Cartoons About Marriage 婚姻主题卡通

The script of this programme 本节目台词

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Anita O’Brien: And I think there is this tradition of, somehow, unmarried women, or the women before they’re married, are pretty and attractive, and then once they get married they become ugly and to be feared...

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Steve: Hi, I’m Steve, and welcome to On the Town. Now, Wang Fei, I’ve got to tell you about a really funny museum I’ve just visited.

Wang Fei: What’s a funny museum 好玩的博物馆? I had no idea a museum could be funny.

Steve: Well, the museum I visited displays hundreds of cartoons for visitors to laugh at.

Marriage a la Mode exhibition sign at London's Cartoon Museum

The cartoons in the exhibition poke fun at married life in the UK

Wang Fei: Oh, cartoons 卡通,这个好玩儿!So you’re a fan of cartoons?

Steve: Oh, yes! I’ve enjoyed reading cartoon strips like Peanuts or The Far Side in newspapers since I was a child. And the museum has an exhibition of British cartoons which poke fun at marriage… just in time for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton here in the UK.

Wang Fei: Poke fun at marriage. 也就是捉弄、取笑婚姻。But surely marriage is a serious commitment? 严肃的承诺,是不是?

Steve: It is, but cartoonists have always enjoyed making jokes about serious subjects. The curator of the exhibition, Anita O’Brien, says cartoonists like to joke about many issues affecting marriage - from divorce, families, to domestic violence.

I’ve enjoyed reading cartoon strips like Peanuts or The Far Side in newspapers since I was a child.

Steve

Wang Fei: Divorce 离婚,Domestic violence 家庭暴力。So does the exhibition feature a broad range of subjects 有很多不同的主题吗?

Steve: Yes, let's listen to my interview with Anita.

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Steve: How did you decide which cartoons to include in the exhibition?

Anita: Well, I think we wanted to have a broad range of styles, different subjects, and also, I suppose, different… issues relating to marriage. All of those things, trying to show how marriage has changed over time, how certain issues, questions relating to marriage or divorce or … size of families, domestic violence. All of those things we felt were valid subjects.

Steve: So Anita said that these issues were valid subjects – or worth including in the exhibition.

Wang Fei: Valid subjects 有效的主题,值得用的主题。And the cartoons show how attitudes have changed over the years in Britain. Did you find these cartoons funny, Steve?

We wanted to have a broad range of styles, different subjects.

Anita O'Brien

Steve: There was one which I found particularly funny, by Royston Robertson. In it, a mother and father are with their four children, talking to a friend of the family. The mother is introducing the children to their friend and says, “This is our daughter, my son from my first marriage, John’s daughter from his second marriage… and I’ve no idea who the one on the end is!”.

Wang Fei: (Laughs) So the children are not all from the same marriage, and do not all have the same parents!

Steve: No, exactly – the family situation is so complicated, the mother can’t even remember whether she’s related to the small boy!

Marriage a la Mode exhibition sign at London's Cartoon Museum

The exhibition features cartoons old and new

Wang Fei: Now, Steve – surely Britain’s newest royal couple – Prince William and his wife Kate – can’t escape being lampooned by cartoonists? 我估计英国新婚的威廉王子和他的妻子凯特也逃脱不了卡通画家的讥讽吧! Lampoon 讥讽、奚落。

Steve: Definitely not - many other royals have been lampooned by cartoonists over the last few centuries. Anita thinks the fact that Kate is a commoner – or not from an aristocratic background – could be a source of jokes for cartoonists.

Wang Fei: Commoner 平民, aristocratic 贵族的。Yes, I heard Kate’s mother was an airline stewardess 空中小姐。But aren’t her parents millionaires 百万富翁,是不是?

Steve: That’s true – and Anita says cartoonists have already used these facts to make jokes about her.

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Anita: We’ve got a joke here… The Queen is asking William, “Is she common-common, or is she posh-common?” And obviously, her (Kate’s) mother was an airline stewardess, but her parents are millionaires. She may not be from that kind of background but in many other respects the distance between them is not as great as it might appear on paper. And I suppose that is really the only thing that cartoonists have made a joke about.

Image from the book, Kate and William: A Very Public Love Story (courtesy of Cartoon Museum London)

Image from Kate and William: A Very Public Love Story (courtesy of Cartoon Museum London)

Wang Fei: So, Steve - do you think William and Kate can ever be funny?

Steve: Well, to be honest, I prefer cartoons which poke fun at everyday people and their marriages – and situations which I can relate to.

Wang Fei: Like who’s going to do the washing up 洗碗? 谁来洗碗,是不是?

Steve: Yes, exactly. At least when you’re married you can ask someone else to do it!

Many other royals have been lampooned by cartoonists over the last few centuries.

Steve

Wang Fei: Definitely!

Steve: Well, that’s all the joking around we’ve got time for today. You can see a gallery of many of the cartoons in the exhibition on our website www.bbcukchina.com. I hope you can join us again for On the Town.

Both: Bye!

Marriage a la Mode exhibition - selected cartoons

  • Cartoon by Royston Robertson (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by Royston Robertson (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by Peter Schrank, featuring Prince Charles and Princess Diana (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by Peter Schrank, featuring Prince Charles and Princess Diana (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by Ros Asquith (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by Ros Asquith (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Part one of a cartoon by Posy Simmonds (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Part one of a cartoon by Posy Simmonds (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Part two of a cartoon by Posy Simmonds (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Part two of a cartoon by Posy Simmonds (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by Peter King (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by Peter King (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by William Hogarth (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by William Hogarth (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by James Gillray (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by James Gillray (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by Mel Calman (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by Mel Calman (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
  • Cartoon by Geoff Thompson (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)
    Cartoon by Geoff Thompson (Image courtesy Cartoon Museum London)


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