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特朗普与《纸牌屋》
Trump, ‘House of Cards’ and the art of being ‘real’

来源:FT中文网    2017-04-12 06:04



        In recent weeks, I have been binge-­watching the Netflix show House of Cards (an update of the classic BBC adaptation of Michael Dobbs’ novel). It is addictive and compelling, largely because of the clever dialogue and plot — but also because it sheds light on the presidency of Donald Trump.        最近几周我一直在刷剧,狂看Netflix出品的《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)——该剧翻拍自英国广播公司(BBC)根据迈克尔•多布斯(Michael Dobbs)的小说改编的经典电视剧。《纸牌屋》扣人心弦,令人欲罢不能,这在很大程度上是因为构思精巧的对话和情节,但也是因为看这部剧有助于人们看懂唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)的总统生涯。
        This is not just because the show, which follows the rise of an unscrupulous politician called Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey), illustrates the grubby back-room deals often involved in pushing legislation through Congress, nor because its themes are familiar — from infighting among (largely) unprincipled politicians, to battles with terrorism, job-creation schemes, Chinese trade wars and so on.        这不只是因为这部电视剧展示出国会推动立法的过程往往包含肮脏的幕后交易,也不是因为其主题家喻户晓——从(基本上)没有原则的政客间的暗斗到反恐战争、就业创造项目以及对华贸易战等等。《纸牌屋》讲述了一位寡廉鲜耻的政客弗兰克•安德伍德(Frank Underwood)的发迹史,由凯文•史派西(Kevin Spacey)主演。
        What I found most thought-provoking was that the drama’s portrayal of Washington DC is exactly what President Donald Trump loves to define himself against. If you want to understand why Trump can’t stop tweeting — and why his no-holds-barred statements are so popular among his base — watching House of Cards is a good start. It throws light on the “oppositional symbolism” that he has used so well; the way he has exploited his outsider status to appear as the opposite of all that is wrong with politics.        我发现最引人深思的是,这部连续剧所描述的华盛顿特区的样子正是唐纳德•特朗普总统喜欢自称反对的东西。如果你想理解为何特朗普不能停止发推文,以及为何他口无遮拦的言论在其基础选民中大受欢迎,看《纸牌屋》是个不错的开始。它揭示了特朗普熟练运用的“对立象征主义”(oppositional symbolism)手法;他是如何利用自己局外人的地位表现他站在一切政治上错误的做法的对立面。
        Released on Netflix in four series between 2013 and 2016, the show was wildly popular when it aired, not just in America but around the world. Its success marked a powerful moment for the renaissance of television, which has become much hotter than film as a creative medium in recent years.         《纸牌屋》于2013年到2016年在Netflix网站上播出了4季,在美国和世界各地大受欢迎。它的成功标志着电视复兴的强大时刻——作为创意媒体,最近几年的电视远比电影火爆。
        I believe that the drama almost certainly influenced how politicians have become seen — and discussed — by TV viewers-cum-voters. While House of Cards was not the first TV programme to depict the machinations of the White House (and its plot lines are sometimes extreme), it reflected — and reinforced — a rising public perception that 21st-century Washington DC is corrupt, selfish and unconcerned with the lives of ordinary people living outside “the Beltway”.         我认为,该剧当然影响了电视观众暨选民们看待并讨论政客们的方式。尽管《纸牌屋》并非首部描述白宫阴谋诡计的电视节目(而且其剧情有时也很极端),但它反映(并增强)了公众日益加深的一种认知,即21世纪的华盛顿特区是腐败和自私的,不关心居住在“环城公路”以外地区的普通人的生活。
        Just 7 per cent of the public believe members of Congress have high ethical standards, according to a recent poll by Gallup — a score that placed them below car salespeople at 8 per cent. Part of the reason why the series was so popular may be that it tapped into a pre-existing mood of distrust with politicians, if not disgust.        盖洛普(Gallup)最近的调查显示,只有7%的公众认为国会议员有很高的道德标准,这低于汽车销售员获得的8%的比例。《纸牌屋》大受欢迎的部分原因可能是,它抓住了人们早先就有的对政客们不信任(如果不是厌恶的话)的情绪。
        So how does Trump fit into this? At first glance, he might appear to be a natural fit in Underwood’s unpredictable world. Indeed, when I walked into the White House last week to conduct an interview with the president, I initially had the surreal feeling that I was on a television set. Trump spends parts of his day sitting at that vast wooden desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by historic portraits, nervous aides and burlesque drama, moving about the West Wing just like the fictional leader.         那么特朗普怎么符合这种角色的?乍看之下,他似乎天然与安德伍德那种不可预测的世界相契合。实际上,当我上周走进白宫对特朗普进行采访的时候,我最初有种自己是在电视剧中的梦幻感觉。特朗普一天里会有部分时间坐在椭圆形办公室里那张巨大的木质办公桌后面,周围是历史上的名人肖像、紧张不安的助手以及一些滑稽的表演,就像小说中虚构的领导人那样在白宫西翼办公楼里走来走去。
        But there is one crucial difference. Underwood is crafty, subtle and duplicitous — a politician who has spent years in Congress and is accustomed to lying in a fiendishly clever way and cutting shady deals with rivals, friends and lobbyists while maintaining an unruffled public manner. Trump, by contrast, operates with a crass, in-your-face style that gives the impression that he is nothing like a professional politician. He wears his emotions on his sleeve (or his Twitter feed).         但有一个关键的不同。安德伍德狡诈、有心机而且两面三刀——他是一名在国会呆过多年的政客,习惯以极其聪明的方式撒谎并与竞争对手、朋友和说客签署暗箱协议,同时在公众面前镇定自如。相比之下,特朗普做事粗鲁而且咄咄逼人,让人觉得他一点儿也不像一名职业政客。他是个把情绪挂在脸上(或者推文上)的人。
        A cynic might argue that this is an even more duplicitous pose. Past behaviour suggests that Trump can be strategic; he knows the art of bluffing, double-dealing and playing games with the truth. But the way he talks — and tweets — creates the impression that he is blunt and upfront, a man of business not politics. And this gives him powerful symbolic appeal, precisely because he does not adhere to the bland, scripted clichés of politicians such as Underwood.         怀疑者可能辩称,这是一种更为两面三刀的做派。过去的行为表明,特朗普可能工于心计;他知道虚张声势策略、两面派手法并玩弄真相。但他谈话和发推文的方式让人觉得,他坦率直爽,是一个商人而非政客。这让他拥有了强大的象征性的吸引力,原因恰恰是他不符合安德伍德等政客那种乏味的老套形象。
        ***        ***
        Ever since the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss developed the theory of structuralism, anthropologists have known that cultural patterns tend to operate in binary pairs, such as “hot-cold”, “dark-light” and so on. Trump’s appeal to some voters is that he has used symbols to define himself against the perceived status quo.         自从人类学家克洛德•列维-斯特劳斯(Claude Lévi-Strauss)发展了结构主义理论,人类学家们便知道了文化模式往往以二元对立的形式运行,比如“热和冷”“暗和亮”等等。特朗普对一些选民的吸引力在于,他利用象征手法把他自己定义为与已知现状对立的角色。
        The White House team is now grappling with its own dramas and scandals, and some of the allegations that have started to swirl around — like those concerning Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort — seem as bizarre as any fiction. In time, the public may come to view Trump’s White House as being as “swampy” as anything seen on TV; almost too bizarre to be in a Netflix plot line.         白宫团队如今正忙着解决自己的戏剧性事件和丑闻,已经开始发酵的一些指控——比如那些与特朗普前竞选经理保罗•马纳福特(Paul Manafort)有关的指控——看起来就像小说一样匪夷所思。到最后,公众可能会认为特朗普的白宫与电视上看到的一样,也是一片“沼泽地”;太过离奇以至于Netflix都写不出这样的剧情。
        But what is fascinating to watch is what happens next — not just to Trump but also to House of Cards, which returns for a fifth series next month. Thus far, the plot has been kept under wraps. But if the fictional president Underwood now undergoes a personality shift, and starts tweeting in a crass style, the boundaries between art and life will blur again. All eyes on the Oval Office — in real life and on screen.         但有意思的是看看接下来会发生什么——不只是特朗普,还有“纸牌屋”(该剧将于下个月回归,开播第五季)。到目前为止,剧情还在保密中。但如果那位虚构的总统安德伍德性格大变,开始以粗鲁的风格在Twitter上发文,那么艺术与生活之间的界限将再次变得模糊。无论是在现实生活中还是在荧屏上,所有目光都在盯着椭圆形办公室。
                
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