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2009.12.14 两位狐狸先生,两种食物观

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发表于 2022-9-13 21:05:30 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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Two Mr. Foxes, Two Views of Food
In Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox, animals are civilized eaters. In the new movie version, that gets lost.

By V. V. Ganeshananthan
DECEMBER 14, 2009
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Close to the beginning of the recent Wes Anderson movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, the eponymous animal is shown getting ready for work. He dons his office ensemble and sits down at the kitchen table, where his wife hands him a plate of toast. Ravenous, he moves his paws so swiftly while eating that they become a blur--and for a brief moment all the audience can hear is the sound of something wild, something unmannerly, scarfing down its food. You can give this fox a plate of toast, the scene announces, but he's still an animal. No one civilized eats like that.

This is not the fox I know. It's not the same character from the slim and shabby Roald Dahl book I bought at a used book sale for a quarter when I was a kid. I cherished that book so much at bedtime, I insisted on role reversal: my mother had to listen to me read it aloud to her. Sometimes, while waiting on my pink-canopied bed, I would get so hungry just thinking about Fox that I would start reading aloud to myself. She would come into the room to find me hunched over the pages, my mouth already watering.

The story is about a family of foxes who make delicious meals from goods they purloin from a trio of nasty farmers: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. The nastiness of the farmers itself manifests in, among other ways, the nastiness of their meals: one eats endless chickens, another drinks only alcoholic cider, and a third subsists on doughnuts stuffed with goose liver paste. The foxes make better use of the farmers' bounty than they do.

The animals in the book are very civilized creatures. The story makes this apparent in how they appreciate food.
When the book opens, the farmers are blasting Mr. Fox's tail off because he has tried, as usual, to go shopping on their farms. Then they attempt to starve him out of the hole where he lives with his family. They are mean, small-souled people with terrible palates. They eat the same disgusting meals every day and single-mindedly want the same cruel things. Reading the story as a child, I would think to myself, I am an adventurous eater. I do not want to eat the same things every day either. How uncivilized.


The animals in the book are very civilized creatures. The story makes this apparent in how they appreciate food. The food of Fantastic Mr. Fox is not the little-kid wonderland of Dahl's best-known book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the pure, innocent perfect stone fruit of James and the Giant Peach. This is a feast, and one with a very grown-up menu. The book is studded with descriptions of carnivorous delights--chicken, ducks, geese, turkey, and ham. Even today, as a borderline vegetarian, I find myself lingering over these descriptions.

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The film version takes a slightly different approach to food than the book. While many scenes are the same, food is a less central pleasure because the animals struggle not only against the humans, but also each other and their own natures. The film begins with a heist scene, as Mrs. Fox accompanies her husband on a daredevil mission to raid a farm. When they are caught, in a move that would be very out of character for her literary counterpart, she makes her husband promise that if they get out alive, he will never put himself in danger by stealing again.

Mr. Fox tries to listen, but for the rest of the movie, despite a respectable job as a newspaper man, his attempts at reforming himself tend to flag when it comes to food and thievery. Perhaps the movie's approach to food says more about our time than the era in which the book was written: it does not end with the feast that finishes the book, but rather in a supermarket full of goods with artificial flavorings, where the animals are grateful to be together and to have any food at all.

On the other hand, the delight of the book lies in the sheer trickery of the foxes outwitting the humans, which they manage not because they are "wild animals," as the Fox of the movie suggests, but because they are actually more civilized, less beastly, and more thoughtful than the horrid farmers. The animals in the book are, plainly, able to appreciate a good meal and good conversation. When Fox's starving gang cleverly tunnels from their hole to the three farms, he selects their entrees like a gourmand. Of a scene in Bunce's storehouse, Dahl writes:

"Stop!" ordered Mr. Fox. "This is my party, so I shall do the choosing." The others fell back, licking their chops. Mr. Fox began prowling around the storehouse examining the glorious display with an expert eye. A thread of saliva slid down one side of his jaw and hung suspended in midair, then snapped.

"We mustn't overdo it... We must be neat and tidy and take just a few of the choicest morsels."
There's a nod to vegetarianism, too; when one Small Fox tells his father they should lift some carrots, he responds:

"Don't be a twerp. ...You know we never eat things like that." "It's not for us, Dad. It's for the Rabbits. They only eat vegetables."... "What a thoughtful little fellow you are!"
One must, after all, be considerate of one's guests, and they have invited all the other animals to their party, which goes from "feast" to "banquet" with the addition of Bean cider--which is said to be "like drinking sunbeams and rainbows."


Still, this isn't gluttony; it's survival. As Fox says to his comrade Badger, he pursues these methods driven not by pleasure, but necessity:

[D]o you know anyone in the whole world who wouldn't swipe a few chickens if their children were starving to death? ... But we're not going to stoop to their level... We shall simply take a little food here and there to keep us and our families alive.... If they want to be horrible, let them... We down here are decent peace-loving creatures.
At the end of the book, the animals pool the loot plundered from the three farms and set up an extravagant, decadent, civilized party. When the table is covered with chicken and ducks and geese and hams and bacon, and "everyone [is] tucking in to the lovely food," the animals at last let themselves go. Fox "let[s] fly a tremendous belch," raising his cider glass to "this delicious meal."

From now on, Fox promises, "every day we will eat like kings." Above ground, the farmers shriek and flail ineffectively, waving guns and yelling oaths of revenge; underground, the beasts wish each other long lives and happy bellies. These animals don't long for the trappings of humanity--they're already more cultured than we could ever be, and the table groans with the evidence.





两位狐狸先生,两种食物观
在罗尔德-达尔的《神奇的狐狸先生》中,动物是文明的食客。在新的电影版本中,这一点被忽略了。

作者:V.V. Ganeshananthan
2009年12月14日
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在最近的韦斯-安德森电影《神奇的狐狸先生》的开头,同名的动物被展示为准备去工作。他穿上他的办公室套装,坐在厨房的桌子旁,他的妻子递给他一盘吐司。贪婪的它在吃东西的时候迅速移动爪子,以至于它们变得模糊不清--在短暂的瞬间,观众只能听到野性的东西、不礼貌的东西在吞咽食物的声音。你可以给这只狐狸一盘烤面包,这个场景宣布,但他仍然是一只动物。没有一个文明人像这样吃东西。

这不是我认识的那只狐狸。这不是我小时候在二手书市场上花25美分买到的那本瘦弱寒酸的罗尔德-达尔的书中的同一个人物。我在睡前非常珍惜那本书,我坚持角色转换:我的母亲必须听我给她朗读这本书。有时,当我在粉红色的床上等待时,一想到福克斯,我就会觉得很饿,于是就开始为自己大声朗读。她走进房间,发现我正伏在书页上,嘴里已经在流口水了。

这个故事讲的是一个狐狸家族用从三个讨厌的农民那里偷来的东西做美味的食物。Boggis、Bunce和Bean。这些农夫本身的下流表现在,除其他方面外,他们的饭菜也很下流:一个人吃不完的鸡,另一个人只喝酒精苹果酒,第三个人靠塞满鹅肝酱的甜甜圈维生。狐狸比他们更好地利用了农民的赏赐。

书中的动物是非常文明的生物。这个故事从它们如何欣赏食物中可以看出这一点。
当书的开头,农民们正把狐狸先生的尾巴轰掉,因为他像往常一样,想去他们的农场购物。然后他们试图把他从他和他的家人居住的洞里饿死。他们是卑鄙的、小肚鸡肠的人,味觉很差。他们每天都吃同样令人作呕的饭菜,一心一意地想要同样残忍的东西。小时候读这个故事,我会想,我是一个有冒险精神的吃货。我也不想每天都吃同样的东西。多么不文明。


书中的动物是非常文明的生物。这个故事从它们如何欣赏食物中可以看出这一点。神奇狐狸先生》中的食物不是达尔最著名的书《查理和巧克力工厂》中的儿童仙境,也不是《詹姆斯和巨桃》中纯洁无瑕的完美石榴。这是一场盛宴,而且是一场有着非常成熟的菜单的盛宴。书中充斥着对肉食性美味的描述--鸡、鸭、鹅、火鸡和火腿。即使在今天,作为一个边缘的素食主义者,我发现自己对这些描述流连忘返。

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电影版对食物的处理方式与书中略有不同。虽然许多场景都是一样的,但食物却不是一个核心的乐趣,因为动物们不仅要与人类斗争,还要与对方和自己的天性斗争。影片以一个抢劫场景开始,福克斯夫人陪着她的丈夫执行一个大胆的任务,突袭一个农场。当他们被抓时,她让丈夫保证,如果他们能活着出来,他就再也不会因为偷窃而使自己处于危险之中,这与她的文学作品中的角色非常不符。

福克斯先生试图听从,但在电影的其余部分,尽管他有一份令人尊敬的报社工作,但当涉及到食物和偷窃时,他改造自己的尝试往往会打折扣。也许电影对食物的处理方式比写这本书的时代更能说明我们的时代:它不是以结束这本书的盛宴来结束,而是在一个充满人工调味品的超市里,动物们为能在一起和有任何食物而感激。

另一方面,这本书的乐趣在于狐狸智取人类的纯粹诡计,它们之所以能做到这一点,并不是因为它们是 "野生动物",就像电影中的狐狸所暗示的那样,而是因为它们实际上比那些可怕的农民更文明,更少兽性,更有思想性。书中的动物们显然能够欣赏一顿好的食物和好的谈话。当狐狸那帮饥饿的家伙巧妙地从洞里钻到三个农场时,他像个老饕一样挑选他们的主食。达尔写道:"在邦斯的仓库里,有一个场景。

"停!"狐狸先生命令道。"这是我的聚会,所以我应该做选择。" 其他的人都退了下来,舔着自己的嘴唇。狐狸先生开始在仓库周围徘徊,用专业的眼光审视着光鲜的展示。一条唾液线从他的下巴一侧滑下,悬在半空,然后断了。

"我们不能做得太过分......。我们必须整齐划一,只取一些最美味的小菜。"
这也是对素食主义的一个点头;当一只小狐狸告诉他的父亲他们应该举起一些胡萝卜时,他回应道。

"别傻了。...你知道我们从来不吃这样的东西"。"这不是给我们的,爸爸。是给兔子吃的。他们只吃蔬菜。"... "你是一个多么体贴的小家伙!"
毕竟,一个人必须考虑到他的客人,而且他们已经邀请了所有其他动物参加他们的聚会,从 "盛宴 "到 "宴会",再加上豆汁苹果酒--据说是 "像喝太阳光和彩虹一样"。


尽管如此,这并不是贪吃,而是生存。正如福克斯对他的战友獾说的那样,他追求这些方法不是出于乐趣,而是出于需要。

[你知道世界上有谁会在自己的孩子饿死的情况下不掠夺几只鸡?但我们不会屈服于他们的水平...... 我们将只是在这里和那里拿一点食物来维持我们和我们的家人的生命....。如果他们想变得可怕,就让他们... 我们这里的人是热爱和平的正派动物。
在书的最后,动物们把从三个农场掠夺来的战利品集中起来,举办了一个奢侈、颓废、文明的聚会。当桌子上摆满了鸡鸭鹅、火腿和熏肉,"每个人都在享用可爱的食物 "时,动物们终于放飞了自己。狐狸 "打了一个巨大的嗝",为 "这顿美味佳肴 "举起他的苹果酒杯。

从现在开始,福克斯承诺,"我们每天都会像国王一样吃饭"。在地面上,农民们尖叫着,无效地挥舞着枪支,大喊着复仇的誓言;在地下,野兽们互相祝愿对方长寿,肚子快乐。这些动物并不渴望人类的装饰品--它们已经比我们更有文化了,而桌子上的证据也在呻吟。
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