经济学人:我是一台无处不在的摄像机
日期:2012-04-01 14:29

(单词翻译:单击)

BRIAN Lamb could hardly be a more unlikely media entrepreneur—a modest and civilised man in a world with more than its fair share of egomaniacs and vulgarians. But he was a great one nonetheless. He came up with the idea of C-Span in the late 1970s when he was the Washington bureau chief forCablevision magazine. And he presided over its growth from a start-up with a staff of four into a quirky Goliath with a couple of hundred employees, three channels and a radio station.
几乎找不到比布莱恩·兰博更不像媒体企业家的人了——在这个充斥着极端利己主义者与庸俗的暴发户的世界里,他一直保持着谦逊有礼的品质。不管怎么说他都是个伟大的人。在19世纪70年代末时,当他还是华盛顿有线电视杂志社社长时,他提出了C-Span的概念(把公共事务网与有线电视结合起来 )。在他的领导下,一家只有四名员工公司经历跌宕起伏,变成了有数百名员工、三个电视频道和一个广播电台的巨头。
Mr Lamb had a simple idea: to expose America’s public life to the public eye. He persuaded the cable companies to pay for a public-service channel via a levy based on the number of their subscribers. He got the House of Representatives to open its proceedings to the cameras (the Senate followed later). The result has been some of the dullest television in history (think budget proceedings)but also some of the most riveting (like the Iran-Contra hearings).
兰博的想法很简单:让美国民众了解公共事务。他游说各地的有线电视公司通过向用户缴的订费来支付公益频道。他还游说众议院安装摄像机,向民众公开会议的实时转播(参议院后来也采纳了)。这样的做法使观众们目睹了一些有史以来最乏味的电视广播(比如预算程序),但同时也见证了一些十分吸引人的转播(像是伊朗门听证会)。
Mr Lamb expanded his coverage to include presidential press conferences, speeches to think-tanks and the like. He also tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Supreme Court to open its hearings to the cameras. He added a few bells and whistles to his formula; profiles of presidents, interviews with authors, phone-ins with journalists. But he never violated the simplicity principle. The profiles were just-the-facts. The interviews were spartan. The hosts were resolutely non-partisan. C-Span remained an island of sanity in a media world increasingly dominated by braying bigots.
兰博扩大了报道内容的范围,其中囊括了总统记者招待会和对智囊团的演说。他也曾尝试说服最高法院允许摄像机将其听审过程录制下来,可惜最后没能如愿。此外,他还在节目中加入了一些新亮点:总统的简介,对作家的访谈,与记者连线的来电直播节目。但他自始至终从未违反简介的原则:其中的简介都是事实,采访过程十分朴实,而主持人不偏不倚、没有任何党派倾向。C-span在聒噪的盲信者占主导的传媒界中一直特立独行,保持着难得的理智明达。
Mr Lamb’s “Booknotes” (“One author, one book, one hour”) was the ultimate showcase of his style. He specialised in asking short, direct questions with sometimes hilarious results. One famous exchange with Martin Gilbert, a British historian, involved the question of whether Winston Churchill had ever engaged in buggery:
兰博主办的访谈节目“Booknotes”(一位作家,一本书,一小时)是他主持风格的最全面的体现。他很擅长问一些简短又直接的问题,而时常能取令人捧腹的效果。一次与英国历史学家马丁·吉尔伯特交谈时,兰博问道,温斯顿·丘吉尔是否参与过鸡奸:
Lamb: Why was he accused of buggery and what is it? Gilbert: You don’t know what buggery is? Lamb: Define it, please. Gilbert: Oh dear. Sorry, I thought the world would—buggery is what used to be called an “unnatural act, of the Oscar Wilde type” is how it was actually phrased in the euphemism of the British paper. You don’t know what buggery is?
兰博:为什们他被指控参与鸡奸?鸡奸是什么呢?吉尔伯特:你不知道什么是鸡奸?兰博:请告诉我那是什么意思吧。吉尔伯特:我的天啊。对不起,我以为全世界都——鸡奸是一种“反常的行为”,就像奥斯卡·王尔德那种(同性恋),这就是英国报纸上通常委婉的说法。你真不知道鸡奸是什么意思?
David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, once called this “the quintessential C-Span moment”. May there be many more.
纽约时报的专栏作家大卫·布鲁克曾称这个节目是“C-span最经典的时刻”。希望以后还有更多这样的节目。

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重点单词
  • modestadj. 谦虚的,适度的,端庄的
  • nonethelessadv. 尽管如此(仍然)
  • quirkyadj. 古怪的;离奇的;诡诈的
  • hilariousadj. 欢闹的,愉快的
  • unlikelyadj. 不太可能的
  • levyn. 征税,召集 vt. 征收,发动(战争 vi. 强收
  • ultimaten. 终极,根本,精华 adj. 终极的,根本的,极限的
  • entrepreneurn. 企业家,主办者,承包商
  • exchangen. 交换,兑换,交易所 v. 交换,兑换,交易
  • definev. 定义,解释,限定,规定