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Coffee, Tea or Liberation?

So many momentous things happened in 1969.


Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, of course, and there were “Easy Rider,” the Stonewall riots, “Abbey Road,” Vietnamization and Arpanet, a precursor to the Internet. The books that year were just as consequential: “Portnoy’s Complaint,” “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “The Godfather.”

当然,有尼尔·阿姆斯特朗(Neil Armstrong)的登月行走,还有电影《逍遥骑士》(Easy Rider)、石墙暴动,《艾比路》(Abbey Road)专辑、越南化,还有互联网的先驱阿帕网。当年的最佳书籍也同样重要:《波特诺伊的抱怨》(Portnoy’s Complaint)、《第五屠场》(Slaughterhouse-Five)和《教父》(The Godfather)。

That was also the year of “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong,” a book by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull that took a humorous look at the way corporations promote employees to their level of incompetence. (“The Peter Principle” was to the business world of that period what “He’s Just Not That Into You” was to single women at the beginning of the 21st century.)

同年还有劳伦斯·J·彼得(Laurence J. Peter)和雷蒙德·霍尔(Raymond Hull)合著的《彼得原理:为什么事情总出错》(The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong),这本书以幽默的方式审视公司如何将员工提升到他们所不能胜任的位置。那段时间,《彼得原理》在商界的地位就像21世纪初《他没那么喜欢你》(He’s Just Not That Into You)在单身女人中的地位一样。

And the Peter Principle is probably the single most important cultural artifact hidden in plain sight on “Mad Men,” which returns to AMC on Sunday night for the first half of its seventh and final season.

“彼得原理”或许显然是隐藏在《广告狂人》(Mad Men)中最重要的文化现象了,上周日晚,这部剧集的第七季也是最终季的上半部分回归AMC台。

In the premiere, a condescending client lectures Joan (Christina Hendricks) about the four P’s of marketing (price, product, place, promotion). At her agency, though, the Peter Principle thrives: Male ad executives are constantly being promoted beyond their competence level, often over women better suited to the job.

在第一集中,一个高傲的客户教训琼(Joan,克里斯蒂娜·亨德里克斯[Christina Hendricks]饰),市场的“四个P”是什么(价格、产品、地点、推广)。然而,在她的公司里,“彼得原理”十分盛行:男性广告经理经常获得提升,超出了他们的能力,凌驾于更能胜任工作的女性之上。

And fittingly, “Mad Men” is living out its own Peter Principle: A series that was so original, fresh and authoritative when it began in 2007 has stayed on television beyond its creative peak.


The season premiere seems as exhausted as the decade it has chronicled so intensely.


The cinematography is striking, as always; the sets and costumes remain as telling as the dialogue — this is when Peter Max was on the cover of Life magazine. But many of the characters are repeating themselves or pedaling in place, and the historic underlay that was once so piquant is now dreary: This season it’s the inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon.<纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>

摄像技术还是和往常一样精彩;当彼得·马克斯(Peter Max)登上《生活》(Life)杂志封面的时候,布景和服装跟台词同样生动。但很多角色在重复他们自己或原地踏步,剧中一度令人感到兴奋刺激的历史背景如今只显得沉闷:这一季正赶上理查德·M·尼克松总统(President Richard M. Nixon)的任期。

That sagging of energy happens to any long-lasting series, but it’s oddly apt in the case of “Mad Men,” because the show’s trajectory so closely follows the era it portrays.


The year 1969 didn’t usher in a new frontier as much as it brought a sour end to seemingly sweet horizons. Woodstock was followed by Altamont; hippie communes were supplanted by the Manson Family; campus peace, love and revolution devolved into the Weather Underground. That was the year that the My Lai massacre came to light, and the Kennedy magic went dark at Chappaquiddick.

1969年并没有带来“新边疆”,却为看似美好的远景带来了苦涩的终结。伍德斯托克之后是阿尔塔蒙特;曼森家族(Manson Family)取代了嬉皮社区;校园内的革命、爱与和平堕落为“地下气象员”(Weather Underground)组织。那一年美莱屠杀事件被披露出来,而肯尼迪家族的神话则笼上了查帕奎迪克事件的阴影。

Don Draper (Jon Hamm), who at the end of Season 6 was forced by his partners to go on leave after breaking down in the middle of a pitch for Hershey’s chocolate, is still in a downward spiral, searching for something even he cannot define. He travels to the West Coast again, but for him, there is no there there, either. And that was true way back in Season 3, when he told a stewardess, “I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I’ve already been.”

在第六季末,唐·德雷珀(Don Draper,乔恩·哈姆[Jon Hamm]饰)在为好时巧克力做广告时崩溃了,被父母逼着去休假,他似乎还处在恶性循环里,追求他自己也说不清的东西。他再度来到西海岸,但对他来说,那里也已经今非昔比。第三季里他对一个空中小姐说的是对的:“我一直都在到处跑,但最后总是回到原来的地方。”

Roger (John Slattery) keeps running in circles, chasing new variations on sexual promiscuity. Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), so wishfully slick and sophisticated, is as woefully out of step as ever.<纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>

罗杰(Roger,约翰·斯拉特里[John Slattery])一直都在原地打转,在滥交中搞新花样。皮特(Pete, 文森特·卡塞瑟[Vincent Kartheiser]饰)又聪明又有经验,却和往常一样忧郁不合拍。

It’s the women who still have places to go, and that makes sense, because one of the things that actually changed for the better at the very end of the 1960s was the women’s movement.


The pleasure of “Mad Men” lies in the clever ways its creator, Matthew Weiner, syncs the milestones of the era, including the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy assassination, civil rights, Vietnam and LSD, with the pettier work problems and domestic troubles of Don and his colleagues, wives and lovers.

观赏《广告狂人》的乐趣在于它的制片马修·韦纳(Matthew Weiner)把古巴导弹危机、肯尼迪暗杀事件、民权运动、越战和LSD等时代里程碑巧妙地融入到工作中的小问题,乃至唐和同事、前后妻与恋人们之间的麻烦里去。

Women’s liberation was never as overtly referred to: Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) was not shown reading “The Feminine Mystique,” and Betty (January Jones) was not immersed in Sue Kaufman’s 1967 novel, “Diary of a Mad Housewife.”

剧中并没有公开提及女性解放运动:佩吉(Peggy,伊丽莎白·摩斯[Elisabeth Moss]饰)并没有在片中大读《女性的迷思》(The Feminine Mystique),贝蒂(Betty,詹纽瑞·琼斯[January Jones]饰)也没有沉浸在苏·考夫曼(Sue Kaufman)1967年的小说《疯狂主妇日记》(Diary of a Mad Housewife)之中。

Yet all along, feminism has been the moral metronome of the series.


“Mad Men” presented the battle of the sexes as a zero-sum game: Even at the outset, in Season 1, when women in the workplace were secretaries hunting for husbands, not advancement, male primacy was teetering. And that decline was to the quiet benefit of the wives and employees men treated as inferior out of conditioning — and convenience.


Don Draper is an insatiable, relentless womanizer, but his saving grace has been his attitude toward the women he did not seduce: He recognized talent in Peggy and Joan and didn’t hold their gender against them.


Now, Joan is still trying to climb the business ladder, even though men keep pulling out the rungs. Last season, even Peggy and Don’s second wife, Megan (Jessica Paré), who seemed well on their way to equality, found themselves at the mercy of men taking steps in their stead.

现在,琼仍然在商业阶梯上努力向上攀登,尽管男人们一直在釜底抽薪。上一季中,唐的第二任妻子梅根(Megan,杰西卡·巴雷[Jessica Paré]饰)似乎和唐保持着良好的平等关系,但是就连她和佩吉也发现自己在试图取代男人的过程中,仍然对他们毫无办法。

Megan had a role on a soap opera in New York, when Don chose to move to Los Angeles; he changed his mind, even though she had already quit her job. Peggy thought Ted, her colleague and love interest, would choose her; the next day, he decided to move to Los Angeles with his wife and children.




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