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赫夫纳及其“花花公子”帝国

2006-07-09 13:47

  2003 年12月4日是近代史上最具影响力的杂志之一《花花公子》创刊50周年的日子。半个世纪以来,《花花公子》成功地由一本淫秽的刊物转型为集时尚和前卫于一身的国际性杂志。《花花公子》之父赫夫纳别出心裁地把色情照片同引领时尚的著名作家的作品同时刊出,创造了一种独具时尚色彩的色情文化。《花花公子》已成了著名品牌,早在1993年,中国大陆就有了首家花花公子专卖店。如今,在中国大陆、香港和台湾有300多家专卖店。那么,赫夫纳的《花花公子》帝国是如何起家的?他对《花花公子》50年来走过的历程和成功经验有何评价?为何有那么多好莱坞巨星和时尚大腕如莎朗·斯通、克劳馥和贝辛格等竞相为之充当裸体模特?面对激烈的竞争,《花花公子》又将如何应对?本文娓娓道来,为你提供这些问题的答案。当然,这篇文章是赫夫纳对法新社记者的访谈录,自有他吹嘘的成分,但也为我们了解《花花公子》及赫夫纳其人提供了一些材料。

  Clad in a *smoking jacket1 in his licentious Los Angeles mansion, Hugh Hefner bragged: “The three great inventions of civilization were fire, the wheel and Playboy.” “Nobody was having sex before Playboy,” he went on. “We invented it.”

  Fifty years after Hefner launched Playboy and a sexual revolution, the pop culture icon is moving to reinvent its “*Swinging 60s2” image for a new generation of pleasure seekers. From an idea born on Hefner's Chicago kitchen table, Playboy has become a huge business empire and one of the world's most recognisable brands. With its *centrefold pinups3, the magazine has evolved from what was regarded as smut into a glamor publication that Sharon Stone, Cindy Crawford and Kim Basinger and other stars clamoured to pose nude for.

  In an assault on what he saw as the hypocrisy of postwar puritanism, the former copywriter launched Playboy in December 1953 featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe as the first “Playmate”。 “I didn't put a date on that first issue because I didn't know if there would ever be a second,” Hefner said in an interview with AFP at his *GothicTudor4 *Playboy Mansion5. Pitched as a sophisticated lifestyle magazine for men, the maiden issue was financed with 8,000 dollars scraped together from family and friends.

  “I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams—as wild as my dreams were—what was going to come to pass,” he said. Male readers responded overwhelmingly to the slick hedonism and Playboy's savvy and selfassured pitch, snatching up more than 50,000 copies. An instinctive marketer, Hefner realised he had tapped into to a goldmine of young bachelors seeking a racy lifestyle that he for a while would come to epitomize.

  He sold the dream with a potent mixture of articles by famous writers, clever cartoons and photographs of seminude girlnextdoor types that would revolutionize attitudes about the enjoyment of sex. “I did not conceive Playboy as a sex magazine. I conceived it as a lifestyle magazine in which sex would be incorporated as one part.” “What we said in a very simple way is that sex is okay, that nice girls like sex too,” he said.

  That message screamed across America through Playboy's now iconic *rabbithead logo6. Together with the advent of the contraceptive pill in 1960, it played a key role in the transformation of Western society. “What we did was the spark for what became the sexual revolution that arrived fullblown in the mid1960s,” Hefner said. Without any real competition, the magazine propelled Hefner to international celebrity as head of the glamorous and fastgrowing corporation that sold a million copies a month.

  He launched a television show, opened the first of his Playboy Clubs and bought his first Playboy mansion in his native Chicago. “I literally came out from behind the desk and started living the life. I became Mr. Playboy,” he said. With an uncanny knack for generating mystique, he created icons from Playboy cufflinks, to the bunny costumes worn by hostesses in the Playboy Clubs to his black jet, the “Big Bunny,” his pipe and redsatin smoking jackets.

  Hefner's empire expanded in the 1970s when it launched its first overseas edition in Germany, and global sales peaked at around seven million. But Playboy faced stiff competition in what Hefner dubbed the “pubic wars,” as magazines like Penthouse and Larry Flynt's Hustler began stealing market share with more explicit fare.

  But Hefner says he does not resent the upstarts that made his once raunchy publication look tame. He dismisses frequent claims by feminists that he has demeaned women, saying that women were the biggest beneficiaries of the Playboy revolution. “The fact is (today) that women around the world have embraced the Playboy bunny as a symbol of empowerment and sexual freedom.”

  After a severe downturn in business and the tough US crackdown on the adult industry in the 1980s, which marked the nadir of Hefner's career, Playboy began clawing back some of its former glory in the 1990s. While it remains the world's bestselling men's magazine with around five million copies sold globally, the company barely makes a profit. Now run by Hefner's daughter Christie, Playboy is reaching out to a new generation with the Hefner image through the Internet, television, gambling and merchandise businesses. “Now everything is coming back round again with the retro connections of the Playboy brand,” Hefner said. “The Beatles, James Bond and the bunnies are now very hot again. The bunny will be back.” -


赫夫纳及其“花花公子”帝国

  在洛杉矶放纵的豪宅里,休·赫夫纳身穿腰部系带宽松家居服,自吹自擂地说:“文明社会的三大发明是火、轮子和《花花公子》杂志。”他接着说,“在《花花公子》之前,没人有过性事。是我们发明了它。”

  在赫夫纳创办《花花公子》并发动一场性革命50年后,这个流行文化偶像正把“活跃的60年代”形象彻底改造,转向寻求乐趣的新一代。《花花公子》已经从赫夫纳在芝加哥厨房餐桌上的灵机一动,发展成为巨大的商业帝国和全世界最受认可的品牌之一。随着折叠插页裸体美女像的出现,《花花公子》已经从过去被认为是淫秽的杂志演变为有魅力的出版物,莎朗·斯通、辛迪·克劳馥和金·贝辛格及其他明星竞相为之充当裸体模特。

  赫夫纳这个广告文字撰稿人抨击他所看到的二战后清教徒式的虚伪矫饰,于1953年12月创办了《花花公子》,用玛丽莲·梦露的裸照作为第一个 “性玩乐伴侣”。在《花花公子》的哥特都铎式花花公子山庄里,赫夫纳在接受法新社记者专访时说:“在第一期杂志上,我没注明日期,因为我不晓得是不是还能出第二期。”创刊号的定位是精致的男人生活方式杂志,所用的8000美元经费是从亲戚朋友那儿东拼西凑弄来的。

  “在我最异想天开的梦想中,我也想不到(这本杂志)日后会有怎样的发展,”他说。《花花公子》一经问世就卖出5万多本,它那酣畅的享乐主义和机智自信的基调完全征服了男性读者。极具商业天分的赫夫纳意识到,他打开了年轻单身汉的一座金矿,因为他们追求一种激情洋溢的生活方式,而他日后就要成为这种生活方式的象征。

  他以强有力的方式兜售这种梦想,办法是把著名作家的文章、机智的卡通画和女孩的半裸照片结合起来,这些具有“邻家女孩”风格的照片使人们对享受性爱的态度发生了翻天覆地的转变。“我认为《花花公子》不是一本性杂志。我认为它是一本生活方式杂志,性只是其中不可分割的一部分,”他说。“我们用简简单单的方式表明,性没什么不好,好女孩也喜欢性。”

  这种信息通过《花花公子》如今偶像般的兔头标记传遍美国。《花花公子》与1960年出现的避孕药一道对西方社会的变革起了关键作用。赫夫纳说: “我们所做的只是点燃了在60年代中期全面盛行的性革命的火花。”由于没有任何真正的竞争对手,《花花公子》使赫夫纳作为每月销售100万册的令人向往和迅速扩张的公司的掌门人而在国际上享有盛名。

  他创办了一档电视节目,开设了第一个“花花公子俱乐部”,并在自己的出生地芝加哥购买了第一座“花花公子”山庄。他说:“我的的确确是从桌子后面走出来而开始生活的。我成了花花公子先生。”凭着制造神秘的超人本领,他创造了花花公子的种种标志性东西:花花公子衬衫袖口链扣,花花公子俱乐部女招待穿的“兔女郎”套装,他那架黑色的私人飞机“兔老大”,他的烟斗和红缎子腰部系带宽松家居服。

  70年代,赫夫纳的帝国扩张到海外,在德国发行了第一个海外版本,全球发行量最高达到近700万份。但是,《花花公子》面临着赫夫纳称之为“阴部战争”的激烈竞争,像《藏春阁》和拉里·弗林特创办的《皮条客》等杂志开始用更为露骨的内容偷偷夺走市场份额。

  不过,赫夫纳说,他不恨使他那一度淫秽的杂志显得平淡的这些新的暴发户。对于女权主义者经常提出的有关他侮辱妇女的说法,他不予理会,他说,妇女是“花花公子革命”最大的受益者。“(当今)的现实是,全世界的妇女已接受《花花公子》的'兔女郎'作为赋予权力和性自由的象征。”

  经历了80年代生意严重衰退以及美国严厉打击性行业(那是赫夫纳生涯的最低点)之后,《花花公子》在90年代开始恢复昔日的某种荣耀。虽然它目前仍是世界上最畅销的男人杂志,全球销量达500万份,但该公司却几乎没什么盈利。如今,在赫夫纳之女克里斯蒂的掌管下,《花花公子》正利用赫夫纳的形象通过因特网、电视、博彩业和商品营销争取新的一代。“如今,与花花公子品牌同一时代的一切又流行起来,”赫夫纳说。“披头士乐队、詹姆斯·邦德和兔宝贝又开始大受欢迎。'兔女郎'将卷土重来。”

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