I had completely forgotten about the Dorothy Stratten story:
After she was dead, film director Peter Bogdanovich, (The Last Picture Show, years later Lorraine Bracco's therapist on The Sopranos), who was dating her at the time of her murder, accused Hefner of raping Stratten in his '84 account of her death The Killing of the Unicorn. Hefner fired back with accusations that Bogdanovich had seduced her 12-year-old sister. A public relations and litigation war then broke out between the two, with both sides essentially retracting their accusations.
[Postscript to this seems to be that Bogdanovich married Louise Stratten eight years later and were married for twelve years before divorcing.]
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Wikipedia's got an account that's SFW:
Craziest part, I think, is that when an older Brooke Shields tried to prevent the photo from being used in the future, a judge ruled that it wasn't kiddie porn and that she had to abide by the contract signed by her mother.
I just read more depressing articles and wikipedia pages.
Chose to go with the small sample of women who appeared on The Girls Next Door. Three of the women on the show, apparently, weren't in the magazine, became part of his harem, and then were featured in the magazine as publicity for the show. One of them, the one he married, had appeared in the magazine, then joined the harem, then appeared on the show. The twins, apparently, joined the harem, then appeared in the magazine, then quit the harem, while continuing to appear on the show.
I also read that one of the "rules" of the harem were that they weren't allowed to work, but how that fits in with being a model in the magazine or appearing on the show, I have no idea. I presume they must have gotten paid for the show (they had contracts), but, I'm guessing, not by him.
Anyway, I agree, this is just a technicality; Sir Meh's post got me to wondering how he got away with the obvious labor/sexual harassment issues. Regardless of legality, he seems like he was pretty gross.
(Although I did feel some sympathy towards him on account of the tales of the dogs always going potty on his carpets; reminds me of the dogs with whom I currently live.)
I got the sense from the half-dozen article I read that the "if you stop participating in drug fueled sex orgies you get fired" line was employed with his personal harem. I also got the sense, from the $1,000 weekly "allowance" (minus fines for such "infractions" as staying out past curfew, etc.) and other such talk that they weren't, technically, his employees, so I'm guessing that's how he got around any pesky labor/sexual harassment laws.
But that's just a guess. I don't know how that played out in the publishing empire or the clubs. I'm not really much up on the life of Hugh Hefner and only just discovered, like, three minutes ago, that he had a five-year long reality show that aired during the years I lived without television.
No expert, but I haven't seen any accusations of rape, just that he was an R. Kelly-style creep (in fact, while reading about accounts of life on the Ranch, it reminded me of nothing so much as Jim DeRogatis's reporting on the latter's "sex cult.")
The most damning, well in this respect anyway, thing I've read is the account of Holly Madison's in which he unsuccessfully tried to ply her with quaaludes and, when rebuffed, remarked how he normally didn't approve of drugs, but 'ludes used to be called 'thigh-openers' in the seventies. Or something like that. Pretty suggestive, but there's enough levels of ambiguity there. ("They used to be called..." instead of "I used to call them, etc.") Also, there was apparently some kind of Hefner-quaalude-Bill Cosby connection. Although, I can't pretend that I have read any more than a fraction of what's circulating around.
Personally, my only worry after reading some of these articles is that I will never be able to watch The House Bunny in good conscience again.
More Communist Witches
I knew that Ex-Comrade Who Was Published in Jacobin fancied himself as "The Wizard of Monadnock" but I never watched any of it. Now, I have and, I must say, I kind of wish I hadn't.
I asked La Principessa if it was sexist to call him a "witch" and she agreed that it wasn't.
Running Subtheme: Communist Witches
Spent a good part of yesterday watching videos from Broadly, the Vice News imprint by and for women. Most of them were about witches or witchy-type stuff (although one was about a Romani bride market in Bulgaria and another was about an escort service in Vancouver that caters to people with disabilities like cerebral palsy) but the one I liked the best (and featured communism) was
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Decided after APoK I was going to stick with writers named "Margaret" and make my first foray into Atwood and I made that decision before I saw an advert for a televised version of The Handmaid's Tale.
Saw an article about how the tv show had rocketed The Handmaid's Tale up the best seller's list and, motivated by the same snobbishness that made me turn up my nose at Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers as a teenager, I put Atwood back on the shelf and started a book that Mr. Comrade had bought for his Ex-Hipster Girlfriend's birthday but then she dumped him before he could deliver it. He tried, over and over, after the dumping, to deliver the book, but eventually she rage-texted him to leave her alone and she didn't want his f@$&ing book, so he gave it to me.
A couple of weeks later, we were at the art gallery/hipster bar and she came in and, not seeing the two commie redbeards, sat next to us. I was already kinda messed up, we locked eyes, Mr. Comrade looked away, I smiled and, after exchanging meaningless pleasantries and then, wracking my brain for thirty seconds for something to say, blurted out, "I've got your book!"
She froze, so I added, "But I haven't started reading it yet."
"That's nice," she said, and fled.
Mr. Comrade cuffed me. "'I've got your book'?!? You're the worst wingman in history!"
"Why did I say that?"
"Yeah, now she knows that you know everything!"
"Huh," I said, pondering that, and then ordered another drink.
Next morning, she sent Mr. Comrade a text apologizing for being so awkward the night before, so I chalk it up as a victory.
Oh, the book is Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.
I'm having troubLe with my "l" key, and am inserting with copy-and-paste, so please forgive me.
La Principessa and "The Snow Women"
I don't know how much time goes by, but somewhere around NY Comiccon, I'm at work texting her. It had been pretty tense of late, and we hadn't been talking or texting much, so I was trying to be playful. She'd also started hanging out with here paraeducational union sister who is into strange teas, herbalism, Tarot readings, etc. (I'm sure you can see where this is going.)
La Principessa had told me earlier in the week that she was going to a party with her Tarot-Reading Union Sister the night before I spoke to her. A "harvest party."
Me: How was the party? Did you meet any boys?
Her: There weren't any boys allowed
I let that pass, tried sexy talking her, she wasn't interested, asked her what she was doing the next day.
Her: I'm going to the Medieval Faire with [T-RUS]
This time I couldn't resist.
Me: Hold on. Harvest party, no boys allowed, medievalfaire. Are you sure you didn't join a coven?
I probably should have appended a winking emoji or something but I didn't and thus I received a harsh series of texts in which the word "brocialism" was used often, the history of the mistreatment of witches was repeated, and a series of my past piggishly chauvinist transgressions were rehashed. The latter was particularly galling because, like half of them weren't hings I had done, but things Mr. Comrade had said and I had repeated to her. I should really stop doing that.
Some lessons to be taken from this story:
1) When you break up with somebody, don't sleep with other people until one of you moves out.
2) Even steadfast champions of the marginalized need to maintain constant vigilance that they are not worn down by the chauvinism and filth of this decaying capitalist society.
3) Do not make jokes about witches to communist women, particularly communist women who might be witches.*
4) "The Snow Women" is awesome.
La Principessa and "The Snow Women"
Backstory Part One: "The Snow Women"
I don't remember when it was, but I got a call from Comrade Patrick Curtin. He was moving and had to get rid of his voluminous library. I hated to be such a vulture, but he said he had tried everything and if I didn't come and take them, they would get thrown out. So, one weekend, I take Mr. Comrade down to the Cape and we rescued his library. Among other things, Mr. Comrade scores the entire seventies Ace series of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser books.
A couple of months go by and he finally starts reading them. Right off the bat, boom, "The Snow Women" is a pretty bad ass solo tale for Fafhrd in which he, among other things, he is beset by his tribe's womenfolk, who, in typical misogynist fashion, are depicted as jealous, cunning and manipulative witches. "Problematic," I believe, is the preferred term for awesome stories with racist or sexist (or whatever) tropes, and "The Snow Women" certainly is problematic, but it is also pretty awesome. Mr. Comrade agreed.
Backstory Part 2: The Weimar RepubLic of Lowell and the 2016 Democratic National Convention
To back up a bit: Mr. Comrade had gone through a messy divorce with Ex-Mrs. Comrade. She developed the seven year itch (four dating, three married) and decided the only way out for her to be sleep with other people and be polyamorous. After some consideration, she graciously conceded that he could sleep with other people, too, but he wasn't interested; he's a serial monogamist, born and bred. He even tried therapy to get himself okay with it, but in the meantime he'd catch her sexy chatting people (comrades, actually; getting involved with mutual friends is supposed to be verboten, polyamorous-wise, but imho, she was always pretty manipulative and selfish on Facebook and lying about it. It didn't take long for his therapist to tell him thatre was nothing wrong with him, that this was going to kill him, that he should get out. So, after four or five months of mutual torture and recrimination, he did.
He rebounds quickly (serial monogamist, as I said) with the Nigerian Princess. They live together for a year, but then during her last semester in grad school, the relationship goes awry. She wants to pursue her doctorate elsewhere and the stress of graduating and the uncertainty of their future together leads to much conflict. She also says she wants to pursue dating women, so they reach this compromise where they break up but continue to live and sleep together while encouraging each other to date other people. Which I told them was a disaster waiting to happen, your lease is up in three months, just keep it in your pants until then.
But, no. They go about their swinging for a couple of months and then, as I suspected would happen, he met somebody else. I dubbed her "Nancy Donovan" after the 30 Rock character for the purposes of these boards, but anyway, she turned out to be even more mentally disturbed, manipulative and selfish than Ex-Mrs. Comrade but that took some time to figure out. First sign, in retrospect, was when she pressured and cajoled him (after dating for all of 72 hours) of using all his sick days and accompanying her to Philadelphia for the DNC, which he does, and has a blast.
The Nigerian Princess who, I must admit, made a brave attempt at being okay with Mr. Comrade's having a new girlfriend, but when she realized how easily Nancy Donovan convinced him to drop everything, skip work and go to Philly after we had all agreed that we were going to stay local for the protests, instantly became anti-Nancy Donovan.
La Principessa arrives as part of her summer vacation somewhere in there, dislikes ND on sight, (before the NP. actually) and instantly sides with the NP, even though in all of the pre-graduation fights she had been on Mr. Comrade's side and even though I begged her to stay neutral like I was, but, nope. Sisterhood is powerful, I guess.
Anyway, Mr. Comrade and Nancy Donovan go to the DNC and Mr. Cormade throws himself into it and the new relationship. He goes to all the BlM and commie demos, participates in the taking down of the Mississippi state flag, gets interviewed by NPR, Abby Martin, a newspaper from the People's Republic of China, etc., etc., the whole time bombarding his FB page with pictures of him and "his love."
The Nigerian Princess and La Principessa go berserk. Nancy Donovan, of course, sussed out that they didn't like her and had her own tricks up her sleeve and fights back and it was bad. Oh, did I mention this is all going on in the wake of the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile? And that, for the first time, fascist bands (Soldiers of Odin) and armed anti-communists (Oath Keepers) and racist street gangs (Manchester's own "The Bros") were showing up at our rallies and vigils? Yeah. so I was pretty stressed out.
Anyway, I was incommunicado with Mr. Comrade for most of his trip. He comes back when he runs out of sick days; Nancy Donovan stays to the end. Tons more drama, but this is pretty self-indulgent as it is, but point is: I was out in the parking lot with an inebriated Mr. Comrade after he got back, playing mediator while NP and LP were steaming in the apartment. Me: "She feeLs hurt and humiLiated that you posted so many pictures of you and Nancy Donovan." Him: "Why? She dumped me, remember?" "Yeah, I know, but I'm just teLLing you how she feeLs..." Etc., etc., etc. Somewhere in here he teLLs me that Ex-Mrs. Comrade had gotten in touch with him, too, and gave him a ton of shiznit about his recent Facebook posting.
I joked that Ex-Mrs. Comrade was going to bury the hatchet with the Nigerian Princess (seLf-expLanatory) and La Principessa (don't ask) based on their shared anti-Nancy Donovan position and Mr. Comrade laughed, "Yeah! It's just like in 'The Snow Women!'" (remember "The Snow Women?") and for the rest of the conversation referred to them as a "coven of winter witches."
I, in an unguarded, very stupid, moment, repeated the remark to La Principessa and chuckLed. She then got extremLy angry, so I bit my tongue and said nothing as she Lectured me sternLy for thirty to forty minutes about the historic and continued misogynist mistreatment of witches.
Ironically, my little bit of the commie internet has recently been rocked by what I call the "ZGNN Affair." "ZGNN" are the initials of a former comrade I recruited a couple of years ago (I used to refer to him on these boards as the "Commandant of the Scottish Republican Army" over an internet prank he committed in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum and was reported as fact by some Britishiznoid tabloid) whom we gave to Ex-Mrs. Comrade in the divorce. He ended up quitting over the Bernie Turn, and disappeared down the rabbit hole of Hoxhaist chatrooms and trolling Turkish nationalists online.
Anyway, ZGNN was a college kid (since graduated), was always squeamish about sexuality and professed to having a fear of bodily fluids. I suspect that he is asexual, which, from what I have picked up from identity politics, makes him queer. Regardless, he got into radical feminism hardcore, started attacking comrades on Facebook for watching pornography, went on anti-prostitution tirades, and, leading up to the ZGNN Affair, discovered Sheila Jeffreys and her anti-trans stuff.
I found it hard to take seriously; he was always jealous of anyone's sexual relationships and seemed to be in constant fear that his friends were going to throw him over for their romantic partners. For example, he used to make passive aggressive comments to me when I would go off to NYC to visit my fair La Principessa. Around the time his best friend from grade school got involved with a genderqueer student at UNH was when he started delving into TERF theory. (They are no longer friends; in fact, his boyhood chum has told me repeatedly that if he ever sees him, he's going to punch him in the face.)
Things escalated; I didn't even try to keep track of the details or timeline, but ZGNN posted a lot of memes mocking non-binary people for their alleged "petit bourgeois individualist special snowflakedom," mobilized his international internet troll army to "attack" people's FB pages, etc., etc. The crescendo came when some of the comrades started a campaign to unfriend him and started sharing screenshots of his private conversations (how they got them, I have no idea; mutual recriminations abounded of people hacking into each other's accounts) touting Sheila Jeffreys, etc., etc., that allegedly ended in threats of violence, but I never saw it.
Anyway, I felt kind of icky about the Facebook mob ganging up on the autistic kid who was scared of sex, but I have to admit they were in the right. Also, it kinda puts me in a bind because on the one hand we have the boyhood chum (since graduated and moved back to Lowell) showing up at our events occasionally and bringing his Khmer family members and friends; otoh, we have ZGNN showing up for stuff with his pot-smoking Iranian communist father and his even more mentally disabled younger brother. Only consolation I can find is that they are both weak nerds and any physical confrontation between them will probably be brief and not very damaging.
I won't take up any more space here about it, but suffice to say that TERFs have few allies in Liberal policies and many strange bedfellows among the right.
As the first paragraph of the second linked article points out, RF, TE or otherwise, have often made strange bedfellows on the right.
La Principessa's Single Mother Comrade keeps sending me pictures of Alec Baldwin trolling Trump. At first I thought she was slipping into liberalism, but then I remembered she dumped Alec back in the early eighties for being insufficiently hip; now, I'm guessing, she's regretting it.
I hope you're wrong.
Speaking of which, I cancelled sexcation with La Principessa.
She talked a good, breathy game during the lead up, but when I told her I had the option of coming down a week early, she got all weepy and went on about she wasn't sure she could handle the "emotional murkiness" of doing it after we've broken up. I thought it made her sound like she was twenty-four instead of forty, but I didn't think saying "Grow up" was going to do me any good, so I said, "Well, let me know." She never did, so I unfriended her on Facebook and deleted her from my phone and filled my vacation up with communism. Of course, the following day she called, but she didn't say anything about sexcation (I'm guessing she doesn't even realize I'm on vaykay). Oh well.
Harboring revenge fantasies of taking up with a twenty-something next, just like her ex-husband did, but tbh, I think I go to bed too early to successfully date a millennial.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
...[B]ecause me and Mr. Comrade usually refer to the city of Lowell as the Weimar Republic of Lowell in honor of Mr. Comrade's unconventional, free-swinging sex life in said city.
Mr. Comrade recently was given the heave ho by his latest, hipster girlfriend, with whom he was quite smitten, and ran back to his transman lover, so I thought it would be a good time to finally show him Cabaret.
I hadn't seen it in quite a while; age and life do things to you, I guess, and I had quite a different reaction to Sally Bowles than I did the first time I watched it (probably late teens). It was summed up quite well, early on (first ten minutes?), when Mr. Comrade yelled at the screen, "Red flag! Red flag! Stay away, Michael York, red flag!" Now, if he would only take his own advice.
Mr. Comrade also saw through the love triangle right away and figured out that Max was also screwing Brian, which was a twist surprise to me first time I saw it, but I guess he's a bit more experienced than I was (am).
EDIT: Cabaret always gives La Principessa the guilts as it reminds her of the time she was in theater tech in high school and was responsible for unfurling a swastika banner during "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," much to the consternation of the heavily-Jewish residents of the Long Island town she grew up in.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Independent Maoist-Inclined Red Historian Rival for La Principessa's Affections (Since Vanquished).
Although, he keeps dedicating articles to her. [Clenches fists unconsciously]
What happened at the UMass Feminist Club?
I came to the painful realization that I have become too old to date college women.*
The room was divided into three tables, each hosting its own discussion; one was one intersectionality, another on gender identity and presentation, the last on sexuality and media.
Mr. Comrade and I conferred afterwards and had the same experience: Twentyish Women's Studies major looked us dirty proles over and figured they had an easy mark and asked us a question or two and then looked uncomfortable when we answered correctly and then went on to reveal that we knew more about the subject than they did. Shouldn't be too smug about it, though; I've been reading on these topics since before they were born.
Not much came out of it, but I told Mr. Comrade that at least they'll recognize us next time we're peddling socialist newspapers on campus. In retrospect, though, I should have sent Young Autistic, Gay, Former Homeless Hustler Comrade in my place.
Oh yeah, there was also chocolate fondue.
*One fetching punk rock lass was giving me the eyes, but she looked like a child to me.
Parenthetically, at a wedding a couple of years ago I was introduced to a very fetching young woman who was working on her dissertation.
It was on, that's right, Georg Freidreich Wilhelm.
Last I heard she moved to the woods outside of Philadelphia and was living in a trailer with her cats and shotguns.
"Even some Democrats who participated in the effort to discredit the women acknowledge privately that today, when Mrs. Clinton and other women have pleaded with the authorities on college campuses and in workplaces to take any allegation of sexual assault and sexual harassment seriously, such a campaign to attack the women’s character would be unacceptable."
Sounds pretty traditionally subservient to me.
Comrade Anklebiter in an another thread wrote:
I only ever took one cultural anthropology course and I was stoned through most of it and the professor was gorgeous, but still: from what I recall, hunter-gatherer bands were, well, communist. I remember, in particular, with being impressed with something called "prestige avoidance," but the details are kind of hazy because, well, I spent the whole class high staring at the teacher's ass.
And it turns out she's union strong!
"'Our effort began with a simple but clear demand: Boston University should value teaching,' Laurie LaPorte, a lecturer in Anthropology at the College of Arts & Sciences, said in a statement. 'Corporatization in higher education is a growing concern here in Boston and across the country. With the support of our campus community, we’ve secured an agreement that begins to return the focus to what matters most – what happens in the classroom.'"
Woah. Went over to Facebook and the activist from Lawrence invited me to an event he is hosting...a follow up event on education...featuring...Ms. Berard!
In other news, one of my comrades from Worcester, Anarchist Nick, put out an EP on bandcamp. I haven't listened to it yet, but I will link it all the same:
I changed my FB profile picture to something distinctly more The-Big-Lebowski-ish and Ms. Berard "liked" it. She then changed her photo to something more sexy-ish and I "liked" it. I wonder if this is how cyberromances begin...
And if it is, I also wonder what La Principessa would do if she found out that I was dating yet another 39-year-old 8th-grade teacher who is estranged from her husband (who cries a lot?--at least, she cried when I saw her speak)?
David M Mallon wrote:
Speaking of talented celebrity crushes...
I had seen this news a couple of days ago and just now, when looking for it again, the first couple of articles referred to her not as St. Vincent or as Annie Clark, but as "Cara Delevingne's girlfriend" whom I had never heard of. I guess that's one more talented celebrity crush that will never go anywhere.