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中国“山寨”文化大行其道

(2009-01-24 10:19:25)
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杂谈

分类: 时文

                             中国“山寨”文化大行其道

 

China Central Television's Lunar New Year gala regularly features movie stars such as Jackie Chan and Zhang Ziyi, hundreds of choreographed dancers and lingering close-ups of major policy makers. The state-sponsored performance, which airs Sunday, annually rates as one of China's most-watched shows.

But for the first time in its 27-year history, the official broadcaster's show has competition -- from a 36-year-old wedding planner named Shi Mengqi.

Mr. Shi's planned do-it-yourself variety show will eschew celebrities, flash and, in some cases, talent. Broadcast only online, on the same night as the big TV event, it will feature common people recorded with handheld cameras or whatever else might be handy. Performers will include amateur singers, a dancing troop of monks imitating an eight-armed Buddha and a man who can pedal a bicycle with his hands. Its overriding theme, says Mr. Shi: 'If you can do it, then I can as well.'

His show also marks a new high point for China's 'shanzhai' culture. Shanzhai, which literally means 'mountain fortress' and implies banditry and lack of state control, refers to China's vast array of name-brand knockoffs. Shanzhai versions of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, for example, include the HiPhone, the SciPhone and the deliberately misspelled citrus-themed iOrgane.

Recently, the definition of shanzhai has expanded. On China's Internet, blogs, bulletin boards and news sites carry photos of automobiles jerry-rigged to run on railroad tracks ('shanzhai trains'), fluffy dogs trimmed and dyed to look like the national mascot ('shanzhai pandas') and models of the Beijing Olympic Games' National Stadium made out of sticks ('shanzhai Bird's Nest').

A property developer in Nanjing, hoping to lure business and buzz, set up storefront facades with logos such as 'Haagon-Bozs,' 'Pizza Huh,' 'Bucksstar Coffee,' 'KFG' and 'McDnoald's.' Images of what became known as 'Shanzhai Street' spread rapidly online.

Once a term used to suggest something cheap or inferior, shanzhai now suggests to many a certain Chinese cleverness and ingenuity. Shanzhai culture 'is from the grass roots and for the grass roots,' says Han Haoyue, a media critic in Beijing, who sees it as a means of self-expression. 'It gives people another choice and the possibility of resisting dominant cultural values.'

Chinese authorities appear to regard shanzhai warily, especially when it comes to intellectual property issues. 'The shanzhai culture as a celebration of the DIY [do it yourself] spirit or as a parody to mainstream culture can add fun to our daily lives,' said one recent editorial in an official state newspaper. 'However, we should remain vigilant against it as a justification for rip-off products.'

State media, particularly China Central Television, or CCTV, inspire many shanzhai works. In the southern China boom town of Shenzhen last month, four young women started up their own reporting team for a 'shanzhai television station' that spoofs local news and uses a camera tripod fashioned from a fan stand and a toilet plunger. A Beijing man, repeatedly rebuffed in his attempts to appear on a popular CCTV academic program, now produces his own 'Shanzhai Lecture Room' show on the Internet, in which he holds forth on the heroes of the Song dynasty for a six-hour stretch.

While the shanzhai New Year's celebration has generated big publicity within China, CCTV appears unfazed by the competition. Qin Xinmin, chief planner for the CCTV spring festival gala, told Chinese media last month: 'They can go ahead and do it if they want. So many people want to use CCTV to become famous. . . . We won't bother responding every time.'

Mr. Shi is producing his show under the banner of his own self-styled CCSTV, short for 'China Countryside Television.' Yet he shies away from the idea of supplanting the CCTV gala. CCTV 'does their exquisite show, and we do our grass-roots one. Neither could replace the other and satisfy everyone.'

So far, he has drawn more than 1,000 applicants competing for 30 performing slots. He has received donations of money and equipment, as well as a partnership with one of China's biggest Internet companies.

Mr. Shi grew up the son of peasants in China's Sichuan province. An active imagination made up for what he lacked. 'When I was a little boy, I wanted so badly to drive a car,' he said. 'But then it was rare even to see a car on the road, let alone drive one. So I would make a car from blankets and drive in bed. It was great fun!'

The ebullient Mr. Shi sports close-cropped hair and collared-shirt-and-sweater combinations more suited to an office worker than a guerrilla filmmaker. A tech-industry dropout, he says the shanzhai gala was inspired by his new line of work as a wedding planner, which introduced him to singers and dancers and required him to learn to use a camera.

In addition to the singing, dancing and comedy routines that populate the official CCTV gala, Mr. Shi's show will feature elements that even he finds difficult to categorize. Potential performers include a pair of wheelchair acrobats and a singing five-year-old boy in an Elvis-style jumpsuit and pink wig. 'I guess you could call these 'folk performances,'' he says.

A can-do spirit permeates the headquarters of CCSTV, which is run out of his rented office space and staffed with volunteers. A longtime friend and freelance Web designer, Zhou Yan, has become Mr. Shi's publicity maven. The facility's elderly janitor was drafted into becoming a cameraman.

Recently, Tencent -- the show's Internet partner and one of China's Web giants -- expressed some concerns that the show might be getting too sophisticated for its own good. 'We found that more and more elements were added to the show, and we felt that they might be walking away from the original intention -- grass-roots party for grass roots,' says Dong Xianhui, who runs Tencent's news page.

Mr. Shi, assuring the Internet company that his program would not stray too far from its down-home spirit, turned down an opportunity to have his show broadcast on TV by a local satellite channel in southwest China. He plans to give the bulk of tickets to the live show, which will be staged in a to-be-determined Beijing venue, to migrant workers who are stuck in Beijing during the holiday.

That doesn't mean the performers aren't hoping for their shot at fame. Zhou Changchun says he has tried for years to get on the CCTV broadcast as the 'king of bike' -- a title he claims for his ability to do bicycle tricks while clad in a colorful superhero-style outfit. Mr. Zhou has thrown himself into Mr. Shi's broadcast and has plastered 'shanzhai' labels across his bicycle, which he points out is old and banged-up.

'The CCTV show is an expensive and exquisite party,' he says. 'But it's not necessarily the thing we common people want the most.'

中国中央电视台春节晚会的特点通常是,会有成龙(Jackie Chan)和章子怡等明星大腕参加,有数百名身着艳丽服装的舞蹈演员,主要领导人的特写镜头也不时闪过。每年的春节晚会都是中国收视率最高的节目之一。

被扮成大熊猫的松狮狗有着政府背景的春节晚会今年将在周日播出。但在春晚27年的历史上,中央电视台首次遇到了竞争,对手就是36岁的婚礼策划者施孟奇。

施孟奇计划中的“山寨版”春晚将避开名人、盛大的场面、还有专业人士。晚会只在网上直播,与央视的春晚在同天晚上播出。晚会将用便携摄像机或其它方便的方式记录普通人,演员包括业余歌手,模仿“千手观音”的“千手罗汉”,还有用手蹬自行车的一个男人。施孟奇说,真正的山寨精神应该是──你行,我也行。

村民们搭建的山寨版“鸟巢”。他的节目也标志着中国的“山寨”文化达到了一个新的高度。“山寨”一词本意为占山为王,有不受国家控制的内在含义,指的是中国大量的名牌产品的仿制品。比如,苹果公司(Apple Inc.) iPhone手机的山寨版就包括HiPhone、SciPhone和故意拼错英文单词的中国橘子(iOrgane)手机。

最近,山寨的定义不断扩大。在中国的互联网上,博客、社区和新闻网站登出了汽车在铁轨上行驶的“山寨版火车”、修剪和染成国宝模样的“山寨版大熊猫”,以及用木棍搭建的“山寨版鸟巢”的模型。

山寨版“百谷虎”(BaiGooHoo)由百度(Baidu),谷歌(Google),和雅虎(Yahoo)组成。南京的一家房地产开发商给一条街的店面分别冠以“哈根波斯”、“必胜糊”、“巴克星”、“KFG”等标志,希望招徕生意,引起轰动效应。这条“山寨一条街”上的图片迅速在网上传播开来。

山寨一词以前带有廉价或劣质的含义,现在却在某种程度上成为中国人聪明和创造力的体现。北京媒体评论家韩浩月将其视为自我表达的一种方式。他说,山寨文化来源于草根,也面向草根。它给人们带来了另一种选择,和抵制主流文化价值的可能性。

山寨大街上的“山寨麦当劳”(McDnoald's)。中国有关部门看来对山寨文化态度谨慎,尤其是当涉及知识产权问题时。中国某官方报纸不久前的一篇评论称,山寨文化作为DIY精神的体现或对主流文化的模仿能够增加我们日常生活的乐趣,不过,我们应该注意不要由此就认为模仿产品有理。

国有媒体,尤其是中央电视台引出了很多山寨作品。上个月,在中国南方的深圳市,4位年轻女孩组成了一个“山寨电视台”的报导组,恶搞本地新闻,照相机的三脚架由电风扇底座和疏通厕所的皮碗做成。北京一位男网友在多次被中央电视台《百家讲坛》节目拒之门外后,他制作了自己的“山寨版百家讲坛”在网上播出。他在这长达6小时的视频中讲述了宋朝的一些英雄人物。

“刻意拼错的“iOrgane”是山寨版的iPhone。尽管山寨版春晚在中国引起了很大轰动,但中央电视台似乎并不对这种竞争感到担忧。央视春晚总策划秦新民上个月对中国媒体说,他们闹就闹去吧,现在想借央视出名的人太多了……我们没法一一回应。

施孟奇的“山寨春晚”打出的制作单位是自封的CCSTV(中国山寨电视台)。不过他回避要取代央视春晚的说法。他说,央视做他们的精美春晚,我们做自己的草根春晚。谁也不能做到人人满意。

四名年轻女士组成了一家山寨电视台的报导队伍。到目前为止,他已经吸引来1,000多名申请人竞争30个表演角色。他还收到了资金和设备捐赠,并与中国最大的互联网公司之一建立了合作伙伴关系。

施孟奇是四川人,父母都是农民。丰富的想像力帮他弥补了自己的缺憾。他说,小时候,我特别想开汽车。但是当时连在路上看到汽车都很少,更不用说是开汽车了。所以我会用毯子搭一辆汽车,在床上开。好玩极了!

性格热情的施孟奇梳着平头,身穿衬衫和毛衣,这幅打扮更像是个办公室白领,而不是四处打游击的电影制作人。他曾就职IT行业,现在是婚礼策划人。他说,山寨春晚是受新工作的启发,婚礼策划让他接触到了歌手、舞蹈演员,还必须学会使用照相机。

胡戈发布了山寨版的中央电视台新闻报道。除了官方央视春晚常见的歌曲、舞蹈和小品等老一套,山寨春晚还将包括施孟奇自己都难以归类的节目。可能的表演者包括一对坐在轮椅上的杂技演员,穿着“猫王式”连衣裤、戴着粉色假发、引吭高歌的5岁男孩。他说,我估计你可以把这些称做“民间表演”。

一种敢想敢干的精神气弥漫在“中国山寨电视台”总部,这里挤满了志愿者,施孟奇租用的办公室已经不够用。施孟奇的老友、自由网页设计者周燕成了他的宣传专家。他们的一个看门老人也应招担任摄影。

山寨春晚的互联网合作伙伴、中国互联网巨头腾讯(Tencent)前不久表达,它担心山寨春晚可能会变得过于复杂,反而对自身不利。腾讯新闻版面负责人董献慧说,我们发现有越来越多的东西被加到这台山寨春晚中,我们觉得他们可能会偏离初衷──为草根办的草根晚会。

草草改装的汽车在铁轨上成为山寨版火车。施孟奇向腾讯保证,山寨春晚不会严重偏离实无华的精神,他婉拒了中国西南一个地方卫星频道提出的在电视上播出山寨春晚的机会。他打算把大部分现场门票(场地在北京,具体有待确定)发给留在北京过年的农民工。

不过这并不是说表演者们不希望藉此一夜成名。周长春说,他已经努力多年要把自己“自行车王”的绝活搬上央视春晚。这个名号是他自封的,他能穿着五颜六色的“超级英雄式”行头在自行车上耍杂技。周长春一心投入到施孟奇的春晚中,还将“山寨”字样贴满了自行车,他说自己的车很旧,已经破损得不成样子。

他说,央视春晚是一场耗资巨大、精心打造的晚会,不过这不一定是我们普通老百姓最想要的东西。

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