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又中又英

“a zebra cannot change its stripes”

2021/06/10 04:13:48 網誌分類: 生活
10 Jun
          Last week, Facebook suspended former President Donald Trump’s account for two years for his alleged role in the attack on the US Congress. Trump denounced (strongly criticized) it as an insult. But President Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki welcomed Facebook’s decision. She told reporters social media platforms had a responsibility to stop disinformation. She said people had learned a lot about how Trump used these platforms before the suspension. Psaki then used an interesting expression to describe Trump. She said it “feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change its stripes over the next two years”. Do not confuse the word “misinformation” with “disinformation”.

          The word “misinformation” means spreading false or misleading information without purposely doing it. If you share something on social media without knowing it’s false, you are spreading misinformation. But if you share something you know is false, you are spreading disinformation. The expression “a zebra cannot change its stripes” is used to describe people who cannot change their bad habits or character even if they pretend to. When Psaki said it “feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change its stripes over the next two years”, she meant it’s unlikely Facebook’s two-year suspension of Trump will make him change and stop the alleged spreading of disinformation.

          The expression “a zebra cannot change its stripes” is not as common as other similar expressions. The most common is “a leopard cannot change its spots”. Another less common expression is “a tiger cannot change its stripes”. They all have the same meaning. The three expressions are logical. Zebras have stripes. So do tigers. Leopards have spots. It is impossible for them to change their stripes or spots. Human beings don’t have stripes or spots but many have habits or beliefs they strongly believe, which they don’t want to change. Trump believes Biden unfairly won the election. I don’t think he will change his belief. He has a right to his belief whether it is true or not.

        *****

          上星期,臉書宣佈暫停前總統特朗普的帳戶兩年,因他涉嫌煽動支持者衝擊美國國會。特朗普譴責(denounced)臉書此舉是侮辱。然而,拜登的新聞發言人珍‧莎琪歡迎臉書的決定,她跟記者說,社交媒體平台有責任阻止虛假訊息(disinformation)。她說,在特朗普帳戶被暫停之前,人們已領教過他怎樣使用這些平台。其後莎琪用了一個有趣的習語去形容特朗普。她說it “feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change its stripes over the next two years”。有關“disinformation”一字,千萬別將之與“misinformation”混淆。

          “Misinformation”是指傳播錯誤或誤導的訊息,但並非刻意為之。若你在社交媒體上分享一些資訊,但不知道它是錯誤的,那你就在傳播misinformation;然而,若你明知某事是失實的,卻仍然分享出去,那你就在傳播disinformation。習語“a zebra cannot change its stripes”是用來形容人不能改變自己的懷習慣或性情,這是裝也裝不來的,所謂「江山易改,本性難移」。當莎琪說it “feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change its stripes over the next two years”,她的意思是在未來兩年,即使臉書暫停特朗普的帳戶,看來也不大可能令他改變,停止發放虛假訊息(disinformation)。

          習語“a zebra cannot change its stripes”並不如其他類近的習語那麼常用。最常見的是“a leopard cannot change its spots”,另一個較不常用的則是“a tiger cannot change its stripes”,它們的意思都是一樣的。這三個習語都很合理:斑馬有條紋,老虎也有斑紋,豹則有斑點,要牠們去改變自己的斑紋或斑點是不可能的。人類沒有甚麼斑紋或斑點,但大多數人都有某些習慣或強烈信奉的信念,亦不想作出任何轉變。特朗普相信拜登不公平地勝出選舉。我不認為他會改變這個信念,他也有權去抱持他的信念,不論它是對是錯。

        mickchug@gmail.com

        中譯:七刻

        Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

        
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