|http://www.sina.com.cn 2005/02/07 11:49 北京青年报|
February 2 is the day for a classic bit of American silliness. In Punxsutawney, a pleasant Pennsylvanian town of about 7,000 people in the hills 130 kilometers northeast of Pittsburgh, there lives a plump groundhog by the name of Phil. (A groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, is a sort of North American marmot.) Phil has his own little house and a constant supply of food, for he is a municipal rodent, a town mascot who also serves as an official weather prophet. On the morning of February 2, Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Phil is invited to step out of his lair. If he sees his shadow, in other words if the sky is clear and bright, local people believe -- or at least they profess to believe -- that there will be another six weeks of hard winter. If Phil casts no shadow because the sky is overcast, the prognosis is for mild weather and an early spring.
So why does cartoonist Mike Luckovich portray groundhog Phil confessing before reporters that he accepted money from the White House? President Bush is an optimist, especially about his own projects, and he likes other people to be optimistic too. Recently it was revealed that the Department of Education had paid a syndicated columnist $240,000 to write in support of a widely criticized Bush law usually referred to as "No Child Left Behind".
Columnists offer opinion, but it is supposed to be their own opinion, arrived at independently. Why read columnists otherwise? Here was a columnist saying nice things about a controversial piece of legislation in return for a hefty chunk of cash. This was propaganda masquerading as an expression of critical intelligence. A White House willing to splash money around could probably generate quite a wave of phony optimism about any number of subjects dear to the president's heart. And if George W. Bush wants the public to think it's springtime in America, who better to put on the secret White House payroll than Phil the groundhog?
-美国社会热点/名家漫画赏析 WD White(美)———