27 Peter Hessler: I’m Always an Outsider Wherever I am

27 Peter Hessler: I’m Always an Outsider Wherever I am

56分钟 ·
播放数4476
·
评论数58

Peter Hessler is always focusing on presenting ordinary people’s lives. It has been more than ten years since the publication of his China Documentary Trilogy. In 2019, Peter returned China and settled in Chengdu, Sichuan Province with his wife Leslie Chang and their twin daughters. Since then, he has been working as a teacher at Pittsburg College of Sichuan University. During the past ten-odd years, moving from one country to another has already become a way of living for him. For this reason, Peter is always regarding himself as an outsider no matter where he live. As a writer, the outsider identity keeps his mind sharp, makes it easier for him to observe the world.

In Peter’s writing class at Sichuan University, why did he invite his students to think about their social class? What does he think of China’s writing education? With so many nonfiction writing materials, how does China establish its own tradition and market? How does he receive and consider about Chinese contemporary literature? In his eyes, what kind of reporting tradition should we stick to ?

In this August, we went to Chengdu and had a conversation with Peter Hessler. The conversation, lasting for three hours, is divided into two episodes and the latest one is online this week, available in both English and Chinese. The Chinese version is translated by Li Xueshun, the Chinese translator of River Town, Strange Bones and Country Driving, who was also Peter’s former colleague in Fuling. In the previous episode, Peter shares with us his life in Chengdu, especially his observation on Covid-19. He also called back the backstories of writing the Chinese Documentary Trilogy. For this week, he mentions about his long-lasting friendship with his former students and colleagues, his teaching life in Sichuan University, and also his opinions on non-fiction writing, education system, class solidification and the value of establishing face-to-face connections with people in the fast-changing world.

【Timeline】

03:00 Facing more intense competition, students from one-child family nowadays work even harder than those students in Fuling over 20 years ago.
08:53 The discussion of social class in writing class: George Orwell is the Lu Xun of England; analyzing social class gives people a special perspective.
13:43 The success of River Town doesn’t change any other’ lives more than Peter’s.
17:02 Peter’s long-lasting friendship with his former colleague Li Xueshun and students Willy and Emily.
20:30 He’s an “outsider” wherever he lives, and this keeps his mind sharp to observe the world.
24:10 On education system: “The United States is too relaxed and China is too hard. I think a middle path would be the best.”
25:38 Both Peter Hessler and Lesile Zhang spent a lot of time doing math exercises in order to help their daughters.
28:42 China’s writing courses in He Wei’s eyes: “You memorize these set phrases, you use them as a writer. It's often not so much on expressing yourself.”
29:49 Students in China must recite many poems, which is unusual in the U.S. This behavior connects people with their tradition.
32:40 Non-fiction writing materials can be found everywhere in China. But China hasn’t yet established a market big enough to support the tradition.
34:58 “If I'm going to support myself as an independent writer,I have to be smart with money and investments.”
38:28 Chinese students majoring in journalism prefer theory learning to practical reporting.
39:15 Peter is impressed by many Chinese novels such as Wolf Totem. He realized that Chinese writers tend to use symbols to describe about the society.
46:49 In Peter’s mind, it’s of great value to interact with people face to face. He consider himself as a dinosaur in the times of social media.
50:58 Class solidification do exist in China, but there still remains some fluidity.

【Host】
Li Weiqi
Media worker and literary critic (Weibo ID: BeulahDong)
Gu Yu
Former foreign media journalist and former PR in Alibaba

【Guest】
He Wei, or Peter Hessler
(born June 14, 1969) an American journalist, non-fiction writer and a staff writer in New Yorker who is the author of three books(River Town, Country Driving and genius Grant) about China

【Recommendation】
My Brilliant Friend
By Elena Ferrante

【Music】Shanghai Restoration Project
Opening Music-- Public Poet
Ending Music-- There and Then

【Graphic Design】
Sun Xiaoxi

【Post Production】
Chen Jinjian
Shi Hualun

【Production Manager】
Han Yuying

【Translator】
Li Xueshun

【Voice Actor】
Zhao Zhe

【Platform】
Listen to our podcast on apps like xiaoyuzhou, Netease Music, Himalayan FM, Qingting FM, Lychee FM, Qingmang, Apple Podcasts, Castro and Pocket Casts.

【Contact Us】
Wechat: Tiadao FM
Weibo: Tiadao FM
Email: tiaodaoFM@citicpub.com

展开Show Notes
momofuku_7
momofuku_7
2020.10.02
06:04 Oh shoot... ”they can’t be going down, right? they were already peasants anyway...they can’t be going lower than that in China.”

well, they might be...this “rhetorical question”just sounds unbearably condescending

男主持作为前媒体从业人员对底层民众现状未免太不够了解,反问语气也给人一种混不吝的感觉,所以我能理解其他听友的不适感。
Bamboo_LIdH:感觉他过度简单地看待社会阶层流动,话里话外充满刻板印象,very presumptuous
yun_MwO7:我感觉是语言能力的问题,他掌握不了语感
6条回复
finnowhere
finnowhere
2020.10.02
说起来我可能跟这边大多数听众情况不同,我没有看过他的三部曲,我了解他主要是通过他new yorker写埃及的文章,垃圾工,门房,穆兄会同性恋,装修,女工等等。因为曾同样在埃及的环境中,感同身受。
而正如他所说,我也觉得对于工厂女工的描述,他的妻子l起了很大的作用,我想不到如果没有lessly,他很难跟女工聊太多。在埃及南方的小城市minya,他的妻子同样也去采访了那边的纺织女工,在埃及这样保守的国家,交通那么不便利的地方能够完成这样的纪实文章,比中国实在难太多了,唯一的不同是埃及人大嘴巴更爱讲,但是讲的未必多真实。很佩服他们。
这两期听完对他们有了更多的了解,我想以前他写埃及的文章,我还是有些不同的看法,现在想想我也过于苛求了。毕竟在中国他能够讲流利的中文,能够流利的书写他的妻子是华人,有些中国人内涵的东西他是懂的。但是在埃及他写出来的东西,我总觉得可信度有点问题,并不是说他在编,而是说埃及人的内涵他未必能都感觉得到,尽管何伟是能够讲埃及土语,但我想水平跟中文肯定没办法比,再加上他缺少一个真正的融入埃及的身边人,而在中国它是大部分融入中国的,虽然也是局外人
Jana
Jana
2020.10.03
男主播对某些问题的看法有问题。在重庆生活不是trap,在重庆的县城里生活也不是trap。每一次想这么说都可以想想,纽约有人看生活在中国的我们是被trap了,外星人看生活在地球的我们是被trap了。
Zxxxy:还有开头的“going down”... 十分欠考虑,听得我都尴尬
Mushroomzzzz
Mushroomzzzz
2020.10.01
听众对主播口语水平要求也太苛刻了,讲得抑扬顿挫觉得太刻意,讲得带口音游嫌人家不标准,实在没必要
snow_tBYp
snow_tBYp
2020.10.01
完全是因为何伟才听完了,两位主播采访的题目毫无逻辑,一会问这个,一会问那个,一点连续性也没有,可不可以事先做一些准备啊!还有两位的英文实在不敢恭维,男的抑扬顿挫,女的连发音都不标准,听起来很吃力
Mushroomzzzz:发音为什么要标准呢,语言是用来交流的,我觉得女主播的声音很好听啊
HD1033908l:同意你的感受。女主持说话声音听起来好听,但她的单词发音很多都不准确甚至是错误的。比如,peace读撑pace,incredibly读成incrAbly, literature的重音读错.好像是她的英文底子很差或者准备得很草率敷衍,以至于她说话的部分常常要倒回去听至少两遍才能知道她在说什么。男主持那种居高临下不耐烦拷问一样的语气听起来毫无尊重感,非常粗鲁无礼的样子。
3条回复
YutongShe
YutongShe
2020.10.02
这中英夹杂好可爱嗷嗷!
Zxxxy
Zxxxy
2021.6.25
发现这个采访是很棒的英语学习材料,何伟老师的表达简单易懂,听到了一些中文表述中常见但不知道英文该怎么说的词/句,好记性不如烂笔头,在此做下简单记录:

illiterate 文盲
competition is very intense 竞争很激烈
People work so hard because the society is competitive 可以形容内卷
He has 4 apartments. 他有4套房(我曾经一致纠结是不是用 houses / properties)
The opinions are more varied. (现在人们的)观点更多样了
academia 学术界
cliche 陈词滥调(和成语对比)
formulaic 套话的
memorizing 背诵
limitations / restrictions 限制 / 管控
marketplace isn't that mature 市场不够成熟
intellectuals 知识分子
essay 散文
Elite view 精英的视角
loaded term 有隐藏含义的词(何伟说的记者,我们说的公知、小姐等词也可以用这个词形容)
Classes is solidifing but there is still some fluidity 社会阶层在固化,但还有一定的流动性
Evergreen_wulm
Evergreen_wulm
2020.10.03
男主持估计自己都不清楚在问什么,只是随便抛出一个未经思考的问题,让何伟帮他圆
我不跑调
我不跑调
2020.10.01
1.男主播在上一集被说的很多的一点是,提问的让人听起来很不舒服,但其实我听他说中文的时候没有这个感觉,猜测也许和声音大小(的确有时候一下子进来太突兀)以及各自的语言使用习惯不同。还有一点是,播客只提供了我们纯声音的解读环境,看不到人的情况下,就像为什么微信上只看文字也会容易吵架一样,光听声音可能也会产生误解。不是为主播辩驳,只是觉得可以多一些讨论的空间。
2.觉得比较可惜的一点是一问一答(虽然有时候有一些细节的确认)的形式可能会让话题走得不够深入。尤其是当主播们为了清楚地提出准备好的问题(我的理解),却给人一种类似念稿的感觉,感觉以后可以更自然一些(虽然即兴的话可能又要被一些人杠英语不行🤫需要的同理心更多了呢)
finnowhere:我不太好意思说,男嘉宾提问的语气,的确让人听了非常不舒服,但是他讲中文的时候则没有这种感觉,所以我倾向于是语言习惯问题
finnowhere:加兵的问题应该是准备好的,所以感觉特别生硬,但是如果说即兴交流的话呢,有可能英文不行,我个人的话呢,对于所谓的口音语法什么的倒不是很在意,毕竟不是母语,咱们又不是上华莱士的节目,谈笑风生
3条回复
Zudy
Zudy
2020.10.08
27:56 我觉得何伟直接让孩子们去上中文学校很棒,也很人类学。
汪汪胖成狗
汪汪胖成狗
2020.10.06
评论太恐怖了……是因为文学类播客有很多文青听吗…我这个没文化的真是心疼主播,还是鼓励一下 关于以前的何伟的部分在几本书以及他的演讲或者纽约客里都能看到,但是对于对他不那么熟悉的人会有更全面的了解;关于最近的何伟这两期节目揭示地已然很不错
小罗爱喝咖啡
小罗爱喝咖啡
2020.10.03
55:19 哈哈哈哈啊哈 我的天才女友!!
rukia_8rYr
rukia_8rYr
2020.10.01
为啥问题英文回答中文?意义何在?
gracecece
gracecece
2020.10.15
"Trapped" 用得太居高临下了,何伟说的"different"更无不适感。
尼卜乐听听
尼卜乐听听
2020.10.06
50:51想让被书写者读到书这点太感人了
阿丁的
阿丁的
2021.2.22
16:59 如果你真是Peter的fan不会不知道李雪顺老师吧……
Fengyu_
Fengyu_
2020.10.10
21:46 何伟讲为什么隔几年就换个城市生活:当熟悉环境的时候,你了解得会更少。
北冥
北冥
2020.10.04
我想不久的将来,小宇宙类似的软件,会有新的功能,如果我只想听访谈中某个人的声音,可以把其他的都屏蔽
HD210516w
HD210516w
2020.10.03
39:31 一语中的!中国的知识分子病
Mushroomzzzz
Mushroomzzzz
2020.10.01
06:12 何伟作为外国人对中国的了解真是让人拜服,小县城、省会大城市、三四线小城市分得门儿清