A few years ago, I had the honor of traveling through Accra, Ghana. As I rode down a main avenue, images grabbed my attention. On one side of the street, African children wearing rags played in an open sewer. On the other side of the street, there was a towering billboard advertisement featuring palm trees, a beach, and a Caucasian man lowering sunglasses from his eyes. The ad was for actor David Caruso, starring in the television series CSI: Miami.
幾年前,我有幸到加納阿克拉旅行。我走在一條主路上,一個場景吸引了我的注意。在街道一側,衣衫襤褸的非洲孩子們在一個開放的下水道里玩。在街道另一側,高高的廣告牌上有棕櫚樹、海灘,還有一個白人摘下戴著的太陽鏡。這則廣告上是演員大衛·卡魯索,他主演了電視劇《犯罪現場調查:邁阿密》。

The dichotomy of images was a reminder not only of the international reach of American pop culture, but of the specific influence of TV police procedurals.
這種違和的場景體現了美國流行文化的國際影響力,以及電視警匪片的獨特影響。

In Hollywood, I’m a rare creature. A black man who has made a career, in part, writing for network police shows, having eventually created my own show, S.W.A.T., for CBS. For me, writing television can never simply be about entertainment. Many people in Hollywood have a fear of being didactic, preaching messages that risk making an audience feel uncomfortable. But, in the shadow of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers, a question persists—how are the shows we are writing contributing to perceptions of the justice system, class, race, and the image of black men? I look at this, not as a creative burden, but a necessary responsibility.
在好萊塢,像我這樣的人不多。我這個黑人有了自己的事業,部分時間為網絡警匪片寫劇本,后來還為哥倫比亞影業公司創作了電影《反恐特警組》。寫電視劇本對我來說決不僅僅是為了娛樂。好萊塢很多人都害怕說教,擔心說教內容會引起觀眾不適。但是喬治·弗洛伊德死在一名明尼阿波利斯警察手中給社會造成了陰影,因而一個問題出現了:我們創作的影視作品能怎樣影響人們對司法系統、階級、種族和黑人形象的看法?我覺得這是必須承擔的責任,而不是一個有創意的負擔。

Traditionally, the domain of TV police procedurals has been as morality plays, where clear lines are drawn. The past 60 years have seen shows like Dragnet, The Untouchables, and Adam 12 establish a formula where, within an hour of story, good lawmen, also known as square-jawed white cops, defeat bad guys, often known as poor people of color. This stark clarity, indulging the idea of the hero cop, often provides a sense of satisfaction for some viewers in an otherwise complicated world. This can make for wildly popular entertainment, but also risks encouraging fantasies to be perceived as reality rather than idealized comfort food. People watch TV to see heroes, but how are we defining who a hero is? For people of color, especially black people, the viewing experience is complex.
傳統上,電視警匪片一直是道德劇,情節明了。在過去的60年中,《Dragnet》、《鐵面無私》、《Adam 12》等作品的套路是,開場不到一個小時,就會有執法的好人打敗壞人,好人一般是方下巴的白人警察,壞人則是貧窮的有色人種。這種赤裸裸的暗示塑造的是英雄警察的形象,通常會給復雜現實世界中有些觀眾帶來滿足感。這能滿足大眾的娛樂方式,但也有風險,會讓人們把幻想當成現實,而不是把它當成精神安慰。人們看電視是為了看英雄,但我們怎么給英雄下定義呢?對于有色人種,尤其是黑人,這種觀影感受很復雜。

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翻譯:菲菲