廷龍政經閱讀 (20120226):辛波絲卡

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Feb 26, 2012

波蘭女詩人,1996年諾貝爾文學獎得主辛波絲卡(Wislawa Szymborska)於今年2月1日辭世。讀她的詩,體味的是細緻入微的經驗和觀察。

鄧小樺: 我們喜歡的辛波絲卡 (星島日報)

幾米在《向左走‧向右走》中引用過辛波絲卡的《一見鍾情》:「他們兩人都相信,/是一股突發的熱情讓他倆交會。/這樣的篤定是美麗的,/但變化無常更是美麗。」如此便把這幾句詩帶到了當代文藝青年的心靈中。

Adam Gopnik: Wislawa Szymborska: The Happiness of Wisdom Felt (The New Yorker)

Though determinedly microcosmic, she was never minor. Szymborska takes on an onion, and that onion is peeled, down to its essence. A Szymborska poem is always charming, wonderfully charming, charming as a small child singing, charming as a great pop-song lyric.

Alfred Ho: 百貨公司之死與商場之崛起 (香港獨立媒體)

若果一個城市的空間本質和質素,可以反映其「核心價值」和權力的分佈,那麼香港愈來愈多鼓吹物質主義、令人心靈窒息的消費空間,是否印證了香港的價值只有透過消費才能體現?還是我們只是受制於大財團的空間操控而沒有選擇的餘地?當消費成為這個城市唯一的娛樂模式,當文化、藝術也要以消費品的形式來包裝和推廣,當所有事情也開始要收取費用而貧富又愈見懸殊,我們和我們的城市正朝着一條怎樣的路走?

葉蔭聰: 轉化種族/國族暴力﹕評《立憲時刻﹕論清帝遜位詔書》(明報)

為什麼清帝退位如此重要?這就是一書的起點。作者從中華民國制憲角度指出,辛亥革命所代表的種族革命傳統,並不足以構成共和,立憲派的參與,以至他們與清室及袁世凱的周旋,才令中國由種族革命迅速轉向共和(雖然這個共和國在事後看來尤如豆腐渣)。

香港後花園(五之一):上環絮語 立雜紛陳(蘋果日報

上環像香港,立立雜雜,中西共融,它下有海味店,中有摩囉街,上有一連串畫廊、學校、街坊福利會。少去上環的港人心中,上環是老套的,但街坊眼中上環是淡靜安樂窩,潮人眼中,上環是潮到不得了。上環載滿了私密與幻想,密友以外,別告訴所有人。

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廷龍政經閱讀 (20120219):遠離新聞

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Feb 19, 2012

曾任職美國二流新聞期刊 Newsweek的Steve Tuttle最近寫了一篇題為”Dropping Out of the News”的文章,其中提到當獲悉其父不知Google為何物之時,他頓感”That was probably the single moment in my life when I loved my father the most, and I wanted to be him, free of all of the technology and the pressure and worries that come with it. ”

這和羅素在《征服幸福》(The Conquest of Happiness) 裡面的觀點不謀而合:”Give up trying to write, and, instead, try not to write. Go out into the world; become a pirate, a king in Borneo… Give yourself an existence in which the satisfaction of elementary physical needs will occupy almost all your energies.”

本週推薦的其他幾篇文章全是舊文,但都非常值得一讀。

Steve Tuttle: Dropping Out of the News (The Atlantic)

The magazine was circling the drain, at least in part because we decided to try to be more like The Economist. Surprisingly to no one, that failed miserably. That’s because there’s only room for one weekly news magazine that people claim to read but don’t. We should have kept doing what we had been for nearly 80 years: being the magazine people read but didn’t go around bragging about.

Lizzie Widdicombe: You Belong With Me: Taylor Swift Makes Primness Lucrative (New Yorker)

When I arrived, she had been bent over a glass coffee table, writing thank-you notes to local radio-station managers. The cards, which she had helped write and design, were from the American Greetings line. Some of the styles are glitter-encrusted, with Swift’s handwriting on them, and messages that echo her song lyrics: “You know how sometimes—right in the middle of a moment—you already know it’s one you won’t ever forget?”

David Brooks: Amy Chua Is a Wimp (New York Times)

I have the opposite problem with Chua. I believe she’s coddling her children. She’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t.

Carl Elliott: Guinea-Pigging: Healthy Human Subjects for Drug-Safety Trials are In Demand. But Is It a Living? (New Yorker)

The shift to the market has created a new dynamic. The relationship between testers and test subjects has become, more nakedly than ever, a business transaction. Guinea pigs are the first to admit this. “Nobody’s doing this out of the goodness of their heart,” Miller says. Unlike subjects in later-stage clinical trials, who are usually sick and might enroll in a study to gain access to a new drug, people in healthy-volunteer studies cannot expect any therapeutic benefit to balance the risks they take.

陳雲:正體 (中文解毒

正體字乃由楷書法帖而來,空間線條勻稱,寫之讀之,心正氣平,有駕馭複雜事態之耐性,使人做事恰如其分。如手書正體的「鹽」與「鬱」,無疑是難, 但寫之各部呼應,令人做事顧慮周到,留有餘地。中共推行簡體字,是要斬斷正體字傳遞的人文美學,方便鼓吹言文鄙俚、行動粗暴、不留餘地的政治鬥爭。今日大 陸很多人言談喧嘩,行動魯莽,不識大體,也略可歸咎於簡體字以醜為美之積弊焉。

廷龍政經閱讀 (20120212):狄更斯

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Feb 12, 2012

這不是我第一次感嘆當下閱讀環境之惡劣了。尤其在中國,不久前還轟轟烈烈、吸引眾多眼球的一場論戰,其實相當乏味,而且論戰雙方的文筆都極其低劣。

每一個自命為文藝青年的人,都理應遠離這些喧囂。在狄更斯誕辰200週年之時,讀一讀這些真正值得閱讀的文字吧。你可以選擇傳統的方式買一本紙質書,亦可用iPad或者Kindle免費下載一本狄更斯的書。最壞情況下,The Guardian還提供了一種偷懶的方法。不管如何,我們的內心不能沒有文字帶給我們的美妙回味,正如我們無法離開空氣而呼吸;兩者皆不見蹤影,但事關性命。

John Crace: Too busy to read Dickens? Then try the digested read (The Guardian)

With all the celebrations over the last six months, you might have thought Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday had been and gone. Not so. Tuesday is the day and it is now too late to read those novels you promised you would when everyone first started talking about it. But it’s not too late to read the digested read versions of three of his finest books, Great Expectations, Bleak House and David Copperfield, at guardian.co.uk/books.

馬英九:歷久彌新的身影——蔣經國 (復興季刊)

我們可從一九八二年廖承志致蔣經國的公開信中,聞到那種居高臨下的傲慢;不過等到中國大陸再開放多一些,更多百姓見識到臺灣的富足后,中共又急著辯說那是國民黨從大陸帶走黃金所致。直至一九八五年大陸城市經濟改革遭挫,激起知識界深刻反思時,有關臺灣經濟發展的經驗才受重視。

Michele Belot, Jan Fidrmuc: Anthropometry of Love: Height and Gender Asymmetries in Interethnic Marriages (Economics & Human Biology)

Both in the UK and in the US, we observe puzzling gender asymmetries in the propensity to outmarry: Black men are substantially more likely to have white spouses than Black women, but the opposite is true for Chinese: Chinese men are half less likely to be married to a White person than Chinese women. We argue that differences in height distributions, combined with a simple preference for a taller husband, can explain a large proportion of these ethnic-specific gender asymmetries. Blacks are taller than Asians, and we argue that this significantly affects their marriage prospects with whites.

Pamela Druckerman: Why French Parents Are Suprerior (Wall Street Journal)

I decided to figure out what French parents were doing differently. Why didn’t French children throw food? And why weren’t their parents shouting? Could I change my wiring and get the same results with my own offspring?

James Fallows: Obama, Explained (The Atlantic)

Has Obama in office been anything like the chess master he seemed in the campaign, whose placid veneer masked an ability to think 10 moves ahead, at which point his adversaries would belatedly recognize that they had lost long ago? Or has he been revealed as just a pawn—a guy who got lucky as a campaigner but is now pushed around by political opponents who outwit him and economic trends that overwhelm him?

Adam Gopnik: The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us (New Yorker)

Cognitive entanglement, after all, is the rule of life. My memories and my wife’s intermingle. When I can’t recall a name or a date, I don’t look it up; I just ask her. Our machines, in this way, become our substitute spouses and plug-in companions.

廷龍政經閱讀 (20120204):東方之珠

廷龍政經閱讀: The Week of Feb 4, 2012

這一週,中文世界紛亂,慘不忍睹。依我看,與其沉醉與令人絕望的喧囂,不如聆聽甄妮經典《東方之珠》。

本週推薦的四篇文章,三篇來自The New Yorker,堪稱字字珠璣。講美國監獄體系的一篇,詳盡且不乏洞見,令人不寒而慄。Surowiecki寫私募基金的文章,適合同80年的電影Wall Street一同觀看。最後一篇”Groupthink”全文不對免費用戶開放(現已免費開放),但真的值得一讀。

Adam Gopnik: The Caging of American — Why we lock up so many people? (The New Yorker)

 It’s hard to imagine any greater disconnect between public good and private profit: the interest of private prisons lies not in the obvious social good of having the minimum necessary number of inmates but in having as many as possible, housed as cheaply as possible. No more chilling document exists in recent American life than the 2005 annual report of the biggest of these firms, the Corrections Corporation of America.

James Surowiecki: Private Inequity (The New Yorker)

Wasserstein failed to improve the company’s performance, failed to meet its obligations to creditors, screwed its workers, and still made a profit. That’s not exactly how capitalism is supposed to work.

蘆笛:百年前的潔淨中國 (海納百川

賽金花但凡談自己,多是吹牛皮不上稅,但她在這兒對老北京的介紹卻未誇張,蓋齊如山在其回憶文字中也如是說。那時北京的大街很奇怪,中間有條所謂的“雨路”,“各大街之雨路,都是高與人齊,矮者也有三四尺高,兩邊的便道也很寬,但除小商棚攤之外,其餘都是大小便的地方,滿街都是屎尿,一下雨則都是水窪。雨路上頭,浮土都是一二尺深,步行可以說是萬不能走,所以北平有兩句諺語:’無風三尺土,有雨一街泥。’又有兩句是’不下雨像個香爐,下了雨像個墨盒。”

Janah Lehrer: Groupthink (The New Yorker)

The lesson of Building 20 is that when the composition of the group is right—enough people with different perspectives running into one another in unpredictable ways—the group dynamic will take care of itself.