Thursday, February 3, 2011
The Best of Playboy - June '64
Lately I have been interested in checking out vintage Playboy magazines, and since this is the month of L'Amour I'll be featuring my highlights from a few mags. If you can get past the endless booze and smoking ads and the distastefully sexist comics you can find some intellectual and soulful stuff lurking in the nooks of the pages. For example there was a great interview with Ingmar Bergman in this issue:
Playboy: You've been widely praised for your sympathetic depiction of, and insights into, the feminine protagonists in your films. How is it-
Bergman: You're going to ask me how it is I understand women so well. Women used to interest me as subjects because because they were so ridiculously treated and shown in movies. I showed them as they actually are- or at least closer to what they are than the silly representations of them in the movies of the Thirties and Forties. Any reasonably realistic treatment looked great by comparison with what was being done. In the past few years, however, I have begun to realize that women are essentially the same as men, that they both have the same problems. I don't think of there being women's problems or women's stories any more than I do of there being men's problems and men's stories. They are all human problems. It's people who interest me now.
Keep in mind Bergman had five wives and nine children in his lifetime, interestingly enough most of his children became filmmakers.
In the issue prior to this one Playboy interviewed Ayn Rand. Groovy, eh? One of the readers in this issue responded to an article written by Hugh himself. He quotes Ayn Rand from Atlas Shrugged on the subject of sexuality:
"A man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself. He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself. The woman whose surrender permits him to experience- or to fake- a sense of self esteem... There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body... Observe the ugly mess which most men make of their sex lives- and observe the mess of contradictions which they hold as their moral philosophy. One proceeds from the other. Love is our response to our highest values- and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws- and he will have cut himself in two... Then he will scream that his body has vicious desires of its own which his mind cannot conquer, that sex is sin, that true love is pure emotion of the spirit. And then he will wonder why love brings him nothing but boredom, and sex- nothing but shame... Only the man who extols the purity of a love devoid of desire, is capable of the depravity of a desire devoid of love."
Now for pictures
The funny thing is that the sexist caricatures in Playboy aren't flattering for men or women. Men are old, cruel, brutish beasts. Women are young, pert, and daft. Every month they feature a page on "what sort of man reads Playboy" and it always describes these roguish, uncreative bread winners. An oppressively high-standard if you ask me. Yet, the playmates of the month usually tend to be assertive. educated women. Playboy is so full of fascinatingly endless contradictions, but I think that is what makes it interesting.
One great thing about Playboy is it encourages men to be stylish! Take note, boys.