The New Yorker – May 9, 2016

THE MODEL AMERICAN, by Lauren Collins

自 Trump 参加大选并呼声越来越高以来,他家中的老老小小竞相成为了媒体追逐和报道的对象。《纽约时报》曾在不久前长篇介绍了他的二女儿也是得力助手 Ivanka。这一期《纽约客》则把笔墨花在了他的现任妻子 Melania 身上(注:她并不是 Ivanka 的母亲)。常读媒体报章就会不难发现,记者们对 Trump 形象的刻画通常都言辞犀利,毫不留情,而且以负面消息居多。在生活中其实并不高调张扬的 Melania 也逃不过这个定式和套路。首先就是身份和背景问题:“Donald Trump, it is worth noting, is married to an immigrant. Should he be elected, Melania will become the first foreign-born First Lady since Louisa Adams, though Louisa Adams doesn’t really count, as her father was an American, and from a politically connected family that hopped back and forth between England and its newly liberated colonies.” 然后就是和其他领导人妻子的比较:“If First Ladies have traditionally been public-service announcements, then she is a slickly produced advertorial — we marvelled at Michelle’s arms, because it seemed that they could be ours, if only we were willing to work as hard as she did, but you don’t hear anymore (other than her husband) talking about Melania’s legs.

这篇文章并不长,也许也是因为可以大书特书的素材并不多。开头作者颇具意味地描述了2002年七月 Trump 是如何在卢布尔雅那(斯洛文尼亚首都,Melania 来自斯洛文尼亚)机场及其三十分钟车程开外的一家餐厅与 Melania 一家用餐,那是他第一次也是唯一一次前往斯洛文尼亚,晚上八点抵达,不到凌晨便又回到了机场。仅有的细节是这样的:“Over virgin cocktails (Trump had a Coke Zero), onion escalope with pan-fried potatoes, and forest blueberries, Melania interpreted. Trump declined coffee. ‘Is this place for sale?’ he asked his future father-in-law on the way out, according to the journalists Bojan Pozar and Igor Omerza.

这两位叫 Bojan 和 Igor 的记者也是 “Melania Trump: The Inside Story” 一书的作者,前者是斯洛文尼亚有名的八卦专栏作家,他们走访了可以收集到信息的每一个角落汇成了此书,其中一个段落提到了 Melania 的姑姑:“‘Melania’s aunt, Olga Ulcnik, born on 30 October 1943 in Judendorf-Strassengel, was an absolute phenom in school,’ they write. ‘She averaged excellent grades from 1950 to 1954, even finishing the last year with straight As except for one B in geometry.’” 简单地掰手指算一下便知道,1950年到1954年,Melania Trump的这位姑姑是在上小学的年纪。

文章避免不了把 Melania 和 Trump 本人进行比较(也是以此来进一步剖析 Trump 其人)。“Yet Melania appears to have internalized many aspects of Donald’s culture: his ahistoricism; his unblinking gall; his false dichotomies between murderous scofflaws and deserving citizens, women who ask for nothing and nagging wives … … She never breaks ranks, not even with a teasing criticism … … Not only does she never joke about her husband; she is entirely self-serious … … She doesn’t attempt to bond by deprecating herself. She makes no apologies for her twenty-five-carat diamond, her formal life style, her multiple houses.

然而,由于材料有限,文章读罢我们对这位谜一样的 Melania 仍没有更多深入的了解,谈不上多好也谈不上多坏。接近结尾的地方作者不经意的一句话也许说得是对的,“We must thus conclude that she wants to be perceived as aloof.

DANGEROUS FICTIONS, by Dexter Filkins

Mohammed Hanif 曾是BBC伦敦负责报道乌尔都语和巴基斯坦时政的负责人,现在他回到了自己的母国,担任记者和并从事小说创作。巴基斯坦不是一个太平的地方,他在后来的一篇文章中回忆起在卡拉奇的生活,“People were being kidnapped for a few thousand rupees,. Everybody’s cousin had been robbed at gunpoint. Carjacking was rampant. Even an obscure journalist like me had a gangster or two stalking him.” 但是,已经手持英国护照的 Hanif 却从没把自己当成一个外国人,他说,“Some writers become foreigners, even when they are living here. I don’t think I am a foreigner. Even the people who don’t like me, I’m one of them … … I didn’t just fly in from England.

Hanif 的第一部小说 “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” 围绕巴斯斯坦前总统齐亚·哈克的坠机身亡展开,他在伦敦工作时就对这个题目十分感兴趣,但是经过调查发现,可供参考的历史资料少之又少。最后,Hanif 决定把自己写成是刺杀齐亚·哈克的背后主谋,小说的主人公化身为一名空军飞行员——这无疑是与 Hanif 曾经参军有直接关系。小说里充满了卡通化的戏谑,Hanif 自己也说,“[the] fiction [is] ‘the opposite of journalism’.” 在长达数十年的军政府统治高压下,能够如此大胆地写出对军队首领的批判和讽刺本身就是一件很了不起的事。这本书最终由印度的兰登书屋出版,并最终运送了数千本到巴基斯坦,反响强烈。意外的是,当权者并没有过多打压或设置障碍,Hanif 自己打趣道:“I think I was helped by the fact that no one in the military reads novels.

这本书没有受到太大阻力的另外一个原因便是,他是用英语书写的。巴基斯坦半数人都是文盲,剩余的部分也大多只读乌尔都语,只有少数的媒体和社会精英把英语作为日常用语。“This situation presents both limits and opportunities. Writers in English have far more latitude to criticize authorities, both secular and religious, without retribution. Clerics tend not to read English, or to care much about the opinions of upper-class intellectuals; politicians are largely concerned with the vastly greater numbers of people who read primarily Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, or Balochi.

即便如此,在巴基斯坦从事时政报道和写作仍是一项非常危险的工作,“In 2010, Umar Cheema, who had written about dissent within the military, was picked up by men in police uniforms who were widely presumed to be I.S.I agents … … In 2014, Hamid Mir, the country’s best-known television journalist, who has criticized the Army and the I.S.I. in his pieces, was shot six times by unknown gunmen as he drove to work.” Hanif 本人也不例外,他经常接到曾经在空军 的老战友的通风报信,提醒不要总是把自己置身在话题和危险之中。他的妻子也说,“In Pakistan, you don’t have to be outspoken to be killed. The people we might be afraid of are people we don’t even know.

战乱的时局通常对伟大的文学家来说是一个恩赐,在哪里都不例外。但是,Hanif 却希望用自己文学灵感的枯竭来换取这个国家长久的太平:“… … he insists that he would be happier if the country somehow became calm. ‘I never want to leave,’ he said. ‘If Pakistan were normal and boring, I would love that. I’d shut my mouth for a while, if that was the price.’

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