80年代末的上海什么样子?

今日上海的面貌使我们已经难以想象她之前的样子,所以BBC记者Clive James记录下的1989年5月的上海就弥足珍贵了。

Clive James在上海生活了一个月,影片记录了当时普通人的衣食住行,也记录了今天不太为人知道的街头运动。至少从文案质量上看,感觉今天的网红还是要跟着Clive学习一个。

解说词有一种英国人有距离的没心没肺的幽默感,在今天可以一笑置之。影片结尾说看起来中国正在毫无顾忌地拥抱资本主义,没有任何发生激烈的冲突迹象。很有讽刺意义。

上海永安百货老板郭标的四女儿Daisy Kwok(郭婉莹)在影片中接受采访,

讲述自己从前的优裕生活和在文革中的经历。

上海音乐学院副院长周小燕

说87年学院60年庆的时候组织活动,发现校友都去了国外。

有一个练歌的场景,仿佛是年轻时的魏松老师:

年轻时候的艺术史学者倪亦斌 的英语和风度让Clive James大为折服:

Young art historian Neeyee Bin had been taught himself perfect English and also managed to organise a clean shirt, the second feat being even
more amazing than the first because, under socialism, China’s age-old ability to do laundry has somehow been lost. Yet I reluctantly decided communism must have something if it can grow a flower like him in soil like this.

年轻的艺术史学者倪亦斌不仅通过自学掌握了无可挑剔的英语,还弄到了一套干净的衬衫——后者比前者更为惊人,因为洗衣这项传统技艺在社会主义中国似乎失传了。既然还能在这样的土壤中培养出倪先生这样的花朵,我不得不承认共产主义必然还有可取之处。

几十年后倪先生果然折服了更多的人。

最后还有上海市委的发言人谈到当时就已经有计划发展浦东了。

影片链接在这里:

https://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=Clive_James:_Postcard_from_Shanghai

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:be6e5dd713f680daf95617f7821903c5a687da11&dn=BBC.Clive.James.Postcard.from.Shanghai.720p.HDTV.x264.AAC.MVGroup.org.mkv&tr=http%3a//www.mvgroup.org%3a2710/announce

原字幕有几处错误,主要是字幕作者不熟悉中国人的姓名,尤其是广东话拼音:

8:28, “Daisy Quark” 应该是 “Daisy Kwok”, 中文名字 “郭婉莹”.
11:07, “All the couples” 应该是 “All the capitalists”.
24:25, “Neeyee Bin” 应该是”Ni Yibin”, 中文名字”倪亦斌”.
36:28, “Madam Jo”应该是”Madam Zhou”,中文名字“周小燕”,文革后出任上海音乐学院副院长,魏松,廖昌永,万山红都是其学生。

Disappointed by the Testaments

Walking by a bookstore I saw the cover of the testaments from outside of the window. I walked into the bookstore and bought one – I would rather have a paperback copy but there was only hard cover available.

 

In the following days I kept the book with me and read it when I had time. This is the much-anticipated sequel of the highly praised the handmaid’s tale after all. And it actually got the Booker’s award even before its publishing date!

 

Well, after reading it from cover to cover, I must say I’m disappointed.

 

(Spoilers ahead!)

 

In all fairness, it was a good read. The book consists of narratives from 3 women from Gilead. Aunt Lydia, the powerful aunt we knew from the handmaid’s tale; Nicole, a girl grows up in Canada, and Agnes Jemima who grows up in Gilead.

 

For Aunt Lydia, the narrative recounts how she became an Aunt in Gilead and how she secretly works against it. All written in a secrete journal while she was carrying out her secrete plan in Gilead.

 

For the other 2 girls, the narratives were written down after Gilead was no more, thus the name testaments. The story gradually built up as you follow through the first few chapters. Once Nicole’s true identity was revealed, it is rather clear where the story leads to.

 

And that is also where my dissatisfaction starts: from there on, all bad guys were outsmarted by Aunt Lydia, and a happy ending was attained very easily. Isn’t that too good to be true? Isn’t the fight for liberty supposed to be hard?

 

At one point, I was thinking maybe Nicole will fail her mission, either because of her carelessness, or because of the tattoo on her arm – in a movie, that would be a clear hint to a plot twist, right? But no, nothing like that happened, till the end.

 

I was also hoping maybe at some point Aunt Vidala may take over, or maybe Command Judd may sense something suspicious. But nothing like that happened either, till the end.

 

Everything is within Aunt Lydia’s calculation; everything was carried out as planned. I couldn’t help wondering, if Aunt Lydia was that smart, maybe she could have easily escaped Gilead long before?

 

Plot aside, I didn’t find any scene that forced me to pause and ponder, this looks so familiar, so realistic yet so unreal, as was often the case while I was reading the handmaid’s tale. Seems to me, all the possible themes were already explored in the handmaid’s tale. This sequel is just a response to readers to make the story complete. The Booker’s award? Maybe the judges are just fans, who knows.

法广,seriously?

早上在法广首页看到新闻,吓一跳。

新闻链接戳这里

赶紧点进去看,并把新闻发给了在菲律宾做生意的朋友。同时在其它媒体找相关信息。

奇怪的是,在其它媒体上没有看到任何类似说法。再回到法广看原文,说是来自南华早报的新闻:

赶紧去南华早报网站上看,把近几天的标题都看了,也没有找到。考虑到标题有可能不明确,或者我看漏了,我就到Google新闻里面搜。虽然有几篇相关文章,但都是八月份的了,内容也不相干。要说Google新闻还没有来得及更新,也不太可能。

百思不得其解,尝试在Google里面直接搜索英文关键字,结果还真搜索出来一篇,来自南华早报:

链接戳这里

仔细看了一边,跟法广的中文新闻严丝合缝。终于对上了,只不过,南华早报这是2017年的新闻了啊!

能把2017年4月的消息在两年后当新闻发布,法广你是认真的吗?

使女的故事 2017年卷首语

18年的时候做的翻译,后来看到上海译文的版本包含有这部分,就放下了。最近才注意到原来出版的译文毕竟是有删节的,所以不揣浅陋,把自己的译文发出来。


IN THE SPRING of 1984 I began to write a novel that was not initially called The Handmaid’s Tale. I wrote in long hand, mostly on yellow legal notepads, then transcribed my almost illegible scrawlings using a huge German-keyboard manual typewriter that I’d rented.

我从1984年春天开始写这部小说,一开始并不叫使女的故事。先手写,多数写在黄色的记事本上,然后再用一个巨大的德语键盘打字机把难以辨认的手稿录入。

The keyboard was German because I was living in West Berlin, which was still encircled by the Berlin Wall: the Soviet empire was still strongly in place and was not to crumble for another five years. Every Sunday the East German air force made sonic booms to remind us of how close they were. During my visits to several countries behind the Iron Curtain – Czechoslovakia, East Germany – I experienced the wariness, the feeling of being spied on, the silences, the changes of subject, the oblique ways in which people might convey information, and these had an influence on what I was writing. So did the repurposed buildings. This used to belong to . . . But then they disappeared. I heard such stories many times.

键盘是德语的,因为我住在西柏林,当时仍然被柏林墙所包围。苏维埃帝国仍然巍然耸立,还要再过五年才会崩溃。每个周日,隆隆巨响提醒我们,东德空军近在咫尺。在我曾造访铁幕背后的国家——捷克斯洛伐克,东德——其间经历的种种警惕,窥探,沉默,变换话题和传递信息的隐晦方式,以及改作他用的建筑物,都影响了我的写作。“这儿以前是某某某家的,但是后来他们不见了”,这样的故事我听到过多次。

Having been born in 1939 and come to consciousness during World War II, I knew that established orders could vanish overnight. Change could also be as fast as lightning. It can’t happen here could not be depended on: anything could happen anywhere, given the circumstances.

作为生于1939长于二战其间的人,我深知既有秩序可能倏然消解。变化快如闪电。“不会在这里”是靠不住的。只要形势变化,什么事情都可能发生。

By 1984, I’d been avoiding my novel for a year or two. It seemed to me a risky venture. I’d read extensively in science fiction, speculative fiction, utopias and dystopias ever since my high school years in the 1950s, but I’d never written such a book. Was I up to it? The form was strewn with pitfalls, among them a tendency to sermonize, a veering into allegory, and a lack of plausibility. If I was to create an imaginary garden, I wanted the toads in it to be real. One of my rules was that I would not put any events into the book that had not already happened in what James Joyce called the “nightmare” of history, nor any technology not already available. No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities. God is in the details, they say. So is the devil.

在1984年之前,我已经为这部小说犹豫了一两年了。在我当时看来,写这样的小说有些冒险。从1950年代,我高中时候算起,我阅读过大量的科幻小说,推想小说,乌托邦和反乌托邦作品,但是从来没有写过这样的作品。我能写好吗?写这种小说可能落入多种陷阱,说教的倾向,讽喻的倾向,以及不足为信的风险。如果我要构建一个虚拟的花园,我希望其中的蟾蜍也足够真实。我给自己制定了一条规则,任何从未在那些乔伊斯称为噩梦的历史上发生过的事情,都不可以写进去。也不可以有任何尚未出现的技术。想象的器物,编造的法律,虚构的暴行,都不可以。人们说,上帝存在于细节之中。魔鬼也一样。

Back in 1984, the main premise seemed – even to me – fairly outrageous. Would I be able to persuade readers that the United States of America had suffered a coup that had transformed an erstwhile liberal democracy into a literal-minded theocratic dictatorship? In the book, the Constitution and Congress are no longer: the Republic of Gilead is built on a foundation of the seventeenth-century Puritan roots that have always lain beneath the modern-day America we thought we knew.

到1984年,小说的主要前提,即使在我看来,也太耸动了。我能让读者相信美国会发生一次政变,由自由民主体制变成原教旨神权专政吗?在书中,不再有宪法和国会。吉利亚德共和国建立于十七世纪清教徒传统之上,与我们自以为熟知的现代美国同源。

The immediate location of the book is Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Harvard University, now a leading liberal educational institution but once a Puritan theological seminary. The Secret Service of Gilead is located in the Widener Library, where I had spent many hours in the stacks, researching my New England ancestors as well as the Salem witchcraft trials. Would some people be affronted by the use of the Harvard wall as a display area for the bodies of the executed? (They were.)

书中首先出现的位置是哈佛大学所在地,马萨诸塞州剑桥市。如今的哈佛大学是重要的自由教育机构,但之前曾经是清教徒的神学院。吉利亚德的特情机构位于学校的韦德那图书馆,我曾经流连于那里的书架,花很多时间研究我的新英格兰先辈和塞勒姆的猎巫审判。在书中哈佛院墙是展示被处决的人的地方(历史上确曾如此),这样的设定会不会冒犯一些人?

In the novel, the population is shrinking due to a toxic environment, and the ability to have viable babies is at a premium. (In today’s real world, studies in China are now showing a sharp fertility decline in Chinese men.) Under totalitarianisms – or indeed in any sharply hierarchical society – the ruling class monopolizes valuable things, so the elite of the regime arrange to have fertile females assigned to them as Handmaids. The biblical precedent is the story of Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah, and their two handmaids. One man, four women, twelve sons – but the handmaids could not claim the sons. They belonged to the respective wives.

在小说里,由于环境有毒,人口在减少,能生孩子非常重要。(在如今的现实世界,在中国的研究显示,中国男人生育能力正在急剧下降)。在极权社会中(或者任何高度等级化的社会中),统治阶级垄断稀缺资源。因此,吉利亚德的精英们将能够生育的女性分配给自己做使女。此事在圣经中的先例就是雅各布与两个妻子,拉结和利亚,以及两个使女的故事。一个男人,四个女人,两个儿子,但是使女们于儿子没有任何名分,两个儿子分别属于雅各布的两个妻子。

And so the tale unfolds.

故事由此展开

When I first began The Handmaid’s Tale it was called Offred, the name of its central character. This name is composed of a man’s first name, Fred, and a prefix denoting “belonging to,” so it is like “de” in French or “von” in German, or like the suffix –son in English last names such as Williamson. Within this name is concealed another possibility: “offered,” denoting a religious offering or a victim offered for sacrifice.

一开始的时候,小说并不叫“使女的故事”,而是用女主角的名字“Offred”作为书名。这个名字由一个男人的名字和一个所有格前缀——类似法语的de和德语的von——组合而成(在英语中也有类似的后缀,比如Williamson)。在这个名字中还隐藏了另外一种解读,”offered”,表示宗教供奉或者牺牲品。

Why do we never learn the real name of the central character, I have often been asked. Because, I reply, so many people throughout history have had their names changed or have simply disappeared from view. Some have deduced that Offred’s real name is June, since, of all the names whispered among the Handmaids in the gymnasium/ dormitory, June is the only one that never appears again. That was not my original thought, but it fits, so readers are welcome to it if they wish.

我经常被问到,为什么主角的真名一直没有出现。我回答说,因为在历史上由太多人被改了名字或者永远消失了。有人推断Offred的真名是June,因为在女仆们在体育馆/宿舍低声说出的所有名字中,June是唯一一个再也没有出现过的。这并非我原有的想法,但也很合理,因此,如果觉得必要,读者可以如此推断。

At some time during the writing, the novel’s name changed to The Handmaid’s Tale, partly in honor of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but partly also in reference to fairy tales and folktales: the story told by the central character partakes – for later or remote listeners – of the unbelievable, the fantastic, as do the stories told by those who have survived earth-shattering events.

在此后的写作过程中,小说的名字改成了使女的故事,部分是为了致敬乔叟的坎特伯雷故事集,此外也是将小说比做童话故事和民间故事——由小说的主角将这些难以置信的奇异经历讲给后世或远方的听众,一如惊天事件的经历者讲述亲身经历。

Over the years, The Handmaid’s Tale has taken many other forms. It has been translated into forty or more languages. It was made into a film, in 1989. It has been an opera, and it has also been a ballet. It is being turned into a graphic novel. And in April of 2017 it launched as an MGM/Hulu television series.

这些年来,使女的故事被改编成各种形式,有40多种语言的译本。1989年的时候被改编成电影。有歌剧和芭蕾舞,还有一部图画小说正在进行中。在2017年4月MGM/Hulu推出了电视剧。

In this series I have a small cameo. The scene is the one in which the newly conscripted Handmaids are being brainwashed in a sort of Red Guard re-education facility known as the Red Center. They must learn to renounce their previous identities, to know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.

在剧中我有一个小小的客串,场景是新招募的使女在名为“红色中心”的再教育设施中被洗脑。她们必须学会放弃以前的身份,知道自己的位置和职责,明白自己没有物权,而如果顺从的话就会在一定程度上受到保护,并自轻自贱从而接受被安排的命运,而不会反抗或者逃走。

The Handmaids sit in a circle, with the Taser-equipped Aunts forcing them to join in what is now called (but was not, in 1984) the “slut-shaming” of one of their number, Jeanine, who is being made to recount how she was gang-raped as a teenager. Her fault, she led them on – that is the chant of the other Handmaids.

使女围成一圈,带电棍的嬷嬷迫使她们参加今天被称为“荡妇羞辱”(1984年的时候还没有这个名字)的活动。其中之一,Jeanine,被要求追述她十几岁时如何被强奸。“她的错,她诱使他们犯错”,其它使女如此呼喊。

Although it was “only a television show” and these were actresses who would be giggling at coffee break, and I myself was “just pretending,” I found this scene horribly upsetting. It was way too much like way too much history. Yes, women will gang up on other women. Yes, they will accuse others to keep themselves off the hook: we see that very publicly in the age of social media, which enables group swarmings. Yes, they will gladly take positions of power over other women, even – and, possibly, especially – in systems in which women as a whole have scant power: all power is relative, and in tough times any amount is seen as better than none. Some of the controlling Aunts are true believers, and think they are doing the Handmaids a favor: at least they haven’t been sent to clean up toxic waste, and at least in this brave new world they won’t get raped, not as such, not by strangers. Some of the Aunts are sadists. Some are opportunists. And they are adept at taking some of the stated aims of 1984 feminism – such as the anti-porn campaign and greater safety from sexual assault – and turning them to their own advantage. As I say: real life.

虽然这“不过是一部电视剧”,演员们可能会在咖啡时间咯咯笑,而我也不过是“假装一下”,我自己觉得这一幕非常震惊——它与太多历史太相似了。是的,女性会结伙欺负其它女性;是的,女性会为摆脱困境而指责他人:在今天,由于社交媒体方便群起围攻,这种指责尤其大行其道;是的,她们非常乐意选择与强权站在一期对付其它女性——而且,有可能,尤其是——在女性整体缺乏权力的体制中:因为权力总是相对的,而在严酷的环境中任何一点点权力都比没有要好。有些嬷嬷是真信那一套,相信她们是为了使女们好:至少她们没有被送去清理有毒废料,至少在这新社会里面她们不会被强奸,不会像以前,被陌生人强奸。有些嬷嬷是虐待狂,有些是投机分子,她们善于把1984中的女权主义——比如反色情运动和反性骚扰——拿来为自己所用。一如我说,跟现实生活一样。

Which brings me to three questions I am often asked.

由此引出三个我经常被问到的问题。

First, is The Handmaid’s Tale a “feminist” novel? If you mean an ideological tract in which all women are angels and/or so victimized they are incapable of moral choice, no. If you mean a novel in which women are human beings – with all the variety of character and behavior that implies – and are also interesting and important, and what happens to them is crucial to the theme, structure, and plot of the book, then yes. In that sense, many books are “feminist.”

第一,使女的故事是女权主义小说吗?如果你说的女权主义这样的思想形态,其中所有的女性都是天使,或者都是无力进行道德抉择的受害者,使女的故事不是这样的小说。如果你说的是小说中的女性都是性格和行为各不相同的常人,她们有趣而重要,她们的故事对于小说的主题,结构和情节至关重要,是的,使女的故事是这样的小说。在这个意义上,很多小说都是女权主义小说。

Why interesting and important? Because women are interesting and important in real life. They are not an afterthought of nature, they are not secondary players in human destiny, and every society has always known that. Without women capable of giving birth, human populations will die out. That is why the mass rape and murder of women, girls, and children has long been a feature of genocidal wars, and of other campaigns meant to subdue and exploit a population. Kill their babies and replace their babies with yours, as cats do; make women have babies they can’t afford to raise, or babies you will then remove from them for your own purposes, steal babies – it’s been a widespread, age-old motif. The control of women and babies has been a feature of every repressive regime on the planet. Napoleon and his “cannon fodder,” slavery and its ever-renewed human merchandise – they both fit in here. Of those promoting enforced childbirth, it should be asked: Cui bono? Who profits by it? Sometimes this sector, sometimes that. Never no one.

为什么要“有趣而重要”?因为现实如此。女性不是事后追加的附属物,不是人类命运的次要角色,而每个人类社会都清楚这一点。没有能够生育的女性,人口就会消亡。这就是为什么长期以来,对女性,女童和儿童的大规模强奸和谋害一直是种族灭绝和意在征服和剥削的其它运动的特征之一。像猫类一样,杀死敌方的婴孩,代之以自己的后代;让女性孕育她们无法抚养的后代,将婴儿从母亲身边夺走偷走另作他用,这是古老而普遍的主题。从拿破仑的炮灰到奴隶制和不断翻新的人口贩卖,都是如此。对女性和婴儿的控制,一直是这个星球上每个压迫证券的特征。对于那些提倡强制分娩的人,我们要问:为了谁的利益?谁从中获益?有时候是这些人,有时候是那些人,但总归有人从中受益。

The second question that comes up frequently is: Is The Handmaid’s Tale anti-religion? Again, it depends what you may mean by that. True, a group of authoritarian men seize control and attempt to restore an extreme version of the patriarchy, in which women (like nineteenth-century American slaves) are forbidden to read. Further, they can’t control money or have jobs outside the home, unlike some women in the Bible. The regime uses biblical symbols, as any authoritarian regime taking over America doubtless would: they wouldn’t be Communists or Muslims.

第二个经常被问到的问题是:使女的故事反宗教吗?同样,这取决于你觉得什么是反宗教。不错,在书中一群专制的男人控制了局面并试图恢复极端的父权制,而女性在其中(如19世纪的奴隶一样)被禁止阅读。不仅如此,与圣经中的女性不同,她们不能有钱也不能工作。该政权使用圣经中的符号,任何接管美国的专制政权无疑都会这么做:他们不会是共产党员或者穆斯林。

The modesty costumes worn by the women of Gilead are derived from Western religious iconography – the Wives wear the blue of purity, from the Virgin Mary, the Handmaids wear red, from the blood of parturition, but also from Mary Magdalene. Also, red is easier to see if you happen to be fleeing. The wives of men lower in the social scale are called Econowives, and wear stripes. I must confess that the face-hiding bonnets came not only from mid-Victorian costume and from nuns, but from the Old Dutch Cleanser package of the 1940s, which showed a woman with her face hidden, and which frightened me as a child. Many totalitarianisms have used clothing, both forbidden and enforced, to identify and control people – think of yellow stars and Roman purple – and many have ruled behind a religious front. It makes the creation of heretics that much easier.

吉利亚德的女性的朴素着装来自西方宗教肖像——太太们穿蓝色,代表纯净,源自圣母玛丽亚;使女们着红色,来自分娩的血液,如果逃走红色也容易发现;下等男人的妻子称为“经适妇”,穿条纹衣服。我要承认把脸盖起来的苏格兰帽不仅来自维多利亚中期的修女服饰,也来自1940年代Old Dutch去污粉的包装,上面的女人脸庞被遮住了,使小时候的我感到恐惧。很多极权通过推行或禁止服饰对人进行识别和控制——譬如犹太人必须佩戴黄色的犹太星,只有罗马皇帝可以使用紫色——很多极权背后是宗教。这样才容易发明异教徒。

In the book, the dominant “religion” is moving to seize doctrinal control, and religious denominations familiar to us are being annihilated. Just as the Bolsheviks destroyed the Mensheviks in order to eliminate political competition, and Red Guard factions fought to the death against one another, the Catholics and the Baptists are being targeted and eliminated. The Quakers have gone underground, and are running an escape route to Canada, as – I suspect – they would. Offred herself has a private version of the Lord’s Prayer and refuses to believe that this regime has been mandated by a just and merciful God. In the real world today, some religious groups are leading movements for the protection of vulnerable groups, including women.

在书中,主导的宗教正在控制教义,我们所熟知的宗教正被消灭。正如布尔什维克为消除政治竞争而摧毁孟什维克,红卫兵派别相互斗争到死一样,天主教和浸信会被当成目标加以消灭。教友派已经转入地下,维护着一个通往加拿大的逃生路线——依我看,他们理应如此。Offred自己带着一部主祷文,但是不相信这个政权是公正而仁慈的上帝的要求。在今天,一些宗教派别正领导者保护妇女等弱势群体的运动。

So the book is not “anti-religion.” It is against the use of religion as a front for tyranny; which is a different thing altogether.

因此,本书并不反宗教。它反对披着宗教外衣的暴政,跟宗教两码事。

Is The Handmaid’s Tale a prediction? That is the third question I’m asked – increasingly, as forces within American society seize power and enact decrees that embody what they were saying they wanted to do, even back in 1984, when I was writing the novel. No, it isn’t a prediction, because predicting the future isn’t really possible: there are too many variables and unforeseen possibilities. Let’s say it’s an anti-prediction: if this future can be described in detail, maybe it won’t happen. But such wishful thinking cannot be depended on either.

使女的故事是一则预言吗?这是我常被问起的第三个问题。甚至在1984年我写作这部小说的时候,随着美国社会的部分力量取得权力并通过颁布法令推行他们所说所想,这个问题被提起的越来越多。但它不是预言,因为预测未来本来就不可能:有太多变量,太多无法预见的可能性。倒不如说它是一部反预言:如果某种未来能够被如此细致地描述,可能就不会如此发生。当然这也只是一厢情愿,不足为据。

So many different strands fed into The Handmaid’s Tale – group executions, sumptuary laws, book burnings, the Lebensborn program of the S.S. and the child-stealing of the Argentinian generals, the history of slavery, the history of American polygamy . . . the list is long.

很多历史片段被注入使女的故事——集体处决,禁奢令,焚书,党卫队的生命之泉,窃婴的阿根廷将军,蓄奴,美国历史上的一夫多妻……列表很长。

But there’s a literary form I haven’t mentioned yet: the literature of witness. Offred records her story as best she can; then she hides it, trusting that it may be discovered later, by someone who is free to understand it and share it. This is an act of hope: every recorded story implies a future reader. Robinson Crusoe keeps a journal. So did Samuel Pepys, in which he chronicled the Great Fire of London. So did many who lived during the Black Death, although their accounts often stop abruptly. So did Roméo Dallaire, who chronicled both the Rwandan genocide and the world’s indifference to it. So did Anne Frank, hidden in her secret annex.

还有一种文学样式我未曾提及:见证文学。Offred尽其所能记下她的经历,然后把它藏下,相信将来某一天它会被某位自由人发现,理解,分享。这就是心存希望:记下的每一个故事都意味着未来的读者。漂流的罗宾逊要记日记,皮普斯这样做了,所以记下了伦敦大火。在黑死病其间生活的许多人也这么做,即使他们的记述经常突然中断。罗密欧达莱尔这么做了,记下了卢旺达种族灭绝和全世界的冷漠以对。安妮弗兰克这么做了,自己隐身于日记中。

There are two reading audiences for Offred’s account: the one at the end of the book, at an academic conference in the future, who are free to read but not always as empathetic as one might wish; and the individual reader of the book at any given time. That is the “real” reader, the Dear Reader for whom every writer writes. And many Dear Readers will become writers in their turn. That is how we writers all started: by reading. We heard the voice of a book speaking to us.

Offred的记述有两类读者:一类是未来参加学术会议的人,他们出现在小说的末尾。他们可以自由阅读但是可能未必像人们所期望的一样共情;另一类是可以在任意时间出现的读者个体。这些才是真正的读者,每一个作者心之所系的读者。很多这样的读者后来变成作者,所有的作者都是这样,通过阅读称为作者。作为读者,我们能听到一本书跟我们说话。

In the wake of the recent American election, fears and anxieties proliferate. Basic civil liberties are seen as endangered, along with many of the rights for women won over the past decades and indeed the past centuries. In this divisive climate, in which hate for many groups seems on the rise and scorn for democratic institutions is being expressed by extremists of all stripes, it is a certainty that someone, somewhere – many, I would guess – are writing down what is happening as they themselves are experiencing it. Or they will remember, and record later, if they can.

随着美国大选的落幕,恐惧和焦虑激增。基本的公民自由,随同过去几十年以至几百年赢得的女性权利,被认为处于危险境地。对于它群的仇视正在增加,各式各样的极端主义者正在表达对于民主制度的蔑视,在这样分裂的氛围中,可以肯定的是,在有些地方——我猜是很多地方——有些人正在写下他们所见所历,或者先记住,有可能的时候再写下来。

Will their messages be suppressed and hidden? Will they be found, centuries later, in an old house, behind a wall?

他们的记述会被压制被隐去吗?会在几个世纪之后在老房子的墙后被发现吗?

Let us hope it doesn’t come to that. I trust it will not.

我们希望这不会变成现实。我相信不会的。

February 2017

转载《读《思旧赋》》

在wenxuecity上看到一片文章,原文发表于3月12日,转载如下:

《思旧赋》是魏晋时期向秀所作,大家可以轻易在网上找到,就不抄了。大概是向秀到京城去做官的途中,专门到曾经和好友嵇康一起喝酒吹牛的地方去看了一看。嵇康在14年前已经被杀,而眼前的景色依旧,听到一个人在吹笛,仿佛是嵇康的琴声,不由思绪万千,就此写下这一名篇。

为什么说作者感情复杂,是因为嵇康不与司马氏合作而导致杀身之祸,而现在他们的权利却越来越大,连自己都被逼不得不出来做官,虽然自己内心其实是向着嵇康的。最好的朋友没有了,这个世上却好像什么都没有发生,自己还得委曲求全,要做朋友不愿意的事情,当然是有些悲愤,但那又怎么样呢,人得要想办法活着啊。

鲁迅在《为了忘却的纪念》中说:“年轻时读向子期《思旧赋》,很怪它为什么只有寥寥的几行,刚开头又煞了尾。然而现在我懂得了。”我第一次知道此文就是由此,后来找到读后的确感动,那是远远不止14年了。现在重读,就不止是感动了,这个世界仿佛一切依旧,只不过自己虚度了那么多的光阴,那又怎么样呢,这种文章我是万万想不出来的,自己不过是最最平常的凡夫俗子,不能怎么样。

做一点解释吧,汉赋以华丽著称,洋洋洒洒,动不动就是几千上万字,所以鲁迅说是刚刚开头就结束。一般来说,吊念自己的好友,又是一个大名人,应该谈谈他的丰功伟绩,起码是不凡之处,而自己与他是怎么这么要好,怎么这么心心相通,过去如何和他一起艰苦奋斗(他们都是竹林七贤),但那是能够说的吗,司马氏的刀仍然还在手中。所以只说嵇康是志远而疏:志向高远,但疏于人事,转而说天气景色,历史和音乐,而感叹人生的短暂而变幻莫测,就完了。

此文就是因为隐晦而得名,有些不在言中而尽在言中,中国就适合于写这种文字,从来如此,不过能与之相比的的确不多,所以此文出名是一点都不奇怪的。

现在的文人一提这种事情就说那是封建社会政治险恶,所以文人命运艰难,但是,何时又不是如此。

嵇康有一个好朋友山涛(也是竹林七贤之一),此人是司马氏的亲戚,所以混得不错,提拔上去的时候推荐嵇康接替自己的位置。但是,嵇康的太太却是曹操的曾孙女,而且司马氏杀了嵇康的一些好朋友(当然也是站在曹魏那一边的),所以他不了司马氏。而且鲁迅说阮籍原来脾气很坏,后来变好了;而嵇康一直很坏,所以阮籍最后能喝酒喝死,而嵇康只能被杀。既然脾气不好就写了《与山巨源绝交书》,既然你这么不了解我,咱们就不来往了吧。

这封信也是历史名作,其中有:“又每非汤、武而薄周、孔,”鲁迅说这就是嵇康被杀的原因。这里我又来解释一下,周就是那个历史上把周王背在身上办公的周公,周成王继位的时候年纪很小,周公就尽心尽力的辅助是历史上忠臣的典范。毫无疑问,司马氏是以周公自居,也是以辅助魏家的朝廷为己任的,你说那个周公不好,那么司马氏就不好办了。

这就是中国很多时候的诡异之处,随处可见。世界上的每一个人都知道司马氏不是周公,甚至司马氏自己也知道,还知道自己并不想做周公,想的是取而代之,周公可太傻了。但是,那是不能说的,相当于把皇帝的新衣扒下来,赤裸裸的东西就出来了,那就是可忍孰不可忍,皇帝不可罢休。这和孔融被杀是一个道理,挡了统治者权力的道,能有一个好结果吗。

据说司马昭开始并不想杀嵇康,只是想吓一吓他,让他回心转意,明白大义,为己所用。但是嵇康并不吃吓,而且三千大学生(估计是那时候的全部)联名为他请愿,这样嵇康就不得不死了。道理其实很简单,中国的统治者大都是相信铁腕的,杀一儆百最有用,难道不是这样吗,司马氏最后废魏而得天下,反对的人不是转变就是被杀,或者不敢发声,容易得很。

嵇康临死时给上十岁的儿子写了一封信,让人大开眼界。照理说嵇康这样一个潇洒不羁,我行我素,连死都不怕的人不说让儿子继承父亲的遗志,继续为革命奋斗;那起码要儿子是认识人生的真谛,有意义的活,不要人云亦云等等等。但是恰恰相反,他要儿子谨小慎微,简单的说,就是不要从树下走,免得叶子打破头。而且他并没有把儿子托付给那些志合道同的朋友,而是给了山涛,那个他刚刚写信广而告之绝交(相当于当着全国人的面打了人家一耳光)的山涛。更让人跌破眼镜的是这个儿子后来成为晋朝的大忠臣,不但不怕落叶,连箭都不怕,为保护司马的皇帝而死,那些司马可是他的杀父仇人。

不单是嵇康,另一个竹林七贤的领袖阮籍,当儿子要参加他们一起喝酒,吹牛(清谈)的时候,说我们家有我一个就足够了,你就不要来了。这就让人不解了,他们都是名噪一时的牛人,怎么不愿意儿子和他们一样,可见他们并不赞赏自己的作为。鲁迅对此有一个解释,“这是,因为他们生于乱世,不得已,才有这样的行为,并非他们的本态。但又于此可见魏晋的破坏礼教者,实在是相信礼教到固执之极的。”

我现在想到,鲁迅这有些是在说自己。鲁迅和他们一样,都是对旧礼教反感至极,但是,鲁迅很多时候的行为却是相当遵从那一套的,鲁迅可不是一个相信他人即为地狱,那种非常强调自由主义的人。这一点都不奇怪,人总是由己而推人的。

鲁迅的说法当然很有道理,统治者必须用一些大道理来忽悠百姓,礼教啊,主义啊,但很多时候他们自己并不信,只是利用,行的是追求权力,独裁之实。于是造成有些人恨屋及鸟,我就是要把那一套统统打烂,看你拿什么去骗人,这种由于怨恨之极而产生的逆反并不罕见,其实这些人倒有可能是真正固执地把那些东西当宝贝。

不过我想说说自己的理解,嵇康当然非常爱自己的儿子,自然愿意他长命百岁,不想他像自己做一个刀下鬼,于是要他处处小心。那么嵇康自己为什么不这样做呢,简单得很,他做不到,个性使然。这个世界上多的很的人为了权势,金钱什么都能干,但嵇康做不来,我情愿掉脑袋,那些屎我吃不来。

从现在看来,魏晋有何不同,难道没有魏晋今天的中国就两样了吗,我想没有人会这样想。不管曹家也好,司马家也罢,都不是赵家人,于百姓有何相干。司马昭并没有杀嵇康的儿子,他可不知道那会是一个司马的忠臣,而曹操却把孔融满门抄斩,曹家未见得比司马氏要好。

一千八百年来,除了那些旧礼教的追随者,人们对嵇康总是赞赏不已,为什么呢,只有一个理由,我们欣赏他的个性,敢做敢为,不畏权势,宁愿死,也不做违心之事。至于那个心是什么并不重要,用萨特的话的来说,人生唯一的意义就是活出自我。

司马昭杀嵇康,并非因为言论,那个时候还没有文字狱,而是找了其它的理由,中国统治者不高兴,要治人的罪,办法多的很,容易。在《思旧赋》中,描写了中国历史上最打动人的一幕。“临到行刑那天,嵇康于刑场上顾视日影,向兄长嵇喜要来了一把,从容弹奏一曲《广陵散》,曲罢叹道:昔日袁孝尼想跟我学习弹奏《广陵散》,我总是吝惜而不愿意传授,“《广陵散》于今绝矣!”随后被处死在洛阳东市,时年四十。”《维基百科》

也许有人不知道这个故事,我来解释一下。杀人一般要在正午,嵇康看了一看太阳,还有时间,于是想最后弹奏一曲,他可是一个中国历史上非常有名的音乐家。相传嵇康在洛阳家中弹琴时,总有不少人在院子外听,想必那时人们没有电视机,网络,缺乏娱乐,不足为奇。《广陵散》是一个不知名的高人传授给他的,这个读金庸的人应该知道。

不过司马昭并没有把他秘密处死,还让他有一个绝唱,如果那个时候有录音机,我们现在就可以听听那到底有多么打动人了。不过如果有录音机,也许就不让他弹了,那还不给封杀掉。不过那个时代并无网管这一类东西,不然《思旧赋》和嵇康的文章今天是不可能看到的,还不知有多少东西会消失,就像从来没有存在过一样。不过话说回来,我们一样有很多东西不知道,我们的孩子就有更多的东西不知道,这个世界不是一样滚滚向前,当真有那么重要,谁知道呢。

嵇康是著名的美男子,有一个成语:鹤立鸡群,据说就是别人形容嵇康的儿子而来的,王戌听到后说,那是你没有见过他的父亲,还说:与嵇康居二十年,未尝见其喜愠之色。山涛说他:岩岩若孤松之独立;其醉也,傀俄若玉山之将崩。人站着像孤松独立,这个不错;但醉了怎么能像玉山要崩,我想象不来。

嵇康一直非常有名,很多著名的文人骚客都提到过他,这样的一个才华横溢,极有个性的人,以那样一种方式死,还居然能有一曲绝唱,如果不火,天理何在!


估计是年纪的原因,现在小说完全读不来了,只有历史还马马虎虎。其实历史很多时候是人想不出来,就像嵇康,虚构不出这么精彩的故事。但是,恐怕是更重要的但是,读读中国历史,就知道今天的中国,很多,好多类似的事情原来都发生过,只不过也许外表不一样罢了。


这两个看似矛盾的东西融合在历史之中,就正是它的精彩之处,魅力所在。

下面是思旧赋的原文:

余与嵇康吕安居止接近,其人并有不羁之才。然嵇志远而疏,吕心旷而放,其后各以事见法。嵇博综技艺,于丝竹特妙。临当就命,顾视日影,索琴而弹之。余逝将西迈,经其旧庐。于时日薄虞渊,寒冰凄然!邻人有吹笛者,发声寥亮。追思曩昔游宴之好,感音而叹,故作赋云:


将命适于远京兮,遂旋反而北徂。
济黄河以汎舟兮,经山阳之旧居。
瞻旷野之萧条兮,息余驾乎城隅。
践二子之遗迹兮,历穷巷之空庐。
叹黍离之愍周兮,悲麦秀于殷墟。
惟古昔以怀今兮,心徘徊以踌躇。
栋宇存而弗毁兮,形神逝其焉如。
昔李斯之受罪兮,叹黄犬而长吟。
悼嵇生之永辞兮,顾日影而弹琴。
托运遇于领会兮,寄馀命于寸阴。
听鸣笛之慷慨兮,妙声绝而复寻。
停驾言其将迈兮,遂援翰而写心。

Hardware hack and supply chain security

Bloomberg just made big news.

In its recent issue, it featured a cover story: “The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies“, detailed how Chinese military planted malicious chips into motherboards manufactured by Taiwanese supplier, supplying motherboards to a major server provider whose servers were used by almost 30 US companies, including Amazon and Apple. And by  doing this, Chinese military gains potential access to these companies and even US military.

Here’s the malicious chip on the motherboard:

Here’s a illustration of that process directly from their website:

You don’t have to be a genius to know how big this is, in many ways.

Technically, this is very advanced. Just compare to what the NSA was found doing back in 2014:

NSA

I mean, what the NSA has done can be accomplished by just any organization with a team of security experts. What the Bloomberg described, needs collaboration of experts from different areas spanning different industries. It needs state level sponsorship. The only thing that comes comparable, is the Stuxnet.

But even Stuxnet pales in comparison in terms of long term impact. When Stuxnet was made public in 2010, it has already done its tasks. There were a lot of speculation before US and Israeli officials “half confirmed” its origin, but ultimately, its impact is largely limited to technology world.

The hack described in Bloomberg’s article on the other hand, will help re-shape the global supply chain in the years to come. It would be naive to think this is pure coincident that this hack was published almost the same time when Mike Pence spoke at the Hudson Institution.

Despite its length, the article actually doesn’t describe the hacking in detail. The chip in its cover photo (shown below) was dismissed by experts as a very cheap passive component, “not possible to do anything remotely related to hacking”.

The way the chip supposed to work is also vague. From the article, it seems the chip may hijack the code verification process to bypass some security check. But it is unclear whether it was the IPMI code verification or the UEFI code verification or both.

As of this writing, both Apple and Amazon have denied the claim the hack claim. However, the shell has been dropped and the storm is still brewing. Because despite all these refusals, it successfully made people believe that this kind of hack is possible, and it is only possible in mainland China. The seed has been planted. How lucky we are, to witness such historical drama unfolding before our eyes.

Call for smart asses

Some of you may have seen this video, since it has been around for several years:

(For those you feel so compelled to up-vote this video, sorry I don’t have such a button on my blog, but you are welcome to go to YouTube and search for “Short Comedy Sketch” and express your sympathy there. :))

After being exposed to it several times, I started to think, well, maybe, just maybe, it is not entirely, ridiculously impossible? So after some sketching, I came up with something like this:

It’s just a re-interpretation of what the business people are saying.

    • When they say 7 lines perpendicular to each other, they probably mean some lines are perpendicular to others;
    • When they say draw red lines with transparent ink, they probably mean red line with some transparency;
    • When they say draw red lines with green ink, they probably mean green ink overlaying red lines;

I proudly showed this to some friends and was called (not surprisingly) a smart ass. But that didn’t stop me from showing this in lectures and explaining to the audience how you can manage conflicting requirements – make sense out of it.

But then, today, I just found a even better solution to this seemingly impossible requirement:

[YouTube link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNWt0VuMbHA]

This solution is way better than mine in 2 aspects:

  • It actually draws red lines with blue ink;
  • All 7 lines are perpendicular to each other;

It is still not perfect, but it makes me think, maybe there are even better solutions? Smart asses out there, wanna try it out?

从防火墙内下载的pycharm有问题!

昨天重装电脑,需要重新安装很多软件。到pycharm网站一看,已经2017.2.1了,于是点击下载准备安装。点击链接,转向下载页面。。。

一切都非常熟悉,非常正常。下载速度有点慢,等着也是等着,我就点开了SHA-256 checksum的链接,把内容拷贝到Downthemall里面,等待下载完了验证。

我知道下载可能会有问题,我知道怎么用checksum,但是的确不是每次都用,谁都有懒得时候……

下载完毕,Downthemall开始验证,然后提示我,verification failed!

继续阅读从防火墙内下载的pycharm有问题!

The sum of all natural numbers…

The notion of 1+2+3+4+…=-1/12 has become so wide spread that quite a few of my friends actually feel convinced that it’s actually a true statement in general, even though it is very counter intuitive.

The point is, in order to evaluate an expression, that expression has to be well-defined.

Expressions like a+b is well defined in the sense that we know it is a binary operation, we know what are we supposed to do to get the result.

Expressions like a+b+c+… is not well defined, because there are multiple operators involved, and the order of evaluation is not clearly specified.

Take the sum of the alternating series as an example:

继续阅读The sum of all natural numbers…

聊记一笔

头天下午看到朋友圈里分享的文章,原以为是朋友分享错了,结果是原文就写错了。

因为FT中文网我也经常看,于是晚上写邮件给责任编辑,指出错误,第二天上午再看就纠正过来了。有意思的是,几天过去了一直没有收到责任编辑的回复。。

花时间搜索了一下,meta narration的用法,实际上只有百度百科有。在百度百科上,也只有概述部分用了这个错误的meta narration,其它部分都是meta narrative,偏偏这个概述部分会出现在百度搜索的预览中,所以流毒甚广。

推测起来,作者对于这个词汇可能并不熟悉,行文时顺便在百度上搜索了一下进行确认,搜索之后也并未打开页面认真检查,就上了百度的当。

如邮件中所说,这个错误并不影响刘远举先生文章本身的价值,只是从责任编辑和刘先生的反应来看,想来也觉得这个错误犯的有些低级,所以不好回应。记在这里为自己和后来者戒。