Dialogue with Shanghai: In an abnormal time and space, striving for a legitimate life

Shanghai friends, how are you doing?

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The May Day holiday passed quietly, and many places were silent, as if the holiday did not happen, and Shanghai was closed for more than two months. We can still see information about asking for help, absurd things, floating and silent anger on the Internet. Outside the fence, we seem to be unable to do anything. We can only send messages and phone calls to our friends who are trapped in Shanghai from time to time: how are things? Hold on.
Today, “The Screws Are Tightening” is temporarily updated, and the first issue of the sub-column “Take a Walk” is broadcast. We also talked to our friends in Shanghai. The original intention of Take a Walk is to take a step away from the daily updates of serious topics, to relax as a form of resistance, and to talk about the pleasant, mind-boggling topics of life. But for Shanghai, the time to relax has not come.
Vincent Zoo, Shen Yi, and Han Jian, the three friends who are in Shanghai have a similar sense of trance and different ways of coping with the current abnormal life. In the midst of misfortune, they all consider themselves “lucky” and have not encountered extreme situations, but this alone time has made them more awake and more painful, clenching their fists, and starting to think about how to change and how to make a living in the future , to see friends, to travel – “This ordinary wish has now become the full price of being a human being” (Beidao language). Now, with the resurgence of the epidemic in Beijing, many places have not returned to normal order even if the society is cleared. We, who are in the same sky as Shanghai residents, should also be alert to these costs and prepare for a normal life.
The following is an excerpt of the call between anchor Wu Qi and them. At the same time, you are welcome to search for “the screw is tightening” on various platforms to listen to this episode.


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Vincent Zoo:

Without mutual support,

you are easily broken

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Wu Qi: How are you doing recently? What are you busy with?

Vincent: Recently we are still working on various projects…

Wu Qi: Will your next work arrangement be greatly affected by the epidemic?

Vincent: I’m thinking about how to keep in touch with my colleagues. For example, can we gossip, can we talk even when we are not in a meeting? Some of you didn’t talk about it, can you have that kind of atmosphere in the office?

I have a friend in a technology company, and their company provides a piece of software, which is “cloud work.” You can always open the software, always in a conference room, you can not speak, you can speak, you can call someone you want to find. If someone wants to say something, let others listen too. I think that’s fine.

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The scenery on the road of nucleic acid (by Vincent)

Wu Qi: In addition to your colleagues, don’t you also chat with family members, friends, and people outside the messy work, but you don’t think it can replace the context of communication with colleagues?

Vincent: I think both are important. Of course I chat with friends who don’t have a working relationship, and that helps me. I went to record podcasts with Wang Xiaoguang and the others. In fact, it was for this purpose. It would make us feel better and more relaxed. There are also some things that are inconvenient to say at work that can be expressed.

But at work, I still feel that if we have a job to connect with each other, everyone will become very indifferent – I don’t care what you eat today, if we do a very tiring and complicated job together today, There’s no way I can tell you “then let’s go have a drink.” But in fact, these things are quite important to me, indicating that you have regarded each other as a partner.

Wu Qi: Why is this communication interface important to you?

Vincent: I would think we need to know what kind of person you are working with. In addition to your work, your character, your way of speaking, and your logic of speaking can make people build an impression of you. The next time you communicate more with them, at least have a foundation. If you do something wrong, and I ask you in the group, I definitely don’t want to blame you, because you know I’m not the kind of person who wants to find someone to scold you in public. We definitely know that the other person is not someone who is going through the process like a machine. If you have this foundation and then go to work, there will be many fewer misunderstandings.

Wu Qi: When you uphold such a set of principles, will you be ruthlessly opposed or ignored? Because for many people, their job can be a very mechanical and cold process.

Vincent: I also met some very cold people, it doesn’t matter. It’s fine if I show it, don’t think I mean something else when I say this. My usual practice is to say whatever we have. I have no subtext, and if you have any subtext, I will not hear it. This is the principle I communicate with my colleagues at work.

Wu Qi: This principle is actually mainly for oneself.

Vincent: Yes. And, of course, I hope everyone works in a more harmonious environment. Because the work itself is very tiring, if we don’t have any communication with each other, we complete it mechanically, and if we don’t support each other, you are actually very easy to break down. Because we do have too much work.

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Landscapes Encountered in “Ayrdon Circle” (by Vincent)
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Shen Yi:

You have to learn from grief

find strength

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Wu Qi: When you look for inspiration, save energy, or find a way to break through, is there any specific source?

Shen Yi: I observe and understand the dynamics of Shanghai every day and what is happening around me. I even forced myself to face all this pain. We should have talked about it in our last conversation. I think I am a very empathetic person. This kind of empathy is also a huge rock for me to some extent, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to your breath. .

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On April 25, Shanghai issued a thunderstorm warning, with strong winds and heavy rain, giving a sense of doomsday. Seeing the feeling that the sky is about to fall, I am worried for those who are homeless outside and have no home to return to, and also worry about the patients who live in the leaky cabins. (by Shen Yi)

But this time I realized—I firmly believe that freedom and dignity are a person’s basic rights, so under the general principle of not giving up these basic rights—you must feel and appreciate the pain of others. You have to learn to find strength in grief, which is a source of energy for me.

Reading books and watching movies is an old-fashioned way, but I think many readers should be very careful not to hide themselves in the world of books and make it a way of escape. Reading is to make you think, to make you distinguish right from wrong. Like the wind of thought Arendt said, the “wind of thinking”, the power of the wind does not mean how many book bags you have dropped or how much knowledge you have accumulated, it is actually a kind of ability to distinguish right from wrong, to judge beauty and ugliness. ability. We can read books, but don’t let what we learn be out of touch with what’s going on in society, which is what I want to stress in particular.

I don’t think you should give up your right to speak up. Before the epidemic, I and Bei Dao talked about the role of poetry. We actually didn’t like the phrase “life is not only about life, but also poetry and distance”. It is actually a kind of self-paralysis and escape. A utopia, romanticized. We put more emphasis on “this moment”, and one of his poems is “the book of the earth is turned to this moment”. Poetry is not your back garden. Poetry still has to be connected to the present. It can certainly bring comfort to the soul, but it must not be disconnected from the present.

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Watching the new Batman movie at home, Gotham City especially feels like a metaphor for the city right now. (by Shen Yi)

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Onions are hard to find, this is my first time learning how to grow onions. (by Shen Yi)

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The community is closed and controlled, and I go downstairs to get supplies every day, and I often encounter cats foraging in the community. They sometimes take the opportunity to come in and rummage through everyone’s supplies or trash cans. (by Shen Yi)

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See Han:

Crazy, incomprehensible…

I don’t have the strength to fight

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Wu Qi: After the quarantine is over, what do you want to do most?

Han Jian: This question is very difficult to answer.

Wu Qi: Falling into silence.

Han Jian: In the first week, I was very clear. I don’t think I’ll be cooking for a whole month, I’m going to eat out for a month. But these things don’t seem to matter anymore. I feel numb because I feel like I don’t know how this event will end, so I don’t know how to imagine it.

Wu Qi: It has become a huge question, now suspended here.

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The two cherry trees mentioned in the podcast, originally the one on the right (north) side was bigger and more lush, but it suddenly stopped blooming this year, and it was very determined. , again like a revelation. (by Han Jian)

Han Jian: I have another interesting observation. Our community is quite small, with only 12 buildings, and it is well organized. There are no members of the neighborhood committee in our group, and there is no so-called person who truly holds power. The group owner may usually be in business and has more organizational skills. He has formed a group, and there is no strict daily restriction that you cannot go out, but you can still pick up the express and take out the garbage yourself. So in a small range, life has not been affected much. They also won’t interfere with group buying, we will also buy some bread, ice cream, drinks, etc.

At the beginning, I observed their daily interactions in the group, and found that these volunteers are quite organized and thoughtful. I just thought that, in fact, when all forms of autonomy are in their infancy, and all forms of organization are in their infancy, they will present a state that makes you feel very hopeful. But when it develops slowly, when the power becomes greater or the number of people increases, and its operation matures, it is difficult not to develop into an unsatisfactory state.

I just happened to be reading The Rite of Spring recently, the book by Gillian Moore (about the ballet of the same name, The Rite of Spring). I originally liked Pina Bausch’s dance, and I liked the music itself, and it wrote some specific parts about how Stravinsky organized the music. We generally think of it as a modernist dissonant music, for example, many movements in it show a state of frenzy. But in fact, Stravinsky did not organize these chords atonally. Every chord hidden in it is harmonious and normal, but he used a dissonant way to Arranged and organized it became like this.

I think it’s a lot like where we’re at right now. There may be various neighborhoods, various neighborhood committees, they may all be doing good things, and they are well organized in a small area, but the whole of Shanghai is in such a frantic and incomprehensible state, So let me fall into another kind of despair. I feel that I no longer have the strength to fight. After the battle must lead to a purpose, in order to achieve this purpose, bad things must happen.

Wu Qi: It will lead to another extreme, or another danger. Behind these two ideas, there are possible traps. In fact, they are quite doubtful, including whether they will lead to a situation that may not be worse, but may not be very good. You really dispelled what the previous two people said.

Han Jian: But I don’t mean to deny it. Because I am a person with poor mobility and doubt myself all the time. I actually have a lot of respect for people who can do things, and I sometimes want to be a part of it.

For example, before we shut down each community, a notice will be posted in each community, and you are welcome to call the neighborhood committee to become a volunteer. I also struggled for days at the time, but I didn’t go after that. I think it’s very politically incorrect to say this, and I think when you become a certified volunteer, you become part of the power. You are the equivalent of a…

Wu Qi: Part of the order.

Han Jian: Yes. I also saw my friend posted a Moments yesterday, and he was talking about how this order was established. It means that every individual feels that he is doing a good thing. For example, as a volunteer, you can help you move your courier and your take-out items downstairs. Of course, I am doing a good thing, right? But this will make everyone in this building feel that this state is tolerable. But in fact, we should not endure such a state. Would this situation end faster if everyone stopped?

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Shanghai Cinema is the most important reason why I choose to live in this neighborhood, since February 21st this year, it will be closed due to upgrades. When I saw the announcement, my friends were very concerned about where this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival would be held. I also regretted that I couldn’t go downstairs to watch movies anytime for a while. I didn’t expect… Can I see a movie in June? (by Han Jian)

Wu Qi : I can understand what you mean. This seems to be more in line with some basic characteristics of our society today – in fact, everyone is more in a state where they are less able to move, and in fact, no matter what they choose, it seems that they are not particularly right. Therefore, friends who may be younger than us, for example, can say “lie down”. I thought they were a little lazy before, but later I felt that they actually had a very rational consideration and really felt the working status of their predecessors and their corresponding the consequences, and the hopes and signals sent to them by society as a whole, such a complex of feelings and judgments.

If you simply say that you are too young, you are too lazy, and you are unwilling to think, as if you are not responding positively to their current state. That state is also a very important part of social reality.

(For the full, unabridged conversation, please listen to this issue of “The Screws Are Tightening”)

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How to listen

Apple Podcasts|Small Universe|Himalaya

NetEase Cloud Music|Single Reading App

Search for “screw tightening”

Or scan the code to listen directly and interact with us

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public figures mentioned in the conversation

Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian sociologist, philosopher, leftist and Marxist theorist

Jerome David Salinger (1919-2010), American writer

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), German political philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor

Pina Bausch (1940-2009), German modern dance choreographer

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971), Russian-American composer, pianist, and conductor

Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997), philosopher, historian of ideas, considered the leading liberal thinker of the 20th century

literary works mentioned in the conversation

“End or Beginning”, poetry, written by Bei Dao, the verse mentioned in the program “This ordinary wish has now become the full price of being a human being”

“Road Song”, poetry, written by Bei Dao, the verse mentioned in the program “The Book of the Earth Turns to This Moment”

“Phantom Light”, [Japanese] Teri Miyamoto

The Rite of Spring: Noise, Ballet, and the Beginnings of Modernism by Gillian Moore

“What is History? “, [English] Edward Hollett Carr

Video and dance mentioned in the conversation

“To Those Who Are Unprotected” (2021), Director: Keihisa Sase

“Goodbye Language”, a video work created by director Yang Xiao during Shanghai’s lockdown in 2022

The Rite of Spring, a ballet and orchestral composition by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, 1910-1913

games mentioned in the conversation

Elden Ring, an action RPG released in 2022

This issue of music (friends’ playlist)

Times of Your Life, Ruolin Wang

Breathe as hard as you can, Cenninger

Stravinsky: Rite of Spring, “Sacrificial Dance”, Columbia Symphony Orchestra

Interactive way

If you have any thoughts or questions about this topic or this program, please feel free to leave a message in the comment area of ​​each listening platform, or Weibo Wu Qi @ wuqi, Vincent @vincentzoo, Shen Yi @ 4cats_yiyi , Han Jian @LittleRotten interacts with hosts and guests. In the next episode of the show, we will select some questions and the anchor Wu Qi will answer them.

“The Screws Are Tightening” will be online on certain Thursdays of every month, welcome to join us to screw the screws together!

Producer: Peng Qianyuan

Producer: Hu Yaping

Edit: Vegetable Market

Editing: Ang

Visual Design: Li Zhengke, Yang Ruowei

Program operation: Zhang Boya, Cao Yue

Original Music: Xu Xiaoxiao

Intern: Wang Qingying

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