'Vladimir Putin' Talk Show in U.K. Prompts Sharp Intake of Breath in Russia 英國BBC推「普亭脫口秀」 俄人驚呼
Whether it be the suspicion that he meddled in the Brexit referendum or the accusation that he ordered the poisoning of a former spy, President Vladimir Putin of Russia stirs strong emotions in Britain.
Now, the BBC is hoping to mine the Russian leader's fame — or infamy — with a comedy series presented by a digital effigy of Putin, who cackles in a trailer for the program that his next great geopolitical victory will be to host the "No. 1 chat show in the U.K."
"He doesn't often get mocked and I don't think that he'll like it," said Joanna Szostek, a lecturer in political communication at the University of Glasgow.
"It's not going to help bilateral relations, obviously," Szostek added, noting that Moscow was likely to see the show as politically motivated because it considered the BBC a propaganda arm of the British government. The tone of the show could feed the Kremlin narrative that Western criticism of Putin was driven by an anti-Russian agenda, she said.
The Putin caricature begins the trailer provocatively. "Greetings, people of the 'United Kingdom'!" the digital puppet yells outside Buckingham Palace, miming air quotes in a less-than-subtle reference to the bruising political battles around Britain's departure from the European Union and the fractious elections for the European Parliament .
In the first episode, planned to air on June 14, "Mr. Putin" — or "everybody's favorite bear-wrestling global strongman," as the BBC described him — will meet Alastair Campbell, the onetime spokesman for former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The sharp intake of breath from observers of Russian politics was almost audible after the BBC's announcement. Comments on Twitter from Moscow-based journalists and researchers included a face-palm emoji in reaction to the puppet's accent and a warning that the broadcaster was "playing with fire."
In Russia, such a caricature would be unthinkable nowadays. A show in the 1990s on the Russian network NTV, called "Puppets," featured a cartoon figure of Putin and other prominent politicians, including former President Boris Yeltsin. But the show was discontinued soon after Putin assumed the presidency in 2000 and nothing like it has been shown on television since.
文中俚語sharp intake of breath，則用來形容在聽聞意外或驚訝之事後的反應，其中intake指的是「吸氣」，又emoji（表情符號）是近幾年因即時通訊軟體及應用程式蓬勃發展而生的新單字，發源地是日本。
Mothra: Yin to Godzilla's Yang 怪獸世界的陰與陽──摩斯拉與哥吉拉
Of all the legendary Japanese beasts in the new film "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" from Warner Bros., Mothra is perhaps the unlikeliest of terrors. There's Godzilla, of course, a T. rex-like creature with atomic breath, and Rodan, a turbocharged pterodactyl. King Ghidorah, the villain of the piece, is an enormous dragon with batlike wings and three flame-throwing heads.
Mothra? At the beginning of the picture, she's a newly hatched caterpillar.
What Mothra might lack in apparent fierceness, however, she more than makes up for in fans, at least in her native Japan. Since her first appearance in the Toho Studios film "Mothra" in 1961, the supersized moth has appeared in 16 movies, including the 1964 classic "Mothra vs. Godzilla," the first cinematic meeting of the two titans.
Among the dozens of fearsome creatures in Toho's 87-year history, Mothra is second only to Godzilla in appearances and starring roles.
"Godzilla: King of the Monsters," which debuts May 31, is surprisingly Mothra's first appearance in an American film.
Mothra has always been a force for good, communicating with us puny humans through a telepathic link with two even punier beings, the foot-tall Shobijin, twin female fairies played in the original 1961 film by the Japanese pop duo the Peanuts.
Unlike the capricious Godzilla, who goes from stomping Japan to bits in one movie to protecting it in another, Mothra is always a heroine, saving Japan from reptilian hotheads like Godzilla and protecting the cave-dwelling residents of Infant Island, who worship her as a goddess.
Sometimes she's an egg, sometimes she's a caterpillar, her life cycle repeated over and over, as the old Mothra "dies" and a new one hatches. "There's even this theme of Christian imagery associated with her," William Tsutsui, author of "Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters," said.
Even so, the director of the new film, Michael Dougherty, didn't want to change the core elements that have made Mothra one of Toho's most beloved monsters.
"She's a very benevolent character, whereas all the other kaiju are obviously a bit more prone to destruction," he added, using the Japanese term for these movie monsters. "She's the yin to Godzilla's yang."