The New Yorker – Feb.22, 2016

THE GOLDEN GENERATION, by Jiayang Fan

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.

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