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那只表情包里的狗真的快乐吗?

更新时间:2018-4-1 9:04:33 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Is This Dog Actually Happy?
那只表情包里的狗真的快乐吗?

What is it like to be a dog?

当一只狗是什么感觉?

I’ve been in search of the answer to that puzzling question by way of science. I’m a researcher of dog behavior and cognition: I study how dogs perceive the world and interact with one another and with people. Even in those moments when I wrest myself away from my subjects, the question stirs in my head. For everywhere I look, I find myself faced with dogs.

我一直在通过科学的方法来寻找这个谜题的答案。我是犬类行为和认知研究者:我研究犬只如何感知世界,如何相互或者与人交往。就算是在我强迫自己离开我的研究对象的时候,这个问题仍会在我的脑中翻涌。因为不论我看向哪里,我都能看见狗。

Dogs in movies, GIFs and memes — peppering Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. The Super Bowl has a puppy alternative; dogs in advertisements sell everything from toilet paper to tacos. Weirdly, the omnipresence of my favorite subject has begun making me grumpy, not elated. As dogs themselves produce a profound anti-grumpiness in me, I began to wonder why. Why can’t I stand to look at one more photo of a “funny dog”?

电影里的狗、GIF动图里的狗和表情包里的狗——Twitter推送和Facebook里满是它们。超级碗(Super Bowl)有狗狗版,广告里的狗推销着从厕纸到塔可饼的各种商品。奇怪的是,我最爱的研究对象这样无所不在,却让我开始感到烦躁,而非兴奋。因为对我而言,狗本身能让我产生深切的“止躁”作用,于是我开始思考为什么。为什么我再也无法忍受多看一张“搞笑狗狗”的照片了?

The reason is that these dogs are but furry emoji: stand-ins for emotions and sentiment. Each representation diminishes this complex, impressive creature to an object of our most banal imagination. As the philosopher Lori Gruen has observed, to be seen as something other than what one is, or to be the object of laughter, robs one of dignity. Such treatment may not be mortifying to the dog, perhaps (in fact, that’s a legitimate question, whether dogs can feel mortified; I remain agnostic); but it is degrading to the species.

原因在于,这些狗只不过是毛茸茸的颜文字罢了:是情感和情绪的替身。各个表现形式都将这个复杂而令人赞叹的生物贬低成为了我们最平庸的想象客体。正如哲学家洛里·格鲁恩(Lori Gruen)之所见,它们被当做了某种并非它们的东西,或是一个被剥夺了尊严的嘲笑对象。这样的态度对一只狗而言可能并不屈辱(事实上,狗有没有屈辱感,这是个合理的问题,对此我持有一种不可知的态度);但对这个物种来说,这是带有贬低性的。

Despite the ubiquity of dogs in our culture, there is much we don’t know about them. My field is in its infancy. We know that among animals they are uniquely attentive to the human gaze, but their preternatural sensitivity to our emotions and behavior defies easy explanation. Even as we are discovering the history of their domestication, we still have little idea how dogs experience the world through smell, their primary sense.

虽然狗在我们的文化中无处不在,但我们还有很多不了解它们的地方。我的研究领域还处在初始阶段。我们知道,在动物里,狗对人类的视线尤为敏感,但它们对我们的感情和行为超自然的悟性却无法轻易解释。即使我们发现了它们被驯养的历史,我们也仍然不了解狗是如何通过它们的主要感官——嗅觉来体验世界的。

I sit down to each of the many movies featuring dogs optimistic that a well-considered fictionalized account could give us a glimpse of them as they are — and maybe their creators will see something about the canine world that we scientists don’t. The new animated film “Isle of Dogs,” emerging from the fanciful sensibility of Wes Anderson, seemed promising. I went in hopeful; I came out waspish.

我看了许多有狗参演的电影,乐观地希望一种精心构思的虚构描述能让我们瞥见它们的本我——或许它们的创造者能在这些犬科动物身上看见一些我们科学家看不到的东西。来自有着奇幻感性的韦斯·安德森(Wes Anderson)的新动画片《犬之岛》(Isle of Dogs)看起来应该不错。我满怀期待地进了影院,却带着满身烦躁出来。

“Isle of Dogs” is a delightful movie, and the stop-action is mind-bogglingly good, but the dogs are the pits. Though beautifully rendered in fur-ruffling style, their characters are thoroughly human, with human voices and human concerns. They are quadrupeds with dog tags — they are not dogs.

《犬之岛》是一部十分讨喜的电影,停格动画好得令人惊叹,但里面的狗却很糟糕。尽管它们完美地以毛茸茸乱糟糟的形象呈现,但它们完全是人类的性格,有着人类的声音和人类的烦忧。它们是贴上了狗的标签的四足动物——但不是狗。

This is the crux of the matter: Rarely do dogs get to be dogs. In film, they are cast as cute, fuzzy human-replacements. This anthropomorphizing ranges from simply ascribing human emotions and desires to dogs (see “Lassie” or “Benji”) to the inexplicable genre of dogs who excel at professional human sports (“Air Bud” and “Soccer Dog”).

这就是问题的症结所在:狗几乎不再是狗。在电影里,它们扮演着可爱而浑身毛茸的人类替代品。这种拟人化可以是简单地把人类的感情和欲望附加在狗的身上(参考《灵犬莱西》[Lassie]和《本吉》[Benji]),也可以是一种令人不解的类型,即描述狗特别擅长于人类的专业运动(《神犬也疯狂》[Air Bud]和《足球狗》[Soccer Dog])。

Online, the dog suffers worse misrepresentation. In a typical image the dog is posed in a distinctively person-like way, as if on the phone, seated at a table or wearing headphones, and dressed in human attire — glasses, a dog-size suit and tie, even pantyhose.

在网上,狗也遭遇着更恶劣的曲解。一种典型形象是,狗被摆成特别像人的造型,像是在打电话、坐在桌子上,或是戴着耳机,用人的服装来打扮——眼镜、狗西服和狗领带,甚至还有连裤袜。

Despite the discomfort this must entail, these images are taken to be hilarious.

尽管这些肯定会造成不适,但它们被认为是好笑的。

Other times a dog’s expression is misrepresented as a human one, such as an image of a dog “smiling” (an expression that actually indicates that the creature is scared or worried) used to indicate delight.

还有一些时候,狗的表情会被误解为人类的表情,比如用一只狗“微笑”的图片来表示快乐(实际上,这个表情表示它们感到害怕或是担忧)。

The meme- and moviemakers of the world are not, it’s fair to say, intending to make cinéma vérité about dogs. I get that the images are lighthearted — escapism, not science. But I think it should be possible to make movies and images that respect the dog as a dog.

公平地说,这些米姆——以及世界各地的电影人们——想做的并非关于狗的“真实电影”。我知道,这些只是轻松的图片——是跳脱现实,而不是科学。但我认为,在拍摄电影和图片时应该允许这样的可能,把狗当做狗来对待。

It wouldn’t have dogs talking, in human speech, to be sure, or motivated by human desires. It would follow their heartbeats, their noses, and take a measure of the world viewed from two feet (or so) off the ground.

这样,狗就不应该说话,当然,是不应该用人的话语来说话,也不应该受人类的欲望鼓动。而应该跟随它们的心跳,跟随它们的鼻子,从它们两英尺(左右)高度的视角丈量世界。

Here I find reason for optimism in a certain branch of dog GIF or short video which, instead of presenting the dog as the furry human we want them to be, shows dog behavior as it naturally occurs.

在这样一组狗的动图或短视频里,我找到了乐观的理由,它们并没有把狗表现为我们想要的那种毛绒人类,而是展示了自然发生的犬类行为。

Dogs wriggling in the snow; jumping up and down in anticipation of a walk; sniffing or licking or wagging excitedly.

狗在雪地里扭动;跳上跳下期待着出去遛弯;嗅来嗅去、舔人,或是激动地摇尾巴。

The pleasure of these GIFs is in the exuberant expression of the dog — maybe reminiscent of the washes of emotion that we used to feel, as children, but no longer do. Rarely do we spiral in a frenzy of wiggling glee when we see a loved one. But we can find vicarious enjoyment in the dog’s uninhibited dogness.

这些动图给人的乐趣在于狗的热情流露——或许能让人想起我们还是孩子时曾有所感受,但已不再拥有的那种情感冲击。看到爱人,我们不再疯狂地在喜悦中旋转。但我们可以从狗狗无拘束的天性之中间接地享受快乐。

When I see these dogs I also feel the foreignness of the world viewed through the dogs’ eyes (or, more aptly, nose). They aren’t talking quadrupeds who want to find a partner, get a good job and settle down. Their motivations are unclear; what they smell is uncertain. It seems, for that moment, incredibly surprising that we share a home (and in my home, a sofa). Wouldn’t the most transporting stories or snapshots we shared be those that really try to consider the dog Other — imagining the point of view of someone or something fundamentally foreign to us — instead of simply transplanting our story onto them? If we are really so unwilling or unable to imagine the perspective of another being, we will only ever see ourselves. For that, we needn’t even turn away from the mirror.

当我看到这些狗,我也会感受到从狗的眼睛里(或者更恰当地说,是从它们的鼻子上)观察世界的陌生感。它们不是一个想要寻找伴侣、找个好工作、想稳定下来的四足动物。它们没有明确的动机,它们闻到的是一种不确定性。这一刻,我们共享一个家园(和我家里的沙发)看起来是一件多么不可思议的事。流传最广的故事或我们分享的照片,难道不应该是试图把狗当做“他者”对待的那些吗——试想一个与我们完全不同的人或物的视角,而不应该是简单地把我们的故事移植到它们身上。如果我们真的那么不情愿,或是不能够去想象另一个存在的视角,我们将永远只能看见我们自己。要是这样,我们都没必要离开面前的镜子。

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