Last November, when people in other lines of work were preoccupied with more seasonal concerns, the editorial staff of Playboy locked itself in a room to discuss coverage of the Democratic Convention in Miami Beach this month. Assistant Editor Laura Longley Babb recalls: "The problem was that Ed Muskie looked like a dull shoo-in, and we didn't want to play the game of sending one more big-name writer to observe one more predictable convention." Her off-the-wall idea was to compile an unserious how-to guide for the dark-horse candidate. It started out as a put-on, but as the primary season progressed--while Research Editor Barbara Nellis was checking the latest price quotations on such delegate-wooing giveaways as engraved toenail clippers, Senior Editor Michael Laurence and Staff Writer Craig Vetter were adding their own thoughts and Assistant Art Director Roy Moody was giving the concept visual form--the winds of politics changed. Suddenly, with front-runners unhorsing one another right and left, the specter of a dozen, a hundred, a thousand aspirants--even a winning unknown--doesn't seem at all absurd. Like to try for the big prize yourself? Playboy shows you how to steal the nomination in The Democratic Party Needs You.
Playboy, July, 1972 volume 19, number 7 published monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611 Subscriptions: in the United States, its possessions and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year elsewhere add $2 per year for foreign postage allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals change of address: send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Victor Lownes, Director of Creative Development; Nelson Futch, Promotion Director; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations. Advertising: Howard W Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate Advertising Managers, 405 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 50611; Detroit, William F Moore, Manager, 818 Fisher Building; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard; San Francisco. Robert E Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter Street; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
Can a captain in U. S. Military Intelligence, formerly employed as a deputy sheriff guarding the premises of the Angela Davis trial, find true happiness as the producer and promoter of sex movies? Can two beautiful girls, one stud, one Marine Corps nonstud and a vibrator find happiness in one another's parts? Will they? Do they?
The mystery of human evolution, perhaps the greatest detective story ever told, may never be solved. But it won't be for lack of trying. In a stunning tour de force titled The Descent of Woman (Stein and Day). Oxford graduate Elaine Morgan points out what should have been obvious long ago: that when man came down from the trees, woman came down with him--and that much of the speculation about evolution is in error because it fails to take the female into full account. The male scientist has fallen into the semantic trap of confusing the generic term man with the male individual and thus "sees himself quite unconsciously as the main line of evolution, with a female satellite revolving around him as the moon revolves around the earth." In clear, graceful and humorous prose, Morgan attacks such evolutionary theoreticians as Robert Ardrey, Desmond Morris, Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox, and undermines Konrad Lorenz' position on the nature of human aggression. Even the most militant male chauvinist will find it difficult to cling to all his prior convictions in the face of the evidence marshaled here. By a publishing coincidence, a second book has come along that (a) is written by a woman, (b) theorizes about human evolution and (c) is highly controversial. The Nature and Evolution of Female Sexuality (Random House), by Dr. Maryjane Sherfey, a New York psychiatrist, first appeared six years ago in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Extrapolating a theory of female sexuality from the laboratory work of Masters and Johnson, and from her extensive knowledge of embryology and comparative anatomy, Dr. Sherfey argues that the female is no less sexually responsive than the male. In fact, Dr. Sherfey says, she is more than a match for him, and therefore he has suppressed her drive by brainwashing and legislation. He fears her because "the more orgasms a woman has, the stronger they become; the more orgasms she has, the more she can have"--and no single male can meet her demands. Over the years, Dr. Sherfey's entirely hypothetical conclusions have come to be viewed as distortions of biological potentialities. Only the least rational of the women's lib advocates still cling to her notion of the female as sex incarnate--a notion no less romantic than the myth of the male as a cave man at heart. By comparison with these two books, Barbara Seaman's Free and Female (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan) is a pastiche that wouldn't be worth noting except as an example of current efforts by writers to capitalize on the women's lib movement by scapegoating the male sex. Seaman's book leans heavily on Masters and Johnson as well as on Sherfey, but it reports on their work without adding a single dimension of understanding. She would do well to read Elaine Morgan, who understands that the human race is shaped by forces that transcend the individual and that, socially and biologically, if a man and woman want to make it, they either make it together or they don't make it at all.
Since McCabe & Mrs. Miller and M*A*S*H, moviegoers have been conditioned to expect the unexpected from director Robert Altman, who delivers another original cinematic jolt in Images. Altman demands the best and gets it from his ace cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, his editor, Graeme Clifford, and especially his star, Susannah York, acting up a storm replete with fearsome lightning and distant thunder. Susannah's complex role--as a childless married woman well on her way to a total emotional crack-up--is developed ultrasubjectively in the form of a dazzling psychological horror story. The screenplay, written by Altman himself, consists of theme and variations on a nightmare unfolding deep within the mind of the disturbed heroine, a lady author at work on a book for children and experiencing fantasies that make her prose pallid by comparison. Plagued by real or imaginary crank calls in town, she flees to an isolated country house with her husband (Broadway's Rene Auberjonois, playing a square very shrewdly), only to find matters worse. She takes long walks, or hides in her room, and sees a mirror image of herself observing every move from a far-off hill. She kisses her husband and his lips are suddenly those of a former lover (Marcel Bozzuffi), a Frenchman she has supposed dead for several years. Soon everyone's identity is a question mark, part of the darkening enigma. When another lover, or would-be lover, shows up as an unwelcome guest, her circle of sureness and sanity grows smaller and her erotic fancies become a shade more violent. Images finds the virtuoso Altman exploring the eerie half-world inhabited by Rosemary's baby, discovering demons not through witchcraft but by tapping subterranean hot springs of guilt and frustration.
Merle Haggard has come a pretty good way since the night he sat in an audience of convicts at San Quentin, where he was doing a stretch for burglary, and listened to Johnny Cash, envying his success and vowing to emulate it. Twenty-one albums later, Haggard ranks with Cash as one of the top country stars, and some of his songs, such as Mama Tried, are classics of the genre. But he is mostly known for Okie from Muskogee, an anthem for the patriotic right. Too bad, because the song is not one of his best. Neither is Let Me Tell You About a Song (Capitol) one of his best albums. The Haggard voice, a distinctive, mellow baritone, with a plaintive warble, is in fine health, and a couple of the lyrics show his touch--particularly They're Tearin' the Labor Camps Down and Turnin' Off a Memory. But there is too much self-conscious talk and sentimentality. Oh, yes, Merle sometimes tells audiences, "You know, I'm not much of a musician. That's why I have these good boys behind me." His backup band, The Strangers, is, indeed, the best in the business, and it has its moments on this record. We don't know if they're good boys or not. But if Merle says so, well... .
Nobody's perfect, except perhaps Robert Morse in drag, but there was reason to hope that David Merrick's musical Sugar would capture the frenetic flavor of Some Like It Hot. That movie had a sparkling Billy Wilder--I. A. L. Diamond sheen to it, most of which has been lost in Peter Stone's imitation script. The comic basics are still there--the all-girl band featuring the supremely all-girl Sugar (Marilyn Monroe in the movie) and murderous gangsters chasing two eyewitnesses to a massacre. In the Jack Lemmon role, Morse is the funniest, dumpiest size-40-short lady bass player ever to hit Miami. In an upper berth with Sugar (leggy Elaine Joyce), he is a man possessed, unable to keep his hands from fondling the merchandise. In mesh stockings and satin shorts, clattering a dance step with Sugar and his partner in dress, Tony Roberts, he grows half enamored with the thought of himself as woman; richly lucred Cyril Ritchard is entirely enamored. But except for Morse and a rattling machine gun of a tap dance by Steve Condos, the show, including Jule Styne's score and Bob Merrill's lyrics, is soso, and Gower Champion's energetic staging is unable to conceal the emptiness of the evening. At the Majestic, 245 West 44th Street.
This month, the art of the possible, the business of power, the sport of would-be kings (ah, politics) will begin celebrating itself and trying to pick a Democratic candidate for President, all in Miami Beach. It's always a wonderful show and as it gets under way this year, the one disappointing thing about it is that there are only ten or so announced candidates, and a couple of them are kidding. We think it's time to broaden the field, to make the Democratic Convention democratic again, to give it back to the people until there are a million, two million candidates. We think it's time you ran for President. Mull it over for a minute: that big white house, secret passageways, your own barber, the power to commit ground troops, all of it yours to share with your friends. The guys from the office, Army buddies, your old coach, anybody you want. So here's a convention primer: a kit bag full of little deceits and true-to-life lies that could just turn you into the President of the United States.