December 19, 2013

There are many pornographers, but what, within the realm of pornography, earns you a substantial obituary in The New York Times?

Some day we'll see how they treat Hugh Hefner, who made pornography clean, commercial and classy, but today we read about the death of Al Goldstein:
Mr. Goldstein did not invent the dirty magazine, but he was the first to present it to a wide audience without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety....

The manifesto in Screw’s debut issue in 1968 was... “We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ... We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.”...

Apart from Screw, Mr. Goldstein’s most notorious creation was Al Goldstein himself, a cartoonishly vituperative amalgam of borscht belt comic, free-range social critic and sex-obsessed loser....

“I’m infantile, compulsive, always acting out my fantasies,” he told Playboy in 1974. “There’s nothing I’ll inhibit myself from doing.”
In later years, it became impossible to get famous for being a loud sleazy guy with a magazine, and the idea of anyone "inking" out pubic hair seems mostly puzzling. Even if you know why it was done, how was it done? Ink? Wouldn't it need to be some carefully applied flesh-toned White-Out?

30 comments:

surfed said...

Al was the test pattern for Howard Stern. If Al could thrive and survive a real showman like Howard could conquer.

surfed said...

Bob Guccione was the first to publish pubic hair in a glossy rag (penthouse) only to have it fall out of fashion so quickly in filmed pornography and with cultural sexual mores. Funny that.

ironrailsironweights said...

The manifesto in Screw’s debut issue in 1968 was... “We promise never to ink out a pubic hair

Today of course that would be tragically irrelevant.
One point worth pondering is whether more women would still be in their glorious natural states if pornography did not exist. Hairlessness got its start in pornography (curiously, among male porn stars, who found that it made them look bigger), soon became universal in that field except for some esoteric fetish categories, and then spread like a virus among all women.
Today at least 85% to 90% of adult women are completely hairless. This is true even among women who are not under porn's likely influence. For example, a 40-year-old Republican-voting, churchgoing suburban soccer mom might well abhor pornography, but it's a guarantee that she does not have even one stray hair follicle.
God damn it.

Peter

virgil xenophon said...

Ditto for the comments of all three, above. Right on target..

Revenant said...

I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of that magazine. I've heard of it (and Goldstein), but by the time I was old enough to notice such things it was already mostly dead.

Revenant said...

A lot of the reason for the prevalence of shaved public hair in modern porn is that most of the actresses work as exotic dancers and need to look good in a g-string. In many jurisdictions, visible public hair in a topless club can even get the woman arrested.

fivewheels said...

As I recall, and it's only from vague memories of New Jersey newsstands years ago, Screw was more of a newsprint tabloid, not a magazine as we think of it. So "inking" out and "chalking" out may have a two-color context.

rhhardin said...

Goldstein was a great Imus guest.

Very self-deprecating but giving no ground.

He had a very amusing post office story which I don't remember the details of.

harrogate said...

"A lot of the reason for the prevalence of shaved public hair in modern porn is that most of the actresses work as exotic dancers and need to look good in a g-string. In many jurisdictions, visible public hair in a topless club can even get the woman arrested."

See, that's one of the things I like about you, Revenant. You're always teaching.

Hagar said...

Playboy was never "classy." It was fratboy naughty and also carried a lot of good articles up to when Hugh Hefner supposedly got radicalized by a cop rapping him across the kidney with his nightstick at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, but it is more likely that it was Bob Guccione's Penthouse cutting into his circulation and profits that motivated Hefner to go really smutty.

MadisonMan said...

From the article:

This led federal prosecutors to direct some postmasters in Kansas to order copies of Screw.

Nowadays, he'd just be audited by the IRS every year.

ironrailsironweights said...

A lot of the reason for the prevalence of shaved public hair in modern porn is that most of the actresses work as exotic dancers and need to look good in a g-string. In many jurisdictions, visible public hair in a topless club can even get the woman arrested.

But then, why did hairlessness become nearly universal among women? Out of the 150 million or so adult women in the United States the vast majority do not appear in porno movies, dance in strip clubs, or wear G-strings in public. Yet 85% to 90% of them are completely hairless.

Peter

EDH said...

“I’m infantile, compulsive, always acting out my fantasies,” he told Playboy in 1974. “There’s nothing I’ll inhibit myself from doing.”

Clearly, a man ahead of his time. He could be president right now.

Larry J said...

In later years, it became impossible to get famous for being a loud sleazy guy with a magazine, and the idea of anyone "inking" out pubic hair seems mostly puzzling. Even if you know why it was done, how was it done? Ink? Wouldn't it need to be some carefully applied flesh-toned White-Out?

The inking took place on the prints. They'd paint (or ink) over whatever it was that they wanted to hide. Remember, this was decades before PhotoShop and digital cameras. After the photo was edited, it'd get imaged along with the copy before the magazine was printed.

William said...

I think 85 to 90% of women who pose nude go for the full Brazilian. Among other women the number is probably much lower. How is it even possible to gather accurate survey information on this important subject? Perhaps the Golstein Foundation could fund a study. It's an unknown unknown. I think there's probably a high correlation between obesity and pubic hair, but we don't know for sure.

William said...

Goldstein used his obscenity trials as a merchandising gimmick. Support free speech and the sexual revolution by buying my paper. Perhaps the Duck Dynasty is using the same template but in the opposite direction......Goldstein was a deeply unsympathetic man. A fair amount of it was probably mental illness, but he did much to besmirch the reputation and image of pornographers that Hefner and Guccione spent so much time and trouble elevating.

YoungHegelian said...

I also think Goldstein was of a piece with Those Wild & Crazy Sixties! that the boomers do so love to go on about, especially at the NYT.

Combine that with the NY love for the "feisty, crazy-ass, radical Jew" that's kind of a folk hero template for the area, and Goldstein ends up worthy of an obituary.

Joe said...

Maybe, Peter, because they, uh, like it? Heaving forbid anyone do something they personally like if it offends your personal sensibilities.

(Does your hirsute fetish includes underarms, legs and unibrows?)

donald said...

Ok, I'm gonna say this once, now that I have entered the dating world and discovered that a 53 year old guy with all his hair, a few bucks in his pocket and his own home can do pretty damned good if you know what I mean. I can honestly say that after a 25 year gap of dating, the hairless thing is 100%.

It's like they don't even make female pubic hair anymore.

Matter of fact, we live in a wondrous time of really put together 50 year old women.

Whoot.

Sigivald said...

Even if you know why it was done, how was it done? Ink? Wouldn't it need to be some carefully applied flesh-toned White-Out?

Airbrushes.

So, really, paint, not ink, but since the printing of the magazine is in ink, I'll let the terminology slide.

n.n said...

Pornographers focus on the basest features and behaviors in order to exploit the individual and preserve a primitive state of mind.

ironrailsironweights said...

It's like they don't even make female pubic hair anymore.

Can someone teach me how to tie a hangman's noose? Thanks.

Peter

ken in sc said...

I read that he got an under-the-desk blow job from Linda Lovelace, not because she wanted to do it, but because her mafia bosses told her to do it. He wrote it up in Screw.

The Godfather said...

"Today at least 85% to 90% of adult women are completely hairless."

Citation please.

(If there actually is a study of this, I'll bet it's federally funded.)

Robert Cook said...

"Bob Guccione was the first to publish pubic hair in a glossy rag (penthouse) only to have it fall out of fashion so quickly in filmed pornography and with cultural sexual mores. Funny that."

It was hardly "quickly." Penthouse began publishing pictures displaying pubic hair in '70 or '71 or so, and the trend to women removing all their pubic hair did not become a "norm" (at least, among women who displayed themselves nude for public consumption), until sometime in the last dozen years...or less. That's decades where display pubic hair remained "in fashion."

I never met Goldstein but I know people who worked for SCREW and I visited the SCREW offices (on 14th Street) a handful of times and even went to two SCREW anniversary parties, (30th and 35th, I believe). It seemed like a fun place to work, although Goldstein reportedly could be quite mercurial to his staff.

J Lee said...

Al also was an early pioneer of porn on television, with his "Midnight Blue" show with Alex Bennett on Manhattan Cable Television back in the late-1970s and early-80s (NYC courts rules MCTV couldn't restrict simply nudity on it's city-mandated public access channels, though they could put limits on outright sex acts. But it was the first step towards the death of the porn theater industry and later porn video outlets).

Van Wallach said...

The New York Times obit of Al Goldstein contains a hilariously humiliating correction:

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a movie Mr. Goldstein starred in. It is “Al Goldstein & Ron Jeremy Are Screwed,” not “Al Goldstein & Ron Jeremy Get Screwed.”

ironrailsironweights said...

Today at least 85% to 90% of adult women are completely hairless.

Citation please.

Voyeurweb and Guess Her Muff, both of which are restricted to amateurs (no photos of strippers, porn stars or hookers allowed).
The NSFW selfies at Reddit and 4Chan both show hairlessness to be near 100%, but I don't use those as references because they are not restricted to amateurs.

Peter

Unknown said...

Peter, your demographic is horribly skewed and narrow. Sex workers and exhibitionists don't represent most women. Think landing strip

Tina Trent said...

Seasonal gifts from the New York Times: Al Goldstein's misogyny -- which was as mundane as other porn in reducing women to walking genitalia but also extended to sexual violence -- is celebrated as transgressive and liberatory, while Phil Robinson's appeal to a higher purpose in life through awareness of and obedience to God is met with horrified -- practically Victorian -- repulsion.

Other seasonal gifts? Advertisements for $100K cars and $2K handbags besides hectoring stories about how the evil rich are starving the obese poor.

Goldstein was a piker compared to the Times' fetishistic flourishes.