混乱的美国梦:丹尼尔·沙维罗追踪流行文化中对财富和不平等的态度的变化

Daniel Shaviro Ideas Story artwork

In his new book, 美国修辞、文学和电影中的美国梦的篝火, Daniel Shaviro,税务教授韦恩·佩里,讨论了一系列的文本和电影,包括 Atlas Shrugged, The Great Gatsby, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Wolf of Wall Street-探讨美国文化中对财富和不平等的态度的变化. 乐鱼app对他进行了采访,让他谈谈这些作品对乐鱼app下载社会走向的看法.

Daniel Shaviro
Daniel Shaviro

为什么你要从文化的角度而不是单纯的经济角度来解决这个问题?

我想用文学和电影来谈论不平等和美国文化中的紧张关系, 因为你会发现它在通俗作品中表达得更有力,更充分,而不是在学术论文中说教. I use economic theories and thinking in my work, 但是经济学可能有点太狭隘了,无法帮助你理解为什么不平等很重要……. I saw a lot of good work being done in my field, 但我认为还需要做一些补充工作,来理解文化对它的重要性和重要性的理解……. 我觉得有个缺口我可以帮忙填补, could possibly enjoy filling, 也许人们甚至会喜欢读到它.

这本书考察了不同时期、不同媒介的作品. What is the unifying theme?

你拿安·兰德的主要人物的演讲作比较 Atlas Shrugged to one by 19th century orator Russell Conwell. 随着时间的推移,人们对财富的态度发生了怎样的变化?

罗素·康威尔在19世纪美国文学史上写下了最著名的“你可以成功/追求成功/证明富有”的演讲. 他的想法是,富有纯粹是一种美德,事实上,主要是诚实. 因此,富人是好人,穷人被上帝诅咒. 但好消息是,在他看来,致富永远都不晚. 可怜的人们——他们是如此的失败者,只能怪他们自己, 借着他的光明,他总能有另一次机会,明天就能发财.

当你转向安·兰德(Ayn Rand)时,你会觉得非常酸……. 它是从一个超级富豪的角度写的——实际上我不认为兰德真的是——他被那些嫉妒他并威胁要摧毁他的平民所困扰……. 高尔特的演讲非常清楚地表明,即使是一分钱被“强行”拿走——换句话说,是由国家权威从富人手中拿走,用来拯救某人免于饥饿——那也比谋杀更糟糕, or at least as bad as murder, and it actually justifies violent self defense.

In The Great Gatsby, not all wealthy people are on the same footing. F. 斯科特·菲茨杰拉德将汤姆·布坎南的老金和杰伊·盖茨比白手起家的财富区分开来. Why is that significant?

You also compare It’s a Wonderful Life to The Wolf of Wall Street, particularly in how they portray bankers. How are Mr. Potter and Jordan Belfort treated differently?

Mr. Potter, in It’s a Wonderful Life, is a repulsive figure. 他显然是一个非常聪明的人,足智多谋,但他不受人尊敬. 然而,乔丹·贝尔福特很有魅力,至少有些人很欣赏他 The Wolf of Wall Street in the modern era of finance and hyper-success.

There’s obviously a pretty big difference. I mention in the book [that] It’s a Wonderful Life, which was made in 1946, 是近30年来最后一部以金融家为反派的美国主流商业电影吗. 从1946年开始,我想我能找到的第一本是 Trading Places, which is from the late ’70s, I think, 其中有几个商品交易员是坏人. In the era when banking was boring, you don't get movies with villainous bankers, because that would be kind of silly. Who would bother with that?

流行文化是大众情绪的晴雨表, what they're anxious about, angry about, excited about, happy about, worried about. 这就是为什么我认为文化研究是研究这些事物的一种很好的机制.

通过这些书籍和电影,你可以探索美国梦的不同方面. In the end, how do you define the American dream? 

美国梦意味着很多不同的东西, from something as small as like, “I’m going to be able to buy a modest house,” to “I’m going to become super rich,” or simply, “I’m going to be fulfilled. 我将能够发挥我的潜力,并感到满足和快乐,因为我能够做我想做的事.“我认为这是文化探索的一个有用工具:美国梦在不同背景下意味着什么, 以及它如何影响人们战斗或不战斗, and succeed or fail? 

也有我所谓的阴暗面, 事实上,它使经济竞争成为一场较量,看谁是值得的,谁是不值得的. When I talk about market meritocracy, 我将其定义为,市场是判断谁好谁坏的完美法官, who's worthy and who's not. If you get rich, that means you're a great person. 如果你失败了,那就意味着你是个失败者,你不诚实,你懒惰,或者你可悲. 它的概念是,你从市场上获得的回报是你作为一个人的价值程度的证明. That’s creating greater anxiety in the front end. “我不仅要看看能不能买到一套漂亮的房子, 我也要弄清楚我是一个好人还是一个毫无价值的人.”

这让风险有点高…….. People are competing and fighting, not just for success for living a good life, but to prove they’re worthy people. 认为一个人的价值或价值取决于你赚了多少钱是一种荒谬的想法, 但这在美国文化中有很深的渊源. 

Posted October 21, 2022. This interview has been condensed and edited.