The New Yorker – Mar.14, 2016

THE LIST, by Sarah Stillman

这篇纪实把我们的视角拉到一个也许略有耳闻但却不会刻意关注的角落,青少年犯罪/罪犯。美国大部分州的司法系统中都有一个数据库,上面登记了因侵犯未成年而留下案底的罪犯信息,这个公开的数据库里,不仅有成年人,还有很多未成年人。通常,这个记录会伴随他们长达二十年之久,远远长于他们服刑(或者“劳教”)的期限,也因此对他们的未来之路产生了不可逆转的影响。本文以一种类纪录片式的手法,穿插在三个主要人物(Leah DuBuc,Patty Wetterling,Anthony Metts)中间,为我们生动而深刻地刻画了他们的切身经历和感受,抛出了对该数据库系统(The List)的疑问,是一篇冷静而极富人文关怀的纪录范本。

Leah DuBuc 只是众多被登记在 Public Sex Offender Registry Web 中的一个,她和很多人一样,因为在未成年时所犯下的“错误”,就被贴上了这样一个标签,“CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT”。作者走访了许多这样的案例:“In Charlie Roberts’s living room, not far from Paris, Texas, I learned how, at the age of ten, Roberts had pulled down the pants of a male classmate at her public elementary school. She was prosecuted for ‘indecency with a child’, and added to the state’s online offender database for the next ten years.” 不仅如此,Charlie 每晚六点后不得离开家门,不能随意离开自己的 county,或者亲近任何“minority children”。作者也采访了这个案件的受害人,“he was shocked to learn of Roberts’s fate. He described the playground offense as an act of ‘public humiliation, instead of a sexual act’ — a harmful prank, but hardly a sex crime.” 类似这样的事例不胜枚举,在弗吉尼亚,一名十七岁的高中生因向他的女朋友发 sexual video 而受到指控(“manufacturing and distributing child pornography”)。在北卡罗来纳,“a sixteen-year old girl faced multiple felony charges for ‘sexting’ a picture of herself to her boyfriend.” 随之而来的就是定罪和被迫离开自己的家,到“少管所”呆上好几年,出来之后面临着种种难题:“Homelessness; getting fired from jobs; taking jobs below minimum wage, with predatory employers; not being able to provide for your kids; losing your kids; relationship problems; deep inner problems connecting with people; deep depression and hopelessness; this fear of your own name; the terror of being Googled.

Leah DuBuc 在她十二岁的时候被送到了位于伊利诺伊州 Manteno的一家 residential juvenile-sex-offender treatment facility,叫作 Indian Oak Academy。“She was the youngest child in her program … Many of the girls there were sixteen or seventeen, with histories of trauma that surfaces as rage. The older girls … verbally and physically abused one another, and occasionally her.” 作者介绍说,“The program borrowed heavily from addition theory. ‘Your identity is you’re a sex offender’ … They’d never be cured, but they could learn to refrain from harming people in the future.” 也许对另一类人来说,在少管所里接受“再造”是逃离“turbulent home life” 再好不过的方式,但在 Elizabeth Letourneau 教授(约翰霍普金斯大学 Moore Center of the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse 中心主任)眼中,“this idea that a ten-year-old kid who does something sexually inappropriate needs residential treatment is completely insane.” 伊丽莎白教授指出,“most youths who are charged with a sex offense don’t reoffend sexually. The motives behind their crimes, too, are different from those of most adults who sexually offend.” 而且让人更加担忧的是,这些“少年再教育机构”的资质和管理良莠不齐,作者说,“in some parts of the country, I found a cottage industry of court-authorized but poorly regulated therapy providers subjecting kids and teens to widely debunked technologies. Juveniles undergoing treatment of sex offenses have been exposed to severe verbal abuse, beatings, and even sexual predation at residential facilities. Not a few people have been placed in dubious but costly treatment programs for actions that many believe should never have been placed in the first place.

这类青少年案件中还有一类叫作“Romeo and Juliet case”,即和未成年间的 consensual relationship,Anthony Metts 在二十一岁的时候因此而被判了十年的察看(probation)。“For the next decade, he’d be barred from alcohol and the Internet; from entering the vicinity of schools, parks, bus stops, malls, and movie theaters; from living within a thousand feet of a ‘child-safety zone’. A mugshot of his curly-haired, round-cheeked face would appear for life on the Texas sex-offender registry, beside the phrase ‘Sexual Assault of Child’. And he would have to start sex-offender treatment.” 这个“治疗计划”的内容是常人难以想象的:“He was told to write up a detailed sexual history, and then to discuss it with a room full of adults, some of whom had repeatedly committed child assaults. On his first day of class, he recalls, he entered a group circle beside a dentist who had violated several patients while they were under anesthesia. To graduate, he would have to narrate his ‘assaults’ in detail: “How many buttons on her shirt did you unbutton?’” 不仅如此, 一种叫作PPG的技术还被用在他身上,“According to documents provided by the state of Texas, the PPG … is a ‘sophisticated computerized instrument capable of measuring slight changes in the circumference of the penis’.” 这种技术在上个世纪五十年代由捷克的一个 sexologist 发明,起初被用来检测那些假冒成同性恋从而可以不用参军的人们。美国的许多州都明令禁止使用PPG。Anthony 需要定期参加这个“检查”,每一次花费两百美元。

Anthony 经历了几次被炒鱿鱼之后,在德州米德兰市的油田找了一份工作,2006年他与当地一位警长的女儿相爱,很快他们就结婚并且生下一个女儿,一切似乎都向好的发现发展。但是,“it also introduced him to a troubling new aspect of his life on the registry. Metts, then twenty-four, learned that he wouldn’t be allowed to see his daughter. His status banned him from living with her, and thus with his wife.” 这只是厄运的开始,他后来被强制在脚踝上栓一个 bracelet,“administered by a private monitoring company that charged several hundred dollars a month. The device would notify the authorities of any infractions  — stepping too close to a mall, park, bar, or church, or leaving the county without permission.” 经历了一段徘徊和挣扎之后,在经济和精神的双重压力下,他决定与妻子离婚。十年“察看”期的最后一年,在一个五月的阳光午后和朋友的家庭聚会里,由于忘了给 bracelet 及时充电被 probation officer 发现,Anthony 被再次送上法庭,“The prosecutor pushed for two years in prison, arguing that the long list of Metts’s technical infraction was ‘not just a fluke … not just ‘Oops, I messed up.” Metts’s attorney urged alternatives that would be less costly for taxpayers. None of Metts’s violations, he noted, had any connection to the original charge of sexual assaults of a child. A typical mistake was failing to charge his ankle bracelet’s battery. The judge took some time to think it over. The next morning, she sentenced Metts to ten years in prison.

让我们把视线再拉回到 Leah DuBuc 身上,从 Indian Oaks 出来后,她考取了当地一所大学,开始了新的生活。然而与此同时,她被密歇根执法机构告知自己须在一个 online registry 上注册,每年登记自己的详细信息,而且在满十八岁后,这些信息将在网上公开。她自己后来写道,“This is where my life became a living hell all over again.” 在学校里, 尽管是一名经常拿到奖学金的好学生,她还是遭受到了这样或那样的不公对待,有一天上课回到宿舍,她在门上发现一张字条,上面写着“We know you’re a sex offender. GET OUT OF OUR ROOM.” 第一个学期的寒假,她的男朋友邀请她去他另一个镇子上的家作客,她答应了,但是按照规定 Leah 需要在那个镇上的警局登记。在 Brighton Police Post,当她在前台告诉 trooper 说她是一名 registered sexual offender 时,得到的回应是,“We don’t serve your kind here. You better leave before I take you out back and shoot you myself.

这一切并没有击垮 Leah,意识到自己无法回避 public registry 之后,她决定开始研究她,以自己的努力设法对这个系统做出一点改变。她开始在网上写自己的故事,写信给当地的立法人员为她和很多与她有相似经历的人请愿。这些并没有收到太多实质的成效,2008年硕士毕业后,她的 sexual offender 身份使得找到一份像样工作的可能性依旧是微乎其微。最终,她决定离开美国。

作者在去年七月亲自去了一趟德州米德兰市,想要找到那位在 Anthony Metts 案件中的“受害女孩”,当然,她现在早已经长大成人了。“Having no luck with doorbells, I left notes, and two days later I got a call from one of them. ‘I never wanted Anthony to be prosecuted,’ she told me. ‘It was a consensual relationship — the kind when you’re young and you’re stupid. My mom knew about it. We’d go on dates, drive around, hang out.’ She was shocked to learn of Metts’s fate: his nine-plus years of probation, his current decade of incarceration. ‘I told [law enforcement] that I didn’t feel like he should have to be prosecuted,’ she said.

作者在过去的两年里也定期和 Metts 本人保持通话联系,这一次她也专门前去探望他。几经辗转,Metts 已经被安置在德州东部非常偏远的一所监狱。说起他们见面的过程,作者写道,“‘I thought, by the time we finally met, we’d be on the rooftop at the Hilton,’ he said, laughing halfheartedly. For most of the next four hours, he spoke of how he planned to get through the coming decade. ‘In my mind, I don’t live here,’ he told me. He spends his days reading business and life-style magazines and making plans to return to his daughter, who is now eight. ‘I look forward to being the dad she deserves, the dad I feel I am,’ he said. ‘I miss reading her stories. Getting doughnuts with her, helping her with her homework, brushing her hair. Everything. Everything.’

后来 Leah DuBuc 去了日本,那里和几乎任何除了美国的其他国家一样,没有网上数据库。Leah 在那里教英文,并不久遇见了一个叫做 Kimo 的菲律宾男人。他们不久后在印度班加罗尔完婚,又返回日本,在那里他们的儿子降生。直到有一天,“she received a flurry of Facebook messages from Sharon Denniston, her juvenile advocate in Michigan. Denniston had been pushing the legislative reforms that DuBuc had helped promote. ‘Be sure you are sitting down,’ she wrote. ‘Juveniles that were less than 14 at the time of their offense will be straight out removed from the registry: no hearing, no court visit, no paperwork to fill out!’” 作者并没有描写 Leah 当时的具体反应,她只说,“DuBuc decided to take her family home.

Maggie Lee – In His Time: the Films of Edward Yang

Interview with Leong Po-chih

Yang’s compositions were filled with windows and doorways, and he used long shots. His was a different film language from Hong Kong’s preference for quick cuts and close-ups, which reflected the city’s claustrophobia and emotional intensity.

He gave equal weight to all his characters. There was tremendous detail in every frame. You almost have to be an engineer to work that out. Everything has to be in the right place. He also paid a lot of attention to soundtrack … He may have been the first in Taiwan to push the boundaries in sounds.

There is a bit of Edward in the little boy Yang Yang in Yi Yi. His curiosity about everything meant that he sometimes saw the world through a child’s eye. There are also aspects of him in the paternal role of NJ. The last scene in Yi Yi where the boy reads his diary to his deceased grandma – that is Edward speaking.

Interview with Du Tuu-chih

Once Yang and I traveled up to Yang Ming Shan in the middle of the night to record some sounds. It took us a long time, just to complete one thing. Many directors would just go home right after filming wrapped up for the day.

Yang was also an aficionado in classical music. Word has it that Yang’s father used to make him stay home just to listen to classical music. Listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, he could tell which string quartet was playing it. Yang even re-scored Four Seasons for the soundtrack of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Boys from Fengkuei (1983).

Once, we were in Australia for sound mixing. I had flown in from Taipei and Yang from Europe. We sat at Sydney harbor reflecting on the circumstances that had gotten us there, how the two of us had each traveled halfway across the world to a foreign country to work on our passion together and how it was films that had given us a chance to be there.

Interview with Chen Po-wen

Yang often told me that he was happiest when overseeing editing because it was so much easier to achieve a desired effect or fix a problem on the editing table than to control a team or the variables on a shoot. Every time after a painful film shoot, he would look forward to the editing process tremendously, because that was where he could enjoy himself.

Especially with the use of music, Yang was especially sensitive and he had a great musical background. For example in the scene of the concert at Sun Yat Sen Hall in A Brighter Summer Day, there was an undercurrent of dramatic events happening during Cat’s performance with the band. If you do not have a certain sensitivity to music, it would be very difficult to bring out the essence of the scene. To the audience watching the scene, everything appears very natural and smooth, but during the editing process, you have to perfectly match musical cues and dialogue, and you can’t achieve that without a precise and intuitive sense of rhythm.

All his films were expressions of himself. Society, politics, friendship, feelings, they were all filtered through his subjective consciousness, and were expressions of what he felt in his heart … The unique way in which he approached the subject matter for his films was something rarely attempted by other Taiwanese directors. Before Yang, no other Taiwanese directors got international recognition for exploring urban themes this way. Yang changed after he had a child. Previously he had very cynical worldview and a harsh opinion of society … But after he had child, he changed, and in Yi Yi he presented a more compassionate viewpoint of humanity.

Yang did not deliberately use long shots, but there were examples of long shots in his films. However his use of long shots were different from other directors. There were a lot of movement in his long shots and they were not static. Whether it was the camera movement itself or the movement of the characters within the scene, his long shots were seldom quiet and contemplative.

Interview with Angelika Wang

He really enjoyed communicating with young people and to nurture them. He never treated us like kids but as equals, listening to our views with real interest. He talked to us about all sorts of ideas and topics. But he distanced himself from the public and from a lot of people in the trade. He was very close to his mother, so he was extremely understanding and sensitive to female mentality and sensibility. Ming, the female protagonist in Brighter in some ways mirrors Yang – she has a soft, tender side, but also has the spunk of love and hate passionately.

In 2005, Yang and Hou were both invited to Cannes Film Festival – the former as the head of the jury for short film competition and the latter for Three Times which was in competition for the Palme d’Or. When they met they hugged each other after having drifted apart for a long time. It was a moving moment to behold, and it was also the last time I saw Yang.

Interview with Wei De-sheng

He didn’t like to talk to his cast or crew about small, dry technical details. He only expounded on ideas and values about the nation, culture, literature, politics. Yet, why do the same actors who earned awards for appearing in his works often fail to achieve the same results in other people’s productions? It was owing to the ambiance Yang cultivated to lend the roles exceptional credibility … he strained to build perfects sets that would allow the cast to come immersed the film’s fictional world.

Interview with Chen Yi-wen

An amusing case was a car scene in Yi Yi. The protagonist NJ was supposed to be driving his family home from a banquet. It was a short scene, with no dialogue. The scene was reshot four times. At the first reshoot, Wu noticed that the actress playing his wife had been changed. Next time, he peered over his shoulder and found the girl playing his daughter was someone else.

Yang allowed me to see what it means to be a serious filmmaker. I learned that there is a time for seriousness whatever filmmaking conditions you face.

Interview with Chiang Hsiu-chiung

If you studied Yang’s characters, you see him in each of them. Even in the role of Yang Yang, you can see traces of Yang’s personality, as if he was talking through the boy. The only exception was with Wu Nien-jen. He trusted him so much he let him revise his own lines. Wu understood Yang so well he could express his intentions even better than in Yang’s own words, especially when the dialogue required Taiwanese dialect, with which Wu really eloquent.

Of course, we belong to different eras, but I’d spent so much time and effort probing his mind and trying to see with his eyes that I internalized some of this thoughts … I often relive the moments of Yang’s career and picture what he went through and tell myself whatever difficulty or setback I face is nothing. He is someone who devoted himself almost entirely to his films. What inspired me most about both Yang and Hou was their unshakable determination to get things perfect. Yang would re-shoot from scratch even after crank-out. I deeply admire the scope and dimension of Yang’s cinema.

The Martyrdom of an Idealist: Death in the Films of Edward Yang, by Ryan Cheng

From the advent of A Confucian Confusion, there is a palpable change in Yang’s films. “Everything we can see with our eyes, there must still be another brand new perspective awaiting our discovery … … There are signs everywhere hinting at us, that we can live more blissfully with hope anew! To conquer hypocrisy is not about dying in the literal sense, but to live on with real honesty.” Spoken by the Secluded Poet (Hung Hung), these large chunks of soliloquy are presented without a single edit, with no concern at all for the audience’s ability to digest them. Through a seemingly unexpected, fragmented and nonsensical euphoric expression, Yang had proclaimed the new and sudden realization of his personal beliefs. No matter how complex, contradictory and absurd, he would have enough strength to go on till the end. And this is what the three-hour long Yi Yi painstakingly tells us.

The Blood of Youth, by Wen Tien-hsiang

Yang’s high regard for youth as a paragon of innocence and idealism was one of the ways in which he would inspect and question a time and a society. It is Yang’s courage to dabble in such “confucian confusion” that made him a director of paramount moral speculation in the history of Taiwanese cinema.


A Brighter Summer Day   Breathless   Badlands   Late Spring

千呼万唤始出来。借 Criterion Collection 把《牯岭街少年杀人事件》(1991, 237 min, 8.3, 8.6)纳入收藏的东风,瞩目已久的大荧幕放映将于本周末在 BAM Rose Cinema 举行。IMDb 的影片题图也早早地更换成了 Criteion 的封面。将近四个小时长的电影放映场次不会多,除了周日有下午和晚上两场之外,其余三天就只是单场放映。台湾导演中,属蔡明亮在纽约的荧幕上最为活跃,侯孝贤侯导借新片也在近两年赚足了人气,唯杨德昌,在印象中似乎从未有他的片子在纽约亮相,这次的机会实在是千载难逢。

这个周末能和 BAM 掰一掰手腕的是 IFC,美国女导演凯莉·雷查德的单片回顾系列“RIVER OF GRASS and Its Sources” 精选了她本人十分喜爱的几部老电影,其中包括泰伦斯·马力克的《不毛之地》(1973, 94 min, 7.9, 7.8)和“法国新浪潮”的开山之作《筋疲力尽》(1960, 90 min, 8.0, 8.4)。戈达尔是各大电影院的常客了,每一年几乎都会有他的回顾系列(此时此刻伦敦 BFI 的就还没结束),而泰伦斯·马力克,这位哈佛哲学系毕业,曾经摘得金棕榈和金熊奖的美国导演,也是各院线品质的保证。IFC 的介绍页面引用了 Time Out 杂志的影评人约书亚·罗斯科夫在2013年的一片篇短评,里面说,“Whatever you think you need to do this week, make some time to settle into a seat at Film Forum and be beguiled. We start in a 1950s South Dakota suburb, … , Badlands is the American myth of freedom and violence; it doesn’t get old because it remains what we are.” 在介绍语里面直接点名道姓地提及几个 block 之外的竞争对手的名字也是相当大度。这部电影是导演的处女作,也是1973年纽约电影节的闭幕影片。

而约书亚评论里提到的 Film Forum 这周在干嘛呢?他们还在放《晚春》(1949, 108 min, 8.3, 8.7),而且声称是这周四就会下线。不管怎样,这是纽约各大 art house 影院的惯例了,每年这个时节,小津的这部佳作都会在某个角落迎着我们。只是今年稍微不一样的在于,在 Late Spring 之后,我们有一个 Brighter Summer Day (注:《牯岭街少年》的英文名)。

  • Thu: Late Spring (5:10, 7:30, 9:50)
  • Fri: A Brighter Summer Day (2:00)
  • Sat: A Brighter Summer Day (2:00); Badlands (5:45, 9:40)
  • Sun: A Brighter Summer Day (2:00; 7:00); Breathless (5:45, 9:35)
  • Mon: A Brighter Summer Day (7:00)

The New Yorker – Feb.22, 2016


从文章作者的名字就看得出来,这是一篇讲述亚裔的文章。果不其然,文章的切入点是温哥华的一场真人秀节目:Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver. 作者以一个旁观者兼朋友的口吻对参加这场秀的几个女孩进行了记录。这个题材,很像《纽约客》杂志早在1940年代 Rebecca Ross 对美国的一个选美比赛的纪实。

作者是这样像读者介绍“富二代”这个词的,“The children of wealthy Chinese are know as fuerdai, which means ‘rich second generation.’ In a culture where poverty and thrift were long the norm, their extravagances have become notorious.” 她进一步分析道,“Contempt for the nouveau riche is hardly limited in China, but the Chinese version is distinctive. Thanks to the legacy of Communism, almost all wealth is new wealth. there are no old aristorcracies to emulate, no templates for how to spend.

很多文章里描述的事情和现象对我们国人来说已经不是什么新鲜事,像把子女送到海外,在加拿大挥金买房等的背后原因,也都花笔墨点到了。“Yan has coined the term ‘hedge city’ for places like Vancouver; they are a hedge against volatility at home.” 同时她也说,“This is the first time that China’s rich have sought to emigrate in significant numbers. For thousand of years, the ruling class was proudly isolationist.

在过去的六年里,温哥华single-family 的房价涨了75%,但是居民的人均收入却丝毫未动,这也引起了些当地人的不满情绪。“The city has become a hotel … I think any country should be against that because you’re not buying the best people. They don’t invest in their country. There’s no belonging. But it’s a worldwide trend. It’s happening in England. It’s happening in France, It’s happening in Australia. Everywhere.

文章里也提到了“富二代”们自己努力奋斗的一面,并不是人人都坐在父辈的财产上,“My daddy doesn’t want me to kill the company he has worked so hard to build. He told me, ‘If you don’t have the ability to take over, it’s better for you to collect a monthly income and give the reins to someone else.’” 和上一代比起来,这群年轻人拥有了许多同时也失去了不少,一位参赛选手告诉作者,“I lack my parents’ Chinese business know-how. Westerners are about being straightforward and direct. But, when you negotiate a deal in China, it’s all about what’s unsaid, simultaneously hiding and hinting at what you really want. In China, I’m treated like a naive child, and sometimes I feel like an alien.

THE DIGITAL DIRT, by Nicholas Schmidle

Harvey Levin 是一个名叫TMZ的网站的老板和创始人,这个网站可来头不小,它自2005年创建以来,一直致力于报道名人的花边信息,想必好莱坞半数以上的明星们都对他们敬畏三分。Levin 被问到他的团队是如何获取那么多第一手资料的,他说,“It’s so funny to me that people ask that question. We’re a new corporation. I mean, that’s what you’r supposed to do.” 是的,TMZ 有庞大的信息源网络,包括给专门给明星打官司的律师,电视台的工作人员,法院的工作人员,航空公司的工作人员,还包括成人电影的经销商……“A former TMZ cameraman showed me expense reports that he had submitted in 2010, reflecting payments of forty or fifty dollars to various sources: to the counter girl at Beverly Hills salon, for information on Goldie Hawn; to a valet, for Pete Sampras; to a shopkeeper, for Dwight Howard; and to a writer, for Hayden Christensen. ‘Everybody rats everybody else out … That’s the beauty of TMZ.’

Levin 是这样定义自己的这份工作的,“[my] mission, he once said, was ‘not to make celebrities look bad but to make them real.’ To Levin, the O.J.Simpson case offered a glaring example of how differently the law was applied to celebrities and to ordinary citizens” 很多时候明星在被执法时受到“特殊关照”,他们的公关团队也经常借各种机会捏造事实来美化名人的形象,Levin 对这一切都很不认同。一位前AOL高管就这样评价Levin,“Harvey believed that every celebrities was fake, and that it was his job to expose that.

TMZ 的新闻报道讲究的是时效性,用他们自己的话说就是“prioritized speed over polish”。Steve 曾经是Linsay Lohan 公关团队中的一员,他说,“When my phone rings and it’s TMZ, I pretty much stop what I’m doing and pick it up. Not because I’m bowing to the gods at TMZ but because, when something from TMZ runs, it spreads so quickly that, if there is any inaccurate information, within five or ten minutes it’s been picked up by hundred other outlets.

作者走访了不少曾经和Levin共事过的人,从他们的讲述中可以看出Levin的工作方式会让你十分难熬,甚至难堪。“Harvey has no problems publicly shaming you … He used to say, to all of us, ‘My fucking dogs are smarter than you!’” 其他人还说,“Dozens of current and former employees characterized the TMZ offices as an uncomfortable workplace. ‘Sex was discussed casually, as a commodity,’ another former producer said. He described employees regularly gathering around computer monitors to watch footage of celebrities having sex.” 很多在这里留下评论的人都不愿意署名,因为害怕惹怒了Levin。

文章讲到了TMZ与Justin Bieber之间的一段故事。他们曾经收到过一段视频,里面的Justin在演唱时把girl改成了nigger,Levin后来在一段访谈里提到说,他当时面临着一个很困难的决定。“You have no idea how many stories cross our desks that we don’t do.” 就像他说的,很多时候他自己也不知道确切的底线在哪里,2010年他在母校芝加哥大学法学院的一段演讲里提到,“I don’t live by hard-and-fast rules in this job. I can’t give you a rigid principle on where the line of privacy is. [I] struggled with this dilemma all the time.

后来Levin选择没有公开这段视频,究竟是出于情感还是利益我们自然不能完全知晓。尽管没有公开,但Levin并没有完全删除这段视频,“A former writer for TMZ told me that, for Levin, there was more to gain by sitting on the clip, and earning Bieber’s good will, than by running it and ruining his career.

The New Yorker – Feb.8&15, 2016

COVER STORY, by Elif Batuman

本文和前几期的记述实录口吻不一样,是作者以第一人称写的亲身经历,因此也是近几期读到的个人认为最好的一篇关于中东社会生态现状的文章。主人公来自土耳其,她一上来就提到了“开国之父”凯末尔·阿塔图尔克,并强调了他对上一代土耳其的人的深远影响:“I felt grateful to Ataturk that my parents were so well educated, that they weren’t held back by superstition or religion, that they were true scientists, who taught me how to read when I was three and never doubted that I could become a writer.” 

作为一个在美国长大的土耳其“新一代”,作者对凯末尔的情感自然不会那么深厚。本世纪伊始,正义与发展党和埃尔多安上台之后,伊斯兰主义者逐渐开始在民意和舆论上占据上风:“Suddenly, it was the secularists who seemed stodgy: racist, authoritarian, elitist, and slavishly pro-Western.”。在某种程度上,作者是认同他们的部分主张的。研究土耳其的专家珍妮·怀特就认为,“In the A.K.P.-sympathetic world view, the Ottomans, who Kemalists had blamed for selling Turkey to the British, enjoyed a vogue as models of enlightened Muslim multiculturalism.” 作者自己也说,“To me, as to most Americans, it seemed a tiny bit weird that nearly every public building in Turkey had a picture of Ataturk on the wall … Furthermore, when I thought about my own family, something about White’s critique of Kemalism felt familiar … Kemalism, not unlike Zionism, drew much of its energy from the fact that there could easily have been no Turkish state.” 

转折发生在2010年,这一年作者搬回到伊斯坦布尔,在一所大学里任教(并开始为《纽约客》撰稿)。她开始亲身体验到这个国家里两大族群的对立,这“white Turks” 和 “black Turks” 之间的对立之深刻和尖锐是作者始料未及的。比方说他的父母其实分别来自这两个族群,但在她成长的经历中并没有发现有任何问题,“my father had written the essay in praise of Ataturk in his high-school yearbook, his sisters were pro-choice, none of the women in his family wore head scarves except to do housework, and I had never heard any of them express the remotest hint of nostalgia for the Ottoman past.” 然而今天,在伊斯坦布尔,作者开始告诫自己任何行为和言语都要小心,小心被人们贴上 “Islamophobe” 标签。 

从这里,本文的主角——头巾(Cover)开始进入我们的视野了。作者从她乘出租车的经历开始讲起,说到很多穆斯林司机都乐意花时间跟她讲明戴头巾其实是一件多么好的事情。“I usually didn’t reply, especially if the driver seemed at all excitable, because when those drivers started to argue they would stop watching the road …” 不过终于有一次她还是开口了,“I think all women should be respected. It shouldn’t depend on their hair.” 


The driver replied that I was absolutely right, that of course women should be respected, and that the head scarf was the best way for women to remind men of this necessity for respect. Men, after all, were worse than women: they could sometimes forget themselves, and then unfortunate things could happen, ‘even’ — he said in a hushed voice, adding that he didn’t like to mention such things in front of me — ‘even rape.’

I relied, in my simplistic Turkish, that to me this sounded like a threat: either cover your head or rape can happen. The driver protested in ornate phrases that nobody was threatening anyone, that to speak of threats in this situation was unfitting, that he could tell from my smiling face that I was a good and trusting person, but that the world was an imperfect place, that some men were less like humans than like animals and that it was best to send clear signals about what one was or wasn’t looking for.” 

这还是大城市伊斯坦布尔,后来作者来到安纳托利亚的一个古城Urfa,那里人们的观念自然更加保守:“I seemed to be the only unaccompanied woman at my hotel. When I told the clerk I was staying for six days, he almost had a heart attack. ‘Six days?’ he repeated. ‘All by yourself?’ … All the time I was in Urfa, whenever I saw any member of the hotel staff in the halls or the lobby, I always received the same greeting: ‘Oh, you’re still there?’” 不止是在酒店里,打车,吃饭,基本的衣食住行,独身在Urfa的作者处处遭遇着不便和别人奇怪的眼神。

作者经常去一个当地的古堡躲避酷暑,由于女性需要戴头巾方可进入,她不得不买了一条。“One day, when I had been visiting Abraham’s cave, I forgot to take the scarf off. Walking back through the park, I almost immediately felt that something was different. I passed two beautiful young women in scarves, walking arm-in-arm and laughing about something. When I looked at them, they looked right back into my face and met my eyes, still smiling, as if we were all in the presence of a great joke. I realized that no young women had my my eyes or smiled at me in Urfa till then.

自那之后作者便开始暗暗比较戴头巾与不戴之间的微妙差别,人们对待她的态度果然好转了不止一点。渐渐地,她开始觉得,自己戴上头巾,或许更多地是表示自己对这里人们的友善和尊重吧。她还把头巾跟高跟鞋作比:“High heels were painful, and, for me at least, expensive, because they made walking more difficult and I ended up talking more taxis. Yet there were many times when I wore heels to work-related events in New York, specifically because I felt it made people treat me with more consideration. Why, then, would I refuse to wear a head scarf, which brought a similar benefit of social acceptance, without the disadvantage of impending my ability to stand or walk?” 这微妙的心态变化,后来甚至发展到在离开酒店时,作者一想到是否要摘掉头巾就心头涌上一种难以言清的背叛之感。她感到自己如果执意去做,反倒对那些把她当做亲姐妹的人们是一种伤害。她也开始扪心自问,“now a glimmer appeared before me of a totally different way of being than any I had imagined, a life with clear rules and duties you followed, in exchange for which you were respected and honored and safe … You didn’t have to worry about your social value was irrevocably tied to your sexual value. You had less freedom, true. But what was so great about freedom? What was so great about being journalist and going around being a pain in everyone’s ass …

后来让作者彻底想通了的是在读了法国作家米歇尔·维勒贝克极具争议的畅销小说《Submission》之后,小说里构建了一个在未来由伊斯兰统治的乌托邦式的世界,“He portrays Islam not as a depersonalized creeping menace, or as an ideological last resort to which those disenfranchised by the West may be ‘vulnerable’, but as a system of beliefs that is enormously appealing to many people, many of whom have other options.” 作者说,“It’s fascinating to see how Houellebecq rises to the challenge of making female domestic enslavement seem palatable in the novel, not just to the Islamo-curious Francois but also, to some extent, to the women of France.” 比方说,小说前半部分提到了主人公的两位前任女友,她们那时已经四十岁了,事业成功却依旧独身,“these scenes suggest, not implausibly, gthat the penalties of aging, and the psychic toll of dating and singleness, are even harder for women than for men … they aren’t really balanced out by the joys of a career in.” 后来小说里也写道主人公的一位前同事,她刚从学校隐退回归家庭,“To see her bustling around the kitchen in an apron bearing the humorous phrase … it was hard to believe that just days ago she’d been leading doctoral seminar on the altogether unusual circumstances surrounding Balzac’s corrections to the proofs of Beatrix.” 书中的这个 Islamic regime,但凡有些姿色的女性,似乎都生活在童年中。“Obviously they had no autonomy, but as they say in English, fuck autonomy.



这篇文章是对前不久曾轰动一时的艺术品交易界里的“巨额诈骗案”的全程纪实。故事的两个主角分别是法国商人/中间人布维耶,和他服务的“老板”,俄罗斯大亨雷波洛列夫。文章不短,但却十分精彩,引人入胜,读来一点不输悬疑小说。一上来作者便花了大幅笔墨介绍了这个神秘,精明,而又十分能干的法国人布维耶,让人误以为这不过又是一篇揭露贵圈内幕的小文。然而翻到第三页,我们才发现故事其实有另一个主角:“Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian oligarch, first met Bouvier in August, 2002, during a visit to the Geneva Freeport to pick up a painting by Marc Chagall.” 之后的故事还是看原文才能够体味全貌了。