26 2011

Spin doctor

Published by under 咬文嚼字

刚来英国的时候,在政治新闻中看到 spin doctor ,不明所以。只知道用 spine doctor 形容“脊医”的,不知道还有 spin doctor。后来常看到 spin 在政治新闻中单独使用,终于猜出这和新闻公关、控制新闻、影响舆论有关,比如当时布莱尔的新闻官 Alastair Campbell,就老被记者叫做 spin doctor,即使不能说是贬义,但至少不带敬意。但还是不知道为什么会这么叫。

上个星期天听 BBC Radio 4 的 15 By 15 节目,说的正是 spin。原来 spin doctor 还是源自美国。Spin 是来自棒球术语,投手可以通过投出旋转球(spin)来迷惑击球手。其实在板球(cricket)中,spin 也相当普遍,投球手根据专长,会分作“块球手”(fast bowler)和“转球手”(spin bowler)。移植到政治上,就是指新闻、政策出台前,先要经过一份包装变换,用以引导听众。Spin doctor 出现在政治新闻中,是在1980年代里根时期开始的,当时里根的新闻班子,就被记者们叫做 spin doctors。Spin 加上 doctor,更带有一点幕后操纵的感觉。

在英国 spin doctor 叫法的盛行则从布莱尔时期开始,最著名的 spin doctor 就是 Alastair Campbell了。在电影 The Queen 中,他就是那个在戴安娜刚刚身亡,就在为布莱尔准备讲话稿,在稿纸上写下了“people’s princess”的那个。当电影中的布莱尔对他的这种行为略表反感时,他还反唇相讥道:“难道你宁愿我什么都不做?”不过根据布莱尔自传,这个 people’s princesss 的说法是他自己想出来的。

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07 2011

Daily Quate: Elan

Published by under Daily Quote

布莱尔在他的自传 A Journey 中,说到领导人的位置需要“夺取”时,写道:

I felt that the position of leader had to be taken with some elan, not necessarilty at the ‘due’ moment, but seize almost, if you will.

Elan 的意思是 enthusiastic vigor and liveliness,用作褒义。Elan 实际上应该写作 élan,因为这个词来自法语,但现在几乎都写作 elan 了。

布莱尔谈的是他如何争取到工党领导人地位的历史。有趣的是,在1994年7月21日他正式成为工党领袖的第二天,《纽约时报》的报道标题是:

Man in the News: Tony Blair; A Laborite with Elan

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09 2008

Radiant

Published by under Word by Word

Tony Blair 最近以中东四方特使的身份回到英国众议院参加某个委员会的听证会。《卫报》的 Simon Hoggart 用了 radiant 来形容这位前首相:

He looked, and I choose this word with care, radiant. His skin glowed with the warmth of the sun we at home rarely see. His teeth gleamed so brilliantly that you could use any one as a tiny shaving mirror, for a vole. His hair is slightly shorter, trimmed to keep the formidable Blair brain cool and whirring in the Middle East. He looked far more relaxed than at any time I’ve seen him since his 1997 election victory.

Relaxed and radiant return for the global superstar

Radiant (容光焕发) 这个赞美之词,也不是随便用的。在《每日电讯报》上,上次用 radiant 形容某人是用在法国前第一夫人 Cécilia 身上。

Radiant Cécilia puts Sarkozy in the shade

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02 2008

Daily Quote: hellfire preacher

Published by under Daily Quote

Michael White uses the analogy to tell us what they are like:

If Mrs Thatcher was matron and John Major that nice bus conductor on the No 63, Tony Blair was an upmarket estate agent. But Brown is a hellfire preacher whose media handlers have told him to go easy on the hellfire stuff because it reduces the Sunday collection.

matron: A woman who acts as a supervisor or monitor in a public institution, such as a school, hospital, or prison.

hellfire: Portending future disaster

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28 2007

Daily Quote: kissed hands?

Published by under Daily Quote

英国首相交接的正式公告--来自白金汉宫

Wednesday, 27th June 2007

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Mr. Justice Griffith Williams was received by The Queen this morning upon his appointment as a Justice of the High Court when Her Majesty conferred upon him the honour of Knighthood and invested him with the Insignia of a Knight Bachelor.

Mr. Richard Stagg was received in audience by The Queen upon his appointment as British High Commissioner to the Republic of India.

Mrs. Stagg was also received by Her Majesty.

The Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP had an audience of The Queen this afternoon and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury which Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.

Mrs. Blair was also received by The Queen.

Her Majesty received in audience the Rt. Hon Gordon Brown MP and requested him to form a new Administration. The Rt. Hon Gordon Brown MP accepted The Queen’s offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.

Mrs. Brown was also received by Her Majesty.

看过 The Queen (2006) 都知道皇室礼仪(protocol)的重要性,还有一个谜团,到底有没有 kissed hands 呢?

Rt. Hon: Right honourable
MP: Member of Paliarment

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28 2007

Daily Quote: No, not?

Published by under Daily Quote

在星期二布莱尔最后一次记者招待会上,布莱尔被问道对他的继任者有没有什么建议?我们来看记者们是如何话外听音的:

Simon Hoggart on the Guardian:

Someone asked if he had any advice for his successor. “No”, he snapped. “He is perfectly capable of doing the job on his own.” The word “Not!” hovered unspoken in the air.

Andrew Gimson on the Daily Telegraph:

“Do you have any advice for your successor?” another correspondent ventured, to which Mr Blair replied with a brevity almost worthy of Clement Attlee: “No. He’s perfectly capable of doing the job on his own, thank you.”

Some of us took this to mean that Mr Blair will leave Gordon Brown to make a terrible mess of being Prime Minister and will then have a jolly good laugh at his expense.

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12 2007

Daily Quote: In one sentence…

Published by under Daily Quote

专栏作家Bernard Levin在1994年布莱尔成为工党领导人之后在《泰晤士报》上的文章,向我们演示知识分子是如何骂人的:

Labour at last has a modern leader ready to sweep to power and end this sorry era.

The longer and more frequently I contemplate Mr Blair, the more I like the cut of his jib. This has nothing to do with the alternative; I long ago concluded that the present Government was worm-eaten, exhausted, dishonest, incompetent, lazy, mendacious, ignorant, rotten, false, disreputable, deceitful, unsavoury, squalid, abominable, soiled, piratical, shifty, discreditable, infamous, improper, obscene, hateful, impure, degraded, dilapidated, shabby, grovelling, discredited, renownless, tarnished, disgraced, shameless, creeping, abject, two-faced, unscrupulous, villainous, treacherous, untrustworthy, prevaricating, sinister, crawling, insincere, fishy, spurious, unclean, felonious, infamous, venal, base, vile, bribable, rancid, disloyal, scheming, unsavoury, sickening, fetid, nauseating, putrid, defaulting, mouldering, evil, vicious, damnable, maleficent, wrong, ineffectual, mean, inferior, contemptible, superficial, irrelevant, expendable, powerless, pathetic, nugatory, impotent, jumped-up, cheap, insalubrious, flea-ridden, unsound, nasty, baneful, foul-tonged, cursed, unwarranted, execrable, damned, abnormal, unreasonable, virtueless, peccant, sinful, unworthy, hopeless, incorrigible, tergiversating, brutalised, nefarious, culpable, scandalous, worthless, flagitious, gross, indefensible and unpardonable to say the least. But Blair, as far as I can see, is to be found on his own feet, not measuring by the scabrous (I missed that one) Lilliputians now arrayed against him.

不过如果你仔细看,他还是重复使用了 infamous 和 insavoury 两次。

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05 2007

Daily Quote: Soundbite cluster bomb

Published by under Daily Quote

After the loss of election in England, Scotland and Wales of various degress, the retiring Tony Blair was seen being interviewed in some nondescriptive office, with a mug of tea in hand. The Times’s Ann Treneman wrote:

Mr Blair, who denies he is in denial, denied things were so bad. Then, casually, he dropped his soundbite cluster bomb. “It’s been a dreadful set of results for the Liberal Democrats,” he said chattily. “And the Tories have not broken through, particularly in the northern cities.” Within seconds, this was being flashed up as BREAKING NEWS. The mug had struck again.

Soundbite is a weapon a politican must master.

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