seem menaced with as no group in America is — could be sure of being able to uphold or defend the things they have been taught to admire?

THE BIRCH LEAVES FALLING, by Rebecca West

事后得知,汉娜·阿伦特才是《纽约客》在纽伦堡审判期间的“特邀”前线记者,她的详实记述后来汇总成了一本书。而丽贝卡·韦斯特只参与了最后的两天。她以一种独特的视角切入到这场“世纪审判”中来,从旅途的不便,到沿路房屋树木的“情绪”,再到结束时大家互致告别离去的情景。她的观感相当个人化,却也难说不是众多亲历者的共同感受。在这篇文章里,丽贝卡的情绪实际上是相当浓厚和沉重的。

  • It was the last two days of the Nuremburg trial that I went abroad to see. Those men who had wanted to kill me and my kind and who had nearly had their wish were to be told whether I and my kind were to kill them and why. Quite an occasion.
  • Now, as the plane rose into the leaden sky, we looked down on a land that was recording, after this worst of summers, a disaster that restored one’s self-respect because it was not made by statesman or soldiers or any men at all but by nature. In the fields, sheaves that should have stood in harvest time like stocky golden girls and then been gathered were crouched and drab, like old scrubwomen, and would never know the honor of a barn. Half-finished ricks heeled over on their narrow bases. The pastures looked quite lustreless.
  • Easy in my mind, I spent the afternoon walking incredulously about the city. I had always been a social failure in Berlin. Except in a few Jewish homes, I had been considered light-minded and flimsily dressed.
  • The trees of Tiergarten have nearly all been destroyed. Some were burned in the raids; some were hit by Russian artillery during the battle for the city; most of the rest were cut down by the freezing population last winter. Now the great park is nothing but a vast potato patch, with here and there a row of other vegetables, and from this rise the statues, in an inappropriate prominence that is marble what embarrassed nakedness is to humanity.
  • The women for whom this mansion was built lived inside their corsets as inside towers; their coiffures were almost as architectural; all their contours had to be preserved by an iron poise. The would have refused to believe that these ink-stained gypsies had, in fact, invaded their halls because they had been on the side of order against disorder, stability against incoherence.
  • It seemed that when one has never seen a man, one does not find anything offensive about the idea of photographing him while he is being sentenced to death, but that if one has seen him often, the idea becomes unattractive … … I remember I did not care at all the first time I heard William Joyce sentenced to death, but that the second time I was stirred and astonished, and that the third time I knew awe … … It is is an intensification of the feeling we have in the fall, when the leaves drop. The leaves are nothing to us, but the melancholy, the apprehension grows.
  • It was dispersed suddenly by the news of Goring’s suicide. A dozen emotions surprised me by their strength. The enormous clown, the sexual quiddity with the smile that was perhaps too wooden for mockery and perhaps not, had kicked the tray out of the hands of the servant who was carrying it; the glasses had flown into the air and splintered, the wine of humiliation we had intended him to drink had spilled on the floor.

THE BEAUTIFUL SPOILS: MONUMENTS MEN, by Janet Flanner

珍妮特·弗兰对盟军一支特殊的保护艺术品的小分队的全程追踪和报道。

  • The M.F.A.&A. men who followed the Allies into Aachen and the Rhineland became simply obituary writers, since dead art lay in every direction: “Cologne, circa 80 percent of monuments and churches destroyed, including St. Maria im Capitol, famous Romanesque landmark …” “Kleve, Stitskirche, mid 14th century, air bombed Oct. ’44, again Feb. ’45, an eliminating operation. Church shattered.”
  • There the Dutch had stored their most valuable museum pictures, with Nazi approval. The fact that the art had been hidden by our Allies decreased the excitement of the discovery for our men, though they took sightseeing tours underground to stare at some Rembrandts — once it had been explained who and how important Rembrandts was. For the next fortnight, every Dutch daub found in a farmhouse attic was called a Rembrandt, and the nearest Monument officer was sent for, posthaste, to authenticate it.
  • For nine months before the Merkers find, Monuments men had been disparagingly known in the Army as “those guys with their goddam art.” The Merkers gold and Patton’s personality had made art itself important. An art cache was thereafter known as an “art target,” and all Patton’s rivals itched to strike one too. Clearly, art finds meant publicity to any outfit’s Public Relations officer. Capturing towns was valorous and still the aim of the war, but capturing art was a glamorous new idea.

COME IN, LASSIE!, by Lilian Ross

莉莉安·罗斯另一篇精彩的全景式素描——麦卡锡主义“红色恐慌“下的好莱坞片场。已经数不清她造访了多少个酒会,片场,饭局,引用了多少个人名和对话。就像路易斯·米南德之前说的,她只是让那些人接着说,而她只是记录下他们说的话就足够了。

  • At some parties, the bracketed guests break up into subgroups, each eying the others with rather friendly suspicion and discussing who was or was not a guest at the White House when Roosevelt was President — one of the few criteria people in the film industry have set up for judging whether a person is or is not a Communist — and how to avoid becoming a Communist.
  • Evidently, Communism is also responsible for this trouble. Power, returning from a trip abroad lately, announced that he had seen so much suffering in Europe that he had come back determined to spend his time fighting Communism. This, as interpreted by Louella Parsons, meant that he had given up Lana Turner for the cause.
  • “We’ve got to resolve any conflicts between what we are and what the public has been led to believe we are,” one actor told me. “We can’t afford to have people think we’re a bunch of strong men or crusaders.”
  • “A lot of people who work in pictures wouldn’t know Communism if they saw it,” she said to me. “You think that a Communist is a man with a bushy beard. He’s not. He’s an American, and he’s pretty, too.” The Congressional investigation of Hollywood, Mrs. Rogers thinks, will result in better pictures and the victory of the Republican Party in the next election … … Mrs. Rogers is also writing screen plays. I wanted to know if she was following the “Do”s and “Don’t”s of the “Screen Guide for Americans.” “You just bet I am,” she said. “My friend Ayn Rand wrote it, and sticking to it is easy as pie. I’ve just finished a shooting script about a man who learns how to live after he is dead.”
  • “For years I’ve been writing scripts about a Boy Scout-type cowboy with a girl. Their fortune and happiness are threatened by a banker holding a mortgage over their heads, or by a big landowner, or by a crooked sheriff. Now they tell me that bankers are out. Anyone holding a mortgage is out. Crooked public officials are out. All I’ve got left is a cattle rustler. What the hell am I going to do with a cattle rustler?”
  • At preview, in Hartford, Connecticut, of Arch of Triumph, attended by its director, Lewis Milestone, and by Charles Einfield, president of Enterprise Productions, which brought it out, the manager of the theatre asked Einfield whether it was necessary to use the word “refugees” so often in the picture. “All the way back to New York,” says Milestone, “Charlie kept muttering, ‘Maybe we mention the word “refugees” too many time?’ ‘But the picture is about refugees,’ I told him. ‘What can we do now? Make a new picture?'”

LETTER FROM WASHINGTON, by Richard Rovere

理查德·罗维尔再次以他幽默的笔触写”华盛顿来信“这一专栏。更有趣的是讲述和一群高中生一同参观联邦调查局的后一篇。

  • “And now, folks, if there are any particular questions at all, please don’t heztate.” This was the line with which he ended every one of his set speeches along the way. Since he had said nothing this time to provoke questions, none were asked.
  • Just as I thought it a remarkable fact that J. Edgar Hoover manages to get his important work done in an office across the hall from a public gathering place that is refilled every half hour, or less, I was deeply impressed by the knowledge that the government’s case is represented in the courts by men who do their legal research in a library in which traffic is as heavy as it is in the lobby of a large hotel.

sneer: 冷笑; sheave: 滑车轮; stocky: 敦实; crouched: 蹲在; drab: 单调; rick: 堆成垛; lustreless: 没有光泽; incredulously: 难以置信; flimsy: 单薄; stank: 发臭; stupendous: 巨大的; corset: 紧身胸衣; coiffure: 发型; birch: 桦木; recherche: 研究; billeted: 驻扎; pinup: 钉住; boiseries: 木制品; casket: 棺材; looted: 洗劫一空


PART FOUR: CHARACTER STUDIES

NOTE BY SUSAN ORLEAN

苏珊·奥尔良的这篇导读算是目前为止最“振奋人心”的一篇,读罢已经按捺不住往下翻每一篇文章的冲动。本章的主题是人物小传(profile),苏珊说在当年作者的自由度还很大,他们的选材,选题,写法都是出自于自己的兴趣,而非利益与其他因素左右,这种写作空间在如今已经很难看到了;苏珊担任《纽约客》撰稿人已经二十余年,她的形象还被改编到奥斯卡获奖电影《改编剧本》里,风靡一时。

  • These writers didn’t invent the Profile, but sometimes it feels as if they had. Each had a distinct voice, but their writing had in common a tone of familiarity and authority — qualities that became the mark of a New Yorker Profile.
  • As a reader, you notice only the writer’s decisions — what to include, what to examine closely, what to describe. You never feel that the story has been stage-managed by the subject or by a publicist or, for that matter, by an editor with an agenda. Readers sense that the story is authentic, and that it grew out of a genuine interest on the part of the writer, rather than out of a press release. Having grown up in the age of celebrity journalism, I was used to reading articles that were very obviously directed by some interested party. The first time I read these pioneering New Yorker pieces, I remember being amazed; I couldn’t believe you could really find stories like this, in which the writer, and not the subject, set the pace.
  • Ross is very much present in the story, but as the passionate observer, eager to hear and see everything that can enrich the story and help make sense of not only Franklin but also the world around him.

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