His name crops up almost nightly on the news, but Walid Jumblatt, self-avowed war lord of the Druse, the fiercest Moslem sect in Lebanon, remains something of an enigma to the West. In an effort to pierce the veil of mystery surrounding the Lebanese leader, journalist and syndicated columnist Morgan Strong met with Jumblatt in Switzerland to conduct this month's Playboy Interview while so-called reconciliation talks were going on among various Lebanese factions and Lebanese president Amin Gemayel. The resulting conversation reveals not only the Druse motivation for bringing the Gemayel government to a standstill but also the private thoughts of the Druse leader. Jumblatt veers between a cheerful, though fatalistic, philosophy about living well now because death could be imminent and the grim belief that a world-wide holocaust is just around the corner. (The latter possibility doesn't disturb him as much as it might some of us, inasmuch as the Druse believe in reincarnation.)
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), July, 1984, Volume 31, Number 7. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Bldg., 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $54 for 36 issues, $38 for 24 issues, $22 for 12 issues, Canada, $27 for 12 issues. Elsewhere, $35 for 12 issues. Allow 45 days for new subscriptions and renewals, Change of Address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Post Office Box 2420, Boulder, Colorado 80302, and allow 45 days for change. Marketing: Walter Joyce, Divisional Promotion Director; Ed Condon, Director/Direct Marketing; Jack Bernstein, Circulation Promotion Director, Advertising: Charles M. Stentiford, Advertising Director; Michael Druckman, Jeffrey Kleinman, Craig Vander Ploeg, Senior Associate Managers; Jay Remer, National Alcoholic Beverages Manager, 747 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017; Russ Weller, Midwest Advertising Manager, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611; 3001 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, Michigan 48084; Los Angeles 90010, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 4311 Wilshire Boulevard; San Francisco 94104, Tom Jones, Manager, 417 Montgomery Street.
Sure, there's the thrill of victory. Sure, there's the agony of defeat. But where are the laughs? The special effects? The nude scenes? Are the 1984 Olympic Summer Games really being held in L.A., or what? We found it very hard to believe that these Olympics weren't going to include some Tinseltown hanky-panky. Sure enough, Lenny Kleinfeld had just come into possession of a secret briefing book that listed the brand-new traditional sports you'll be seeing next month.
The stitchwork in Roy Blount Jr.'s crazy-quilt collection of essays What Men Don't Tell Women (Atlantic-Little Brown) is a series of enigmatic "Blue Yodels," 27 monologs and dialogs so named to honor country-music legend Jimmie Rodgers, who "made an art of the pained moaning sound." Blount's male monologists palaver grandly on such topics as unrequited love, sexist jokes, whether the toilet seat should be left up or down and other sources of male/female friction. The pieces between the yodels connect logically enough if you follow the author's advice and view them as things that people don't usually tell one another--what the sick don't tell the healthy, what Southern hosts don't tell Northern guests, and so on. All of this is nurtured by Blount's brisk style. Try this sample: "The ideal person for the title role in Otello would be Franco Harris of the Steelers, if he could sing."
But can he dance? The distinguished jazz composer-keyboardist Herbie Hancock has once again strayed into the pop idiom and scored a commercial success. Not only did Rockit, the hit single from future Shock, win a Grammy but also the video for the song went into "heavy rotation" on MTV. What's more astonishing, the song is an instrumental (these almost never chart); and aside from those of superstars such as Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, MTV rarely plays videos by black artists. So what flash of insight led to Hancock's latest coup?
Whether or not you like Joe Jackson, whether or not you can stand that singing voice, he's become one of our most versatile writer/musicians. Body and Soul (A&M), his follow-up to Night and Day, may be an album to admire more than to listen to, but it's a sparkling piece of song writing. Cha Cha Loco, Not Here, Not Now and Loisaida are lovely, soulful and sharp. Then there's the sly, upbeat Go for It, inflected California style--"Go f'rit"--which ought to be the official tune of the 1984 Olympics. Critics always complain about the state of popular music, but things will be OK as long as we've got the Jacksons--Michael with his feet and falsetto, Joe with his poetry and ineffably sweet piano.
Come fly with boy: Boy George has been asked by the head of his British record company to help launch a cut-rate transatlantic airline, Virgin Atlantic. The fare has been set at $200 each way between London and New York. It is expected that Boy will fly on the inaugural flight.
He is a comedian with no jokes, hardly any act and a bright future. His hair shellacked by Dippity-Do, his tight gray suit at least three sizes too short and a tiny red clip-on bow tie bobbing on his neck, he is not exactly dressed for success. In fact, Pee-wee Herman looks like a nerd who has discovered the secret of eternal prepuberty and couldn't be happier about it. Grinning goonily, he rushes through a hyper game of show-and-tell (holding up rubber steaks, plastic monsters that drip red goo and other peculiar toys), his grating, nasal delivery interspersed with giggles, groans or growls and dippy catch phrases such as "OK? OK!" and "Am I lucky, or what?"
Australian Director Roger Donaldson's The Bounty (Orion) asks audiences to forget nearly everything they thought they knew about the famous mutineers already celebrated in two earlier movies based on the Nordhoff and Hall semiclassic Mutiny on the Bounty. This costly remake (well, $25,000,000 or so), with an earnest, intelligent screenplay by Robert Bolt, is taken from another book that purports to stick closer to the real story of Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian. Truth, alas, is often stodgier than fiction, and The Bounty--granted its actual South Sea setting and rich production values, courtesy of Dino De Laurentiis--offers no significant improvement over the roaring melodrama that pitted Charles Laughton's villainous Bligh against Clark Gable's feisty Christian back in 1935 (never mind the 1962 version muddled through by Brando).
Idol Gossip: After years of delay, The In-Laws' co-starrers Alan Arkin and Peter Falk will reteam in Big Trouble, written and directed by In-Laws scripter Andrew Bergman .... Remember the 1973 French farce The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, a comedy about a symphony violinist mistaken for a spy? Well, you guessed it, an American remake is on the way, with Stan (Mr. Mom) Dragoti directing.... Due to what Hollywood euphemistically calls creative differences, Blake Edwards is out as director of the Burt Reynolds-Clint Eastwood private-eye flick City Heat (formerly titled Kansas City Blues). Replacing Edwards on the project is Richard (My Favorite Year) Benjamin .... The Porky's saga will continue in a third installment, this one titled Porky's Revenge, to be directed by James Komack, creator of Welcome Back, Kotter.
A Buddy of mine named Dufo has a gig: He leaves his calling card in ladies' rooms all over town. The card says, Dufo Gibbs is the best fuck in America, and it lists his phone number and address. He claims he gets a lot of calls, and I believe him.
'T was a hot and fetid night in downtown Manhattan. Rita and I sat drinking in the humid darkness of the Lion's Head, a bar known for its hard-bitten reporters, colorful literary failures and drunken Irishmen. Cleo was late, so we waited and watched a woman in an appalling turquoise dress sashay through the bar.
The problem that I am writing to you about is probably not unique, though I think that most men suffering from it usually don't mention it to anyone out of fear or in the belief that sooner or later it will go away. Fifteen months ago, after a year's separation, my wife and I were divorced after five and a half years of marriage. During the time we lived apart and waited to see what would become of us, I sat home with my son (of whom I eventually received custody) and never dated. When the divorce was completed, I had the idea that I would be able to walk out of the courtroom and into my new life with very few problems. I expected to suffer for a while from a few of the scars of a bad marriage, but I have always been a survivor and I thought that time would cure just about anything. Well, it hasn't. I found that I could handle the divorce, and the duties that have been thrown on me as the single parent of a four-year-old son have been more of a delight than a burden, but I have not been to bed with a woman in about two and a half years! Before I was married, I dated a lot, had my share of romances and lived what I consider a normal life; but since I've become single again, it's as though I'm a guy who has lost his timing. I have begun telling myself that maybe I will never snap out of this and that I'm doomed to live the rest of my life without sex; but at the same time, deep down in my heart, I would like to get back to normal before I hit the three-year mark. I hope you can give me some advice. I know what I might tell someone else in my position, but maybe I need to hear it from you.--A.P., Raleigh, North Carolina.
Popular magazines--ours included--are eager to reveal what turns women on. Some social scientists thrive doing research on the subject. We thought it would be appropriate to poll our Playmates on the opposite emotional experience: getting turned off.
With the penetrating insights of a defrocked Jesuit and a disbarred lawyer combined in one, Dr. Naismith, our Consulting Philosopher, seems to have found some interesting loopholes in the Vatican's latest sex rulings. To wit:
Summertime comes, the Northern Hemisphere tilts sunward and man emerges from the gloom to scope the sights (below center). But what's a man to do about solar overload--look away? For years, he's had to pray that his pupils could contract in time. Squinting was the only solution for prehistoric man--hence the heavy, shadowed brow of the Neanderthal. Before long, the eyes had about had it. Even medieval man found the visor fine in jousts but inconvenient on the beach. Well, stop rubbing your eyes with sun block. With shades of excitement, such as the ones you see here, you'll never be blinded by the light.