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美国报章热门话题:疯驴病有治吗?

2006-05-12 12:55

  Pat Oliphant's cartoon melds two current concerns prominent in US newspapers. At one level it plays wittily on the theme of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the dreaded 'mad cow disease' recently detected in the carcass of a slaughtered dairy cow from Washington state —— unless, as is now suspected, it actually originated in Alberta. Instead of a mad cow, however, we see a mad donkey or a 'mad ass', as Oliphant puts it in frame 4. If nothing else has tipped you off①yet, that switch from donkey to 'ass' should be evidence enough that Oliphant is not really worried about epizootics. Remember that the word 'ass' in spoken English also means a fool and is a very mildly impolite word for the human rump. A 'mad fool' would be tautological, while a 'mad rump', meaningless in itself, takes us back to frame 3, where the crazed donkey is seen munching on his own severed haunch, before consuming the rest of himself in frame 4. This is a donkey that Alice would not have been surprised to encounter in Wonderland②.

  What is really going on? Well, obviously, Oliphant is talking about the antics of the many politicians still vying to be named the Democratic Party's candidate for the US presidency. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, seems to be moving to the head of the pack, but this has only stirred the other candidates to attack him (rather than George Bush) all the more rabidly. The Democrats have a crazed look in their eye, like Oliphant's mad ass; the party seems insanely bent on③consuming itself before it even gets to the main contest, the effort to defeat Republican Bush.

  Is there no remedy for this self-destructive behavior? As the little bird indicates, apparently not.

  漫画家派特·奥列芬特的这幅漫画融合了当今美国报章的两大热门话题。一方面,漫画巧妙地提到了最近从华盛顿州宰杀的牛体中检测出来的牛脑海绵体病,也就是可怕的疯牛病———除非该病真是如所怀疑的那样起源于加拿大的阿尔伯塔(否则就是源于华盛顿州了)。可是,我们在画上看到的不是疯牛而是疯驴,或者说是疯ass,正如奥列芬特在第四栏漫画中用了ass一词。如果你现在还没有悟出什么,那么用词从驴转到ass就足以证明奥列芬特并非真正为牲畜流行病而担忧。请记住,ass在英语口语中除了“驴”外还有“傻瓜”的意思,也是对“臀部”的一种虽很委婉但仍不太礼貌的说法。“疯傻瓜”一词在逻辑上是重复的,那么本身并无任何意义的“疯臀部”则把我们带到第三栏,那只疯驴正在大嚼着从自己身上切下来的带着一部分臀部的大腿,而在第四栏则把自己身体的其余部分全吃了。这是当爱丽斯漫游奇境时不会感到惊奇的一只驴。

  实际情况是怎样呢?显然,奥列芬特要说的是那些为争得民主党总统候选人资格的政界人士的怪异举动。前佛蒙特州州长迪安看来是走在这群竞选者的前面了,但这却激起了其他候选人对他(而不是对布什)疯狂的攻击。民主党人的眼中有一种疯狂的神情,就像奥列芬特所画的那只疯驴:该党在进入主要竞赛打败共和党的布什之前,看来是失去了理智,一心一意打起了内耗战。

  对这种自我毁灭的行为可有药治?正如画中小鸟所说的,看来没有。

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