THE ANATOMY OF DISGUST
Deep down, all you perverts reading this rag know your body is nothing more than a sack of skin filled with pus and shit. Cheer up. Maggots slither around everywhere, slime and ooze pour out from festering wounds, dark things wriggle and slither across the ground, snot and goobers hurl out of mouths and noses. Pretty disgusting, the clammy and squishy stuff we're faced with every day.
But there is more to disgust than bodily waste and nature's slime.
Disgust, according to the author, is an emotion. People are disgusted by anything they perceive to have the power to contaminate, infect or pollute. Early Christians, and later on the Nazis, found Jews disgusting: The Jew "smelled of excrement that was the true substance of the money he lent; he smelled of sex and women because of his diabolical desire for Christian flesh and blood."
Nowadays, we can only be disgusted by those who offered up this nonsense as reasons for their disgust. At the same time, it is difficult to imagine a moral order without disgust for evil, hypocrisy and cruelty. It's the old sour with the sweet problem. Can't have one without the other.
Trying to overlook the assault on the senses is the difficult problem. The author sums this up nicely with a quote from George Orwell. "Race hatred, religious hatred, differences in education, of temperment, of intellect, even differences of moral code can be gotten over; but physical repulsion cannot. You can have an affection for a murderer or a sodomite, but you cannot have an affection for a man whose breath stinks."
I'm reminded of this whenever I walk through the Tenderloin and pass by a wino pissing in the gutter, enveloping the entire block with his stink. Excreta rules. This is not to say he should be exterminated. More public toilets in the Tenderloin would put a dent in the problem.
The author mentions porn only in passing. Porn is one of those offenses that has a dark, illicit fascination. People say it is disgusting, then go out and buy the loops to the tune of five billion dollars a year. Three cheers for porn. It's delightfully disgusting.
BETTIE PAGE: THE LIFE OF A PIN-UP LEGEND
Bettie's story has been told many times over the past five years, and this book puts it all together in a spectacular package. Over 500 photos, many of them reproductions in full color from the 1950's girlie magazines, will please the legions of men who in their teen days had photos of Bettie hidden under their beds.
She had that naughty-but-nice smile, the girl next door with a hot bod who loved being in front of the camera. Images of happiness more than desire are the secret to Bettie's power, even the bondage photos. She always looks the same: an insolent smile and a don't-give-a-fuck attitude. She seems to be laughing at the whole notion this is all about dirty pictures, because they were only dirty in the censorious minds of the fifties. She comes off as the cheesy, ditzy girl who can't help it.
She was probably photographed more than Monroe and Mansfield, yet at the peak of her fame, in 1957, she bailed out, only to have her fame resurrected by nostalgia. Over a hundred web sites and a thousand fan clubs keep the flame burning.
Now Betty's 75 years old and has not allowed anyone to photograph her. She seems well aware that she embodies the ultimate fantasy: remaining forever young.
Veronica Webb is a fashion model who can do more than strut down the catwalk. She can write. This collection of her magazine pieces touches on everything from shopping to politics. Many of the stories concern her life as a model: photo shoots with Bruce Weber, on the set with Spike Lee filming Jungle Fever, and hanging out in Vegas with Gianni Versace.
It's hard to picture this babe with a gun, but one of the best stories takes place on the firing range, though not just any firing range. One appropriate for a model: the Beverly Hills Gun Club. She tried several pistols and liked the Glock. "The pistol had personality, one of destructive rage."