「BJ單身日記」不只是一般的愛情喜劇,它是經典文學「傲慢與偏見」的現代版,更確切的說,是向經典文學致敬之餘,又不忘加入現代顛覆元素的戲謔仿作(parody)。劇中女主角神來一句,”It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces. “(當你的生命中某部分開始順遂,另一部分就會全盤崩壞,這是眾所承認的事實) 已昭告其戲仿經典之意圖,因「傲慢與偏見」開宗明義的第一句話就是: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (黃金單身漢必缺一個老婆是眾所承認的事實) 前者提到生命無常起落的事實,後者則是千古不變的婚姻法則,有錢的男人必定成為眾家閨女覬覦獵取的目標。

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前言

我們習慣分享彼此不幸的遭遇,以為把它說出來,心裏會好過些,至少從別人那裡,得到些許的鼓勵或安慰,或者聽到別人也有類似遭遇,自己的苦就不顯得特別。這篇散文告訴我們,不能用訴苦的方式處理苦難,緘默堅忍以對才是良策

In this short essay, British novelist and journalist Mark Rutherford (the pen name of William Hale White) encourages us to deal with our misfortunes by practicing "the art of self-suppression."

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Across the broad continent of a woman's life falls the shadow of a sword. On one side, all is correct, definite, orderly; the paths are strait, the trees regular, the sun shaded; escorted by gentlemen, protected by policemen, wedded and buried by clergymen, she has only to walk demurely from cradle to grave and no one will touch a hair of her head. But on the other side all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course. The paths wind between bogs and precipices. The trees roar and rock and fall in ruin. There, too, what strange company is to be met---in what bewildering variety!                                                                

Virginia Woolf, “Harriette Wilson”

This time, it’s not the vulgar prima donna, Harriette Wilson, that will be discussed. Instead, it’s Christabel LaMotte, the female protagonist in the movie, Possession, that steps across the borderline.

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繼「正義」一書後,Michael Sandel教授再度出擊,在「錢所不能買的東西」(What Money Can’t Buy) 這本書裡,直指金錢入侵民主社會各種領域後,對思想行為所造成的衝擊。

延續前書的論點,作者認為市場邏輯(market logic)已滲入社會各個層面,幾乎無所不在。這種邏輯根據自由派(libertarian)經濟思想而來,強調個人有權利自由買賣所擁有的東西;在買賣雙方達成交易後,兩方各得其利,有效率地讓物品得到適當的歸屬,發揮最大的用處。簡單來講,支持市場邏輯的兩個主要觀點是個人自由(individual freedom)和功利思想(utilitarian)。而反對市場邏輯也正好由此兩點下手。自由非真自由,而功利思想最終將腐蝕腐事物本質。歸納起來,反市場邏輯的主要論點,一是公平(fairness),二是腐化(corruption)。公平者反駁個人自由之論,強調買賣雙方若在經濟不平等的條件下交易,賣方往往因經濟拮据,在不得已的情況下出賣擁有物。在被迫、利誘下做出的抉擇,不是真正的自由交易。另外,腐化之論在破除功利思想的迷思。容或金錢的買賣可以有效率的分配物品,但物品不見得就能適得其所,反而本質會被汙染,內在價值也隨之腐敗。整本書用市場邏輯和反市場邏輯的兩種論調,反覆檢驗社會發生的實際案例,逐一剖析市場價值的弊端,提醒我們建立正確的價值觀,共造美好的民主社會。以下簡要陳述書上所提及的案例,並引用這兩種思考角度來分析批判。

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An Indecent Proposal (桃色交易)caused much discussion back in 1993 when materialism was rampant in American society. Today, it still remains a powerful criticism of market values. It is significant not only because it predicts the irresistible invasion of money in life, but also it caters to the ideal romantic sentiment. Altogether, the movie attracts the audience with two immortal topics: money and romance.

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美國名校衛斯理高中英文老師David McCullough的畢業演說,引起很大的迴響及討論。不同於一般的畢業演講,總是讚美肯定畢業生的成就,這位獨特的老師再三叮嚀學生的卻是”You are not special!”這篇演講在網路上一夕爆紅,有人認為這是近幾年來最好的畢業演說;當然也有人不喜歡,認為不過是這位老師想標新立異意罷了。到底他談了甚麼,為何會激起這麼多共鳴,本文試圖分析並探討之。

全篇演說的主軸,是要告訴學生如何得到真實的快樂。方法只有一個,靠智慧。何謂智慧,去除以自我為中心的想法,以無私的態度為人群服務。只有這樣,生命才是圓滿有意義的,快樂因此而生。但是時下金錢掛帥的風氣下,大家追求快樂的方式卻不是這樣。在市場價值主導下,財富的累積是成就的指標;成就越高,自然越幸福快樂。Teacher David的演說,主要在破除這種功利的價值觀。以物質成就為導向的人生,絕對得不到真正的快樂。以謙卑無我的態度服務他人才能享有真實的快樂。

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clip_image001作者: 洪秀瑛、林志勳╱台北─浙江連線報導 |2012530 上午5:30

章子怡爆出陪睡風波,陸媒《博訊》甚至踢爆她靠陪睡大陸前重慶市委書記薄熙來等,10年撈了32億。曾在大陸發展的田麗,29日直言,對章此聞「不意外」,「但做這種事無恥」,她還分析,陪睡市場很競爭,台星都快沒陪睡的空間了!田麗說,「潛規則」永不滅,各國皆然,「就是嫖客和高級妓女的行為,這現象在演藝圈很普遍,只是有些沒爆出來。」她說,市場經濟是有需求必然有供給,由此形成「產業鏈」,有買家就有賣家,想鑽門路的就會鑽,不願做的,拿錢砸還是不做。

The sensational news highlights the moral issue of prostitution. It is because the “criminals” have a high social status that this incident got special attention. If the working class commits the crime, the society wouldn’t give a damn about it. The fact is, prostitution is forbidden in law but condoned in real world. This article aims to explore prostitution from the perspective of morality, clarifying its “should” and “should not” by the libertarian and Kantian philosophy respectively. The line of argument is borrowed from Michael Sandel’s two books, Justice and What Money Can’t Buy.

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The Hours examines the unique female consciousness of being. From the feminist perspective, it may be acclaimed a subtle and exquisite masterpiece. Yet, mundane viewers may decry it as a jejune bemoaning of the white, middle-class women, nothing less than a portrait of bourgeois ennui. Admittedly, the Marxist disciples are justified to criticize the three females’ lives as self-indulgent and self-conscious, because they are free from economic burdens as suffered by women in poor countries. While poverty-stricken women struggling for survival are left no extra energy to question the meaning of their life, these rich, white women have the leisure to ponder over the meaning of their existence. In proletarian view, the repeated quest of “who am I” is a sign of intellectual arrogance bred by material abundance. So, let’s explore the three women’s life and see if it’s really the bourgeois ennui that gives rise to such an unhappy life.

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Prologue

With the countdown of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games in London, England will attract the attention of the whole world this summer. In the eyes of a foreigner, England is featured by a cloudy sky, foggy towns, and red phone booths. The British mentality is notorious for its snobbery, hypocrisy, xenophobia and insularity. From the perspective of a perspicacious writer, George Orwell, we see something subtle and intriguing about the British culture. Let me summarize what Orwell highlights as the distinctive British flavor in the article, “England Your England”:

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At first glance, the myth of Persephone and Demeter is to explain the four seasons featured by varied landscape. On second thought, it implies a delicate female relationship denied by the patriarchal society---a lesbian desire for the union of two females, body and soul. The “return to the mother” is not the excessive attachment of mother and daughter; instead, it reveals the power of generation and transformation.

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