Author Topic: 书评:讽刺幽默大师:TOM LEHRER  (Read 5917 times)

万精油

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书评:讽刺幽默大师:TOM LEHRER
« on: 四月 27, 2005, 10:15:21 am »
This one first appeared in HXWZ last year. I thought people have forgot about it. I went to a party last weekend, when I introduced myself to someone I didn't know, she said: "Oh, you are the one who wrote about Tom Lehrer, I love it very much.".  It seems some people do like this article.

万精油, 5/27/2005

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        讽刺幽默大师:TOM LEHRER

                         --万精油--

TOM LEHRER 是有史以来最有才华的讽刺幽默大师。这是他光盘前言的第一句话。没有加通常的“ONE OF………”,而是直接的MOST BRILLIANT。这样赤裸裸地鼓吹,抓眼球是抓眼球,但通常没有什么份量。真正吸引我注意力的是前言中另外一句话:TOM LEHRER是一个数学家。

很多搞理论研究的人都喜欢在自己的专业以外搞些业余爱好,据说爱因思坦就很喜欢拉小提琴。但真正闹出点名堂,搞得全世界都知道的人却不多。而在这些少数搞出名堂的人中,又以物理学家(比如KARL SAGAN),化学家(比如ISAAC ASIMOV)居多,数学家几乎没有。唯一的例外大概要算THEODO  KACZYNSKI。他的信封炸弹闹得满球风云,一不小心,这个UNIBOMBER成了世界上最知名的数学家。除了这个反面例子以外,别的数学家在数学以外闹出名堂的还真没听说过。现在见到这里有一位,当然不能放过,一定要听一听。

这一听就入了迷,真的是爱不释手。觉得这MOST BRILLIANT好象也有一点道理。他的最后一次演唱会是1967年开的,对于象我们这些过了十几年后才到美国来的人,几乎都没有听说过他。现如今被我偶然发现,象是无意中遇见了宝藏,不敢私藏,赶紧着要拿出来与人分享。

TOM LEHRER 应该算是神童。十八岁就从哈佛大学数学系毕业,十九岁拿到硕士,然后接着在哈佛大学读博士。这期间他的音乐天分开始冒了出来。他出生于犹太人家庭,从小就被父亲逼着花大量时间学钢琴,所以也算是有些童子功。开始只是小打小闹,写一些歌在私人聚会或者酒巴里唱。唱多了以后就开始出唱片。原来的打算只是想能保本就不错了,只出了几百张。没想到一下就卖光了。而且订单从全国各地寄来。据他说开始的订单都是从各大学城寄来的,可见他的歌在知识分子里特别有市场。他的第一张唱片只花了十五美元的录音费,却卖出了三十七万多张。这赢利与成本的比例大得出奇。唱片出多了,就被请到全世界各地去办演唱会。他把这当成是周游世界的机会,没去过的地方邀请他他就去。几百场演唱会下来,全世界各大洲都被他走遍了。我们前面提到的最后一次演唱会就是在英国办的。后来由它组编的幽默节目TOMFOOLERY在英国风行几十年。由於这些演唱,他的研究生也读得断断续续。中间还被征兵,到部队呆了几年。到后来已经成了名人的他还又回到哈佛大学去接着读博士。照他自己的话说他想破哈佛大学读研究生最长年数的纪录(前后读了十六年)。他十七岁时为哈佛大学球队写的歌,至到现在仍然是球赛中场休息的主题歌。他的唱片前前后后卖了几百万张,经济上来说他应该不用工作了。但他后来却一直在哈佛大学,加州州立大学等学校教数学,因为他还是觉得更喜欢数学。

再回头来说他的歌。要讽刺一种现象常常要把事情推向极端。照LEHRER自己的话说,不推向极端就不能引人发笑,就达不到预期效果。极端再向前一步就要出格。LEHRER的歌有好几首被人们认为很出格,不被人接受,也就是现在人们说的比较另类。曾经有个中学老师在学生面前放了他的  [THE VATICAN RAG],  第二天就被学校开除了。这首歌是讽刺当时教堂的商业化。(......,There the guy who's got religion'll / Tell you if your sin's original. / If it is, try playin'it safer, / Drink the wine and chew the wafer, / Two, four, six, eight, / Time to transubstantiate!,....). 
他的另一首讲贩毒的 [THE OLD DOPE PEDDLER]也被认为很出格,在电台播放时被群众抗议,甚至在奥大利亚被禁演。(......Spreading joy whereever he goes, ......, Doing well by doing good). 另外还有 [I WANT TO GO BACK TO DIXIE] (......whuppin' slaves and sellin' cotton....). 还有一些歌,虽然没有出格,但确实很另类,单看下面这些歌的名字就可以感觉到:[SMUT], [THE MASOCHISM TANGO], [POISONING PIGEONS IN THE PARK]等等。

当然他的歌并不全都是这样的,其它很多都很幽默风趣,否则我也不会如此喜爱他的歌。

[THE HUNTING SONG] (....I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow, / Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.....),

[NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK] (....It's fun to eulogize / The people you despise / As long as you don't let 'em in your school...../ Be nice to people who / Are inferior to you / It's only for a week, so have no fear/ Be grateful that it doesn't last all year)

[POLLUTION] (...Just go out for a breath of air / You will be ready for medicare /...../ The breakfast garbage that you throw into the bay / They drink at lunch in San Jose /....).

[SO LONG MOM (A SONG FOR WORLD WAR III) (.....Good bye Mom, / I'm off to drop the bomb, / So don't wait up for me, / ....../ I'll look for you when the war is over / An hour and a half from now! )

作为数学家,他的歌里当然少不了数学。他居然能把 Analytic and algebraic topology of locally Euclidean metrization of infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold这样的抽象得不能再抽象的长句子搬到他的歌里,使得像我这样的搞数学的人有回了家的感觉。[LOBACHEVSKY]讽刺搞研究的人剽窃 (....The secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize! / Plagiarize / Let no one else's work evade your eyes / Remember why the good Lord made your eyes / So don't shade your eyes / But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize --/ Only be sure always to call it please "research"..).

[NEW MATH] (...Base eight is just like base ten really -- if you are missing two fingers....).

他的歌只看歌词是不够的,一定要听才能欣赏到他的才气。他有很好的钢琴功力,自弹自唱,手快嘴也快。一道四则运算(342-173)被他唱得妙趣横生。甚至完全由化学元素名字组成的歌也被他唱得韵味实足。(有人把这首歌搞成FLASH形式,可在下面地址找到:http://www.quigmans.com/abc/tomsmovie.swf)。一首家喻户晓的名歌(CLEMENTINE)被他用歌剧,RAP,BOP等多种形式各唱一遍,让人捧腹不止。

我最喜欢的一首是讽刺核武器泛滥的〔WHO’S NEXT〕,现全文抄在这里供大家欣赏:

  First we got the bomb, and that was good,
  'Cause we love peace and motherhood.
  Then Russia got the bomb, but that's okay,
  'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way.
  Who's next?

  Then France got the bomb, but don't you grieve,
  'Cause they're on our side I believe.
  China got the bomb, but have no fears,
  'Cause they can't wipe us out for at least five years.
  Who's next?

  Japan will have its own device,
  Transistorized at half the price.
  South Africa wants two, that's right:
  One for the black and one for the white.
  Who's next?

  Egypt's gonna get one too,
  Just to use on you know who.
  So Israel's getting tense,
  Wants one in self-defense.
  "The Lord's our shepherd" says the psalm,
  But just in case we better get a bomb.
  Who's next?

  Luxembourg is next to go,
  And (who knows) may be Monaco.
  We'll try to stay serene and calm,
  When Alabama gets the bomb.
  Who's next?
  Who's next?
  Who's next?
  Who's next?

这些歌词本身就很有趣了,经他的嘴唱出来更是妙趣横生。我不敢说他是全世界最有才气的讽刺幽默大师(因为除他以外我没有听过别的讽刺幽默大师的作品,没有比较),但我个人认为他的歌是非常有趣的,值得强烈推荐。如果有兴趣,可以到AMAZON去买,或者从附近的图书馆借来听。最近出的全集共三张光盘,名字叫 THE REMAINS OF TOM LEHRER。如果你借到了这盒全集,我建议你从第二盘或第三盘开始听。第一盘的歌出格的比较多,如果对他的歌没有太多了解,你不一定会喜欢。说实话,他的一些歌太过于另类,我到现在仍然觉得接受不了。估计主要原因是我不了解当时的社会状况以及他所讽刺的一些具体事例。好在他的大多数歌我都能欣赏,而且觉得都很不错。第一盘是完全的歌曲录音。第二盘和第三盘是演唱会录音,每首歌前都有他的介绍,幽默风趣,本身就是一种享受。(演唱会也有单独出光盘,名字叫AN EVENING (WASTED) WITH TOM LEHRER。我在网上还发现一篇最近对他的采访,很有意思。网址是

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/28/1046407753895.html?oneclick=true

可以读一读,对他有更深的了解。

希望你能象我一样喜欢TOM LEHRER。

Enjoy!

2004·9·22

万精油

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书评:讽刺幽默大师:TOM LEHRER
« Reply #1 on: 四月 27, 2005, 10:25:04 am »
One more interesting note:

After this article was published in HXWZ, a friend of mine send me an email said that he liked it very much, but couldn't find it in his local library. I knew that my local library had two copies of Tom Lehrer's last CD, since it was old, nobody paid attention to them.  However, when I went to my local library again (a week after the article was published in HXWZ), I found out (unfortunately but happily) that there's a waiting list (of 5 people) for that CD. It seems HXWZ has a lot of readers even in my local place. (not everyone who read HXWZ will go to the extent of checking out the CD).