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China: Don't learn Chinese for business opps, learn it for this book

For unavoidable reasons known to all, or at least presumed, Lifeweek editor Wang Xiaofeng, one of China's most entertaining bloggers—known to many for a hoax [#026] pulled in March this year which brought many bloggers’ scorn—mysteriously killed off his widely-read Massage Milk (also known as Wears Three Watches) in early May. But now he's back with a new blog, You May Not Associate, and a book of the same name, comprised primarily of his past blog posts. Here is what some bloggers have had to say about their favorite rabble-rouser and the emerging trend which sees blogs becoming books after hitting it big:

You May Not Associate, by Wang Xiaofeng

按摩乳出博客书:不许联想!
邓金明

Massage Milk releases a book: You May Not Associate!
Deng Jinming

王晓峰的博客书《不许联想》,最近开始隆重上市了。书名叫《不许联想》,却和那个“NO LENOVO”没啥子关系。这本书的作者是博客圈内有名头的“按摩乳”,号称“博客中的周星驰”,专以揭露目睹之文化界怪现状为能事,其言语之辛辣风快,刀刀见红,笔笔到肉。

Wang Xiaofeng's blogbook You May Not Associate has recently burst onto the market. The book's name, You May Not Associate, has nothing to do with that ‘No Lenovo [Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo's Chinese name is 联想, the verb ‘associate’.’ This book's author is the blogsphere's famous ‘Massage Milk,’ known as the Stephen Chow of blogging, who brings light to the cultural world's current strange state of affairs with poignant and witty language, with a pen drawing blood like a sword.

王晓峰,这位曾经的摇滚青年、如今的周刊主笔,像一些典型的首都现象一样,在体制内从事着体制外的思考和批判:拿着国家的俸禄,替人民挑刺。

Wang Xiaofeng, once a rock ‘n’ roll youngster, today is an editor at Lifeweek. Just like some classic capitols, he works within this system with extra-system thoughts and critique; gets paid by the state, but scrutinizes it on behalf of the people.

王晓峰之反对当前俗文化,正如他之反对虚假、媚俗、盲从和空洞,是基于一种更朴素的道德观和人性观。仅此而已。

Wang Xiaofeng opposes the current vulgar culture just as much as he opposes pretense, the lowbrow, complacency and vacuuity, all based on a simple view of morality and human nature.

当年,王朔用“痞子”狠狠刺了一下装模作样的文化体制和文学正统,如今,王晓峰仿佛继承了这种顽主精神,用“按摩乳”继续刺着更加矫柔造作的文化现状。这是王晓峰的命脉所在。

Wang Shuo once used ‘hooligan’ to ruthlessly poke holes in a pretentious cultural system and an orthodox literature. Today, it's as if Wang Xiaofeng has inherited this contrarian's spirit, and uses Massage Milk to continue puncturing the increasingly artificial cultural situation at present. This is where Wang Xiaofeng's vitality lies.

但是,让《不许联想》这样一部文化时评书来承担反思性的任务,是不合时宜的。实际上,王晓峰在博客这块飞地上,一直坚持着自己的文化批判的个人立场,这是值得所有人致敬的。文化风气是社会精神的表征,《不许联想》正是敏锐地把握到了这一点,通过针砭文化痼疾,来体现作者似乎并不太愿直接承认的人文关怀。

But, letting You May Not Associate this kind of cultural critique book take on the role of challenger of ways of thinking is inappropriate, when on his blog, Wang Xiaofeng has always maintained his personal stance as a cultural critic. This is worth everyone's praise. Cultural mood is society's spiritual meter and You May Not Associate has grasped this point. In the way culture's chronic illnesses are piercingly taken on, it's almost as though the author doesn't wish to directly admit to a concern for humanity.

拔高或者贬低王晓峰和他的《不许联想》,都违背了王晓峰所信奉的真实原则。也许最大的真实就在于,当代文化把我们置入了一种微妙尴尬的境地。“不许联想”也不许不“联想”,不能不正经也不能太正经。这是一个暧昧的时代(正如“按摩乳”这个博客名所示),也是一个亦庄亦谐的时代,是一个最坏的时代也是一个最好的时代,在这个时代,王晓峰就像不按牌理出牌的韦小宝一样,如鱼得水,悠哉游哉!

Both praising and tearing down Wang Xiaofeng and his book violate the realistic principles that he embraces. Maybe the most realistic aspect is that contemporary culture places us in delicate and awkward circumstances. You Must Not Associate doesn't really say to not associate. One can't be dishonest, or too honest either. This is an ambiguous time (just as Massage Milk shows), silly one minute and severe the next. It's the worst of times, and the best as well. In these times, Wang Xiaofeng is like a fish in water, swimming freely.

后话:

Update:

摩羯座的王晓峰,现任《三联生活周刊》文化部主笔。他用歪词酷语记录生活体验的“按摩乳”(Massage Milk)是目前大家公认的中国第一博客。

Wang Xiaofeng, Capricorn. Currently culture editor at Lifeweek. He uses twisted and cool language [a reference to his earlier blog, hosted by 歪酷 or ‘twisted cool’] to record life experiences at Massage Milk, everyone's current favorite Chinese blog.

他的新作《不许联想》,已于2006年4月,由上海人民出版社出版,各大书店有售。

His new work, You May Not Associate, was published by Shanghai People's Publishing House in [May] this year and can be found at all big bookstores.

《不许联想》是他近两年来在报刊杂志及其博客上发表的时评、娱评、随笔和段子的合集。

You May Not Associate is a collection of his social and entertainment commentary, essays and stories published in newspapers, magazines and on his blog over the past two years.

时评、娱评调侃当下社会和娱乐圈各种奇闻怪事,幽默诙谐,泼辣尖锐;随笔书写生活小事,涂抹点滴情趣,勾画朋友面孔,同时不忘就身边诸事嬉笑怒骂,活脱脱一个“黑白无间”的王晓峰;段子部分则模仿剧本编故事,是对时评部分集中而夸张的表现。

The social and entertainment commentary deals frankly with all the strange news and happenings, from underground and entertainment circles, with humor, sarcasm and wit. Essays are written about life with sass, friends are profiled, and at the same time he doesn't forget to write about the various hilarious and infuriating things he comes across in plain black and white. The story section is written like the script of a play, and deals with and exaggerates the social commentary part.

书中,他常常通过“歪用”、“曲解”,使平常词句顿时趣味横生,具有了更多的意味。配合“山羊胡”谢锋所画的插图,文图并茂,相映成趣。

In the book his frequent twisting and ‘misunderstanding’ of otherwise ordinary words gives them an an abundance of flavor and meaning. Xie “Beard” Feng's accompanying drawings and illustrations provide a luxurious contrast.

Blogger ZKT219, however, takes a critical view of blogs becoming books, and sees them as just a passing trend that have about as much literary value as screen adaptations of works of literature, and as a trend with a limited lifespan.

今年春天,名人博客书的出版掀起了一个热潮。徐静蕾的《老徐的博客》起印就是10万册,紧接着,SOHO中国总裁潘石屹出版了博客书《潘石屹的博客》,文汇出版社则要推出郑渊洁的博客书《勃客郑渊洁》,《三联生活周刊》主笔王小峰的博客时评集《不许联想:一个无聊人和他的无聊博客》也将首发。(据《新京报》3月30日)

Since spring this year we've seen an upsurge in famous bloggers publishing books. Xu Jinglei‘s Old Xu's Blog printed a hundred thousand copies. Soon after came Soho China president Pan Shiyi‘s blogbook Pan Shiyi's Blog. Wenhui Publishing House is working on Zheng Yuanjie‘s blogbook Zheng Yuanjie, Sudden Blogger, and Lifeweek editor Wang Xiaofeng's collection of blog commentary You May Not Associate: A Boring Person and His Boring Blog.

笔者以为,名人的博客书扎堆出版,实在让人有些费解,并且,出版博客书也有多此一举之嫌。

The authors think celebrity blogbooks must be published, when in fact they leave people a little confused. Besides, publishing blogbooks seems a little excessive.

“博客”一词是从英文单词 Blog翻译而来。Blog是 Weblog的简称,Weblog就是在网络上发布和阅读的流水记录,通常称为”网络日志”。简言之,Blog就是以网络作为载体,简易迅速便捷地发布自己的心得,及时有效轻松地与他人进行交流,再集丰富多彩的个性化展示于一体的综合性平台。

This word ‘bo-ke’ comes from the English word blog. Blog is short for weblog. Weblog is an online log of records for publishing and reading, most often called a ‘net diary.’ Put simply, blogs are just a way to easily and quickly publish your feelings online, an effective and easy way to immediately begin interacting with other people and serve as a stage on which to display your rich and colorful individuality.

在网络普及率很高的今天,在网上发表博客、阅读博客已经成为一些人的生活方式,它能让参与者抒发内心感受、丰富生活内容。一般而言,博客的写作与阅读都比较随意,写作者在比较放松的心态下写作,而阅读者也是在放松的心态下浏览,应该说,放松与随意是博客的特点。而如今,博客非要脱离网络,以另一种形式也即图书的形式把博客内容辑印成书,显得有些多此一举。在我看来,传媒都有着各自的特色与优势,生硬地”杂交”显得不伦不类。比如,所谓的”影视书”就在很大程度上失去了文学性,一味地跟在影视后面仓促出版,千篇一律地以影视图片吸引读者眼球,但是里面的文字粗糙、情节拖沓,这样的书读起来味同嚼蜡。可以说,如今的博客书在很大程度上是在步影视书的后尘。

In today's ever-so wired world, writing one's own blog or reading others’ has already become a way of life for some people. It allows participants to express their innermost feelings and abundant life content. Usually, the writing and reading of blogs is pretty laidback. Writers write in a rather relaxed state of mind, and readers are also in a relaxed state of mind as they browse. Should be said that relaxed and laidback are the characteristics of blogs. And now today, with blogs being separated from the internet, taking blog content and turning it into books, shows that things have gone too far. As I see it, all media have their own characteristics and advantages, but this crude ‘crossbreeding’ seems a little bland. For example, the so-called ‘video books’ which to a very large extent lose any resemblance to literature, are published hastily blindly following film and television and use cliche to attract readers’ eyeballs to the movie and television pictures. But the writing is crude and scenes are dragged out. Reading books like these is like chewing wax. Today's blogbooks to a large extent are following in film and television's dusty tracks.

网络博客的另一个吸引人之处在于”日志”的特点,是时时更新的,读者只所以乐于阅读名人博客,一个重要原因在于,对名人真实生活的关注,自然不排除对名人私密生活的关注。而博客书的出版,自然受到时间的局限,不管怎样都是对过往日志的记录,根本做不到与网络同步,在这一点上,博客书显然失去了”与时俱进”的功能,阅读魅力也自然会大打折扣。

Another reason for blogs’ allure lies with the ‘diary’ aspect; they're constantly renewed. That's why readers are so happy to read the blogs of famous people. One important reason is that attention paid to celebrities’ real lives naturally does not remove attention paid to their personal lives. And the publishing of blogbooks naturally has its limits. No matter what, they'll always only be records of things gone past and will never be able to keep up with the internet. In this regard, blogbooks by all appearances lack the ability to remain relevant, giving a big boost to the appeal of reading.

说到底,名人博客书的扎堆出版,依然是经济利益在作怪:作者借此会赚得不菲的稿费,出版商也想以此赢得利益,但是,读者是否就会买账?一个简单的道理,在网上能够随意浏览的博客,为何非要通过纸制媒体阅读呢?在我看来,纸上的博客就像是一种不伦不类的产物,不仅没有博客的原汁原味,也与正宗的名人自传相去甚远。

The point is, celebrity blogbooks rushing into publication still all has to do with economic benefits: authors stand to bring in not a small amount of royalties, and booksellers also hope to get some of that. But, will or will not readers buy it? A simple logic. Online, blogs can be freely browsed; why then must I use printed media just to read them? As I see it, blogs on paper is like a kind of generic product. Not only does it not have the flair and design that a blog does, but they're also very different from the usual celebrity biography.

不管怎样,我是没有购买名人博客书的打算,因为名人的博客就在我的鼠标之下,轻轻一点就行了,大可不必再跑一趟书店了。

In any regard, I have no plans to buy any celebrity blogbooks. Because celebrity blogs are right beneath my mouse. Just a click is enough. Absolutely no need to run to any bookstore.

On a more positive note, Tom Jian, an old reader of Wang “Three Watches” Xiaofeng's work, looks at how Wang started blogging, how his writing has changed over the years, and provides some pretty convincing reasons why you should go buy this book.

有趣的人

An Amusing Person

我从来都没想过王小峰老师会变成一个有趣的人。当年他可是以愤青而出名的,有人叫他“疯子”,好多人说:别惹他,丫逮谁骂谁。后来他开论坛,二房音乐,火了好久我才进去,一看,三表哥在里面打情骂俏,欢蹦乱跳。再后来三表忍不住又愤怒了一把,把论坛关了,一个人玩起了博客。从此,三表的语言好像插上了翅膀,天高任鸟飞,在博客的天空里上下翻飞,自由自在。几年的博客文学,攒成了《不许联想》这本书。

I never thought that teacher Wang Xiaofeng would ever become an amusing person. When he became well-known it was for being an angry youth. Some people called him a ‘madman,’ and even more people said he was not to be provoked, anyone too close would get it. Later he started a BBS called Music From the Second Room. It was already quite hot by the time I got around to checking it out. My first time I saw brother Three Watches inside letting ‘er rip and jumping around. Then later on Three Watches couldn't contain his anger anymore and shut the BBS down. Then he started blogging. From then on, Three Watches’ language took flight. In blog heaven he fluttered about, completely free. Several years of blog literature has now become this book You May Not Associate.

《不许联想》证明了白纸黑字的书还有存在的理由。我本来想到写在博客上面的字印成书会有什么必要?不是读图时代、读屏时代了么?而且本来就是网络上面的东西。可是那些印在纸上的字儿读起来就是那么有味儿,这只能怪三表写得太有趣了。

You May Not Associate proves there remains a reason for the continued existance of white paper and black letters. First I wondered, what's the point of making a book out of things already written on a blog? Isn't this the age of looking at pictures and watching screens? And this was all online stuff to begin with. Yet reading those words after having been put on paper, they really do have flavor. This can only be Three Watches’ fault for writing too amusingly.

三表现在是什么样的人?他是一个严肃的人、一个严谨的人、一个有社会责任感的人、一个敢于批评的人、一个不流于世俗的人……但最重要的,他是一个有趣的人。他那么擅于把一切无趣融于嬉笑怒骂的文字之中,使人轻松读来又有所启发,更可做远离电脑而又需打发时间的消遣,于是这本书就有意义了。

What kind of person is Three Watches? He's a serious person, a precise person, a person who has a sense of responsibility towards society. He's someone who dares to criticize, who doesn't bother with conventions……but the most important is that he's an amusing person. He's so good at taking the vapid and writing something that will make you laugh and snarl at the same time. Writing that relaxes and enlightens those that read it. Any book like this that can tear you away from your computer and become something you make time for, has got to be significant.

虽然三表自称“一个无聊人和他的无聊博客”,但遇到我这个真正无趣的人,还是要把反话正说,这是“一个有趣人和他的有趣博客”,而且是相当的有趣。

Although Three Watches himself calls it ‘a boring person and his boring blog,’ after having seen what a legitimately boring person I myself am, it should actually read ‘an amusing person and his amusing blog.” Considerably amusing at that.

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