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Mitchell, Taylor Joy.
Cold war playboys :
h [electronic resource] /
b models of masculinity in the literature of playboy
by Taylor Joy Mitchell.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 215 pages.
(Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: "Cold War Playboys: Models of Masculinity in the Literature of Playboy" emphasizes the literary voices that emerged in response to the Cold War's redefinitions of space and sexuality and, thus, adds to the growing national discourse of Cold War literary and masculinity studies. I argue that the literature Playboy includes has always been a necessary feature to creating its masculinity model; however, that very literature often destabilizes the magazine's grand narrative because it presents readers with alternative models of masculinity. To make that argument, I presume five things: 1) masculinity, like femininity, is a construct; 2) the mid-century masculinity crisis should be attributed to redefinitions of space and sexuality; 3) the crisis generated a variety of masculinity models; 4) Playboy presents its own, unified model of masculinity through its editorial features; and 5) finally, that Playboy should be considered an early Cold War artifact because the space Playboy magazine represents, dually domestic and privatized, is hardly trivial--decade after decade, it has absorbed society's shifts and reflected them back to readers. Citing biographical, historical, critical, and textual evidence, I consider how the literature of Playboy magazine responds to the construction of Cold War discourses regarding sexuality and space. In particular, I examine how Playboy contributions from Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, and James Baldwin detail models of masculinity informed by Cold War culture. Playboy's emphasis was obviously Playmates, but fiction always appeared in its pages. As its largest component, fiction became the backbone of Playboy. Therefore, Hefner's educated, sexual male identity included, and still includes, reading a wide array of literature--from Ian Fleming to Ursula le Guin. "Cold War Playboys" asks: How did literature gain primacy in Hefner's ideal male identity? What purposes does reading this literature serve when appealing to a particular masculinity? Answering these questions allows me to explore how one mass-produced magazine and specific literary figures participated in and resisted the construction of Cold War discourses regarding space and sexuality.
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Sipiora, Phillip .
x American Literature Gender Studies
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Cold War Playboys: Models of Masculinity in the Literature of Playboy by Taylor Joy Mitchell A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctoral of Philosophy Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D. Diane Price Herndl, Ph.D. Andrew Berish, Ph.D. David K. Johnson, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 31, 2011 Keywords: Masculinity Studies, Space, Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, James B aldwin Copyright 2011, Taylor Joy Mitchell
DEDICATION I dedicate this dissertation to my father, who reads the articles and loves me unconditionally.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to acknowledge all who have made this scholarship possible. First and foremost, I must thank Dr. Phillip Sipiora whose trust in my abilities made this w ork a reality. Dr. Sipiora led me through this explorative process, all the while r eminding me of stative verbs and deductive claims. Excited to take this project on when others might not be so keen to do so, Dr. Sipiora recounted his personal experiences working with Hugh Hefner and guided me through my dissertation chapter by chapter, sentence by se ntence. I also want to thank my interdisciplinary committee for its leadership and invaluable suggestions. Humanities and American Studies professor, Dr. Andrew Be rish made this dissertation a do-able project by suggesting that I scale down the sc ope of my original idea; Dr. Berish offered me the confidence to move forward using Playboy as my primary source. And from this projects inception, Dr. Johnson has always asked m e the tough and practical questionsthose answers will shape my future research. His historical scholarship on the Cold Wars Lavender Scare made me realiz e that the roots of my fascination with Cold War literature were grounded in post-war political a nd sexual turmoil. Dr. Diane Price Herndls willingness to take on this project, at so la te a date, is nothing in comparison to her careful comments, suggestions for revision, and compassion. Her work with Cold War literary criticism and reading suggest ions helped me understand why the Cold War is a legitimate field of study for literar y scholars. At the culmination of my graduate career, I need to thank my professors, department members, and colleagues. Since his arrival, Dr. Hunt Hawkins has been a
model of service; his commitment to the field and members of his department does not go unnoticed. Through her commitment to graduate students, Dr. Laura Runge has inspire d my enthusiasm for teaching and eased my fears of the market. Dr. Joseph Moxley o ffered me multiple opportunities to exert my own agency. Department members like Dee dra Hickman, Nancy Morris and Jerry Medlen have always been more than gracious, whi le Nancy Serrano has kept me informed, fed, and laughing. And there will never be enoug h words to thank Lee Davidson for all that she does for us, especially me. As for my colleagues, I want to especially thank Melinda Hollis, Chrissy Auger, Kendra Bryant, and Liz Kicak for their representations of strong, intelli gent women. I also want to thank Bob Batchelor, Kyle Stedman and Quentin Vieregge for welcoming me into collaborative projects. To Kendra Lee: thank you so much for befriending me on day one; Sprout and I are lucky for your loving supervision. To Jessica McKeew ho read every word, heard every whisper of worry, shared every moment of excitem entI am forever grateful for your friendship, so in awe of your intelligence, and ready for our future collaborations. Thanks also go to Rebecca Messinger, Alyssa LaPatra, Amanda Elff and Renee Cadwallader for their faith in me. I must also acknowledge my big brother, Ma tthew, for his lessons in kindness and for letting me always tag along. And to my mother, I am so fortunate to be growing into the likes of you and to know your love. Thanks for bearing this burden, and all the others, for me. Finally, I wish to acknowledge Kevin Reinhardt for his unending patience, unfaltering belief, and making me laugh when no one else could. Sharing this accomplishment with him makes it worth my while.
TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT .. .iii INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................1 Cold War Redefinitions of Space and Sexuality ......................................................4 Research Questions ................................................................................................14 CHAPTER 1PLAYING IT HOT IN THE COLD WAR ................................................20 Cold War Models of Masculinity ...........................................................................21 Playboy s Models of Masculinity ..........................................................................25 Sexuality ....................................................................................................26 Wealth ........................................................................................................28 Sophistication .............................................................................................29 Bachelor .....................................................................................................31 Reclamation of Space ................................................................................32 Playboy and Fiction ...............................................................................................34 A Literary Tradition of Virility: Hemingway and Mailer ......................................37 Conclusion .............................................................................................................50 CHAPTER 2BROKE AND ON THE RUN WITH JACK KEROUAC ........................53 Setting up the Foil ..................................................................................................55 Good Blonde as a Cold War Text .......................................................................73 Good Blondes Model of Masculinity ................................................................86 Space ..........................................................................................................87 Sexuality ....................................................................................................91 Conclusion .............................................................................................................98 CHAPTER 3: SOPHISTICATED SPENDING BY VLADIMIR NABOKOV .................99 Getting Nabokovs Attention ...............................................................................100 Mutual Kicks ........................................................................................................107 A Suitable Climate in Cold War America ............................................................123 Adas Models of Masculinity ...............................................................................134 Space ........................................................................................................135 Sexuality ..................................................................................................140 Conclusion ...........................................................................................................143 CHAPTER 4BRICK BY BRICK: JAMES BALDWIN IN PLAYBOY .....................144 Using Race, Not Sexuality ...................................................................................147
Baldwin in the Cold War ......................................................................................166 The Man Childs Model of Masculinity ...........................................................177 Space ........................................................................................................181 Sexuality ..................................................................................................185 Conclusion ...........................................................................................................186 CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................188 WORKS CITED ..............................................................................................................192
ABSTRACT Cold War Playboys: Models of Masculinity in the Literature of Playboy emphasizes the literary voices that emerged in response to the Cold Wars re definitions of space and sexuality and, thus, adds to the growing national discourse of Cold War lit erary and masculinity studies. I argue that the literature Playboy includes has always been a necessary feature to creating its masculinity model; however, that very lit erature often destabilizes the magazines grand narrative because it presents reader s with alternative models of masculinity. To make that argument, I presume five things: 1) mas culinity, like femininity, is a construct; 2) the mid-century masculinity crisis shoul d be attributed to redefinitions of space and sexuality; 3) the crisis generated a variety of masculinity models; 4) Playboy presents its own, unified model of masculinity through its editorial features; and 5) finally, that Playboy should be considered an early Cold War artifact because the space Playboy magazine represents, dually domestic and privatized, is hardly trivialdecade after decade, it has absorbed societys shifts and reflect ed them back to readers. Citing biographical, historical, critical, and textual evidence, I consider how the literature of Playboy magazine responds to the construction of Cold War discourses regarding sexuality and space. In particular, I examine how Playboy contributions from Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, and James Baldwin detail models of masculinity informed by Cold War culture. Playboy s emphasis was obviously Playmates, but fiction
always appeared in its pages. As its largest component, fiction became the backbone of Playboy Therefore, Hefner's educated, sexual male identity included, and still incl udes, reading a wide array of literaturefrom Ian Fleming to Ursula le Gui n. Cold War Playboys asks: How did literature gain primacy in Hefner's ideal male identity? What purposes does reading this literature serve when appealing to a particular m asculinity? Answering these questions allows me to explore how one mass-produced magazine and specific literary figures participated in and resisted the construct ion of Cold War discourses regarding space and sexuality.
1 INTRODUCTION In Cold War Playboys: Models of Masculinity in the Literature of Playboy , I examine the literary voices that emerged in response to the Cold War and, thus, enter the gr owing national discourse of Cold War literary studies. Though I am too young to have any Cold War memories, I have traveled the intimate American landscapes of Vl admir Nabokovs and Jack Kerouacs road novels. I craved the testimonial and confessional poetry, w hat seemed to be the new expressive and powerfully descriptive "I" used by Allen G insberg and Frank O'Hara. For weeks, I found myself broken into incompatible pieces after sifting through Doris Lessing's notebooks. Finding The Invisible Man on every corner I have never watched a boxing match without thinking of the Battle Royal. Sylvia Plath's tale of psychological ruin, framed by the Rosenberg's execution, still haunts me and James Baldwin's images of homosexual passion set in foreign cities frankly s tirs me. Like Thomas Schaub, I was not "aware" that the mesmerizing undertones of thes e works were really "expressions of political turmoil, in which the nature and obligati ons of writing were altered in response to the decline of the left, to the fact of Hiros hima, Nagasaki and the Holocaust, and to the anticommunism which dominated politics and culture for some years afterward" (vii). After learning about post-wa r America, it was difficult for me to ignore that the literature I loved revealed aspects of t he cultural Cold War. And then Hugh Hefner, in his silk pajamas and smoking jacket, began to invade my scholarship. While watching The History of Sexuality documentary on the History
2 Channel I was, at first, shocked to note that Hefner opened the series and was presented as the figurehead on American sexuality. Shortly after, in December 2009, Playboys publication of Vladimir Nabokovs unfinished, fragmented novel, The Original of Laura caused a media frenzy which reminded readers of the magazines original obje ctiveto combine physical and mental stimulation. Publishing The Original of Laura made it difficult for me to dismiss Playboy s literary history. Playboys current literary editor, Amy Lyod Grace states that Nabokov knew Playboy presented readers with an interesting blend of high and low features by publishing quality fiction. Graces revelations led m e to concede that in over its five decades in print, Playboy has published an obscene amount of renowned authorsand all of the authors I was fascinated with. Therefore, I was forced to reassess the clich I have heard so many times about why so meone purchases Playboy I buy it for the articles might actually be true; Playboy proves that literature can live anywhere. Playboys sensational rise and continued dominance offers a compelling primary source to study the mid-century masculinity c risis, Cold War redefinitions of space and sexuality, and the literature this culture produced. In Cold War Playboys, I argue that the literature Playboy includes has always been a necessary feature to creating its masculinity model; however, t hat very literature often destabilizes the magazines grand narrative because it presents readers with alternative models of masculinity. To make this argument, I presume five things: 1) masculinity, like femininity, is a construct; 2) the mid-century masculi nity crisis should be attributed to redefinitions of space and sexuality; 3) the crisis generat ed a variety of masculinity models; 4) Playboy presents its own, unified model of masculinity through its editorial features; and 5) finally that Playboy should be considered an early Cold War
3 artifact because the space Playboy magazine represents, dually domestic and privatized, is hardly trivialdecade after decade, it has absorbed societys shifts a nd reflected them back to readers. Analyzing Playboy allows me to respond to Judith Keenan Gardiners call for an expansion of masculinity studies. Growing from the more traditional Second Wave feminism, masculinity studies posits that gender constructs mark men as well a s women. Urging for more study into masculinity, feminist scholars, such as Calvin T homas and Michael Kimmel, are committed to recognizing both genders as constructs in order to render them permeable to change. Cultural concerns about manhood reveal that masculinity crises are cyclical and reciprocal in nature. The mid-century masculinity crisis can be attributed to the Cold War redefi nitions of space and sexuality. Government officials and cultural campaigns made the once private domestic space public, so that political subversives, or sexual deviants could be identified as national threats. Cold War anxiety produced the need to classif y who might be a Communist party member, and that anxiety encouraged the penetration of privat e and domestic space. The government infringed upon civil liberties to preserve fre edom in general (Whitfield 233). In Cold War, Hot Houses editors Beatriz Colomina, Annmarie Breannan, and Jeannnie Kim argue that the Cold War was an incredible "conflation of public and private" (17). Public spaces, such as national parks and drivein theaters, were privatized. Concurrently, private space, especially the dom estic space, became publicized (14). Domestic space projected the image of the good life: a lifestyle of prosperity and excess that was the weapon" in a war between capitalism and communism (16). The fight against communism was staged as a fight for commoditi es,
4 and as the Kitchen Debates between Nixon and Khrushchev aired to millions of Americans, congressional law and mass marketing served to domesticate wa r veterans. The reconstitution of sexuality or space is not exclusive to the Cold War. As Michel Foucault's and Michel de Certeau's work have demonstrated, sexuality and space are two highly contested realms of power, especially because the meanings of these terms shift depending on context. Anthropologists Ellen Ross and Rayna Rapp declared, in their 1980s seminal research, that sex is "always experienced culturall y, through a translation" (51). The bare biological notions of sex, and thus sexuality, cannot be viewed in isolation. Sex "feels individual or at least private," but those feelings are necessarily predicated on the "incorporation of roles, definitions, symbols and mea nings of the worlds in which they are constructed (51). According to geographers, t he "relationships between sexualities and space are made clear when we begin t hinking about the power of particular landscapes as either libratory or oppressive sit es for the performance of our sexed selves" (Bell 98). Because "space and bodies are int imately tied together," the relationship between space and sexuality is complex and discursi vely produced (Johnston 16). No spaces rest outside of sexual politics because "sex and space cannot be 'decoupled'" (Johnston 3). These works suggest that the simultaneous politicization of space and sexuality is made apparent during the Cold War. Cold War Redefinitions of Space and Sexuality The United States political strategy to contain the expansion of communism overseas can be applied more generally to the domestic anxiety over boundaries whether political, sexual, or racial. After World War II, complementary proces ses decentralized, and simultaneously concentrated, American space. For example, highway s ystems and
5 broadcast television decentralized space, while suburbia and corporatization c entralized space (Kozlovsky 196). Based on the government's ideology of containment, the Cold Wars reorganization of space delinated the unstable boundaries between publ ic and private life" (Nelson xii). George Kennan, director of Secretary of State George Marshalls policy planning staff, deemed containment of communism a necessary strategy, because, unlike the clearly demarcated boundaries of battlegrounds, C ommunist ideology could infiltrate borders and infect anyone. Kennan compared communism to a fluid stream which moves constantly, wherever it is permitted to move. Its main c oncern is to make sure it has filled every nook and cranny available to it in the basin of w orld power (par. 24). The United States Cold War containment strategy influenc ed how citizens viewed and participated in space; borders between private and public space became contested. Anxiety over racial, sexual, and political borders caused suburban sprawl, which encouraged discriminatory practices, such as red-lining. The Servicemen's Readjustment Bill of 1944, popularly known as the GI Bill, provided education and housing to over eight million, mostly white middle-class, veterans. After the passage of the Interstate Highway Act of 1956, creating easy access to suburbs, the United States governme nt finalized it subsidy of the domesticated male. Demographically, marriage rates increased, while the age at which couples married dropped to unprecedented lows. According to Elaine Tyler May's Homeward Bound: American Families during the Cold War Era, families were encouraged by popular narratives to expand as the post-war housing boom transformed America's physical landscape. Eighteen million, white, mi ddle-class citizens moved to suburbia after the war. In Domestic Revolutions Steven Mintz and Susan
6 Kellogg claim that eighty-five percent of the thirteen million homes built be tween 1948 and 1958 were constructed in the suburbs. To keep new suburban communities white, government policy allowed banks to delineate areas suitable for investment. Real tors and bankers used red-lining to discriminate against African Americans by designating certain communities as white only. These officials claimed that sustaining housing -market pricesnot racial discriminationwas the purpose of red-ling. Red-lining allowe d officials to maintain control over communities and interfere in what was once cons idered private space. Likewise, government officials discriminated against homos exuals by penetrating their private spheres for proof of deviant sexuality and the n ousting them from government jobs because their sexuality was labeled a national threat During the Cold War, the United States government felt obligated to penetrate private spac e, in order to protect its national borders. The rhetoric of containment for communism and domestic space extended to discourses regarding sexuality. American males needed to conform to Cold War redefinitions of public and private space, which meant they had to adhere to a strict code of heterosexuality. Post-war scientific studies, such as the Kinsey Repor ts of 1948 and 1953, suggested that sexual behavior is not static and sexuality should be viewed on a sliding scale. However, the specter of the homosexual caused widespread panic because, like Communists, homosexuals could not be easily identified (Chauncey). Robert Corber, Robert D. Dean, and David K. Johnson prove with their recent scholarship that homosexuality became a national security concern. Deemed a m ental illness by the psychiatric community of the 1950s, especially governing offic ials, homosexuality was also considered immoral by societal values. Citizens a ffected by
7 this illness were susceptible to blackmail, and thus, security risks. The gr owing visibility of homosexuality during the Cold War, combined with a perceived crisis i n American masculinity, made space and sexuality extremely contested re alms in the postwar period. This homosexual community was first solidified during World War II, and its visibility helped to spur a perceived post-war masculinity crisis. World W ar II's demands on the United States population created an atmosphere that "fostered a tolerant a ttitude" toward sex and sexuality (Johnson 52). David K. Johnson explains in the Lavender Scare how the northern migration for Washington employment caused "horror stories" of housing shortages and more "opportunities for sexual encounters" (52). War took men away from families, women entered the workforce, and medical advances depres sed the effects of sexually contracted diseases. Gore Vidal illustrates the heightened sexuality in the 1945-46 winter: "We were enjoying perhaps the freest sexuality that Americans would ever know" (qtd. in Johnson 52). A burgeoning homosexual literature bolstered the widening sphere of sexuality. But, by the time Alfred Kinsey published his f irst comprehensive survey of male sexuality in 1948, many Americans were conce rned about the sexual freedom Vidal celebrated just three years earlier. In his jour nal, John Cheever declared that 1948 was "the year everybody in the United States was worried a bout homosexuality" (qtd. in Johnson 55). Cheever wrote: A great emphasis, by way of defense, was put upon manliness, athletics, hunting, fishing, and conservative clothing, but the lonely wife wondered, glancingly, about her husband as his hunting camp, and the husband himself wondered with whom he shared a rude bed of pines. Was he? Had he? Did he want to? Had he ever? (qtd. in Johnson 55)
8 According to Cheever's observations, World War II's tolerant attitude towa rd sexuality reverted to fears regarding homosexuality. The shifting freedom of sexualit y mirrored the unstable boundaries between public and private life" in the United States (Ne lson xii). Concerns about manhoodits absence, possible withering, and inconsistent performancebecame a focus for 1950s American culture. The mid-century witnessed what some historians deem a male panic: a time when men self-consciously r ebel against real or imagined feminization developing within the workplace, publi c spheres, and/or domestic relationships (Gilbert 3). Historical and cultural studies like Robert D. Dean's Imperial Brotherhood and K. A. Cuordileone's Manhood and American Political Culture in the Cold War have focused on how government policy constructed masculinity and how aspects of masculinity shaped policy. From this scholarship, two main Cold War models of masculinity have been analyzedthe hyper-masculine and the domesticated. Icons like, John Wayne, and government officials, like John F. Kenned y, represent the hyper-masculine image. The domesticated male is best repr esented by William Whyte's Organizational Man, a gray-flannelled, white-c ollared, suburban father. More recently, cultural and gender scholars, such Bill Osgerby, James Gilb ert, and Michael Davidson, have worked to define a spectrum of mid-century masculinity mode ls, which encompasses more than the hyper-masculine and domesticated. With any number of masculine roles to choose from, masculinity remained a contested terrain t hroughout the postwar period and produced a masculine phenomenon much like the one chronicled by Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique.
9 Responding to the Cold Wars changing notions of space and sexuality, Playboy mapped its own model of masculinity in the virtual space of its pages and the litera l space in its clubs and mansions. For white middle-class, heterosexual men, Playboy formulated a particular model of masculinity with its extremely coherent editoria l features, such as its playbill, advice columns, advertisements, pictorials, and nonfiction columns. A qui ck comparison between a table of contents from a 1950 issue to one from 2011 reveals that editors knew the secret to building a lasting brandconsistency. With its rabbit ears and fluffy tail, Playboy has mastered branding. Growing from publishing a modestly-sized magazine to running international clubs, the Playboy Empire has consistently pre sented a meta-narrative of heterosexuality, upward mobility, and the reclamation of dome stic space. Playboy s editorial features work in conjunction to form a model of masculinity distinct from other Cold War models. Playboy s model of masculinity is heterosexual, wealthy, sophisticated, educated, single, and proud of his domesticated, urban space. Constantly working to increase subscription rates, Hefner and his editors inevitably provided cultural commentary on the nature of American masculinity, m aking Playboy an early Cold War artifact. Playboy magazine should be viewed as an early Cold War artifact because it owes its success to Cold War paranoia, homophobia, c onspicuous, consumption and fears of feminization. From the city to the suburb, Cold War culture spawned new artifacts: TV sets, plastics, drive-ins, Tupperware, shopping pla zas, office cubicles, national parks, etc. Playboy should be catalogued alongside these other artifacts. In Mr. Playboy, Steven Watts argues that [i]n the heart of the Eisenhower era, it was the genius of Playboy and its editor to articulate an approach that tapped both mainstream aspirations and marginal unhappiness (91). Russell Miller goes so far as to
10 suggest that America had been waiting for Playboy (44). If Hugh Hefner had gone to print just a few years earlier, during the height of the McCarthy era, the se cond issue would most likely have never been printed. Senator McCarthy would have branded Hefner as an enemy of the state; but, by 1953, McCarthy was exposed as a tyrant and a drunk and the economy boomed. Exploiting Cold War fears and new capitalistic agend as, Hefner produced a didactic manual for the upscale, urban bachelor. In the decade following World War II, Americans experienced incredibly unsettling changes. As Americans adjusted to an uneasy peacetime, they worked t o restore the family unit and stabilize gender roles. The war separated husba nds from wives and moved women into the workforce. Immediately after the war, percepti ons of juvenile delinquency and divorce rates spiked. Historians and cultural critics often c ite fear as a part of the general Cold War atmosphere. Thomas Mann feared that Barbarism [was] descending upon us, and he was prepared for a long night and perhaps a deep forgetting (qtd. in Whitfield 232). For many, the Cold War became menacing. Nor man Mailer declared, Dread has been loose in the twentieth century, and America has shivered in its horror since the Depression and the Second War (Presidential Pa pers). After 1947, Americans experienced an increasing anxiety (Field 7). At omic anxiety, Red and Lavender Scares, and waning McCarthyism produced a general atmosphere of fear. Directly responding to this sense of fear, Hefner positioned Playboy as a diversion, a light-hearted form of entertainment that offered sex, not politics, t o the American male. His often-quoted first editorial note explains how Playboys main objective is entertainment.
11 Affairs of the State will be out of province. We dont expect to solve any world problems or prove any great moral truths. If we are able to give the American male a few extra laughs and a little diversion from the anxietie s of the Atomic Age, well feel weve justified our existence. (2, Dec. 1953) Playboy diverted readers from Cold War anxieties with nude pictorials, garish cart oons, and a joke column. In less than one year on the stands, Playboy was selling 185,000 copies per month, and by the close of the decade, those monthly numbers breached the million mark (Gunelius 14). In Reaching for Paradise, Thomas Weyr argues that the general public shied away from politicsespecially liberal or left-w ing politics in the early years of the 1950s (xvi). Sex emerged as a surrogate for politics a way of expressing opposition to the status quo (xvi). Playboy embraced sex, not only as a moral good but a moral imperative (xvi). Hefner avowed that his entertainment magazine offered men a perfectly normal outlet to engage with appropriate s exual material. Playboys display of appropriate sexual content filled the void between swanky mens magazines, like Modern Man, and more high-brow entertainment journals, such as Esquire. Set within a Cold War context of fears regarding the state of masculinit y, Playboy's overt emphasis on heterosexuality allowed the magazine to flourish. Hefner might have presented the magazine as apolitical, but he deliberately positione d its sexual content as a means for discovering national dissenters. Because the single bac helor technically defied the traditional, social institution of marriage, he could be bra nded as homosexual or sexual deviant. But, according to Hefner, if the single bachelor was interested in gazing at nude females, he couldn't be a Communist. Strategi cally placing his magazine within the Cold War anti-Communist and homophobic climate, Hefner
12 claimed that a picture of a beautiful woman is something that fellow of any age ought to be able to enjoy. If he doesn't, then that's the kid to watch out for (qtd. in Fraterrigo 41). Hefner later commented that there were two kinds of boysthose who liked to pul l the wings off flies and those who liked girls. We confess to preference in the latte r. The deviants, the perverts, the serious juvenile delinquentsthey are not interested in healthy boy-girl relationships (qtd. in Fraterrigo 41). National anxieties reg arding communism and deviant sexuality were intertwined. Gazing at female nudes apparently af firmed heterosexual virility and spurred on national well-being. Playboy also owes its success to the fact that it stressed participation in conspicuous consumption. In features such as The Advisor, Playboy defined what t o buy, what to listen to, what to read and how to respond. Playboy offered American men what Pierre Bourdieu would call cultural capital. David Halberstam a ttributes Playboy's spectacular rise to the "post-war decline of Calvinism and Puritanism in America" and as much as "anything else to the very affluence of the soci ety" (576). Americans were begging for access into the post-war world of plenty because the y "lived in a world of more and more toys" (576). But Playboy did not link consumption to fatherhood and homeownership (Corber 9). Severing the link between consumption and domesticity, Playboy encouraged males to satisfy their pleasure principle. In "Czar of the Bunny Empire," Hefner claims that his magazine stimulated readers to j oin in the consumption campaign. Urged by the material and physical rewards presented i n Playboy, readers would be encouraged to "educate themselves so they can make enough money to enjoy these benefits" (qtd. in Davidson Czar 32). Hefner then surmis ed that Playboy would "help overcome the educational gap between ourselves and the Russians"
13 (qtd. in Davidson Czar 33). Hefner thus exploited the Cold War fight over economi c systems and helped Playboy readers join the capitalist cause by advertising a variety of items from liquor to high-tech gadgets. The other Cold War concern Playboy exploited was the anxiety over the womanization of America. Cultural myths suggested that men had to relearn how to behave like men because the sex roles had been confused. The confusion could be traced to a variety of sources: the growing white-collar, masculine, c orporate world of grey flannel suits; the feminization of the consumer society; or the burden of be ing of breadwinner. Whatever the source, mid-century critics, like Philip Wylie frequently charged women with trying to dominate men (Fraterrigo Answer to S uburbia 750). Betty Friedan explained that women were blamed for men's troubles: No one has ever been blacklisted or fired for an attack on the 'American woman' it was [s]a fer to take it out on his wife and his mother than to recognize a failure in himself or in the sacred American way of life (qtd. in Fraterrigo 29). Even family-orientated Life magazine claimed, in 1954, that women were winning the battle of the sexes. Esquire followed those critiques with questions such as Whatever happened to the girl who was loving rather than just loved, serene rather than strident, comforting rather than compe titive? (qtd. in Fraterrigo 33). Assertions of masculine crisis often found their ways i nto the pages of Playboy. Philip Wylie's 1942 vitriolic attack on women, Generations of Vipers continued throughout the magazine in articles such as The Abdicating Male and How the Gray Flannel Mind Exploits Him (1956), the panel on The Womanization of America (1958), and non-fiction articles on The Career Woman (1963). Playboy depicted caricatures of nagging housewives, who undermined individualism and
14 masculine authority. According to Hefner, womanization meant the development of a 'female-oriented society...A matriarchy instead of a patriarchy (qtd. in Fraterrigo 3334). Hefner claims that the anxiety over the sex roles stemmed from the woma n being pushed into a more dominated position: Woman's suffrage gave them the right to vote, etc. All very positive things...But we've gotten ourselves into a situation where ...the roles of the sexes...are becoming less and less defined (qtd. in Fraterrigo 33-34). Hef ner continues to show how the once-clearly-defined roles have been muddled: You know it goes back to the very beginning of time. The man goes out and kills a saber-toothed tiger while the woman stays at home and washes out the pots. Fair, unfair, good, bad, or indifferent, the roles were clearly defined. Sadly as they become less defined and more confused, we get into a situation...with a tremendous amount of national neuroses...She wants to dominate the male, the man gets into a position in which he feels dominated, and thus the woman loses identity...marriage collapses. (qtd. in Fraterrigo 33-34) Outliving and outnumbering males, females wielded new political power as voters, earned their own wages, and constituted a major sector of consumption, but the rhetoric of female domination was overblown (Fraterrigo Answer to Suburbia 750-1). Nonetheless, Playboy continually participated in the discourse of a masculinity crisis throughout the Cold War. Research Questions If Playboy's main objective is to present a specific image of manhood, how do the literary selections conform to that vision? Would the magazine have been as succ essful if it did not contain the larger editorial content? Much quality research has been compl eted on Playboys didactic, mid-century program for American males; but hardly any scholar s have analyzed its fiction. For instance, four recent works analyze Playboy's impact on
15 mid-century masculinity: Thomas Weyr's Reaching for Paradise, Bill Osgerby's Playboy's in Paradise: Masculinity, Youth, and Leisure style in Modern America, Steven Watts Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream and Elizabeth Fraterrigo's Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America. Each of these texts explores how Playboy editors created a specific, lasting image of American manhood. And while each mentions how Playboy's literary contributions include an awesome selection of names, the making of any college course in contemporary American literature, none devote more than a few paragraphs to analyzing Playboys fiction (Weyr xii). Even Fraterrigo's most recent text does not examine how quality litera ture supports the good life. Cold War Playboys: Models of Masculinity in Playboys Literature responds to this oversight and situates the literature as an integral aspect of the Playboy model. Playboys emphasis was obviously Playmates, but fiction always appeared in its pages. David John Lambkin's rhetorical analysis of Playboy discloses how fiction is Playboys single largest element; modeled on Esquires editorial features fiction became the backbone of Playboy Therefore, Hefner's educated, sexual male identity included, and still includes, reading a wide array of literaturefrom Ian Flemin g to Ursula le Guin. How did literature gain primacy in Hefner's ideal male identity? What pur poses does reading this literature serve when appealing to a particular masculinit y? Answering these questions allows me to explore how one mass-produced magazine and specific liter ary figures participated in, responded to and resisted the construction of Cold War discourses regarding space and sexuality (Redding 4).
16 Playboy's literary selections reveal wide-ranging models of masculinity. Unl ike the pictorial and editorial features, which celebrate and perpetuate a heter osexual, upwardly mobile, and educated model of masculinity, the literature published in Playboy during the Cold War often contradicts this model, as well as the seemingly toug h guy or domesticated Cold War images of masculinity. The chapters that follow spe cifically explore how Playboys literary selections respond to Cold War culture. Citing biographical, historical, critical, and textual evidence, I consider how the lite rature of Playboy magazine responds to the construction of Cold War discourses regarding sexuality and space. In particular, I examine how Playboy contributions from Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, and James Baldwin detail models of masculinity inform ed by Cold War culture. My first chapter thoroughly explores Playboy's model of masculinity and its tradition of publishing virile literature, so that comparisons c an be made in subsequent chapters. Chapters 2 through 4 contain archival research, liter ary analysis of each authors short stories, rhetorical analysis of their non-f iction, and an analysis of how selected contributions support or challenge Playboy's model of masculinity. In Chapter 1Playing it Hot in the Cold War, I focus on masculinity models and how the literature published in Playboy supports or negates the model of masculinity presented in the magazine's other features. I describe reigning Cold War mas culinity models, as well as define Playboys slightly alternative model. Relying on archival research, editorial manifestos, biographies, and recent scholarly attention, I examine Playboys monthly features and ever-expanding Playboy Empire to explain how it promoted a new kind of masculinityone that encouraged men to stay indoors and read
17 high-brow literature. I detail Playboys editorial process and argue that Playboys Associate Publisher and Editorial Directors main objective was to remas culinize the act of reading literature. To fulfill this objective, Auguste Comte Spectorksy relied on the popular personas of virile authors, especially Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mai ler. However, even Hemingways and Mailers fiction provide an alternative image of masculinity to Playboys readers. Having established Playboy's model of masculinity in my first chapter, I move on to consider how Jack Kerouac's contributions undermine Playboy's grand narrative. In Chapter 2Broke and on the Run with Jack Kerouac, I analyze Playboy s strategic use of the Beats, especially Kerouac. I argue that Hefner used the Beats as a f oil to Playboys Upbeat Generation. Playboy heavily solicited work from Kerouac, even while maintaining a sanctioned distance. As Barbara Ehrenreich observes, "the Beats' rejection of convention and their virtues of masculine independence, non-conformity and (often misogynistic) sexual expression found a degree with the playboy ethos of hedonism and personal indulgence (qtd. in Osgerby 184). However, the Beats rejected Playboys call for conspicuous consumption. To support my argument, I review all of Kerouac's Playboy contributions, as well as his short fiction, "Good Blonde" (1965). Then I move onto an analysis of Good Blonde, in which Kerouac embraces mobility and uses the new highway system to defy implied gender roles and social responsibilitie s regarding work. Vladimir Nabokovs fictional contributions, like Kerouacs, also undermine Playboys model of masculinity. In Chapter 3Sophisticated Spending by Vladimir Nabokov, I argue that Playboy used Nabokovs high-brow literary status, in order to
18 enhance the quality of its regular contributors and present readers with serious, sophisticated fiction. I also reveal how Nabokov heightened the sexual and violent imagery when he translated his early Russian works for a Playboy audience I then argue that the Cold War climate helped to make Nabokov an immensely successful author. I conclude this chapter with an analysis of how Nabokov's serialized selections from Ada (1969) construct an alternative model of masculinity from the Playboy model. While Ada s male narrator reclaims domestic space, he presents Playboy readers with a variant sexuality. Similar to the ways that Kerouacs and Nabokovs fictional selections underm ine Playboys grand narrative James Baldwins contributions offer Playboy readers an alternative model of masculinity. In Chapter 4Brick by Brick: James Baldwin in Playboy , I argue that Playboy relied on Baldwin as its representative for the Civil Rights Movement. Both Baldwin and Playboy preferred to ignore Baldwins sexuality and focus on his efforts to promote racial equality. But Baldwins open homosexuality dir ectly opposed the Playboy ethos; Hefner admitted that, while Playboy did not discriminate against deviant sexualities, male readers preferred to view naked women. It was not until the late 1980s, with the publication of Baldwins Freaks and the American Ide al of Manhood, that Playboy began to expand its notions of sexuality and consider how it participates in the construction of sexual identity. I conclude this chapter w ith an analysis of how Baldwin's "The Man Child" (1966) engages with Cold War discourses rega rding space and sexuality. I frame my study of Cold War Playboys with Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer because both represent ideal Playboy authorsvirile and intelligent. In my first
19 chapter and conclusion, I argue that Playboy editors used Mailers connections to Hemingway and his virilized, literary persona to remasculinize high culture. Like Kerouac, Nabokov, and Baldwin, Hemingways and Mailers cultural currency encouraged editors to continually publish their non-fiction and fiction. But, unlike to Kerouac, Nabokov, or Baldwin, Hemingway and Mailer were exactly the kind of author s one would expect to find in Playboys pages. And yet, as I argue in Chapter One, even Hemingways and Mailers fictional works undermine Playboys commitment to heterosexuality and conspicuous consumption. This discovery suggests that Playboys literary feature is the only component of the magazine that contains models of masculinity which deviate from the other features. Playboy's inclusion of popular postwar literature expands the magazines seemingly restrictive model of masculinity, suggesting that despite its seemingly didactic nature, editors were wil ling to publish contradictory images of masculinity.
20 CHAPTER 1PLAYING IT HOT IN THE COLD WAR The quantity of the fiction published in Playboy is astonishing. For instance, in its first year of publication, from December 1953 to 1954, Playboy devoted 168 pages to literary selectionsover 30% of its content, making fiction the single largest component of the magazine (Lambkin 26). Increasing circulation allowed Hefner to offer wri ters the highest magazine trade fees, which in turn increased the quality and quantity of literature and reportage that filled its pages (Fraterrigo 46). Most of Playboys fiction is either written by popular, contemporary authors or can be classified as a parody of a famous story by an unknown author. Publishing only popular authors or familiar narratives proves that Playboy often relied on the cultural currency of contemporary authors to help sell magazine copies. The vast amount of literature published in Playboy makes it a valuable resource for analyzing post-war literature. Playboys sensational rise and continued dominance offers a compelling primary source to study the mid-century masculinity crisis. Constantly working t o increase subscription rates, editors inevitably provided cultural commentary on the nature of American masculinity, and their printed features explored how the Cold War aff ected masculine identity. In Creating the Modern Man, Tom Pendergast claims that [m]agazines provide a fertile and contained testing ground to assess chang ing images of masculinity (17). Yet, Pendergast ends his study of American magazine a nd consumer culture in 1950. Pendergast ignores the mid-century masculinity crisis, because he assum[es] that by 1950 modern masculinity had attained a dominance akin to that whic h
21 Victorian masculinity had held in the late nineteenth century (29). However, Playboy's lasting effect on masculinity should be recorded. Playboy promoted a specific, gendered narrative that responded to the explosive growth of suburbia and the so-called feminization of society. Its editorial features form a critique of so cial and gender order in flux for its readers (Fraterrigo, Answer to Suburbia 749). Playboys editorial features include Playbill, After Hours Reviews, Playboy Advisor, Dear Playboy, panels, forums, advice columns, cartoons, joke column, pictorials, advertisements, and other non-fiction cultural commentary. Each of these editorial features support s Playboys idealization of straight masculinity through consumerism (Pitzulo 1). The literature, however, must be categorized separately from these other editorial feature s because it often challenges Playboys ethos of heterosexuality, upward mobility, and the reclamation of domestic space. Isolating Playboy's literary selections and analyzing how they differ from Playboys editorial features helps to better define Playboy's masculinity model. Cold War Models of Masculinity Playboys consistent message in its editorial features illustrates how the magazine constructed its own version of ideal masculinity in comparison to Cold War models of masculinities. Cold War popular and historical culture produced a variety of mascul inity models, but the hyper-masculine and domesticated models are the most prevalent. Cultural critic Neal Gabler states that 1950s American male sexuality was generally a function of muscle, aggression and force associated with such things as manly labor, the outdoors, athleticism, ruggedness and risk (110, July 2010). Archetypes of this model range from John Wayne to Marlon Brando's Stanley Kowalski. Gabler suggests t hat even the smarter, more self-reflective post-war male sex symbolsBog art, Mitchum,
22 Lancaster, Douglaswere required to display masculine brio (110, July 2010). Historical and cultural studies like Robert D. Dean's Imperial Brotherhood and K. A. Cuordileone's Manhood and American Political Culture in the Cold War have focused on how the Cold War constructed masculinity or how aspects of masculinity shaped Cold War policy. From this scholarship, two main Cold War models of masculinity have been analyzedthe hyper-masculine and the domesticated. According to Dean's Imperial Brotherhood this model of masculinity influenced the United States' Cold War containment policy; officials had to remain steadfast and strong against t he infiltration of Communists. The tough-guy masculinity produced clichs from western fil ms and served as descriptions of the strengths of American determination and the character of our response to threats (Gilbert 3). Dean stresses the ramifications of c ollective and 'hegemonic' aspects of cultural ideologies of masculinity (12). The overwhelm ing, pervasive nature of these models made it difficult for individual males to contr adict them. The other main Cold War model of masculinity is the domesticated male, best represented by William Whyte's Organizational Man, a gray-fla nnelled, white-collared, suburban father. White, middle-class, heterosexual males conformed to suburban lif e, mass culture, and consumption practices. Just as communism needed to be contained during the Cold War, sexuality was contained by heterosexual marriages and t he nuclear family. The traditional family, portrayed by popular television shows like Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1963) and Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963), upheld the primacy of the nuclear family and supported conventional gender arrangements and sex norms, w hile also affirming the socioeconomic order (Fraterrigo 3). These Cold War c ultural studies
23 suggest that the mid-century crisis of masculinity resulted from, and caus ed shifts in, cultural and national policy. Concerns about manhoodits absence, possible withering, and inconsistent performancebecame a focus for modern American culture during the Cold War The mid-century witnessed what some historians deem a male panic: a time whe n men self-consciously rebel against real or imagined feminization developing w ithin the workplace, public spheres, and/or domestic relationships (Gilbert 3). The hist orical juncture of the Cold War produced a perceived masculinity crisis in which assum ptions about masculinity and expected male behavior are being undercut by circumsta nce and social and psychological changes (16). For instance, anti-Communist sentim ents ultimately encouraged anxieties about masculinity which had little to do wi th communism (Cuordileone viii). The anxiety regarding manhood also occurred because of the domineering nature and ubiquitous reproduction of the hyper-masculine and domesticated masculinity models. Analyzing the present masculinity cr isis in Stiffed Susan Faludi connects "the empty compensations of a masculine mystique" to the heavi ly prescribed 1950s gender roles (40). Although Faludi correctly links the current ma le panic to the 1950s, the recent crisis needs to be viewed as cyclical, rather than del ineated. For Michael Davidson, the crisis of gendered identity "has revolved itself c yclically every decade since Freud," and any gendered crisis "involves an attempt to stabi lize or normalize categories that are then used as the basis upon which to erect juridical, s ocial, and economic systems" (26). For instance, Cold War culture used the hyper-mascul ine model to reinforce military decisions and solidify economic institutions, such a s highcapitalism. The domesticated model was used to support juridical policies, such as red-
24 lining. Concerns about manhood and resulting masculinity crises need to be analyzed in terms of their cyclical and reciprocal nature. More recently, cultural and gender scholars, such Bill Osgerby, James Gilb ert, and Michael Davidson, have worked to define a spectrum of mid-century masculinity mode ls that encompasses more than the hyper-masculine and domesticated models. With an y number of masculine roles to choose from, masculinity remained a contested te rrain throughout the post-war period (Corber 8). Bill Osgerby argues that, as the middle class adapted to new socioeconomic standards, articulations of masculinities erupte d and Cold War culture presented the middle class with a variety of masculine ident ities (14). According to James Gilbert's study, Men in the Middle: Searching for Masculinity in the 1950s assumptions about the male, sexed body during the Cold War need to be expanded in order to incorporate multiple masculinity models. Gilbert claims that there i s no single, prevailing, agreed-upon norm of masculinity during the 1950s. Michael Davidson specifically inscribes the image of homosexuals into the wide range of m asculine identities to remind readers that, during post-war culture, a burgeoning, though subversive, homosexual identity provided alternative models for young men and women. Davidson begins his Cold War literary study recalling the image of televisi on comedian Ernie Kovacs playing the effeminate, outrageous Percy Dovetonsils, the poet la ureate with the syrupy lisp, martini glass, and cigarette. While Kovacs portrayal of Dovetonsils was meant to reflect homophobic stereotypes, his television appearance as Dovetonsi ls still offered a homosexual representation. The growing body of Cold War gender scholarship works to justify how containment policy and cultural paranoia construct ed wide-ranging cultural icons. This range of masculinity models, from Dovet onsils to
25 Kennedy, produced a masculine phenomenon much like the one chronicled by Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique. And Playboys editors exploited this masculine phenomenon to construct and present Playboys own model of masculinity. Playboys Model of Masculinity For white middle-class, heterosexual men, Playboy formulated a particular model of masculinity in response to Cold War ideology's reorganization of space and redefinition of sexuality. Playboy's model of masculinity is heterosexual, wealthy, sophisticated, educated, single, and proud of his domesticated, urban space. Even though Playboy's first editors, Hefner, Ray Russell, Arthur Paul, and Eldon Sellers, worked issue to issue, they maintained an invariable message throughout the magazine's basic elements. Hefner admits that the early issues consisted of largely re print material It was pickup stuff (Weyr 25). However, Lambkins argues that while this mater ial was pickup stuff, it still presented a very specific image which emphasized se xuality, material gains, and masculine cleverness (38). Even if editors didn't think m ore than one issue ahead, Hefner knew from the magazines inception what he wanted to producea guidebook for the up-and-coming bachelor (25). Elizabeth Fraterrigo claim s, in Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America, that from its first drafting stage, Hefner envisioned Playboy would always promote a masculine persona in tune with a modern, sexually liberated, consumer society, freed of the burdens of breadwinning and untainted by the feminine associations of consumption (35). Playboys masculinity model modifies the hyper-masculine model because playboys preferred to stay indoors entertaining female guests, listening to jazz a nd reading Nietzsche, as opposed to thrashing outdoors with other men on hunting expeditions. It
26 also revises the domesticated model because the playboy prefers bachelorhood in an urban setting over a nuclear family in the suburbs. Playboys alternative model of masculinity, however, only slightly deviated from reigning Cold War models. For instance, the playboy reinforced the virility of the hypermasculine model, as well as preserved the heterosexuality of the domestic model. Hefner did change the representation of a mans good life from one of ranch houses with grills and dens to one of bachelor penthouses with hi-fi stereos and entertainment spaces. Although, Hefner liked to characterize himself as a pioneer rebelling a gainst the conformity suffocating other men, Playboys model of masculinity was not completely subversive. The playboy model, for example, did not oppose working, women, or commodities. The playboys most rebellious act was not getting married; wi th this simple refusal, the playboy ignored the cultural markers of maturation, denied the role of t he breadwinner, and refused to support a family. While this might position the playboy as stalled in his maturation process, his multiple female partners and virility pe rpetuated a sense of masculinity: a playboy didnt have to be a husband to be a man (Ehrenreich 51). Thus, the playboy image as the rebel needs to be reconsidered. Barbara Ehrenrei ch argues that taking fun morality seriously was Hefners only rebellion ( 45). Playboys tempered model of masculinity helps to explain why the Playboy model of masculinity was so successfully adopted. Sexuality Sex, specifically heterosexual sex, was Playboy's model of masculinitys fundamental element. Editors knew that Playmates sold the magazine. Discussing Playboy's early readership, editor Ray Russell states that readers bought the mag azine
27 for the girls (Weyr 35). If editors took the sex out, the magazine would die l ike a dog (Weyr 35). We could have all the Nabokovs in the world and the best articles on correct attire, Russell quips, without attracting readers (35). Thus editors offered readers sex, but the sex was far from vulgar; Hefner worked diligently to ma ke sex safe for America (Gabler 108). As Time magazine remarked in 1967, a young, blonde Playmate carefully posed in familiar settings in order to resemble the girl-next-door is hardly erotic (Ehrenreich 50). Ehrenreich argues that Hefners family hi story and childhood faith mollified his vision of erotic. Growing up in the mid-west with incredibly conservative, religious parents, Hefner parlayed his sexual fa ntasies into a tasteful, controlled empire. His parents were high-school sweethearts from rural Nebraska who married in Chicago in 1921. Their severe emotional decorum often frustrated Hefner who assumed that puritanical sexual tyranny twisted good people into sad deformity (Valiunas 33). Hefner has claimed that Puritan repressi on is really the key that unlocks the mystery of my life (qtd. in Valiunas 33). Hefner was revolutionary only in his desire to show bare breasts and bottoms; in the early decades o f the magazine, he refused to incorporate too much obscenity and the nudity had be tasteful. Hefners usual strict editorial control grew maniacal wh en it came to editing sexual content. Interested in the prolonged survival of Playboy Hefner shrewdly edited explicit text. For example, Russell recalls having a conversation with Hef ner regarding a story that included the word ass. Hefner wanted ass revised to something l ess explicit like rump (Weyr 35). Hefner also asked Russell to bowdlerize excerpts fr om classics by Boccaccio and Balzac; Hefner made Russell change the main character in a Decameron story from a young amorous priest to a student in order to keep the church
28 off our neck (35). The interface of sexuality with composed self-possession produced a model of masculinity that differed from crude, hyper-masculine models (G abler 110). Intently controlling the magazine's basic sexual element produced an appropriate balance between sexual freedom and containment. Wealth Hefners desire to make the sexual content appropriate was also extended to the advertisements and editorials that promoted commodities. Playboy's liberated male model was urged to consume specific, sophisticated, manufactured commodities. Hefners most innovative advertisement campaign was What sort of Man Reads Playboy? Starting in 1958, editors began embedding monthly advertisements, whic h usually contained a picture of a dapper man interacting with an attractive wom an in an urban setting. Some photographs contain men drinking expensive liquor, hailing cabs, or hosting a party, but all of the pictures reinforce the playboys purchasing power. Underneath every photograph was text declaring how the average Playboy reader was a trendsetter with an expendable income. The text in What Sort of Man Reads Play boy? was adopted from outsourced or independent studies on magazine readers, such as the Playboy commissioned survey by Gould, Gleiss, and Benn (1955), or the Daniel Starch and Staff (1958) independent study. These studies collected educational, economic, a nd marital statuses, as well as smoking, drinking, driving, and vacationing habits fr om Playboy readers. The What Sort of Man Reads Playboy? advertisements serve dual purposes: companies know exactly what products to market for the target audience a nd Playboy editors can portray a wealthy, cultured audience. By creating such a spec ific
29 target audience, Playboy encouraged advertisers to bombard the male consumer with upscale goods. Playboy's promise of material reward echoed the national call to pursue pleasure. Hefner correctly gauged that American consumer society, as it evolved t o a more advanced stage in the post-war era, involved more than just buying goods. It was intimately connected to a larger ethos of pleasure, leisure, and entertainme nt. Uninhibited consumption depended on the emotional joys of self-fulfillment, not the moral satisfactions of self-denial (Watts 129). The editorial focus on entertai nment and leisure time actively encouraged men to partake in the creature comforts and the inf inite variety of man's more elegant, leisure-time possessions (qtd. in Fraterrigo 48). Acc ording to Hefner, his magazine stressed the prizes available in our society in return for honest endeavor and hard work (qtd. in Fraterrigo 48). Clear to position readers as consumer s of hi-fi stereos or mechanical beds, rather than lawn mowers or grills, edit ors avoid linking consumption to fatherhood and homeownership (Corber 9). #UNQPICU RNC[DQ[URCTVKEKRCVGFKPVJGRTGUGTXCVKQPQHECRKVCNKUOVJTQWIJEQPUWOGTKUOVJG[FKFPQVVJTGCVGPVJGRTQLGEVGFJ[RGTOCUEWNKPGQTFQOGUVKECVGFOQFGN They could hang out in their kitchens, whip up appetizers, and wear their pajamas all day--as long they kept their purchasing power. Sophistication Playboy promoted an idealized figure who possessed sophisticated taste, employing wealth as a facet for its model of masculinity. In the April 1956 adve rtisement for Playboy readers, the playboy model was clearly depicted:
30 Is he simply a wastrel, a ne'er do well, a fashionable bum? Far from it: He can be a sharp-minded young business executive, a worker in the arts, a university professor, an architect or engineer. He can be many things, provided he possess a certain point of view. He must see life not as a vale of tears, but as a happy time, he must take joy in his work, without regarding it as a the end of all living; he must be an alert man, an aware man, a man of taste, a man sensitive to pleasure, a man whowithout acquiring the stigma of voluptuary or dilettantecan live life to the hilt. This is the sort of man we mean when we use the word playboy. (73) According to the above description, the playboy lived a full life. The ideal play boy had to work hard to play hard. But because most readers were unaccustomed to abundance of consumer goods, Playboy promised to instruct its readers in the fine art of consumption, cultivating taste and imparting expertise (Fraterrigo 49). Reading the advice columns, learning the jazz scene, collecting the right furniture, and absorbing the right literature were all necessary expenditures. From the first editorial, which deem s the magazine quality entertainment served up with humor, sophistication and spice, to its music reviews, editors stressed sophistication (3, Dec. 1953). Thus, the material found in the pages of the magazine would help mold readers into connoisseurs. Hefner hardly exudes hyper-masculine tendencies in his silk pajamas and bathrobe. Sophisticated but lanky, Hefner became the antithesis of the 1950s hy permasculine model for his readers. Norman Mailer described Hefner as a lea n, rather modest cowboy of middle size and seemed shocked that Hefner was the publisher and owner of Playboy clubs (qtd. in Gabler 110). The June 1957 Playbill introduced readers to Editor-Publisher Hugh M. Hefner. Penned by Hefner, the introduction c laims Hefner is a restless fellow whose conservative and casual dress is always coupled with loafers and a bottle of Pepsi-Cola (2). Apparently Hefner liked the same thi ngs that Playboy readers supposedly liked: jazz, foreign films, Ivy League clothes, gin a nd tonic
31 and pretty girls (2). The introduction went on to reinforce the relationship betwee n the editor and the reader. It concluded with Playboy 's unprecedented popularity with the young urbane male is a direct result of the fact that the editor-publisher a nd his audience see eye-to-eye (2). Gabler claims that forswearing macho, Hefner preferred cocktails to whisky or beer, Franz Kline to Thomas Hart Benton, foreign sports ca rs to Cadillacs and the indoors to the outdoors. He loved jazz, cutting-edge comics like Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory, minimalist architecture in the Mies van der Rohe and Fra nk Lloyd Wright style, and modern furniture (Gabler 110). Gabler ends his analysi s of Hefner's masculinity by stating that he was the epicure who always knew what was cool (110). And if Hefner did not always know what was cool, he had the ability to commission writers to promote his version of sophistication. Bachelor The sophisticated playboy enjoyed a sense of sexual freedom. Playboy really only attacked the conventional male's monogamous marriage status. During a climate which stressed family togetherness, the Playboy model hardly goaded men to become the head of a household; rather, it suggested that men escape marriage by dating a vari ety of women. Ehrenreich reiterates that this notion of escape was strong stuff dur ing a time of suburban migration and when Look coined the phrase togetherness (Ehrenreich 50, Fraterrigo 47). However, according to the Playboy philosophy, the magazine was neither wholly against nor in favor of lifelong bachelorhood (qtd. in Fraterrigo 47). Apparently the magazine was only concerned with promoting a longer period of bachelorhood, so that men could assume adult responsibilities after they had formulate d a clear sense of identity and had come to know what they wanted in a spouse and out of
32 life (qtd. in Fraterrigo 47). Hefner even justified an extended bachelorhood for t he good of the country. A longer period to play at the finish of education and before taking the responsibility of having a family would combat identity crisis caused by nuc lear threats and womanization of America (qtd. in Fraterrigo 47). And, after this period of pla y, the playboy could settle down and continue his well-honed pursuit of pleasurable consumption and keep the nation's economy humming along (qtd. in Fraterrigo 47). Hefner assertions that the nations well-being depended on an extended bachelor life style match his logic that Playboys centerfolds could uncover national dissenters. Reclamation of Space The reorganization of space is the last primary element of the Playboy model of masculinityreclamation of domestic space. +PJKUHKTUVGFKVQTKCNOGUUCIGVQ TGCFGTU*GHPGTTGENCKOGFVJGKPFQQTUHQTOGPrnGORJCUKU'JTGPTGKEJ 6JGOCUVJGCFGFKVQTKCNVQNF2NC[DQ[UTGCFGTUVJCVVJG[UJQWNFRNCPQPURGPFKPIOQUVQH=VJGKT?VKOGKPUKFGrn*GHPGTYCUKPUKUVGPVVJCVVJGDCEJGNQTNKHGUV[NGFKFPQVTGSWKTGVJTCUJKPIVJTQWIJVJQTP[VJKEMGVUQTURNCUJKPICDQWVKPHCUVHNQYKPIUVTGCOUrn4CVJGTRNC[DQ[UYGTGGPEQWTCIGFVQTGENCKOFQOGUVKEURCEGHQTVJGOUGNXGU7PNKMGFQOGUVKECVGFOCNGUYJQJCFVQECTXGQWVURCEGUNKMGFGPUQTDCUGOGPVUKPQTFGTVQFQRGTHQTOOCUEWNKPGCEVKXKVKGUVJGRNC[DQ[YQWNFDGEQOGCEQPUWOGTQHFQOGUVKEURCEGKPJKUQYPTKIJVrn(TCVGTTKIQ#PUYGTVQ5WDWTDKCr$[ECTXKPIQWVCOCUEWNKPGFQOGUVKEURCEG Playboy revolutionized the bachelor pad. The bachelor pad, or the
33 penthouse, emphasized sophisticated tastes with modern technologies, like the built -in bar or self-timing dimmers; advertised as necessary for successful ly dating women, these technologies confirmed the bachelors heterosexuality (Fraterrigo #PUYGTVQ 5WDWTDKC 756). Holed up in his technologically advanced bachelor pad, making dinner for his date, the playboy converts the home-space from a feminized space to one for the upwardly-mobile man. Playboy used the city and the image of the bachelor pad as a foil to the allegedly feminized suburbia development. The simple declaration to stay indoors, rather than thrashing outdoors, proves Hefner's awareness of Cold War's spatial reorganization of domestic space The magazines constant focus on the bachelor pad and the playboy penthouse forced men to pay attention to interior spaces. As Beatriz Preciado's analysis of t he Playboy architecture reveals, Playboy "played in a domestic space for a domestic audience" (Brennan 17). "Erotica in the age of suburbia," according to Beatriz Colomina, "i s the fantasy of the girl next door, delivered to one's bedroom through the media" (18). $GECWUG2NC[DQ[UJGVGTQUGZWCNDCEJGNQTHGGNUOQUVEQOHQTVCDNGKPFQQTU JKUUMKNNUKPVJGMKVEJGPCPFJKUCRRTGEKCVKQPQHJKIJCTVQHHGTCUNKIJVN[FKHHGTGPVOQFGNQHOCUEWNKPKV[FWTKPIVJG%QNF9CT Dually domestic and privatized, the space Playboy magazine represents may seem triviala glossy magazine with advice for the young bachelor. However, the ma gazine should be viewed as cultural artifact which has, decade after decade, absorbed soc ietys shifts and reflected them back to readers in a surprisingly consistent forma t. A quick comparison between table of contents from a 1950 issue to one from 2011 reveals that the
34 editors knew the secret to building a lasting brand: consistency. According to Susan Guneliuss economic study, Building Brand Value the Playboy Way there are three primary steps to branding: defining the desired image, communicating the brand message, and being consistent and persistent with the brand message and image (26). With its rabbit ears and fluffy tail, Playboy has mastered branding. Growing from publishing a modestly-sized magazine to running international clubs, the Playboy Empire has consistently presented a meta-narrative of heterosexuality, upward mobil ity, and the reclamation of domestic space. The only feature that interrupts this consiste nt message is Playboys fiction. Therefore, it needs to be isolated from the magazines other features in order to understand how, and why, the fiction Playboy published often undermines its grand narrative. Playboy and Fiction From its inception, Playboy has always maintained an intimate relationship with literature. Using Esquire as a model, Hefner published well-known authors to help him defend Playboy as more than a mere skin-magazine. At first, Hefners limited resour ces forced him to search for fiction available in the public domain, such as Boccaccio and Arthur Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes stories. Yet, even when obtaining copyr ightfree material, Hefner often sought out a particular kind fiction to suit his audienc eone that privileged entertainment, consumption, and female objectification. Quali ty, entertaining literature helped make the magazine thrive. Dear Playboy l etters prove that the published fiction is integral to its success. Dear Playboy first a ppeared in Playboy's second issue, January 1954. Only a third of the published letters addressed the magazine's sexual content and only one letter gushed over Marilyn Monroe's au naturel
35 centerfold pictorial (3, Jan. 1954). The majority of the letters discuss editoria l features or the fictional selections. For instance, James M. Spivak wrote about how much he enjoyed Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Spivak assumes that most of the first-issue mail will be on Marilyn Monroe, and admits that he enjoyed he r pictorial (23, Jan. 1954). Yet, Spivak confesses that he enjoyed Sherlock Holmes most of all (2-3, Jan. 1954). The publication of this letter suggests that, from the beginning, Hefner wanted to make literature an integral aspect of his enterprise. Playboys reputation for publishing quality literature continued to grow. The L.A. Times noted in 1957 that [s]ome of the best short fiction written in America today is being published in Playboy These short stories are gutty and imaginative, skillfully written, andperhaps most importantexperimental (qtd. in Watts 131). A mere f ive years after Playboys launch, Ray Russell, a contributor and executive editor, compiled an anthology of the cream of Playboy prose (vii). The collection includes stories by Jack Kerouac, P G. Wodehouse, Philip Wylie, William Iverson, Ray Bradbury, Herber t Gold, and Charles Beaumont. In his introduction to The Permanent Playboy, Russell posits that these stories will endure past the pages of the magazine because they answer the description entertaining, soas Bryon sagely counseledlet joy be unconfine d (viii). Russells introduction predicts three main threads of Playboy literature: a masculine forum, entertainment, and the permanence of the literary selections. Ma ny of the authors that Playboy published did withstand the test of time, but not all of them addressed a masculine forum. In the 1960s, the magazine maintained over 200 page issues and published elite critics and authors, such as Alfred Kazin, Leslie F ielder, Shirley Jackson, James Baldwin, and Vladimir Nabokov. Contemporary fiction wri ters
36 and readers have come to regard Playboy as a quality source. Ranked third on a list of great high-paying fiction markets, Tina Samuels declares the magaz ine one of the very top fiction markets in the world today (par. 1) With its high author fees and incr edibly large audience, Playboy still vies for quality, serious fiction. Some critics claim that Playboys fiction fits more comfortably into an entertainment mode rather than a literary mode; a closer analysis, however, suggests otherwise. Thomas Watts claims that Playboy tries to publish easily digestible morsels of fiction, providing a greater portion of pleasure than thought (Watts 131). He sta tes, when looking for the right kind of selection, editors sought to publish a yarn that has all the elements of exciting story tellingsuspense, ironic humor, a pip of a plot, and a twis t endingwritten with flair and flavor (qtd. in Watts 131). According to Harvey Cox 's 1961 Playboy's Doctrine of Male, the magazines fiction is simply a re gular run of stories with a repetitive and formulaic structure: A successful youn g man, either single or somewhat less than ideally marrieda figure with whom readers have no diff iculty identifyingencounters a gorgeous and seductive woman who makes no demands on him except sex (par. 12). Cox claims the heroine of Playboy's stories duplicates the girlnext-door centerfold who knows [her] place and ask[s] for nothing more (par. 13). He argues that Playboy authors present detachable and disposable females who present no danger of permanent involvement (par. 13). Cox's notion of the female as an accessory can be generally applied to the magazine; however, much of the published Cold War fiction involves more than boy-meets-girl to have random sexual encounter. For instanc e, the first Playboy issue contains three fiction selections and only one of those deals with sexual intercourseone of the Tales from the Decameron. And while Boccac cio's
37 bawdy classic can be classified as a humorous tale of adultery, the focus of this fiction is on the relationship between the two main male characters, Spinelloccio and Zeppa. The remaining two stories, Arthur Conan Doyle's Introducing Sherlock Holmes and Ambrose Bierce's A Horseman in the Sky, do not even include any female chara cters, let alone one that readily seduces a young man. Thus, despite being marketed as a swinging bachelor lifestyle manual, Cold War Playboy fiction taught men to be romantic heroes, faithful companions, and keen observers. With Playboys wide array of fictional selections, editors seem to view literature as a necessary tool that proves a certain level of sophistication, a tool needed to ge t the girl. Playboy's early literary selections were, in many ways, closer to the popular, instead of the literary culture: commentaries on sex, stories of "the jazz unde rworld," and far-out tales of science-fiction (Fogarty 228). Slow to publish up-and-coming challenging fiction, like the fiction that appearing in The New Yorker or Esquire, Robert Fogarty claims that Playboy's literary selections "always followe d on the heels of success rather than breaking any new ground" (228). For evidence, Fogarty cites Playboy's propensity to publish authors, like Philip Roth and James Baldwin, only after their commercial success. But Hefner seems to have included popular authors for two m ain reasons: to help sell magazine copies and to propel readers into "mainstream debates about society, economics, and culture in post-war America" (Fraterrigo 2). If a playboy could participate in cultural discourseshe might be more successful in bed. Playboy successfully proves that quality literature can appropriately be juxtapos ed with naked pictorials in mass-produced entertainment magazines. A Literary Tradition of Virility: Hemingway and Mailer
38 Playboy linked sophisticated readings with nudity and restored elite culture to its rightful place as a model of intellect and manliness (Gilbert 199). Hu gh Hefner hired the up-and-coming journalist Auguste Comte Spectorsky as an editor in 1956, for the express purpose of elevating the magazines literary content. Hefner considered Spectorsky a real heavyweight because of his literary talents and E ast Coast connections. Spectorskys The Exurbanites had recently reached the bestsellers list, and he had the literary connections needed to upgrade Playboys fiction (Fraterrigo 32). While Hefner and Spectorsky did not always agree on lifestyle choices, they w ere both committed to producing a virile, high-culture publication. According to Spectors ky, Playboy was his platform to redefine male readers as whole men (Gilbert 207). He wrote: Each issue is a tacit statement to [readers] that they are responsive to fi ne fiction and to pretty girls; to Lucullan dining and drinking and to serious articles and interviews that bear directly or philosophically on todays serious issues; to sports cars and classical music, jazz, fashion, the struggle for ci vil rights, bachelor high-life, and the world of business and finance. (qtd. in Gilbert 207) Spectorsky sincerely believed that Playboy was a viable vehicle from which to preach his literary tastes. For Spectorksy, the literary selections would provide re aders an outlet for discussing the pertinent issues of the day, providing them with the knowledge needed for sophisticated conversations. Spectorsky immediately began recruiting personal friends to contribute the magazine; for instance, he solicited Ken Purdy, Philip Wylie, Vance Packard, and John Steinbeck to write fiction and non-fiction pieces. Hefner and Spectorsky worked together to remasculinize American literature and consumerism through the juxtaposition of good writing with pictures of nude women and sophisticated
39 advertising (Gilbert 207). Spectorsky looked to authors, like Ernest Hemingway and Norma Mailer, to accomplish this lofty goal. Spectorskys first order as editorial director was to increase fees for Playboys writers, offering one of highest fee in the magazine trade (Fraterrig o 46). By increasing author fees, Spectorsky altered Playboys editorial process for finding and publishing quality fiction. Playboy no longer had to recycle copyright-free material and, with fees ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 dollars per fictional selection, contributions began pouring in. Spectorsky created a literary editorial staff devoted to shif ting through these contributions; he kept on Ray Russell, but later hired Sheldon Wax, Murray Fisher and Nat Lehrman to bring in fresh perspectives (Watts 193). Yet, Spectorsky w as a handson editor, shouldering many tasks from securing writers to reading every word that went into the magazine, from integrating the various editorial functions to serving as a liaison between editorial and circulation (Watts 91). Spectorsky also cha nged Playboys author contracts and began offering authors first refusal. Under this plan, whi ch the magazine still operates under, authors send Playboy editors a large amount of material consisting of anything they might want published; Playboy reserves the right to refuse any material but in return for sending multiple contributions, authors can negotiate for higher fees (Combs 1003). Spectorsky set up clear guidelines to ensure that Playboys literature would remasculinize the act of reading (Gilbert 207). These lit erary guidelines suggest that Hefner and Spectorsky believed literary selections were a crucial component of Playboys ethos. Each issue of Playboy would be an implicit statement to readers they were responsive to both naked women and fine fiction.
40 Spectorsky sought to publish works devoted to the celebration of masculinity as his response to the post-war masculinity crisis. He instructed his fiction staff to discard any castration-defeat-doom stories in favor of Hemingway heroes wh o deal with the world instead of cringing and having high-tone failures (Gilbert 208). Using Hemingway to advertise the magazine's commitment to masculinity, Spect orsky helped to resurrect the masculine, intellectual man during the 1950s gender debates. Spe ctorsky based much of his criteria for quality fiction on Hemingway, the author and the man. T he magazines 1956 September Playbill proclaimed Hemingway as a man of unimpeachable morals and possibly the greatest writer in the world (4). Playboy relied on Hemingway to prove that reading elite literature would not negate masculi ne identitythat, in fact, reading such literature could make one more of a man. Hemingways words appeared in Playboy only minimally, but his literary presence directed much of the editorial content selected for publication. According to T homas Weyrs Reaching for Paradise Hefner desperately wanted to include a Hemingway original in the inaugural 1953 issue (10). Yet due to the magazines content and budgetary restraints Playboys first issues editorial content only cost $2,000Hefner could not obtain the Hemingway, John OHara, or James Thurber pieces he so desired (Weyr 10). The New Yorker haughtily refused to sell Hefner reprint rights for a Thurber piece and Hemingways publisher rejected Hefners request because his magazine had not demonstrated its character (Miller 35). It would take three years and over 300,000 subscribers until Hefner and Spectorsky could include Hemingways presence. The y commissioned Jed Kiley for his unauthorized Hemingway biography, to be seriali zed over eight issues. Beginning in September 1956, with the first installment of Ki leys
41 Hemingway: A title bout in ten rounds, Hefner and Spectorsky added to the myths of Papa. In that months Playbill, editors remind readers that Hemingway h as, for many years, hit the bottle, tumbled wenches and enjoyed such organized carnage as war and bullfighting (2). Quick to dismiss accusations that his actions were immoral or sinful, they paint Hemingway as a cheater of death who became a scarred and bearded American legend, a Great White Hunter, a husband of four wives, a winner of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes (2). They quote Alfred Kazins praise of Hemingway a s the bronze god of the whole contemporary literary experience in America (2). But what seems most important about the Hemingway myth is that he comes from a middle-class, devoutly Christian family in the Midwestthe same family history as Hefner and m any Playboy readers. Hemingway appears to be the quintessential literary model for Playboy because of his roots and his eventual fame Growing out of middle-class America and a devoutly Christian home, Hemingway became the hard-drinking, death-happy swaggering, irresponsible author of best-selling Hollywood fodder (2). This image of Hem ingway a Midwestern everyman growing into a courageous, financially successf ul, and intellectual authorsupports the grand narrative Playboy presented for its readers. Every male has the potential to get the woman of his choice if he works hard, participat es in capitalism through conspicuous consumption, and reads quality fiction. Playboy editors continued to add to the Hemingway myth throughout the 1960s. In January 1961, Playboy published Hemingway Speaks his Mind, quotations from a variety of Hemingways collected and unpublished works. Editors thoroughly searched Hemingways works for scraps of prose suggesting his lifestyle mim ics that of a playboy. Quoted topics range from musings on Cuban women to his many cats, but the myth of the
42 man that emerges is one of strength and smarts. For instance, Hemingways obse rvations about war, being hit with a mortar shell, seeking death, killing, drinking, boxing, bull-fighting, cooking a lion steak, deep-sea fishing, gate-crashing and cursing remind readers of his masculine persona. His ruminations on hunting are particularly insightful: Y ou must be calm inside, as if you were in church, when a lion or a rhino is coming at you. A charging rhino will come in at a trot that turns into a gallop. I let him come much far ther than is good for either of us in order to be truly sure of my shot. Then I squeeze the trigger (96). Hemingways use of the second person oddly addresses Playboy readers in the comforts of their suburban homes or urban bachelor pads. Littered in-between musings on big-game hunting are serious deliberations about being a writer. Editors present Hemingways observations regarding the classics, contemporary themes, revision, Mark Twain, style, symbolism, the ice-berg principle, and the Nobel-prize. Edi tors even include Hemingways criteria for what makes a great book: after you f inish reading it you feel that all of it happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people in it and the places and how the weather was (96). Hemingways criteria for active reader par ticipation mirror how Spectorsky wants Playboy readers to feel after they finish reading his literary selectionsas if the storys contents happened to them. Hemingways quotes concerning sexual relationships also support the Playboy lifestyle; Hemingway becomes an honorary playboy. Even in his dreams, Hem ingway is the spitting image of a playboy: In my nocturnal wanderings I am always betw een twentyfive and thirty years old and am irresistible to women, dogs, and on one occasion, to a very beautiful lioness, who subsequently became my fianc (96). The good t hings in life
43 that Hemingway wants are what Playboy readers allegedly want as well: wine, bread, oil, salt, bed, early mornings, nights, days, the sea, women, love, and honor (97). In this list, Hemingway conflates necessities, like food and sleep, with amenities like w omen and early mornings. Much of Playboys editorial content, like its monthly Playmate, sought to make sex and honor necessities. After the success of Hemingway Speaks his Mind, Playboy continued to use the myth of Hemingway to promote its literary selections and grand narrative. In 1961, Spectorsky serialized Hemingways first authorized biography. Specto rsky paid a reported $25,000approximately equivalent to $160,000 in current United States dollarsfor the serialization rights (Harry Ransom). Beginning in Decembe r, Leicester Hemingways My Brother Ernest, spanned four issues and over sixty pages. P ublished only eight months after Hemingways suicide, My Brother Ernest rece ived favorable reviews from Playboy readers. Readers responded so well to the Hemingway material that Spectorsky published Hemingways Advice to Young Men posthumously in 1964. Consisting of previously unpublished observations on some of the ground rules of life and literature, this piece is eerily similar to the earlier Hemingwa y Speaks his Mind, sans the heavy dose of observation on traditional masculine activities like boxing biggame hunting, and fishing. The main focus of Advice to a Young Man seems to be on the art of writing and responding to critics. This shift could be due to the fact that t his advice is dedicated to both young men and women; however, there is a section On Love and Women that invalidates women as an intended audience. Hemingway shares hi s wisdom on other topics, most notably education, achieving success, happiness, living with honor, prejudice, death, faith and the future. The piece concludes with a
44 Hemingway quote that reinforces Playboys call for its readers: All the glory of life, all the romance of living, all the deep and true joys of the world, all the splendor and the mystery are within our reach (225, Jan. 1964). Hemingways advice echoes the hear t of Playboys call to work hard enough in order to enjoy the products of capitalism and a female companion. Relying so heavily on Hemingway allowed Spectorsky to advertise the m agazines commitment to masculinity (Gilbert 209). Hemingways reputation as a lit erary tough guy had been well established in the 1930s (Osgerby 45). Esquire proudly featured Hemingway for his rough-hewn machismo, even offering him one thousand shares of stock in 1937 (Osgerby 47). Due to Hefners relationship with Esquire and Spectorskys desire to remasculinize readers, Hemingway became an obvious godfather for the journal during the Cold War. For instance, rather than publish what Spectorsky dee med literature of morass incense and butterflies and Spanish moss, of precieuse st yle and hyperfine imagery, Playboy published what it considered to be quality, ableit accessible, fiction for its masculine audience (2, Sept. 1956). It did not want any writers too busy exploring stylistic jungles; instead, it wanted Hemingway, perhaps be cause he has trekked many a real jungle in his life (4, Sept. 1956). Spectorsky claimed he w anted to veer away from stories likely published by The New Yorker ; stories that reflected what he called a womanized, neurotic, and castrating world (Gilbert 208) He promoted Hemingways attributes because he knew the magazine was surely to ge t literally hundreds of fine stories a month which are intricate embroidery on the motto: The Sensitive Misfit is a More Interesting Man and a worthier Topic than The Man Who Fulfill His Masculine Destiny (Gilbert 208). Instead of wasting time re viewing stories
45 about sensitive misfits or mutilated heroes, Spectorsky wanted Hemingway heroes. And yet, ironically, Hemingways heroes are often castrated in some way or another. While many of Hemingways characters are real men on the ba ttlefield or on the hunting grounds, they could also be classified as androgynous, in terms of their sexuality. These misgivings about Hemingways sexuality are subtly addre ssed in the 1956 September Playbill, the same one that praises him in comparison to other contemporary writers as a standing out like a rugged oak in a field of delica te pansies (2). In response to the rhetorical question, What, then, is Hemingway?, editors lis t his drinking and death-defying, before calling him sexually insecure (2). Why would Playboy editors admit this, in the same announcement that begins over a decade of Hemingway contributions? Why would a magazine striving to push its elite, heterosexual agenda on middle-class American men, rely on a sexually inse cure author? Quite possibly, Spectorsky assumed his readership would miss the subtle class ification. Maybe Spectorsky published only Hemingways non-fiction to avoid the obvious contradictions. Or, more likely, the myth of the man looms larger than fiction. Similar to its heralding of Hemingway, Playboy relied on the cultural myths surrounding Norman Mailer; beyond writing combative and controversial prose, and stabbing his wife, Mailer looms over American literature longer and larg er than any writer of his generation (McGrath). His virile image fits into Playboys agenda, and his non-fiction texts reveal the historical shifts in post-war masculinity constr uctions. The most transparently ambitious author of his era, Mailer was a prolific aut hor, social commentator, and cultural provocateur (McGrath). He cofounded The Village Voice, won the Pulitzer Prize twice, ran for New York City Mayor, married six diff erent women,
46 fathered eight children, directed films, and made sure everyone knew his name by appearing on talk-shows and participating in many interviews. In short, Mail ers ambition and the immense quantity of his work make him an appropriate Playboy contributor. Similar to the way Playboy recruited Jack Kerouac for his cultural currency, Vladimir Nabokov for his literary career, and James Baldwin for his racial stance, editors relied on Mailer for his ever-present, masculine persona. Mailer had already established his tough-guy persona by the end of the 1950s. Hi s violence in his war novel, The Naked and the Dead (1948), and the obscenity in The Deer Park (1959) set the stage for Mailers 1959 Advertisements for Myself : a tough-guy writers apologia for his literary life (Castronovo 180). In his life and lit erature, Mailer can stand in as a Hemingway hero, especially because Mailer lacked Heming ways ambiguous sexuality. Thus, Playboy editors, from Spectorsky to Christine Hefner, frequently used Mailer to connect with readers. Beginning with an After H ours Book Review reference to The Deer Park in January 1958 and lasting to the publication of his conversation with Michael Lennon, On the Authority of the Senses, in December 2007, Mailer contributed directly to Playboy on seventeen different occasions. Mailer even wrote the keynote piece for Playboys fiftieth anniversary issue. Playboy posthumously published A Man of Letters in January 2009 to honor Mailer. The byline to the featur e reads: A literary giants correspondence on Hollywood, celebrity, and soci ety shows him to be a critic and crusader, pugilist and poet (70). That simple eulogy for a poe tic boxer sums up why Playboy continued to rely on Mailer for his non-fiction and fiction contributions; Mailers persona represented Playboys commitment to masculinity and intellect.
47 Mailers relationship with Playboy involved lawsuits coupled with considerable praise. For instance, after Playboy editors paid $5,000 for the essay on his debate with William F. Buckley, Mailer sued Playboy on the grounds that his work was worth more than the paid sum (Buckley). Mailer also wrote to editors denouncing them for label ing him a liberal: I dont care if people call me a radical, a red, a revolutionary, an out sider, an outlaw, a Bolshevik, an anarchist, a nihilist or even a left conservative, but please dont ever call me a liberal (8, April 1963). And later, in 1975, Elmo Henderson sued Playboy for publishing The Fight, in which Mailer states that Henderson had been in an insane asylum (Manso 560). But, according Arthur Kretchmer, one of Playboys executive editors, Mailer was a long-run investment (Manso 561). In an exc erpt from Peter Mansos Mailer: His Life and Times, Kretchmer explains how Playboy did not function on pornography or Enquirer -like sensationalism. It functioned on the fact that people who read Playboy have a certain sense of upscale events, and Normans part of that psychology (Manso 561). In the 1970s, Kretchmer wanted to publish a magazine that reflect[s] whats going on in America and that magazine has to have Norma n because its a different world without Norman. Playboy with Norman is a magazine of the moment, of impact. Powerfully, incontestably, Norman has tried to express our era. H e looks through infinity and says, Who are we? What have we done? What can be done? (Manso 561). Kretchmer seems beguiled with Mailer, but other magazine editors, l ike William Phillips of the Partisan Review and Gordon Lish from Esquire, also sought out Mailer. Based on his growing fame, Esquire accepted Mailers offer to write a monthly column, The Big Bite, which ran from November 1962 to December 1963 (Dearborn 179). Clay Felker, Esquire editor, claimed that he assigned Mailer to write about Jackie
48 Kennedy because at Esquire we loved to start fights, and hiring Mailer to write about the First Lady immediately after he had stabbed his wife was obvious (Ma nso 353). The enthusiasm surrounding Mailer as a magazine contributor was only reinforced w hen his Prisoner of Sex (1971) sold more Harpers Magazine copies than any other issue in the magazines history (Manso 462). Like Kretchmans praise for the author, Mai lers praise for Playboy, and its founding editor, seems equally enthusiastic. When covering the Liston-Patterson fights, Mailer recorded his first impressions of an a fter-hours Playboy Mansion party. After detailing the mansions exaggerated dimensions, Mailer compares Hefner to Fitzgeralds American hero: He had a quality not unlike J ay Gatsby there was something of a mustang about Hefner. He was not the kind of man one would have expected to see as the publisher of his magazine, or the owner of the Playboy Club, nor certainly as the undemanding host of his exceptional establishme nt (qtd. in Miller 130). This exchange of praise reveals how integral cultural myths can be for the success of a mass-produced glossy magazine. To further gentrif[y] its heterosexual perception, Playboy hired writers like Mailer to virilize high culture (Schuchardt). For instance, editors asked Ma iler to participate in the first Playboy Panel on Censorship in Literature and the Arts in the July 1961 issue. Mailers insights on censorship shine amidst the jumbled thinking presented by the panel and editors asked him to return for the next years panel on The Womanization of America (June 1962). In The Womanization of America, Maile r endorsed Spectorskys claim that men are in need of remasculination. Maile r contended that women are becoming are becoming more selfish, more greedy, less romantic less warm, more lusty, and more filled with hate (44). In response to Playboys concerns
49 about females refusing to complete household chores, Mailer states that th eres been a shift in the social and biological function of the woman, where she is expected not s o much to create a home as she is to be an aide-de-camp or staff general to an ambit ious opportunist (49). Pinpointing the Cold War as the certain historical phenomenon that allowed penis envy to develop, Mailer eloquently states that during these rena issance moments in history, there is a tendency for this coming together of sexes (134,139). Mailer reminds Playboy readers that masculinity is not something one is born with, but something one gains. And one gains it by winning small battle with honor (142). He warns those American men who fear the destruction of their masculinity to be wa ry of mass media because it gives an unrealistic view of life. Mailer claims t hat the majority of mass media is out to destroy virility slowly and steadily (142). Mailers argument directly reinforces Spectorskys thoughts on masculinitys fundament al malaise in America and supports his argument for the necessity of Playboy American men needed magazines like Playboy to help combat the insipid depictions of masculinity in the mass media. Playboy relied on authors like Hemingway and Mailer to remasculinize literature; however, editors seem to rely on these authors personas rather than their pros e. For instance, Mailer only published one true fictional work with Playboy and that work, unlike his non-fiction contributions, does not abide by Spectorskys guidelines for masculine literature. Technically a screen-play, the Trial of the W arlock (1976) is an adaptation of J. K. Huysmans La Bas. In the screenplay, Mailer appropriates the original novels protagonist, Durtal, to revisit 19 th century Paris. Superficially, the story seems to contain all of Playboys necessary criteria for a quality story: the hero is not castrated; he
50 is heterosexual, and he is an intellectual, deeply entrenched in his research about t he first documented serial killer. However, the focus of the narrators research is Gi lles de Rais. Once Joan of Arcs' second in command, Gilles de Rais transformed into a documented serial killer and practitioner of Satanism who cannot speak of the thoughts [he has] when young boys pass before [his] eyes (132, Dec. 1976). De Rais moves beyond the 15 th century acceptance of fornicating with young boys and begins to abduct, rape, and brutally murder them. Once dead, he uses their bodies in unheard of ways for sexual pleasure. While Mailers tri-part role as novelist, journalist, and histori an help to explain the fascination with the historical content, the storys form and style are extremely peculiar. Mailers fictional contribution to Playboy is representative of the magazines literary selections: it does not quite fit Playboys masculinity model and it leaves the reader questioning certain aspects or characteristics of the story. Wi th the Trial of the Warlock, readers can question why Mailer used a screen treatment?; why the second person?; the original protagonist was a thinly veiled caricature of the origin al author, so what kind of layer does a new author offer? Upon closer analysis, Mailers r eturn to this century-old French novel erodes Playboys heterosexual, wealthy model of masculinity. Why would editors pay for and publish fiction that undermines its stated objectives? In fact, much of the fiction editors published contradicted, in one way or another, the Playboy narrative. Conclusion Much of the fiction Spectorsky did end up publishing challenged Playboys narrative. For instance, Jack Kerouacs Good Blonde (1965) contains a hero who would rather sleep under a bridge than in a round, mechanized bed. Vladimir Nabokov
51 and James Baldwin publish stories with homoerotic tendencies. And even Ian Fleming s James Bond series undermines Playboys impetus for virile fiction because what, for Playboy, is sexual license becomes, for Bond, a license to kill (Nadel 143). Fleming a nd Bond, the archetypal Playboy author and hero, first appeared in Playboy in May and June 1953 with the serialized story, On her Majestys Secret Service. In Containment Culture Alan Nadel argues that James Bond is both quintessential playboy and the renunciation of almost everything for which Playboy argued (143). Nadel suggests that Bond is in fact the magazines perfect mirror image because Bond treate d everything from technology to women differently than Playboy advised or promoted (144). Nadel states that, unlike the playboy, Bond has a caviler attitude toward high-tech gadgetshe uses up gadgets as opposed to using them for leisure. Bond might have had been associated with good taste, with his high-class suits and expensive cars; but unli ke the Playboy reader, Bond was inextricably linked to an apparently limitless expense account (143). Playboy editors encouraged readers to participate in consumer culture; Bond, on the other hand, is not a member of a society interested in acquiring commodities or in participating in codes of consumption. Besides Bonds rejecti on of capitalistic fetishes, Bond also relates to sex differently than a play boy does: Whereas Playboy considered sex an appropriate topic of discussion for mature adults and urged frankness and openness, Bond specialized in the coy double entendre that made sex a topic always present but never frank and never open to discussion (144). Bond does not even get to fully enjoy a females companionship; Nadel cites Thunderball in which Bond explains to his latest sexual partner that he had acted only in the interest of the Queen and received no pleasure from the experience (145). Fleming characte rizes
52 Bond as regarding women with distrust, seeing each woman as a potential ass assin as opposed to a potential playmate (144). Therefore, the pleasure principleHefner s most oft cited principleis absent in the Bond stories. On the surface, Bond gets the wom en, the high-tech gadgets, and the cars that playboys covet, but his relationship to the m is autoerotic. A great deal of the fiction also destabilizes Playboys praise of the bachelorhood lifestyle, in addition to undermining Playboys pleasure principle. For instance, through the mid 1960s much of the literature could be classified as Gothic romance fiction, whi ch often includes narratives of traditional marriage. Marilyn Michaud, Englis h and American Gothic scholar, analyzes why Playboy 's early fiction paradoxically encouraged readers to become husbands. She questions, What does Gothic romance fiction teach the aspiring playboy? How does an aesthetically middle-brow publication with images of wholesome, semi-clad young women sit comfortably beside t ales of horror and distress? Exposing the magazine's internal contradictions, Michaud argu es it is not surprising to find traditional narratives in Playboy given the gender politics and the national anxiety over masculinity in the post-war period. Michaud conclude s that the Gothic stories, while seemingly paradoxical to Hefner's agenda, reflect pos t-war culture because they focus on marriage and family. According to Michaud, teaching bachelors to be heroic rescuers of distraught females will teach them to be good husbands. T hus, it seems plausible that while Spectorsky sought to publish accessible, entertaini ng fiction with masculine heroes, he ended up relying more on authors reputations or their cultur al mythslike Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, or James Baldwin.
53 CHAPTER 2BROKE AND ONE THE RUN WITH JACK KEROUAC On the surface, Jack Kerouacs Good Blonde (1965) supports Playboys Cold War masculinity model. Playboys editorial content promotes a heterosexual, well-educated, upper-middle class, model of masculinity for its mainly white, male reade rs. The playboy ethos rebels against monogamous relationships and celebrates Cold War calls for conspicuous consumption. Its centerfold encourages the male gaze upon the objectified female body. In the Good Blonde, the half-naked, female character becomes the focus of each male characters gaze; the male narrator blatantly reject s the ideal post-war suburban life by refusing to marry or settle down outside of an urban center. And, y et, this selection opposes Playboys masculine narrative because the Good Blonde negates one of Playboys most valued criteria: lavish spending on goods acquired for the display of wealth. The main character, like Kerouac and the Beats, presents himself as vagabond; he would prefer to camp out on the riverbottom than dwell in the Playboy mansion (144). Marking the beginning of the end of Kerouacs relationship with Playboy Good Blonde represents the rocky relationship between author and empire. In Jack Kerouac: A Biography, Tom Clark states that the mens entertainment magazines were just about the only publications that held no prejudice against Kerouac (177). Yet, Clarks
54 assessment disregards Playboys obvious prejudices against Kerouac and the Beats. For example, editors would solicit Kerouac for articles concerning the Beat Ge neration and then print selections condemning the Beat lifestyle, such as Martin Scotts Hickory, Dickory, Kerouac or the reportage in The Beat Mystique. In one aspect, Playboy tried to co-opt the movement with Kerouac and features such as the Beat Playmat e (Watts 134). But, ultimately, editors used the Beats as a foil to help define Playboys model of masculinity. Playboy aligned itself with the Beats rebellious lifestyle but distanced itse lf from their low-class living. Even though Hefner admired the Beats for their non-conformity and sexual excesses, he was appalled with their disillusionmen t with American capitalism and claimed that Playboy has become, in its first five years, the voice of might be aptly called the Upbeat Generation (qtd. in Watts 134). Whereas t he Beat Generation was known for dropping out of society, Hefners Upbeat Generation embraced American creeds of working hard for social and material succe sses. Hefner used the up to stress the main difference between the two movements: Playboy readers were hardly beat down because they understood that working for a living equated to having a good time. The Beats model of masculinity established the rebellious, free-spirit ed, and sexually charged male persona as a popular model of masculinity for young Ame rican men (Carroll 50). Triggered by Allen Ginsbergs obscenity trials for Howl and Kerouacs success with On the Road, the Beat movement became a national phenomenon associated with cross-country hitchhiking, hipsters, spiritual journeys, and juvenile delinquency. According to Amiri Baraka, the Beat movement involved a distinct reaction to reactionary politics, reactionary life style of American ruling cla ss and sections of the
55 middle class, reaction to conservatism and McCarthyism (Baraka 130). Even though this reaction often lacked a cohesive protest, it created an intense model of ma sculinity. The Beats iconic model was marked by spontaneity, improvisation, and self-ex pression to convey both their deep alienation from consumer society and their rejection of a post-war masculine ideal that stressed hard-work, family responsibility, and s trict heterosexuality (Carroll 49). The Beats rejected the rise of mater ialist values by refusing corporate employment and the availability of mass-produced consumer goods. They interpreted middle-class life as a threat to the individual male spirit. Holly wood and mens magazines, like Playboy, celebrated the Beats supposed personal and sexual freedom as representative of longstanding American ideals of manhood (50). Ge nerally viewing women as sexual objects, the Beats nurtured a defiant masculine subcultur e founded on male comradeship and dedicated to a kind of personal freedom defined by sexual license, casual drug and alcohol use, and literary experimentation ( 50). For the Beats, male bonding was required for the adventures that would lead to spiritual fulfillment. However, this bonding incurred fears of homosexuality and gang viol ence, making the Beats a focal point for mainstream anxieties. Playboy, in particular, promoted the Beats heterosexual indulgence, while ignoring their more transgres sive tendencies. Setting Up the Foil Immediately after the success of On the Road, mens magazines promoted the Beats movement by featuring the Beats as audience draws in their circul ation and status wars (Lee 190). Many magazines engaged in a publishing battle, promoting the B eats literature to a mainstream audience. Playboy editor, Ray Russell actually purchased John H. Kerouacs The Rumbling, Rambling Blues from Sterling Lord sometime in 1957,
56 even though Russell, enjoyed the piece, he did not push publication until Kerouac hit it big after On the Road (Weyr 47). Life magazine covered the Beats after Ginsbergs 1957 trial, and Esquire commissioned John Clellon Holmes for The Philosophy of the Beat Generation in February 1958. In Paul ONeils The Only Rebellion Around, Life observed that the Beats were against virtually every aspect of current American society: Mom, Dad, Politics, Marriage, the Savings Bank, Organized Religion to say nothing of the Automatic Dishwasher, the Cellophane-wrapped Soda Crackers, the SpiltLevel House and the H-Bomb (qtd. in Ehrenreich 53). In 1958, Holiday purchased Kerouacs travel pieces for $2,000 an article. In 1958, Esquire added to its status by purchasing works from Kerouac for its March and May issues. This publishing battle resulted in cultural exposs that focused more on lifestyle than literary accomplishments. A year later, Playboy trumped Esquire by publishing Kerouacs more serious The Origins of the Beat Generation and printing B efore the Road in its December 1959 issue. Life followed with the photo-essay Squaresville U.S.A. vs. Beatnik in 1959 and added its middlebrow weight to the magazine obsession with a disapproving story (Lee 190). Ironically, even these negative representations of the Beats furthered promotion of the beatnik lifestyle (190) Holiday published Kerouacs The Roaming Beatniks in October of 1959. Newsweek got in on the action, publishing Every Man a Beatnik? and Ministers for the Beatniks i n June. In 1960, Kerouac refused Holidays $1,200 offer to write a piece on Canada but published Tangier to LondonA Beatnik Pilgrimage in February and The Vanishing American Hobo in March. Other mens entertainment magazines, such as Swank, Pageant, and Nugget, included Beat prose in the early 1960s; for instance, Swank included Dreamed
57 in My Sleep in its March 1961 issues. Escapade, a slick glossy that competed primarily with Playboy commissioned Kerouac for his The Last Word bi-monthly column between 1959 and 1961. Newsweeks 1963 review of Kerouacs Vision of Gerard labeled him as a tin-eared Canuck, but Holiday ignored the slander and published On the Road with Mother in May 1965 (Maher 385). Playboy seemed to have the last word when it published Kerouacs Good Blonde in 1965. Even when the magazines negatively depicted the Beats, their lifestyle was spread over expensive lay outs in Americas largest circulating magazines (Ehrenreich 65). Focusing on the Beats lifestyle, rather than their literary accomplishments, allowed each magazine to expl oit the movement for particular capitalistic agendas. Playboys exploitation of the Beats, especially Kerouac, often resulted in turbulent relationships between authors and editors. Playboy did not hide its ambivalence for Kerouac and the Beats; in the late 1950s and early 60s editors followed every Beat selection with a negative review or satirical articles. The first hint of these mixed feelings appears in the November 1957 After Hours Book Review of On the Road They describe Kerouacs novel as a far-out tale of a cross-country romp by two articulate members of the beat generation (17). Seemingly proud of the cha racters lifestyle of hitchhiking, stealing, loving, digging cool jazz and yakking, editors state that they live life furiously (17). As in Norman Mailers White Ne gro, the hipster lifestyle is revered because there is much drink, all kinds of dopes, there are poet s, jazzmen, whores and plenty of sex (17). The last line of the review foreshadows the tumultuous relationship between so-called hipster and sophisticated playboy: Nevertheless, Road is a disturbing book, a sharpies travelog full of literary
58 Weltschmerz, jazz slanguage (sic) and the frenetic doings of a bunch of sensitive, patheticbut interestingcats (18). By using Weltschmerz, a word coined by Jean Paul to describe romantic writers pessimistic worldview, editors illustr ate the connection they see between the Beats and the romantic authors. Editors depict the Beats as an empathetic group saddened by the realities of Cold War America, but they were too affected by post-World War II traumas, causing editors to label them pathetic. Beats may pursue the same acquisitions of a playboyjazz, women, and quality literat urebut because they ruminate on suffering, they are little more than interes tingcats (18). The success of On the Road, however, encouraged editors to publish Kerouacs The Rumbling, Rambling Blues for the January 1958 issue. The Rumbling, Rambling Blues is a complex vignette, which includes the characteristics that would later make up Kerouacs Legend of Duluoz. The s hort sketch is set in a post-war Des Moines diner and contains typical characteristics of Kerouacs literary style: a young, seeking narrator; an older, wiser vagrant; fir st person narration; romanticized Others; and the pull of the road. The simple plot consists of a young narrator, Slim, serving an old African American hobo from the Southern swamps. In exchange for a meal, the hobo sings the blues. In his first song, he sings about trave lling north, to Montana, in search of his father. Most of Kerouacs characters in his oeuvre search for their fathers, and Montana holds particular importance for Kerouac because it symbolizes both the origin of the Missouri River and the land of the macho father (Jones 247). To characterize the hobo, Kerouac uses a regional dialect: He pronounced his words so darkly I had to ask him what they meant: nine-tunny-na was nineteen twenty nine, polan-may was Portland, Maine (71). The adjective darkly refers both
59 to the hobos dark skin and his swamp homeland. But when Slim claims that [p]rint cant read like he sounded, so mournful, hoarse, and swampy-like, Kerouac implies tha t this poor African American needs a white translator; what the hobo has experienc ed cannot be known or expressed in print. Kerouac idealizes the hobos dialect: Slim assumes he has the earthly knowledge of a witch-doctor, and knows they will me et at least once more on the road (71). What seems like a merely unusual interlude during down-time in a small city diner is actually a prophetic meeting for the young narrator (Jones 250). Before the counterman heads to the rail yard, he warns that Slim is a river log aint rolling because he has become CAUGHT in a snag where the witch doc tor lie down with the snake (71). Slim knows of the logs that come down from Montana: Odyssiac logs, stately wanderers, moving slowly with satisfaction and e ternity down wide night shores out to sea (71). The logs represent those Cold War wanderers that refuse to partake in mainstream culture. And even though Slim does not fully understa nd the hobos allegory, he follows his lead, packs his bags, and hops a freight in search of a father figure. Kerouacs style in The Rumbling, Rambling Blues resembles the experim ental style found in On the Road, but it was most likely written a decade before (Jones 248) As opposed to On the Road, the composition of The Rumbling, Rambling Blues is much more rough and includes random breaks in dialogue and the lack of transitions. In Playboys Playbill, editors advertise the text as every bit as beautifully exec uted as his praise-garnering novel (2). But readers were not as equally impressed wi th Kerouacs first Playboy publication. Always scrupulous with selecting the amount and quality of the responses that would be published in Dear Playboy responses, editors printed two
60 letters about this story in April 1958: one praising Kerouac as the most refres hing young writer to grace [ Playboys ] pages and one begging Kerouac to do more travelling and less writing (5). These divided letters represent the ambivalent feeling s Playboy itself had towards Kerouacs literary style. Editors enjoy including his work because of his fame, but they never praise Kerouacs style or the characters he create d. Kerouacs characters refuse to participate in the rising, domesticated, m iddleclass. The hero of this sketch, the best bum of all the bums walked the American nig ht just as he was wearing only burlap pants and a greasy apron (57). He needs nothing el se to survive, and, without the desire for mass-produced products, he seems out of place in the sea of advertisements Playboy began printing as early as 1955. Because Playboys audience could afford the $0.50 cover price in 1958, it could hardly associate with Kerouacs and his characters poverty level. The unnamed counterman only has one lead nickel for coffee, and Slim does not have enough money to leave Des Moines (57). Kerouacs glorified depiction of poverty, as well as African American suf fering, allows his white narrator to reflect on his plight while deflecting the difficultie s of the marginalized other (Holten 275). Slim states that the hobo represents all those postwar victims, those that possessed a suffering that was seamed into the flesh, face and neck (57). Playboy editors most likely did not want their readers to experience this kind of suffering. Kerouacs idyllic depiction of the African American counterman in The Rumbling, Rambling Blues parallels Playboys depiction of the victimized, white male. This early illustration of a hobo reflects Kerouacs adoration of what he calls t he fellaheen peoples of the world. Kerouac uses fellaheen to describe his f eelings of
61 solidarity with peasants, people of color, and people living at or below the poverty line Kerouacs fellaheen work the earth with their hands or wander in search of enlightenment. Kerouac, through his white characters, patronizingly flatter [s] these fellaheen with suggestions that their lives are idyllic and charmed, free of White worry, white responsibility, White inhibitions (Richardson 225). In Kerouacs narratives his fellaheen are actually freer than white, middle-class Americans Norman Mailer in the The White Negro and Existential Errands posits similar claims, but usually with an intent to outrage and always with a hint of irony. For instance, in Existential Errands, Mailer wickedly claims that African Americans are suffici ently fortunate to be alienated from the benefits of American civilization (Richardson 230; Mailer Existential 270). In Kerouacs weird revival of the plantation tale, the white character s describe themselves as repressed even as they oppress others (Richardson 226). Like Kerouac and Mailer, Playboy uses cultural discourse, such as Philip Wylies Womanization of America, to depict persecuted males. Kerouacs idealization of the poor, the negro, or the hipster does not prove that his white characters actually know poverty. Kerouac, and his wandering heroes, alw ays have a financial sponsoran aunt, a mother, or a friend who willingly sends money. The hobo in The Rumbling, Rambling Blues or the old Negro cotton pickers in On the Road do not have the same luxury. Appalled at Kerouacs emulation of the poor, James Baldwin claims that any reference to happy American Negroes in the 1950s is a bsolute nonsense, and offensive nonsense at that ( Nobody 231). In Nobody Knows My Name Baldwin dares Kerouac to declare how African Americans are better off than t heir white counterparts from the stage of Harlems Apollo Theater (231). This abomina ble
62 culture of racism from privileged, white males mirrors mid-cent ury arguments about the feminization of America (Richardson 226). The rise of the companionate nucle ar family, the entrance of women into workforce, and the praise of the domesticated mal e reinforced the trope of the mid-century masculinity crisis. But men, especia lly white, heterosexual men, were still afforded the freedoms denied to African Amer icans and women. To appease its white, heterosexual audience, Playboy often reiterated the need for men to reclaim domesticated and public realms. Throughout the Cold War, Playboy promoted its virile masculinity model; charging into the battle of the sexes, Playboy claimed that men were in need of remasculinization because women had come to dominate all domains: culture, style, consumption, sex, and marriage (Gilbert 210). According to Playboy columnists like Philip Wylie, this she-tyranny, had created an emasculated majority. Playboy even created a symposium on the Cold War masculinity malaise; in 1962, Playboy gathered Norman Mailer, Herbert Mayes, Alexander King, Edward Bernays, Ernst Dichter, Ashley Montagu, Theodor Reik, and Mort Sahl for the Womanization of America Panel. Comparing Kerouacs free fella heen with dominating women suggests how both Kerouacs fiction and Playboys ethos simultaneously create and reveal American cultural fictions; the magaz ine could selectively use Kerouacs The Rumbling, Rambling Blues to show how some Americans are not bound by anything, even a woman. Because Playboys grand narrative relies on reminding men of their virility, editors need to reproduce cultural myths regarding the victimization of white men. The mixed reader reviews of The Rumbling, Rambling Blues encouraged editors to publish The Beat Mystique the following month. A tri-part dissection of t he
63 Beats, The Beat Mystique was written by Herbert Gold, Sam Boal, and N oel Clad. Gold degrades all that is Beat, while Boal and Clad satirizes the Beat lif estyle. Applying Betty Freidans familiar title, The Feminine Mystique, to its report on the Beats allows Playboy editors to demean feminist movements, feminize the Beats, and remind possible female readers that they are not the primary audience. In a six page rant, Gol d accuses the Beats of being addicted to heroin and embracing far-out religions in a fever of despair (86). They do not even deserve to invoke their literary forefathersRimbaud, Vil lon, and Genetbecause unlike the American literary hipster, Rimbaud, Villon, and Gene t were true outcasts: they did not pick themselves up by the seat of their own pants a nd toss themselves out. They were driven by class difference and economic press ure (85). According to Gold, the Beats soul, sense of meaning, individual dignity has been excised; as hipsters, they were the victim[s] of the most hopeless condit ion of slaverythe slave who does not know he is a slave and is proud of his slavery, calling it freedom (86, 87). Viewing Beats and hipsters as nihilists joining an empt y fad, Gold claims the Beats become asexual, a sexual zero (84). Because of their dr ug induced state and the desperate need to be cool, Gold invalidates the main connection between the Beats and the playboy: sexual pleasure. To offset the demeaning language i n The Beat Mystique, the Playbill and editors praise the Beats as a national phenom enon which knows no barriers of ageor economic or social status in their in-house introduction (20). The Playbill even mimics Kerouacs rambling, alliterative, long lines: backwards roll the sentences till reels the mind which dips into the deep-freez e of coolsville and comes up with a penetrating and peppy triple-decker report (3) Yet descriptions like off-beat, infiltrates, and angry, roving youngster s, belie editors
64 true feelings. The subtitle is less than subtle: aspects of the new nihilis mfrozen faced, far out, devoid of normal meaning (20). Instead of condemning the Beats in their introduction, editors allow Herbert Gold to humiliate them. Much of what Gold says about the Beats is true; they used drugs, got kicks out of stealing cars, and rejected unnecessary consumption. Even though Kerouac claimed, on television spots and in other interviews, that the Beats are into everything from Billy Graham, the Big Ten, rock and roll, Zen, apple pie, Eisenhowerwe dig it all, Gold depicts them as completely tuned out. Gold focuses his rant on Kerouac because he felt that he was just a jock, anti-Semitic, and a creep from the beginning (Be eber). In The Beat Mystique Gold fails to mention his long-time friendship with A llen Ginsberg or how he often patronized the same Greenwich coffee shops as the Beats. It was not until the 1970s that Gold admitted that he was pretty hard on them in his Playboy sketch (Weyr 48). His humiliating chronicle was most likely requested by Playboy editors; Spectorsky often asked regular contributors to write real blast -off..bang-up, furious non-fiction pieces in order to sell more issues (Gilbert 211). A Playboy contributor since 1954, Gold debased the Beats so that Playboy editors did not have to. With Golds article, Playboy editors could demean the movement without being responsible for the attack. Editors did not want to directly humiliate Kerouacra ther they wanted to present themselves as identifying with the Beats rebellio us traits, while indirectly critiquing their rejection of conspicuous consumption. In After Hours reviews, Playboy editors reveal that they wanted Kerouac to contribute to the magazine for his literary fame, not his lifestyle. In the August 1958 After Hours Book Review of Gene Feldman's and Max Gartenberg's The Beat
65 Generation and the Angry Young Men, Kerouac and the Beats are deemed heroes of post-war fiction (10). This anthology included works from Beat authors as well a s commentary by literary or cultural critics. Playboy editors claim that they are disappointed that their own The Beat Mystique did not make it into the anthologized pages (10). They assume Feldman and Gartenberg excluded the Playboy article because it put the finger on the nihilist anti-social anti-creative elements in the beat mystique, which subverts the movements generally adulatory premise (10). Regar dless of their disappointment, Playboy still endorses the bloody cool collection because Feldman and Gartenberg have introduced the Beats as reacting to a world they never madethe latter in a search for sensation, a 'sordid dance of violence and pain,' the former by strangl ing their 'betters' with their old school ties (10). From editorial reaction to F eldmans and Gartenbergs anthology, it is clear that editors simply wanted Playboy to be associated with the movement for its popular status, rather than its literature. As long as Kerouac remained in the literary spotlight, he provided Playboy with more material to boost its cultural currency. Editors continued to use Kerouac as a foil to their Upbeat Generation by flip-flopping between their appreciation for, and disda in of, the author. For instance, after publishing a negative review of The Dharma Bums in its October 1959 issue, editors champion Kerouac once again by publishing Before the Road in December 1959. Kerouacs 33-page manuscript detailed Neal Cassadys Denver poolroom days during World War II. Spanning 17 magazine pages, Before the Road discusses what the Beat had been in a time before the fame and the disil lusionment that followed. This portion of Visions of Cody is often hailed as Kerouacs modernist masterpiece for its sheer linguistic boldness and exuberance (Amburn 172). When
66 Kerouac could not get his seminal work published with Viking Press, Playboy snapped up this excerpt. Escapade, Transatlantic Review, Oui, New Directions and The Moderns each paid for other excerpts from Visions but Playboy was the first to publish. In the typescript, Kerouac made over 200 corrections and a Playboy editor made additional punctuation and spelling corrections (Christies). The typescript and galle ys show how Kerouac fashioned his most ebulliently lusty style as if intending to explore the full resources of Cassadys gusto and enthusiasm for living (Tytell 178). In Naked Angels, John Tytell claims that this text was written with amazing inventiveness stylistic freedom, and originality and proves to be Kerouac at his best (Tytell 178). Even if Playboy editors did not agree with the critical acclaim, they did want to be the first magazine to catalogue this American popular culture event. During 1959, Playboy included the Beats or representations of the Beats in more than half of its issues. In June, they commissioned Kerouac for The Origins of the B eat Generation, a revision of a speech he gave at Hunter College. The in-house editorial introduction praises him for sounding depths hitherto not plumbed, dispelling widespread misconceptions, debunking phonies ..to reaffirm his faith in the basic principles of true Beat (31). Editors go so far as to state that it is their pl easure and privilege to publish this statement here (31). The Origins begs readers t o take the Beats literary accomplishments seriously. In the article, Kerouac c laims the movement is an American one, as it is rooted in American music, language, and popular cultur e. In the next issue, editors publish three new Beat poems: Kerouacs To Harpo Marx , Ginsbergs To Lindsay, and Gregory Corsos Made by Hand (44-5). The t wo-page spread, containing photos of poetry readings in coffee houses, helps to introduce Julys
67 Beat Playmate, Yvette Vickers. Vickers poses nude like every other Pl aymate, and editors stress that she is a typical woman from the Beat generation. With Jim Morands Coffee Houses of America and The Beat Playmate, Playboy had once again used the Beats as puppets. The men displayed in Morands photo-spread are better dressed than most authentic Beats. Even the Beat Playmate appears better off financially than most women associated with the Beat Ge neration. and her Hollywood aspirations make her far from representative of the girls who inha bit the beat coffee houses (47). According to her brief bio, what defines her as a Beat is that she has strong opinions, love for poetry and classical music, and a reckless nature that encourages to jag race cars in the desert for kicks. The editors word choice r eveals that they do not mind this kind of Beat because even if she is more than a bit of a rebel, she frown[s] prettily on conformity (47). Her full-color spread proves exactly what kind of Beat Playboy editors appreciatehalf naked, Yvette is surrounded by an open book of verse, a bottle of wine, mismatched half-full wine glasses, an overflowing ashtray, and vinyl. With her hand on the record player and bright red lipstick on her face, she is an audience-appropriate representation of the Beat Generation. Reader response proves that editors had struck the proper balancemore focus on the nude, Beat model than on the Beat poetry. The October 1959 Dear Playboy contains seventeen letters about its Beat coverage. Eight of those letters ar e short praises for Yvette that include beatnik word play; for example, J. Calder Joseph of Orlando, FL, writes that the poetry was tops and the Playmate a real sweetnik (8). Only one letter condemns editors for their pretty corny publicity gimmick (8). Other lett ers question why editors are giving such a large emphasis to the beatnik ideology or printi ng their
68 poetry (11). One lengthy letter complains of all the Beat attention and sugge sts that there is no such thing as the Beat Generation, only a scattering of goofballs uttering animal whimpers of protest while belting themselves silly with drink (12). This l etter warns of the high rates of juvenile delinquency and compares Beat stylistics to t he hysterical yip of a frustrated virgin who has been unexpectedly goosed (12). Four letters l abel the poetry The Beat Sound as pure tripe, utter drivel, and lousy (11). Only one letter praises Playboy for giving the Beats a chance to be read so that the general public can make its own conclusions. While Playboy might have offered the general public a chance to read the Beats, it most definitely had already come to its own conclusiont he Beats were good for business. Any attention, even if it is negative, is good attention. Playboy editors negative discussions and reviews of Kerouac must have made some readers wonder why his contributions continued to appear in the magazine. For instance, in March 1958 editors published Scott Martins Hickory, Dickory, Kerouac, a satire about mice on the go. In November of that year, they commissioned satir ist John D. Keefauver to write an appreciative parody that echoes Lawrence Fer linghettis poetry. And four years later, in the same September After Hours Book Revie w that praises James Baldwins Another Country, editors reviewed Kerouacs Big Sur. The basis of the reviewthat Big Sur is a rehash of On the Road is fundamentally correct; Kerouacs work mainly functioned as extended autobiographies. Besides the autobiographical nature of the novel, editors take issue with his experimental sty le; Kerouac relied heavily on dashes to separate time lapses and thoughts in the novel. Playboys obvious prejudices against Kerouacs style forced them to heavily edit his typed manuscripts. For example, The Beat Generation manuscript contained tw o
69 poems that editors refused to publish: Harpo, Ill Always Love You and Loves multitudinous boneyard. (Although Harpo was later published in Beat Sound.) Editorial sheets advise to allow Kerouac a measure of freedom in punc. Etc, but put in those apostrophes (Christies). Editorial markings and a number of penciled de letions appear on the typed manuscripts for each of Kerouacs selections. Editorial ma rks reveal that editors were particularly perturbed by Kerouacs habit of leaving the gs off of his gerunds. In a review of Vision of Cody, editors discuss Kerouacs stylistic excesses: his metaphors stumble over each other in various stages of disarray; his se nsitivity slips into sentimentality; and he has a patchwork philosophy (4). And yet, edi tors continued to ask him for contributions over the next decade. A mere three years afte r the negative Visions of Cody review, Playboy commissioned Kerouac to write Good Blonde. And after the Beat movement had waned, Playboy published Holmes moving obituary of Kerouac in February 1973. This strange move to memorialize Kerouac after years of debasing him reinforces Playboys central concerncultural currency. Playboy needed to include Kerouacs works because they stressed the popular Beat life style. Unlike the restrictions placed on him by Playboy Escapade encouraged Kerouac to write about anything that moved him. A direct Playboy competitor Escapade featured Nelson Algren and Ray Bradbury, as well as articles on Hemingway and Saling er (Birmingham). In his Kerouac biography, Tom Clark claims that Escapade was one of the few outlets that had no prejudice against Kerouac, his lifestyle, o r his writing style (Clark xii). Kerouacs Last Word columns have a preoccupation with real lif e real things and real people (Clark xii). In them, Kerouac writes on jazz the literary scene, Zen Buddhism, baseball, history, and politics. Unlike the work he offered
70 Playboy, these columns did not chronicle the hot, racy, underground culture or the sexually hip (Birmingham). Rather, they reveal the nostalgic and conse rvative side of Kerouac that fully emerged in the 1960s (Birmingham). For instance, in an astute column on the literary scene, Kerouac explains why he refuses to use the conventiona l English sentence in his prose. He claims that shame keeps artists from composing a true sentence ( Good 145). He also suggests that the best of American Literature has not been published yet because critics and editors have been engaged in a campai gn of systematic rejection of everything except the most systematic manus cripts (Kerouac, Good 147). In these non-fiction columns, Kerouac proves that he can, when he chooses to, abide by the conventions of standard American English. His call for artists to create unabashed language suggests that he does not want the political climate to conta in authors. Never organized fully or driven enough for political activism, the Beats championed personal and spiritual liberation rather than a social revolution. But in his seventh Last Word column, Kerouac offers political commentary on the Cold War climate. He condemns the American free press for bending to the times and as suming that the the news has got to be bad for anyone to follow it ( Good 161, 162). Kerouac reminds readers that if he defends artists or Nikita Khrushchev, he should not be brande d a Communist. Most likely Kerouac would not have been able to discuss the political climate, or speak for things, in his Playboy contributions (Creeley xii). Playboys manipulative presentation, liberal editing, and undermining reviews constrained Kerouac to writing strictly about the Beats so that it could continue to use him as a foil. The relationship between Playboy and the Beats signifies how aggressively the empire fulfilled its capitalistic agenda. By using Kerouac as a foil, t he magazine serves
71 more than one audiencereaders that enjoyed Kerouacs works are genuinely please d by his inclusion in the magazine and those that are not can take pleasure from editori al content like Golds The Beat Mystique. In Reaching for Paradise, Thomas Weyr documents how the magazines ambivalent perspective on the Beats, and Kerouac specifically, allowed readers to enter the ongoing cultural discourse sur rounding the Beats and nonconformity in general. Playboy could also go on record as having displayed and confronted the movement (Weyr 49). It competed with other mens magazines cover ing the Beats and offered a more in-depth, cultural analysis than The New York Times and Newsweek ever could. Kerouacs exposure also forced the magazine to reconsider its playboy ethic. Russell remembers that we liked the sort of freedom they espouse d, and we were in favor of any kind of sexual liberation, as long as it was heterosexua l lib But we also felt that there was a lot in it counter to what we promoted (qtd. in W eyr 49). Russell reiterates how the Beats, with their sandaled, dirty feet, and t heir antiestablishment attitude did not mesh well with Playboys objective. Russell states: We were telling people how to make out, not just with girls, but in business and in their jobs (qtd. in Weyr 49). Hefner agrees that, as an interesting phenomenon, the B eats did not fit the magazines ethos (qtd. in Weyr 49). Hefner even admits in an intervie w that editors were apt to give them a shot one time and a compliment at another ( qtd. in Weyr 49). What Weyr fails to mention in his chronicle of this relationship is t hat Kerouac, accordingly to his letters, was an unsuspecting foil. Working-for-hire at the height of his career, Kerouac willingly wrote for Playboy Because Playboy paid Kerouac so handsomely for his work, between $500 and $2,000 per piece, he never questioned the magazines quality as a publishing venue. He even
72 persuaded other members of the Beat generation to submit their work to Playboy In a 1962 letter to Holmes, Kerouac dismisses Esquire as bunch of arty faggots for rejecting Holmes excerpts (Charters, Selected Letters Vol I 337). Kerouac tells Holmes to have his work sent directly to Thomas Payne at Playboy because he is [his] buddy (Charters, SL Vol I, 337). Kerouac writes that Spectorsky has the final say but he was the one, remember, who published my Out of the Poolhall to perfection without one typo error (Charters, SL Vol I 337-8). In January 1962, editors apparently informed Kerouac that Playboy wanted to devote a whole edition to one of his novels, similar to Lifes entire Ernest Hemingway Old Man and the Sea issue (Charters, SL Vol I 322). But in all likelihood, Playboy had no intention of devoting an entire issue to the Beat because of its ambivalent attitude toward the Beats and its dislike of Kerouacs pros e. Playboys choice to simultaneously solicit Kerouac for his work and to share its prejudices suggests that Playboy selectively borrowed from popular 1950s figures to create its model of masculinity. Coupled with his fame in literary circles Playboy seemed to rely on Kerouacs good looks. According to Jed Birmingham, a William Burroughs scholar, Kerouac looked like James Dean and Marlon Brando [and] could write (Birmingham). Salvador Dali went farther and pronounced Kerouac as mor e beautiful than Marlon Brando (Douglas ii). His good looks could have propelled Playboy to publish his photographs and his prose. Editors used him the same way they used Yvette Vickers, as a sweetnik. To further Birminghams claim, Playboy exploited Kerouac looks and his supposed heterosexuality. Interested first and foremost in fa ade, Playboy needed a good-looking, straight member of the Beat Generation as a foil to its grand narrative. Editors could not have published works by Ginsberg or Burroughs
73 because of their blatant homosexualityeven though they cultivated a homosexua l identity that was defiant, rebellious, and masculine (Carroll 5). The Cold War s Lavender Scare and consumer capitalism encouraged Playboy to simultaneously use and abuse Kerouac. Good Blonde as a Cold War Text Playboy printed Good Blonde in a tour-de-force issue including the renowned interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stories by Vladimir Nabokov, P.G Wodehouse, Ray Bradbury, and Harold Pinter, and satire by Woody Allen and Shel Silverstein. The interview gave Dr. King a forum to discuss his philosophy of nonviolence and explain the reality of African American despair that had bec ome manifest in the riots of the previous summer (Fraterrigo 148). Other articles in the December 1965 issue present a slice of American Cold War culture. J. Paul G etty writes of The Psychology of Personnel Management; Wodehouse comments on the contemporary nuclear crisis in Bingo Bans the Bomb; and Sir Julian Huxley wa rns that the population growth will overwhelm physical resources and global institutions (Watts 194). Decembers Playboy Philosophy includes a discussion of religion and Reverend Harvey Coxs praise of the magazine. All of this is sober content for a maga zine that once promised no interest in the worlds problems (Fraterrigo 148). But, of course, Playboy is very interested in the worlds problems and its cultural occurrences. Embedded within this serious content is Kerouacs Good Blonde. The story describes an actual encounter Kerouac experienced while hitchhiking from M exico City to California in September 1955. Kerouac was picked up by a young, blond female in a 1955 Mercury Montclair. The woman was returning to San Francisco after visiting her
74 family in Texas; she stopped to pick up Kerouac on U.S. 101 outside of Santa Barbara wearing only a strapless, white bathing suit. Kerouac wrote: I was bloody w ell afraid to look at her, the curl of her milk armpits, the flesh of her cream legs, the cream, le gs, curls, milk, wow did I love that, not looking, but giggling (Charters, SL Vol I, 522). To make the trip without stopping, Kerouac shared with her his ample supply of Mexican Benzedrine. They talked while she pushed her Mercury to speeds over a hundred. She told Kerouac how everyone in Texas was getting stoned and even tobacco-che wing farmers were beginning to cultivate loco weed in their yards (Amburn 220) According to a letter Kerouac wrote to Holmes, she was the sweetest litt le perfect everything you know (Charters, SL Vol I, 522). The blond dropped him off at the South San Francisco rail yards, exchanging empty promises to meet again. This chance encounter impressed Kerouac, and he used the incident in his novel, The Dharma Bums, before expanding it into a short story. When Kerouac described the good blonde in a letter to Holmes, he declared that the peace and happiness the Beat s had forecast in 1948 was coming true; President Eisenhower was dismantling the military-industrial complex, and war would soon be a thing of the past (Amburn 220). Because Kerouac obviously thought this experience was a good omen, he strategica lly used it in his fictionboth as a parenthetical aside and as a short story. As a parenthetical aside, Kerouac uses the ride to get one of his main characters to t he Six Gallery reading of Howl, the most pivotal event of the Beat Generation. The expanded version of this encounter marks one of Kerouacs full immersions in the short story ge nre. Like the rest of the Beats, Kerouac relied on the novel and poetry for self-expr ession. His
75 other published short fiction, categorized as short stories, are really just exc erpts from longer works. Good Blonde is a simply an extended version of a parenthetical snippet from The Dharma Bums. Written in response to Malcolm Cowleys 1957 request for an On the Road sequel The Dharma Bums was a real American book and [had] an optimistic American ring of the woods in it (qtd. in Theado 152). As frontiersmen, the main characters reveal their rootlessness and offer readers a glimpse int o 1950s San Francisco Bay culturefrom the growing Buddhist following to the nightlife on the bay. Finished in ten marathon caffeine induced sessions, The Dharma Bums contains barely any of Kerouacs experimental prose; it is told linearly, contains identifiable c haracters, and maintains a controlled style. After reading it, New York Times Book Review columnist J. Donald Adams revised his original opinion of Kerouac as a hack stylist: Offhand I would say that when Kerouac sets his mind to it he can describe the world of physic al experience better than anyone since Hemingway. When he writes unaffecte dly and unselfconsciously, but with control, he writes very well indeed (qtd. in Theado 153). With Good Blonde, Kerouac returns to his preferred exploratory style, defyi ng Playboys desire for a more contained style (Jones 140). Poised between an introduction to Buddhism and simply another journey across America, The Dharma Bums includes a fitting Cold War narratorone initially full of post-war hope. Told in the past tense, the novel opens with the narrator, Ray, hopping freights outside of Los Angeles. Ray shares his necessities (wine, a lit tle bread, Mexico City cheese, and some candy) with an old bum who spoke from far away inside a litt le meek voice-box afraid or unwilling to assert himself (281). Originally pleas ed with his
76 charity, Ray eerily foreshadows the changes in his mentality and age. He becomes very critical of his post-war devotions. Ray tells readers that he has now grown old and a little hypocritical about [his] lip-service and a little tired and cynical (282). The elongated ellipses, in the original manuscript, suggest Rays drastic demise in m entality. Immediately after the war, Ray really believed in the reality of c harity and kindness and humility and zeal and neutral tranquility and wisdom and ecstasy (282). The majori ty of the plot details his optimistic tale, but it is told from a distant, unenthusiastic na rrator. This narrative technique allows Kerouac to frame Rays long, post-adolesce nt journey as a spiritual journey of personal and national dimensions (Richardson 219). Rays personal journey has national dimensions because it exposes mid-century tensionsa tragically-optimistic narrator wanders through a hopeful, doomed decade (Ric hardson 220). With Ray, and his other narrators, Kerouac critiques the utopian and dystopian aspects of the Cold War culture. Rays waning sense of happiness represents the tragic optimism of 1950s Cold War American culture. From the constant crisscrossing of America, Ker ouacs characters show an America that is promise and piety on the one hand, wickedness and fraud on the other (Richardson 219). Mark Richardson connects Kerouacs tragically optimis tic works to a Young Goodman Brown sort of story (219). Richardson argues that On the Road invokes both dystopian and utopian possibilities: tumbledown holy America ( On the Road 251). Kerouac explores the seediness and grace of American Cold War culture This tension can be easily transferred to Good Blonde. For instance, while wait ing about a half hour to hitch a ride, the narrators anger becomes palpable: I got madder and madder and finally I was swearing to myself I will never hitchhike a gain, its getting
77 worse and worse every goddamn year (146). A few breathless sentences lat er, at the moment when [he] was the maddest, and was standing there, thumb out, completely infuriated and so much so that [his] eyes were slitted, [his] teeth clenched, a ca r pulls over. The following sentences are stripped down and direct: I couldnt believe it I figured she wanted road information. I picked up my pack and ran (146). The change in sentence structure signifies the narrators shifting moods. Similar to R ay, the narrator of Good Blonde seems to be torn between believing in the hearthside American ide als and recognizing Cold War tragedies. Kerouac composed his characters during cultural upheavals like the American National Security State, the Civil Rights Movement, the Organizational Ma n, suburban sprawl, and red-lining. Defense spending quadrupled; 1950 witnessed the beginning the Korean Conflict, the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War. Th e United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb in Eniwetok Atoll in 1952. Fear and hysteria escal ated with the Rosenbergs trial and execution. In Mad Beast, Jean-Paul Sartr e describes the palpable fear of the Cold War: In killing the Rosenbergs, you simply tried to stop scientific progress by a human sacrifice. Magic, witch hunts, autos-dafe, sacrifices: we've reached that point. Your country is sick with fear. You're afraid of every thing: the Russians, the Chinese, the Europeans. You're afraid of each other. You're afrai d of the shadow of your own bomb. Ah, what fine allies you make! (210). Sartre laughs at United States officials desire to assume global leadership. He writ es And you would like to lead us! You are leading us to war out of terror, and you'd lose it out of panic at the first bombardment (210). His simplified explication reflects the tension be tween
78 dystopia and utopia; the United States wanted to be a hopeful leader and, yet, that hope was often trumped by a culture of fear and containment. Kerouacs characters often refer to Cold War culture. For instance, Ray w ants the whole world to be as dead serious about food as Japhy rather than concerning itself with silly rockets and machines and explosives using everybodys f ood money to blow their heads off anyway (Kerouac, Dharma, 217). Ray wishes to escape the regular hell of Los Angeles because it is an industrial jungle (137, 117). He bemoans the sad pattern of conformity as people experience a uniform response to televisi on programs and describes the mass of young men dressed in gray suits scurrying to thei r office jobs (39, 131). Dean and Sal, in On the Road, pass by Washington D.C. on President Trumans inauguration day; they remark on the great displays of war might lined up along Pennsylvania Avenue There were B-29s, PT boats, artillery, all kinds of war material that looked murderous in the snowy grass (Kerouac 112). They comment on the Victorian police force involved in psychological warfare; the police force peers out of musty windows and inquires about everything (113). Old Bull Lee rants about predatory bureaucracies and the big grab between Washington and Moscow (221). Throughout his works, Kerouacs characters ask the essential Cold War questionsWho are Americans? Are we the chosen or the damned? (Richardson 221). The narrator of the Good Blonde questions American cultural illusions regardi ng conformity, counter-culture, and models of masculinity. The answer to these questi ons is usually a peculiar optimism that always has a haggard air of defeat abou t it (221). Kerouacs narrators subsist on apple pie and ice cream, consistently go west and dig everything. Readers are left to infer that to live in faith and goodwill is a lso to labor
79 under a fortunate illusionunder the dominating power of belief; to be digging everything is somehow willingly to be subject to a con (222). With his works, Keroua c catches the moments optimism, while playing down its darker side. Beyond the tragic optimism, The Dharma Bums and Good Blonde explore why Cold War America became fascinated with Buddhism. While Americans had been producing and consuming Asia symbolically for the previous century and a half, American Buddhism coalesced as a religion during the early Cold War (Klein 4) Interest in eastern religions in the United States had been increasing since the 1940s (Doug las xi). After World War II, and most likely in part because of the war, America ns looked East: journalists documented the atom bomb, playwrights brought Okinawa onto Broadway, political observers traced historical roots, restaurants surrounded patrons in Pol ynesian chic, and lecturers, like Alan Watts, popularized Zen Buddhism (Klein 2-4). D.T. Suzuki lectured on Buddhism at Columbia during the 1950s and Buddhism continued to grow (Douglas xi). The heightened focus on Buddhism revealed the crisis of belief t hat marred a post-war era, one that could concurrently embrace Playboy and evangelism. Ann Charters notes that, in July 1958, Time stated that Zen Buddhism is growing more chic by the moment, and even Mademoiselle intelligently covered the movement. Rod Phillips scholarship on nature in Beat literature suggests that Buddhism offe red the Beats a way to transcend Cold War American culture; culturally, mainstream A merica was routinely offered two choicesSoviet-style communism or American capi talism, democracy and all that went with it (Douglas 23). Calvin Steinmetz explained that Buddhism is interesting to some of the best minds in the West because it is diffe rent enough from westernized religions that the contrast is striking (qtd. in Masa tsugu 447).
80 Like it did for Hinduism, Buddhism offered a middle path for some Americansmost notably for the Beats, who envisioned Buddhist teaching and practice as an alterna tive path toward meaning, peace, and spirituality in an increasingly material istic and unstable Cold War world (Masatsugu 428). The Beats, like other San Francisco Bay c onverts, were haunted by the unparalleled destruction of World War II and the increa sing prospect of nuclear war (Masatsugu 439). The Beats envisioned a future ful l of monk figures who rejected Cold War materialism and likened cycles of production and consumption to the samsara (the Buddhist view of the endless cycle of birth and death) (Masatsugu 441). In their rejection of materialism, the Beats had come to reco gnize one of Buddhisms four noble truths: that all life is suffering. The Beats search for comfort in religion is similar to Playboys search for a few laughs and a little diversion from the anxieties of the Atomic Age (3, Dec .1953). The Beats, like the Transcendentalists before them, looked to eastern religions and mythologies. Douglas posits that Kerouacs turn East is due to rereading T horeaus Walden. The Transcendentalists movement, like the Beats, marked a crisis and a renewal of belief (Douglas 19). John Tytell claims that the Transcendental ists encouraged Kerouacs aggressive idealism, his distrust of machines and industry his desire to return to the origins of mans relations to the land (4). Like the Be ats, the Transcendentalists felt betrayed by the organized, productive society of the ir day and said NO to the prevailing mores in the name of an individualistic search for myst ical unity (Gelpi 60). The shared sense of betrayal encouraged the Beats to define themselves against domesticity and consumerism and align themselves with racialized figures at the margins of white, heterosexual, middle-class America for inspiration
81 (Masatsugu 439). The role of the exoticized Oriental played into the Beats c onstruction of an alternative vision. When Kerouac crafts a vision of Buddhism as an Oriental alternative to white middle-class culture, he critiques Cold War cultural anxieties regarding the Other. Kerouac continues this problematic embrace of the Other in Good Blonde. Unlike The Dharma Bums or On the Road Good Blonde does not begin with the narrator noting that the good times are already over. Rather, the narrator introduces an old Greek who reminds him of his east-coast uncle, and the work presents a dialogue that is full of possibility. After the first descriptive paragraph characterizing the old Greek as a father, or uncle figure, Kerouac immediately begins a dialogue without specific refer ents: What do you think? You think all this is a dream? What? Life. Here? Now? What you mean a dream, were awake, we talk, we see, we got eyes for to see the sea and the sand and the sky, if you dream you no see it. How we know were not dreaming? Look my eyes are open aint they? He watched me as I washed my dishes and put things away. (145) As a point of departure, the conversations between the old Greek and the narrator parall el The Dharma Bums use of Buddhism In Good Blonde, Kerouacs narrator asks specific questions regarding the illusion of life and references mediation practices t hat include washing dishes. He seems to want to share basic principles of Buddhism with the older character, without alienating him. Kerouac even makes the narrator sound equal ly
82 foreign as the old Greek. By removing the auxiliary do in the question How we know?, Kerouac aligns his narrator with his non-native old Greek. Directly afte r the old Greek watches the narrator put his dishes away, the narrator states Im going to try to hitchhike to San Francisco or catch a freight, I dont wanta wait till tonight (145). By not including any prologue or reference to his travels, readers can only infer that the old Greek was aware of the narrators plans. The old Greek responds with You mens always in a hurry, hey, he he he he laugh[ing] just like Old Uncle Nick (146). Using the old Greek, Kerouac hints at the Beats restlessness toward the oppressive middl e-class life. As opposed to Uncle Nick, who resembles the gray-suited organization man and participates in political discourse, the old Greek becomes a nostalgic reminder of a different America: In his green gray eyes which were just like the green gray sea I saw the yawning eternity not only of Greece but of America and myself (146). Dis regarding fears associated with the containment culture, Kerouac posits the old Greek w andering on the mystical margin mentioned by Whitman where the sea kisses the sand in the endless sigh kiss of time (146). The old Greeks direction in the void seems sadder than the narrators, but the narrator knew that in reality [his] own direction w as no higher and no lower than his own humble and unsayable state (146). Deploying Buddhist allusions in the Good Blond allows Kerouac to share his crisis of renewal a nd faith with Playboy readers. This strange interaction between these two male characters at first appea rs to be the beginning of a framed narrative, but, because Kerouac never returns to the old Gre ek, it could express Cold War cultures focus on masculinity. The old Greeks sig nificance to the short story can be likened to the male interaction in all of Kerouacs works.
83 Kerouacs male characters and the Beats represent an example of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwicks homosocial desire. For instance, in The Dharma Bums, Kerouacs characters were guys who lived on a mountaintop talking about how they would lead a great world revolution (430). As a brotherhood, they excluded women as spiritual equals, colleagues, or intellectuals. They bonded over heavy drinking, hard living fast cars, sports and sexual excess (Davidson 16). The absence of women in Rays clique represents just one of the numerous homosocial communities formed during the Cold War. In Imperial Brotherhood, Robert Dean lists the ways United States leaders were shaped into a hyper-masculine fraternity: boarding schools, ivy league universit ies, secret fraternities, social men's clubs, and voluntary military service, which off ered a "martial masculine virtue ... inseparable from masculine civic and political virtue" (38). Dean's controlling image of Cold War warriors, the imperial brotherhood, reveals that U nited States leaders were obsessed with virile masculinity and relied on hypermasculine attitudes to create foreign and domestic policy. Distancing themselves from homosexuality (which equated to weakness), men in these fraternities promoted a toughness that shaped Cold War policy. As a result, Cold War politics elevated mens men from homosocial communities, while damning intellectuals as poor leaders. De an proves how difficult it was for individuals to contradict reigning models of masculini ty (12). The reigning model for the characters in The Dharma Bums is Japhy Ryder, as a Northwest woodsman, mountain climber, and Oriental scholar. Practicing the si mplicity of Buddhism, Japhy nonchalantly attracts womeninviting women over for clothes-optional meditation sessions. Throughout the novel, Ray frantically tries to conf orm to Japhys model of masculinity. Ray mimics most of Japhys characteris tics, especially his
84 denial of materialism. Ray follows him up the High Sierras to climb the Matte rhorn and agrees to be a fire lookout for the United States Forest Service on Desolatio n Peak, a job he takes only to impress Japhy. And while he participates in the constant party ing, Ray can never match Japhys sexual promiscuity. The characters in Kerouacs texts were mirror images of the artist s of the Beat Generation; they created a homosocial community dependent on its differentiati on from (1) society, (2) marriage, and (3) (perfumd) women (Davidson 14). John Clel lon Holmes first labeled the Beats as a boy gang in a 1954 letter to Allen Ginsberg (Davidson 13). Holmes wrote the social organization which is most true of itself to the artist is the boy gang (qtd. in Davidson 13). Kerouac, like Holmes, believed wholeheartedly in the pervasive homosocial bonds. These bonds can be seen throughout Kerouacs works and in his life. And unlike Ginsberg or Burroughs, whose works contain homosocial bonds which lead to explicit homosexual acts, Kerouacs depiction of homosocial bonds do not alienate the Cold War audience because they are contained within a heterosexual realm (Harris 185). These homosocial bonds relat e to Cold War politics because they debunk notions of homosexuality and celebrate a shar ed masculinity. For instance, Kerouac uses the symmetry of divorce and marr iage to frame the homosocial bond between Dean and Sal in On the Road (Harris 185) This heterosexual frame negates suspicions of homosexuality in the text. In his persona l life, Kerouacs homosexual relationships are framed by heterosexual marriages and relationships. Kerouac and his characters ignore the mainstream impulse to marry and functi on on the sliding scale of sexuality. By 1955, Kerouac had two failed marriages and the
85 narrator of Good Blonde reflects the authors rejection of marriage: Be en married twice and Ive had it (Turner 149). Barbara Ehrenreich claims that Beats, a nd their imitators the beatniks, rejected the pact that the family wage syst em rested on; they refused to financially support women via marriage (53). This refusal supports t he fact that the Beats were deeply, if intermittently, attached only to each other (Ehrenreich 53). The responsibility and commitment of the monogamous life was just uninterest ing compared to the ecstatic possibilities of male adventure (Ehrenreich 54). P ersonally, Kerouacs male adventures and strong homosocial bonds often lead to homosexual encounters; these included merchant marines, Beat members, and Gore Vidal, who claimed that he and Kerouac both thought that we owed it to literary history to coupl e (Solomons). Congruous to Alfred Kinseys findings on sexuality, biographer Ellis Amburn argues that "rigid divisions such as hetero-, bi-, and homosexuality do not fit reality, certainly not Kerouac's, and should not be used to label him. Though everyone seems to have a genetic inclination in one direction or the other, it is dangerous to use s ex to define anyone" (32). Although other Beat scholars disregard some of Amburns biographical findings, Kerouacs sexual experimentation has been noted by Gerry Nicosia and Ann Charters. Kerouac and other members of the Beats were subjects for some of Kinseys interviews, and his subsequent findings regarding the sexuality conti nuum enthralled Cold War America. Kinseys findings deconstructed dominant perc eptions of sexuality and critiqued popular conceptions of marriage as the moral union betwee n men and women. Kerouacs allusions to Kinseys definitions of sexuality help to demonstrate the Cold Wars reconstitution of space. The survey of male and female sexual beha vior
86 illustrates that mapping could yield a radical critique of society (K ozlovsky 204). Besides Kinseys mapping of sexuality, Senator Joseph McCarthy constantly mapped the spread of communism within the United States. His maps were a rhetorical de vice for exaggerating the threat of communism, and they created a powerful analogy between the nation and body (202-3). McCarthys mapping of the Communist threat allowed him to equate sexual deviants with political subversion. He used the maps in an attempt to homogenize and normalize American society and to impose the ideology of containment and exclusion from without as well as within (206). Redefining the boundaries between public and private, McCarthys mapping encouraged the Beats to employ mapping as a form of resistance. In Kerouacs works, especially On the Road, he maps the North American continent by reporting his cross country road trips. In Good Blonde, the north-west destination traces the California coast and exposes the concrete historical space as it was forged by the systematic transformation of American politics, economy, demography, and technology, which began with Roosevelts New Deal and climaxed in the early Cold War era (194). The Cold Wars new highway syst em encouraged Kerouacs cross-country moves and changed his notions of space. Good Blondes Model of Masculinity Good Blondes model of masculinity illustrates Cold War tendencies regar ding the redefinition of space and sexuality. Kerouacs sexual conquests, the Beats r esistance to the domesticated male, and their redefinition of space supports Playboys model of masculinity. However, Good Blonde undermines Playboys grand narrative because of the narrators rejection of conspicuous consumption. The narrator tells the Good Blonde that he doesnt want anything I think life is suffering, a sufferin g dream, and
87 all I wanta do is rest and be kind somewhere, preferably in the woods, under a tree, live in a shack (149). Barry Miles states that Kerouac showed that conspicuous consumerism, the giant cars, split-level homes and suburban conformism of the fifti es were not the way to happiness (xviii). He proposed an alternative lifestyle t o American conformity and preached personal freedom (xv). The narrator shares his alte rnative plan to grab his pack and a months essential groceries and go to the riverbottom a nd build a little shelter with twigs and stuff and a tarpaulin or a poncho and lay up and do nothing for a month (Kerouac 151). The narrator obviously does not want to participate in the growing capitalistic economy that Playboy consistently promotes. Manipulating the Beats and Kerouacs exposure over the past decades, Playboy editors had most likely prepared readers for this variance. But more subtle discrepancies, such as the na rrators ambiguous heterosexuality, reaffirm that Playboys publication of Good Blonde presents readers with a variant model of masculinity. Good Blondes plot and characterization make it an even more unlikely choice for a Playboy audience. For instance, while The Dharma Bums depicts free love and unbridled sex, Good Blonde leaves the narrator questioning how the female character might react to s exual advances. Model of Masculinity: Space Kerouacs study of America critiques Cold War cultural changes, such as urban to rural and the redefinition of domesticity. In The Culture of Spontaneity, Daniel Belgrad remarks that, by nature, Kerouac was more of an observer than a confident outsider ; Kerouac applied his constant observations to chronicling the changing American landscape (209). In an April 1947 letter to Hal Chase, Kerouac shares his lite rary aims to map America: I have begun a huge study of the face of America itself, ac quiring maps
88 (roadmaps) of every state in the USA, and before long not a river or a mountain peak or bay or town or city will escape my attention (Charters, SL Vol. I, 107). Post-war space was simultaneously decentralized via technology and concentrated by production, management, and government agencies. The Beats exploited the centrifugal and centripetal tendencies of Cold War space for their strategies of re sistance and escape (Kozlovsky 197). According to architect Roy Kozlovsky, the Beats writing method helped to carve out of the concrete space of America an alternative, fictional space that would redefine the relationship between space, society, and power (194). Using his (then) innovative literary technique of spontaneous prose, Kerouac transforms l iterature into a spatial practice (192). In Good Blonde, the spontaneous prose leads readers on a journey of the West Coast, with both characters headed to San Francisco. Kerouacs westward movement is a frantic attempt to retrace the meanin g of the American dream, escape the confines of post-war modernity, and rediscover the final frontier. Leslie Fiedler argues that the western direction is the sym bolic escape of the male from the domain of the house and its effeminate culture (qtd. in Kozlovsky 198). Good Blondes west coast destination reflects the Beats desire to esca pe from the Cold War socioeconomic conditions that subordinated the person to a world of consumer object (Johnson 107). Ironically, the escape from post-war consumption and production is always done in a caran emblem of American progress. And the good bl onde is not travelling around in a stolen jalopy; rather, her cinnamon colored Lincoln is bra nd new, and the narrator, amazed by the driver, covets her ride. Right before the narrator hit ches a ride from the blonde, he hears a broadcast of a Michigan football game and looks back to see all the golden wheatfields of American Football Time stretchin g out clear back to the
89 East coast (Kerouac 146). The football game, as well as a later baseb all allusion, reference the realm of male sports, a space designated for masculine activi ties far from the domain of the house. Broadcast technology and the new highway system allowed the narrator to travel to the other coast. Coming from the South, headed up the West Coast Kerouac insists on providing the names of each city the characters pass through, as if to allow the reader to follow [their] exact route (Kozlovsky 195). Their mobil ity represents how post-war economy displaced millions of Americans and changed settlement and migration patterns: the blondes move from Texas to California r epresents the opening of the Sunbelt. The speed at which they travel up the coast also suggests the accelerated experiences of the Cold War and suggests how the car democrat ized access to the experience of speed by allowing individualized control of speeding (Kozlovs ky 200). Even though class and race restraints denied some access to owning or driving an automobile, the car represented the capitalistic identification with the indivi dual, as opposed to the collective. Kerouacs use of north-west journey challenges Cold Wa r notions of containment and highlights the movement of marginalized figures. The narrator in Good Blonde travels by car from a serene beach scene to an urban center, unlike the characters in The Dharma Bums, who escape from the city toward nature. This move parallels Playboys celebration of the city and critiques postwar population declines in American cities. Drawn to the urban experience, the narr ator finds refuge in the Cameo Hotel on the corner of Harrison and Third, where for seve ntyfive cents a night you could always get a clean room and quiet sleep (154). His celebration of the cheap, urban hotel proves his disregard for a suburban homestead. The mass homeownership sponsored by the G.I. Bill promoted the home as a safe space, the
90 moral and economic ideal of the Cold War era (Kozlovsky 210). William Levitt went so far as to say that [n]o man who owns his own house and lot can be a Communist (qtd. in Kozlovsky 210). Therefore, being a vagabond was a sign of the narrators devia nce. Transferring the intimacy relegated to a suburban home to the space of a car w as another way Kerouac challenged domestication. When the narrator and the blonde begin t alking like two kids and completely unself-conscious, the car becomes alternative to t he intimate space of a home (Kerouac 150). Kerouacs narrator uses the car to e scape to the city, but Kerouac makes it clear that his narrator could never afford to purchase s uch an expensive commodity. The narrators journey, and Kerouacs meticulous mapping of it, corresponds with Fredric Jamesons assertions regarding the 1950s shift from the modernist para meters of time and history to the postmodernist parameters of surface and space (214). Da ily life, psychic experience, and languages are today dominated by categories of s pace rather than by categories of time (qtd. in Kozlovsky 214). Critical of the changing spatialization of cultural production, Jameson argues that suppressing the histor ical, in favor of the spatial, is symptomatic of late capitalism. Kozlovsky argues t hat Beat literatures spatializaiton of literature serves a critical, politi cal agenda, even if the Beats have traditionally been viewed as apolitical. He uses the shifting definition of poli tical, and the Beats insistence on testing state imposed boundaries, to make this argum ent. Cold War struggles occurred in the realm of individual rights, with a modern state working to homogenize and normalize its heterogeneous populations into one rational economical system. Because Beat literature worked to expose spatial boundarie s, it shows how Cold War redefinitions of space manifested themselves in popular culture
91 Kerouacs texts often contain confusing, or diluted, messages regarding space, consumption and sexuality. Model of Masculinity: Sexuality Most of Kerouacs works center on his male characters, exposing his own troubled masculinity, homosexual impulses and all (Douglas 27). Readers are ofte n invited to understand a fear, a belittling of women that Kerouac does not entirel y condone or examine (Douglas 26). The Good Blonde does not contain a cast of male characters; rather, the male narrator mainly interacts with a female. This slight variance to Kerouacs traditional narrative parallels how the Good Blonde presents Playboy readers with an alternative model of masculinity. The Beats model of masculinity pivots on homosocial bonds. Kerouacs narrators and characters are traditionally men joining together to see k some sort of stability in the tumult of the post-war society. Male friends become substitut es for both brother and father (Jones 244). Michael Davidson refers to these bonds as compulsory homosociality, joining feminist and queer theory to analyze Cold War literar y boy gangs. Davidsons fused label exposes heterosexuality as the standard fo r evaluating gender difference. It also highlights the political implications of margi nalizing others based on sexuality: in Cold War America certain types of homosocial bonding ( board room politics, corporate networking, locker room badinage) are essential to t he perpetuation of capitalist hegemony (Davidson 28). The splicing of Adrienne Ri chs Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Experience with Eve Kosofsky Sedgw icks Between Men connects homoand heterosexual group dynamics and illustrates the lively 1950s debate regarding sexuality. The inquisitorial Cold War climate li nked political
92 and sexual deviance, often reinforcing a sense of alliance between homosocial g roups (31). Compulsory homosociality could be extended to other male groups besides the Beats that rejected vestiges of female authority: urban bachelors, motorcycle renegades, Hollywood cowboys, rock stars, jazz musicians, Black Mountain poets, or even Robert Deans imperial brotherhood (31). Traditionally misogynistic, thes e new masculine identities within the popular imagination offered alternatives to the reigning domesticated model of masculinity (31). The homosocial bonds in Beat literature reinforced same-sex bonding that helped to define Cold War masculinity. Compulsory homosociality can best be recognized in Kerouacs male narrators. In his 1961 Jack Kerouac and the Beats, W. M. Frohock observes a homosocial pattern in each of Kerouacs novels; there is a first person narrator who controls the poi nt of view and is at the center of the important events; and then there is a second character towa rd whom the narrator takes a peculiarly respectful attitude (146). This male relationship pattern originated in novels as old as Don Quixote and lies at the heart of Amer ican male mythology (Jones 241). Applying Frohocks narrative observations to Kerouacs characterization of the American male, Jones argues that the repetition of this fraternal love made Kerouac a cultural icon. Obvious to any man who looks honestly at his own life or the lives of the men around, this fraternal relationship is replicated on every level, from the personal to the familial (242). Thus, male readers can find Ker ouacs characters accessible and at an acceptable distancethe rarefied pas sion of universal male homosexual love (242). While Jones is able to analyze how this homosocial bond functions in Kerouacs major works and his shorter pieces, like The Rumbling, Rambling Blues, he fails to note the effects of this patterns absence.
93 In the Good Blonde, the old Greek could be conceived as a father figure with whom the narrator shares his thoughts; yet, rather than a lead male character, G ood Blonde presents readers with a predominant female character whom the narrat or respects. The good blonde is patient, reflective, and seems so much more in the know. When the narrator gets anxious looking for his supply of Benzedrine, he begins to panic. She calmly responds with short declarative sentences that do not end with exclamat ions points: Take your time (Kerouac 147). When discussing the difference betwe en her rural upbringing and her new life now modeling and acting in cities, she wonders if her past was more satisfying (146). She is very well versed in city life; she ha d been to New York, laughs at the narrators naivet about bar dcor, and shares tips about jazz hotspo ts. She has taken all the same drugs as the narrator and knows similar musical t rends. She even has a theme song, a little bop arrangement that a jazz band plays wheneve r she walks into the local bar. Her ability to drive also earns her respect. She had dr iven the car from Texas to California by herself, and, by the time she picked up the narr ator, she had the heap jet gone up the road and went up to sixty and kept it there hard and clean on the line, driving like a good man driver (147). When the car begins to run out of gas, miles outside of Salinas, she swerves the car from side to side in a graceful dance (147). The narrator immediately questions her actions, and she informs him that by splashing what gas is left into the carburetor, the car can travel for a few more miles. At these moments in the story, the narrator loves the good blonde: Ah well and what a strong sweet angel to spend the rest of your life with (152). The good blondes stre ngth and stereotypical masculine qualities make her a suitable road companion. She even has the same frantic energy as Dean Moriarty: talking a blue streak, drivi ng all night, and
94 pushing the car to beyond its limits (148). These qualities justify Kerouac s choice of a female for a lead character, but they are also constantly undermined by a strange heterosexual tension. The narrators sexual tension undermines traditional gender roles and makes the blonde the dominating figure in the story. The tension begins as soon as the good blonde pulls over to pick up the narrator. The narrator keeps wondering why the good blonde picked him up; in parenthetical asides, the narrator questions her motives and his luck (145). When she tells him she is going all the way to San Francisco, the narrator s response shows the tension: Wow, great. (To myself: who will ever believe I got a ride like this from a beautiful chick like that practically naked in a bathingsuit, wow what does she expect me to do next?) (147). The parenthetical aside is just one of Kerouac s literary techniques that expose his characters sexual tension. Unable to pr esent homosexuality clearly, unable to settle into heterosexuality cleanly, C atharine Stimpson argues that Kerouac devised several narrative and rhetorical belts with w hich to buckle his discomforts (173). When the narrator finally asks the blonde why she picked up a guy like [him], she repeats, Well I told you I needed someone to help m e drive to the City and I figured you could drive, you looked like it anyway (147). Kerouacs use of ellipses undercuts the blondes logical answer, as if she had really had other i ntentions when she saw him hitchhiking. Kerouacs first person narrative stance often objectifies the good blonde as a sexual being, which only increases the tension between the characters. The narra tor wants her to want him. For instance, he is amazed at the way she looked straight ahe ad and drove with no expression and sending no mincing gestures [his] way or even
95 telepathies of mincingness (146). Although, his amazement is rooted in a highly ambiguous heterosexuality; he admits that in his scheming mind he wants her to secretly be a sex fiend, pull over and force him to make it but his bashfulness, and her grave nature, prevents him from acting on his really insulting proposition ( 148). Immediately after sharing this thought with the reader, the narrator cal ls the blonde a young lady and admits he was afraid to turn and look at her (148). A young lady differs greatly from the other things the narrator calls her: Good Blonde, Pret ty, Cleopatra, Angel, doll, or cold and boring. Simply because she is a female, the narr ator cannot resolve his respect with his yearning. Kerouacs portrayal of gender roles in Good Blonde conflicts with the Beat s and Playboys always, dominate male role. Analogous to the Playmate, the beat chick existed for play only. Both female characterizations are neither good, nor wicked, only inviting (Lee 190). The airbrushed centerfold and the Beat chick present safe par tners for heterosexual men living in Cold War America; Playboy editors and Beats depict females as attractive, young, sexually available, and above all sile nt (Lee 189). In The Beat Generation Writers, A. Robert Lee wants critics to read that characterization of females as silent as dumb; he claims the silent female will not ask for marriage, apply guilt, demand financial transaction, or tell their side of the story (Lee 189). Walters wife in On the Road epitomizes a model female: unnamed, she is the sweetest woman in the world she never asked Walter where hed been, what time it was, nothing She never said a word (Kerouac On the Road 192). Far from silent, the good blonde never stops talking. She even questions the narrator about the futility of his
96 travels. By questioning his lifestyle, the blonde undercuts the narrators author ity and forces the narrator to second guess his sexual desires. The narrators ambiguous sexuality is displayed by his adolescent react ions to the woman. When the narrator first comments on her looks, she turn[s] and look[s] at [him] with bland frank green eyes and asks, What do you mean? (Kerouac Good Blonde 149). The narrator wants to tell her that she should get thee to a nunnery because she is too pretty, too gone, and not yet married (149). But once again, the narrator is too ashamed to share his thoughts. The blonde breaks the silence by asking if he has chan ge so she can call her man (149). To contain the blondes strength, Kerouac character izes her as someones girlfriend and on the verge of getting married. He also has his nar rator oscillate between representing her as a mother figure and a whore. There i s a moment on the 400 mile drive in which the narrator felt the urge to just lay [his] head in her l ap while she drives (150). The level of comfort the narrator feels quickly rev erts to questioning why she picked him up and what she really secretly thought of [him] (150) And when the blonde rejects the narrators choice of living down by the river, he react s by claiming he definitely didnt like her because in her secret bedroom she proba bly yawned a lot and didnt know what to do with herself and to compensate for that had a lot of boyfriends who bought her expensive presents (just because she was beautiful, whic h compensated not for her inside unbeautiful feeling), and going to restaurants and bars and jazz clubs and yooking it up because there was nothing else inside (151). This chi ldish rant, which is only shared with the reader, slips into empty, abusive threats. Then, whe n the blonde surprises the narrator with in-depth conversation regarding the city, h e reverts
97 back to wanting to have intercourse with her. His schizophrenic feelings for the bl onde, expressed four different times in a relatively short story, reflect his indi stinct sexuality. Good Blonde presents a heterosexual model of masculinity, but because of the good blondes stereotypical masculine qualities, and the narrators reaction to those qualities, it is an ambiguous heterosexual model. Most of Playboys and Kerouacs female characters are all too often marginalized, mere sexual objec ts preferably dumb and willing (Mayer). The good blonde has all the physical attributes of a Playboy bunny, but she is far from dumb and hardly a willing next-door girl. Retelling his fantastical ride with a blonde bombshell seems to perfectly fit the Playboy narrative regarding the mystery and excitement of the girl next door. But she is so very di fferent. Are Playboy readers too blinded by the blondes attire, or lack of one, to notice her command of the wheel, conversation, and situation? Catharine Stimpson suggests that Kerouacs burnished traditional portraits of femininity offer an alternat ive to the homosexuality that male friendship both contained and constrained (375). The blondes complexity overwhelms the narrator, and he has to return to the Zen Buddhist theme tha t began the work: Ah hell its all a dream including beauty (Kerouac Good Blonde 150). From the narrators perspective, she doesnt want to sleep with him because life is nothing but a short vague dream encompassed round by flesh and tears, and the ways of men are the ways of death the ways of beautiful women such as those pictured in this magazine are eventually the ways of old age (152). Kerouacs varying depic tion of the blonde as a desired, but unattainable, sex object, maternal presence with whorish qualities, or equal intellectual presents Playboy readers with an inversion of the Playboy centerfold. The good blonde represents all the fears regarding the feminiza tion of
98 America, but by writing her, Kerouac contains her and by publishing Kerouac, Playboy owns her. Conclusion During the Cold War, Playboy featured authors, like Jack Kerouac, who responded to redefinitions of space and sexuality. In Good Blonde, Kerouacs narra tor is hardly the virile playboyhe ends up alone in the Cameo Hotel. His 75 cent hotel room also rejects Playboys focus on conscious, conspicuous consumption. The narrator regrets the too new, too fancy electric train and wants to live by a river without earthly possessions (Kerouac Good Blonde 154). But his search for something to believe in during the post-war crisis is also experienced by playboysonly the Beats bega n their search with ridding themselves of possessions, and the playboys bought new gadgets. The fundamental difference between Playboys and the Beats vision of happiness consumptionforced editors to use Kerouac as a foil. The magazine and the author possessed the same rebellious, sexual qualities, except for the desire to partic ipate in Cold War capitalism. Thus, Kerouac presents a model of masculinity that can sim ultaneously serve and undermine the grand narratives presented in Playboys editorial content.
99 CHAPTER 3SOPHISTICATED SPENDING BY VLADIMIR NABOKOV Vladimir Nabokov is a representative Playboy author due to his popularity and multiple contributions. Nabokovs open admiration for American-style capitalism, his cele bration of middle-class individualism, and his exploitation of Cold War sexual politics m ade him an obvious spokesperson for Playboy Nabokovs Lolita best represents his admiration for America because it is a record of Cold War America; Leslie Fiedler claimed that [n]owhere in our recent literature is there so dedicated and acute picture of our landscape, topographical and moral, as in Lolita Lolita herself is America (335). Nabokovs formidable literary output, lecture appearances, and thirty-plus intervi ews helped to create the persona of an elitist, strongly opinionated aristocrat. Whi le Jack Kerouac was pressured to produce works equally sensational as On the Road Nabokov did not have to compose new works or try to maintain the admiration of the literary critical community after the United States publication of Lolita (Johnson Nabokov 141). Nabokov used his thirty-year reservoir of Russian and French literature to kee p his name in the public eye, even while settling down abroad in Switzerland, where he wrote Lolita Nabokov dominated the 1960s literary scene, which is why Playboy editors persistently pursued him. As a magazine that moved in the wake of the culture and followed it greedily, Playboy needed to have Nabokov in its pagesespecially because he was considered a serious, high-brow writer (Fogarty 7). To maintain i ts cultural currency and enhance its level of sophistication, Playboy editors diligently worked to get Nabokov to contribute to the magazine.
100 Even though Nabokovs sophisticated persona matched Playboys aspirations for serious content, his literary contributions provide Playboy readers with a slightly different model of masculinity than the magazines traditional editorial content. His lite rature supports Playboys model of affluence, as well as its call for men to take charge of the domestic sphere. His migr status gives his literature an exotic, foreig n aspect that differs from the editorial content geared toward white, mid-western, Christ ian males. While Nabokovs ethnicity could potentially ostracize him from American popular culture, his support for Cold War containment policy and the Vietnam War converte d his migr status into an allowable exoticism. As Chelsea Bauch claims in her Huffington Post report on Playboys scandalous fiction, the mens magazine is far more varied when it comes to its featured fiction than its consistent set of criteria for Pla ymates. Whereas most of Playboys editorial content maintains a strict heterosexual content, Nabokovs literature presents a spectrum of sexuality. Getting Nabokovs Attention In its January 2009 issue, Playboy ranked Vladimir Nabokov twenty-second in its list of The 55 Most Important People in Sex. Alfred Kinsey topped the list, but Nabokovs high ranking indicates editors assume that, like Hefner, Madonna, Howard Stern, and Marilyn Monroe, Nabokov affected the way sex was viewed in American culture. Editors sandwiched Nabokov between Catharine MacKinnon, a University of Michigan law professor best known for crafting concepts of sexual harassment, a nd Anita Bryant. While Playboy editors credit MacKinnon for changes to work place demeanor and attribute the galvanization of gay rights to Bryants wild accusations, edit ors make no special reference to Nabokov and simply quote his 1964 Playboy interview: I shall never
101 regret Lolita she was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle. There is a queer, tender charm about that mythical nymphet. This description suggests that Nabokov is on t he list solely for the creation of Lolita. Merely quoting Nabokovs interview, as opposed to listing any credentials, proves that Nabokov and his Lolita maintain their mythi cal charms. Playboy has canonized little Lo. Lee. Ta. in its annals, as literary and cultural critics have canonized her into the annals of the American imagination. The rel ationship between Playboy and Nabokov grew into a relationship marked by mutual affection, and the understanding that this was a profitable relationship for both parties. Playboys September 1958 After Hours Book Review of Lolita marks Playboys first mention of Nabokov and his greatest contribution to sex. This review mimics the divided critical reception after Lolitas American releaseas many literary critics wondered, is Lolita a work of art or just a work of pornography? The Providence Journals reviewer thought most readers will probably become bored or sickened, and Orville Prescott, in The New York Times, deemed Lolita repulsive, disgusting, and highbrow pornography. However, the Playboy After Hours review does not hint at the books taboo subject; in fact, editors only hint that Putnam has kept intact the gamy Paris version of the novel (21, Sept. 1958). Editors most likely did not need to call attention to Lolitas pornographic status, which was rejected by educated readers in general, and, surely, Playboy readers would not find the pornographic aspect repulsive. Instead, Playboy editors focus on Nabokovs literary talents. They write that the novel is Brow-creasing because it is simultaneously a masterpiece a nd an obscene, pornographic subversive work (20, Sept. 1958). They mention how the first-person narrative describes Lolita in extensive, pathetic, comic and horrendous detai l (21, Sept.
102 1958). Editors include Nabokovs mastery of three languages, his positions at Ivy League universities, and his international reputation, aligning Nabokov with sophisticationone of Playboys favorite qualities. Editors compare Nabokovs literary talents to the richest of Rabelais, Dostoyevsky and Spillane (21, Sept. 1958). Comparing Nabokov to Rabelais referenc es the authors linguistic advances, while Humbert could easily be one of Dostoyevs kys human psychological case studies, with mental anguishes similar to Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. But the comparison to Mickey Spillane seems less fitting, as Spill anes Mike Hammer detective series contains graphic violence and pulp eroticism t hat, at first glance, seems far from Nabokovs novel about an old-world European committing pedophilic acts on a conventional, American teenager. Spillane linked sexual desi re with crime and violence and revealed fears that sexual crimes in urban Americ a were a symptom of a diseaseaberrant sexuality (Sanders 276). Out of the 1950s ten best sellers, six belong to Spillane; on Times 1968 list of the 25 all-time bestsellers, Spillanes name appears five different times (Whitfield 34; Books: Alltime). Popular s ensibility put the Spillane novels on the bestsellers list, proving that Americans delighte d in Hammers gruesome murders in the name of combating the red menace (Courdil eone xiii). Stephen J. Whitfield argues, in The Culture of the Cold War, that Spillane recruited more Americans than any other author in McCarthys battles against Communists and homosexuals (37). While Lolita may have shared a bestsellers list with one of Hammers adventures, it did not convert anyone to McCarthys cause; yet, the Spillane reference suggests that Playboy editors suppose both Spillane and Nabokov exposed shifting cultural values and expanded notions of the taboo, including violence, sexuality,
103 and incest. The After Hours review reveals Cold War attitudes concerning national feminization and juvenile delinquents. Ignoring the characters sexual acts, editors repeat critical claims that Humbert, not Lolita, is the victim of sexual deviance: Lolita deserves to be seen in all her sugar-plum sweetness, outrageous sportiveness and astonishing schoolgirl lechery (21, Sept. 1958). Assigning adjectives like sportive a nd lecherous reinforces Cold War commentary on aggressive females, juvenile delinquency, and teenage consumption. Theodor W. Adorno frequently stereotyped the American female teenager as obnoxious, overindulgent, demanding and a child who behaves toward her father in an incredibly inhuman and cruel manner (486, Sanders 279). Lionel Trilling applies this description to Lolita, and Thomas Molnar labels her a spoiled sub-teenager with a foul mouth, a self-offered target for lechers because she had a nasty little affair with a nasty little thirteen-year-old ( 102). When Playboy editors prepare readers for this particular perspective on Lolita, they play i nto the Cold War wariness of the combination of femaleness and aggressiveness and i gnore the novels description of rape, pedophilia, and incest (Sanders 279). Throughout the review, editors blame Lolita for her own victimization. Editors argue that Lolitas actions, her expression of the myth of contemporary American passion of youth and her history (the most touching and amusing of the century) make this a novel to buy, borrow, or heist (21, Sept. 1958). Simultaneously idealizing and degrading Lolita confi rms that Playboy agrees with critics who ignore the novels sexual crimes in favor of its high literary value. Nabokovs literary talent and his cultural capital ensured that Playboy editors
104 would find a way to get him into the magazines pages. Including Nabokov in its pages would position the magazine within the literary traditions set forth by Esquire; it would evince the search for inventive work that challenged readers. Yet, Playboy editors seem to waver between awe at Nabokovs fame and consternation regarding the seri ousness of his literature. For example, editors immediately use the word nymphet in its pages; they describe Sharon Wallace, a ten-year-old who wrote to Playboy inquiring about Playmate clubs, as a nymphet. In her Dear Playboy letter, Wallace thinks it mi ght be fun to start a Playmate club; she asks about a possible fee for membership cards and a book telling how to start your club (8, Jan. 1960). Editors, also calling Sharon a swee tie, suggest she wait eight or nine years before joining a Playmate club. A fe w months later, in the July 1960 issue, Shel Silverstien pairs a black and white television snaps hot of a young blond and a much older man with the caption: And this fellow is willing to pay us plenty of money for our story. What do you say, Lolita? (73, July 1960). Nabokov admittedly enjoyed the jokes, and Playboy continued to reinforce his image as a high-brow, elitist artist. For instance, in the December 1960 After Hours , editors put him in the elite corps of writers who have contributed words to the language, but t hen went on to mock him by suggesting he has overstepped his boundaries as an author (19). The After Hours update described Nabokovs court hearing to obtain proprietorship over the word nymphet (19, Dec. 1960). Nabokov was pressing charges against a French film outfit planning to shoot Les Nymphettes because he did not want the word nymphet to enter the public domain. Referencing the court hearing allows editors to posit the itchy question of whether or not authors are the proprietors of coined words (19, Dec. 1960). Satirically, editors remind Nabokov that the French film is not calli ng its
105 flick Lolita and proceed to call Nabokov possessive (19, Dec. 1960). Once again, he is compared to other writers, Cervantes, Capek, Lewis, Porter, Potter, a nd Kerouac, who have also coined their own words that have enriched the worlds languages (19, Dec. 1960). The ambivalent tone of the After Hours update might be an early indication that Nabokovs literary talents would overwhelm some readers; or, the tone could be a reaction to Nabokovs initial reluctance to publish his fiction with Playboy. Nabokov refused to have any contact with the magazine until 1961. His first contact was a heated response to Playboys publication of Maurice Girodias memoir Pornologist on Olympus in the April 1961 issue. In his memoir, Girodias reveals his version of the epic history of Lolitas publication, which resulted in the some of the best and some of the worst publishing experiences for the new owner of Olympian Pre ss (68, April 1961). Girodias also includes disparaging comments about Nabokov. Like other publishers in the international literary community, Girodias had not heard of Nabokov and claims that the enthusiastic recommendation of his literary agent se emed to point rather to scholarly pomp than to originality (68, April 1961). Girodias prais es the novel, but condemns the author for being snobbish. Their first few exchanges were pleasant and Girodias obtained world English-language rights for the novel. Nabokov wrote Girodias in July 1955 requesting the suppression of possible scandals surrounding his serious book with a serious purpose (145, April 1961). Because United States Customs did not withhold an English version of the text in 1957, Girodias went forward with his plan to make Lolita famous by using the novel in international obscenity trials against country-wide bans (145, April 1961). Ignoring Nabokovs initial request, Girodias boosting and hustling made international sales very successful ( 146, April
106 1961). Shortly after American publishers contacted Nabokov for publication opportunities, pleasantries between Girodias and the author ceased. Nabokov sent a registered letter stating I declare our contract null and void, a completely illegal and almost childish move (146, April 1961). Girodias goes on to declare that Nabokov has developed a Hugolian stature and a formidably centrifugal personality (146, April 1961). He repeats Playboys After Hours update regarding the French film court trial and then describes Nabokovs flamboyant impertinence (146, April 1961). Girodias portrait reinforces Nabokovs growing elitist persona. Playboy wanted to promote Nabokov precisely because he was a pretentious, high-brow author. Girodiass description of his first confrontation with Nabokov, and Nabokovs reaction to the publication of this description, depict an incredibly aloof art ist. According to Girodias, the encounter occurred at a French literary occasi on held in the dignified salons of Gallimard (146, April 1961). After exchanging a few complimentary words and forcing grins for the camera, Nabokovs grin under went a subtle change and with the easy grace of a dolphin he plunged backwards and sideways, and made his way toward Mrs. Nabokov (147, April 1961). Girodias seemed to have expected something more explosive after their violent epistolary exc hanges (147, April 1961). Nabokov denied being aware of meeting the Olympian Press owner to his literary agent and complained to Playboy editors for printing the memoir. Playboy published Nabokovs denial in its July 1961 Dear Playboy. In a letter postmarke d from Nice, Nabokov claims the amusing memoir contains a number of inaccuracie s, especially the bizarre charge that he was aware of Girodias presenc e at the Gallimard cocktail party (10). Nabokov reverts to calling himself extremely distrait (as Humbert
107 Humbert would have put it in his affected manner) and liable not to make out mumbled presentations (10). Nabokov suggests that he would have only recognized Girodias i f he was carrying a plate with an authors head (10). Nabokov implies he is the victi m in this relationship, as Girodias was the one obsessed with the financial aspect of Lolita. Nabokov felt further victimized by the fact that Playboy editors did not publish his correspondence sooner. Brian Boyd declares that Nabokov was chary of Playboy for the publication of the memoir and outraged when Playboy delayed printing his rejoinder to Girodias (464). He was so chary that he turned down Spectorskys offe r to write a piece on Brigette Bardot due to the popularity surrounding Simone de Bea uvoirs 1960 Brigette Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome. Always aware of international, and particularly French, intellectual critiques, Spectorsky wanted to capita lize on de Beauvoirs critique of the new ideal for womena nymphet; he assumed Nabokov, with his recent celebrity and intimate knowledge of nymphets, would compose an excellent editorial for the magazine. Nabokov refused. He even made his wife, Vera, respond to Spectorsky, as if he could not be bothered with the offer. Vera wrote that, while her husband was flattered by [Spectorskys] confidence in his versatility, he has never seen Brigette Bardot either on screen or in life, and that the entire project ha s no interest for him (Nabokov Selected 335). Vera concluded the letter by sending her husbands kindest regards, but editors knew that they would have to find another way to get Nabokov into the magazine. Spectorsky kept a close eye on literary movements, and Hefner insisted on the magazines cultural currencytherefore, they wanted t o be a part of Nabokovs growing popularity. Even though editors might have been wary of the complexities of Nabokovs literature, Playboy needed to publish him if The New Yorker
108 and Newsweek had already done so. Mutual Kicks Playboys 2010 publication of Nabokovs The Original of Laura produced a media frenzy. As described in various outlets, such as The New York Observer the fivethousand word excerpt is only fragments of a novel, dispersed over 138 note cards, which Nabokov wanted destroyed upon his death in 1977. Rather than destroying the fragments, Vera let the novel sit in a Swiss bank vault for three decades. Las t spring, Nabokovs son, Dmitri, wrested it out of the vault and entrusted its sale to Andrew Wyl ie, a notoriously tough literary agent. To obtain serialization rights for Playboy, literary editor Amy Loyd Grace bombarded Wylie with bouquets of orchids. The orchids we re meant to reference Nabokovs Ada which Playboy serialized in 1969, and remind Wylie that Nabokov really liked publishing with Playboy and how devoted Hef is to Nabokov and his legacy (Grace). "I would get nice notes back from him, but he really wouldn 't give me anything," said Grace; "He said he wasn't sure that Playboy was the place to launch the novel in the United States. Grace persisted because she believes tha t Nabokov loved being published in Playboy and got a kick out of it. Also, he really read it. In his collected and selective letters, even when he wasnt writing dir ectly to Hef or A.C. Spectorsky and Robbie Macauley he is writing to other people and saying, hey did you see the great cartoon in Playboy about Lolita ? (Ciotta). According to Grace, Nabokov knew that Playboy published good fiction, presenting readers with an interesting blend of high and low features. After working at publishing houses, such as The New Yorker Grace liked the challenge of reuniting Playboy with its initial objective to combine the physical with the
109 intellectual. She recalls her undergraduate years at Bowdoin College, whe n she realized that Playboy combined elements that first attracted a mans eye then enrich[ed] his intellectual and spiritual life (Ciotta). To officially secure her job as Playboys literary editor, Grace curated a special feature marking the fiftieth annivers ary of Lolita (Neyfakh). Pursuing The Original of Laura five years later offered Grace the chance to remind people of Playboys literary history because it is easy for people to dismiss [it] (Ciotta). Graces advances paid off when The New Yorker refused interest in the fragmented novel, and Playboy received first serial rights. The serialization deal consisted of the highest sum Playboy has ever paid and did not include a preview of the literature. Even so, it was reckoned to be a coup for Playboy, as it reestablishes its long-held reputation as a publisher of literary works as well as girlie pic tures (Bremer). Graces successful pursuit of Nabokovs last work helped to reestablish Playboy as a publisher of quality fiction. Much of Graces argument for pursuing The Original of Laura is trueNabokov and Playboy do share a long history, and Nabokov did read the magazine. Also, Hefner forfeiting such a large amount for 5,000 words sans preview does suggest that he is devoted to Nabokov and his legacy, or at least Hefner is devoted to re-attracting a literary audience. However, Graces offhand comment that Nabokov loved being published in the magazine might be a stretch. Rather, Nabokovs collected and selec ted letters reveal that love should be downgraded to getting a kick. As noted above, Nabokov refused to appear in the magazine, and it was not until after being pleased wit h the printed version of the 1964 interview that Nabokovs relationship with Playboy grew. In total, he published two complete novellas, a long excerpt from Ada, and four short
110 stories between 1966 and 1976. After Nabokovs death, Playboy published another excerpt from Ada, two more short stories, and, of course, The Original of Laura. To build their relationship, editors continued to focus on Nabokovs literary talents and then tried another avenue to get him to contribute to Playboy The July 1962 Pale Fire After Hours review predicts that the book, an elaborate literary leg pull, will not have as many readers as Lolita (27, July 1962) Editors insist that Nabokov writes brilliantly but claim that his doses of melodrama, satire, fantas y and a highly sophisticated irony produce a concoction that will daunt most readers (27, July 1962 ). In the After Hours review of The Gift, editors state that the novel is like Pale Fire a system of mirrors, conundrums, books within books (14, July 1963). Exploiting Nabokovs migr status, editors claim his cruel wit is the wit of an exi leeyes fixed on things with distaste and apprehension, agonized intelligence trying to get on top of life (12, July 1963). But they are much kinder in The Gift review than in their assessment of Pale Fire They actually take the time to explain the protagonist, plot and premise of the novel and praise it as an elegant farewell to his Russian w ritings (12, July 1963). Editors bestow even more praise in their October 1964 review of The Defense ; they go so far as to claim that Nabokov could if he chose compose an enthralling story out of the life and times of an artichoke still on the stem (38, Oc t. 1964). In March of 1963, Playboy sent Alvin Toffler to Montreux for an interview to discuss his literary talents. A young editor from Fortune, Toffler had been in Europe that summer looking for suitable interview subjects, while teaching at the Salzburg S eminar of American Studies (Weyr 152). When they met, Toffler claimed Nabokov was agreeable, but set peculiar ground rules (Weyr 153). He refused to be interview ed face-
111 to-face. Instead, Toffler submitted written questions to Nabokovs hotel room a nd waited for his response before sending more questions. The process stretched over ten days a nd took much more time to refine it for the illusion of spontaneity (Boyd 473). It is the only nonverbal interview Playboy ever published. The unconventional experience reaffirmed Nabokovs haughtiness, but the final product must have pleased Nabokov. The January 1964 interview confirmed Murray Fishers theory that the interview could be used as a lasso to snare authors unwilling to write directly for the magazine a nd marked the beginning of Nabokovs long publishing legacy with the magazine (qtd. In Weyr 153). The Playbill introduction to Nabokovs interview lists all the reasons why editors desperately sought his presence for the magazine. Editors claim that this first appearance reveals Nabokov as he isthe celebrated commentator on manners and morals, highly controversial, inventor of the nymphet, worlds most met iculous and original stylist and widely read (2, Jan. 1964). In the introduction to the interview, editors recap Lolitas fame and use a Jack Kerouac quote to balance the critical fuming and intellectual theories regarding the novel. Disregarding the obsceni ty and the old world seducing the new world theories, Kerouac muses that Lolita is nothing more than a classic old love story (35, Jan. 1964). In the interview, Toffler quickly moves past Lolita and gets Nabokov to discuss why he lives in Switzerland, whether his art should serve a social purpose, how he composes or translates a work and what he considers his principal failing (40, Jan. 1964). Nabokov declares his principal fa iling to be a lack of spontaneity: inability to express myself properly in any langua ge unless I compose every damned sentence in my bath, in my mind, at my desk (40, Jan. 1964).
112 The following exchange is quite misleading for those readers unaware of th e nontraditional interview format. Toffler praises Nabokov for doing rather wel l at the moment, and Nabokov retorts with Its an illusion (40, Jan. 1964). And for unassuming readers, it was an illusion. Nabokov painstakingly crafted responses to Tofflers questions, and the two spent more time creating the illusion of spontaneous speech than composing questions and answers. The illusion is necessary for both the author and the magazine: Nabokov remains sophisticated in so-called spontaneous dialogue, and the magazine finally gets Nabokov in its pages. Playboy wanted to participate in the commerce generated by Nabokov and the controversies surrounding his works. But they also wanted to give readers a glimpse of his style. Readers seemed to enjoy the brilliant dialogue between Toffler and Nabokov; Herbert Gold, one of the most prolific contributors to the magazine, congratulates A lvin Toffler for finally cornering Nabokov and praises Nabokov for always stati ng exactly what he wants to say (8, April 1964). Another published Dear Playboy letter expresses the authors exhilaration that the author of Lolita wanted to skip sex (8, April 1964). The often-quoted interview revealed to Playboy readers that sex is only one of Nabokovs concerns: Nabokov politely demurs Tofflers request to talk sex becaus e he finds it too tedious for words (36, Jan. 1964). The interview process let the author and editors use each other for mutual gain; Playboy would pay well, and Nabokov would heighten the sensual aspects of his works so that Playboy readers could more easily find what they were searching for. No longer cool toward Playboy , the interview assured Nabokov that editors would provide him with authorial rights and handsome commission for both The Eye and Despair (Boyd 484).
113 The changes Nabokov makes to the English versions of both The Eye and Despair deserve more attention because they highlight how Nabokov responded to a mid-century American audience. First written for a small audience of Russian migr s who lived in something of a hothouse atmosphere, Nabokovs English inclusions of some rainbow patches seem to be prepared with the Playboy audience in mind (Johnson Nabokov 395; qtd. in Boyd 484). Boyd quotes a typical example of these revisions; in the Russian original, The Eye closes with And what do I care if she marries another? She and I have had heart-rendering meetings by night, and her husband shall never find out about these dreams Ive had of her. The Playboy English version becomes: And what do I care if she marries another? Every other night I dream of her dresses and things on an endle ss clothesline of bliss, in a ceaseless wind of possession, and her husband shall never learn what I do to the silks and fleece of the dancing witch (qtd. in Boyd 484-485). The attention to Vanyas garments and implications of masturbation support Playboys model of masculinityany playboy can possess any playmate in his dreams. In the revi sed description, Smurov reduces Vanya to mere possessions. The clothesline display of Vanyas expensive undergarments implies expensive tastes more suitable fo r an affluent playboy than a Russian migr. Nabokov also adds details to heighten Smurovs sensual impressions and adds word-play to stress his disturbed mentality. Jane Graysons Nabokov Translated contains comparisons of the Russian and English version that prove Nabokov added sexual references and heightened Smurovs sexual frustrations in the English version. For example, he alluded to Smurovs affair with a dentists young daughter and chan ges physical details of Smurovs mistresses. Matildas straddles with her strong fat thighs
114 her hobbyhorse and the maid is now a creamy-haunched wench who places her breast on the sideboard along with a bowl of fruit. Vanyas lips now need so badly t he balm of a butterfly kiss (qtd. in Grayson 86). Other additions, like Roman Bogdanvichs theory that Smurov is a frustrated homosexual, stress the texts tone of frustra ted sexuality. For example, Nabokov adds I believe I might have consummated a shiver of oneirotic rapture had I been able to hold her a few seconds longer (qtd. in Grayson 87). Smaller edits, such as changing the smell of English cigarettes from honey to candied prunes, suggest that Nabokov wants to elaborate on Smurovs characterization. Candied prunes require another stage of processing than the more natural honey. With these s mall edits, Nabokov adds to Smurovs capitalistic tendencies. Grayson argues that these changes intensify the ironies of the plot and enable the reader to dissociate him self more from Smurovs point of view (88). Graysons assessment regarding Nabokovs des ire to widen the critical distance between the reader and the characters does not account for the make-up of Nabokovs readers (88). Nabokov made these revisions with the Playboy audience in mind; he is obviously aware of Playboys primary audience and took this opportunity to parody both his iconic status as the author of a dirty book, as well as critique Americas Cold War fears regarding variant sexualities Nabokov kept his Playboy audience in mind while making edits to Despair Poised between desire and reality, Nabokovs The Eye and Despair contain themes regarding the abstract notion of the Other which support the Playboy narrative that the girl next door could be anyoneeven a lover. The Eye and Despair both contain firstperson narratives, and treat a mentally unstable protagonist; the English ver sions were prepared at approximately the same time The Eye on 19 April 1965 and Despair on 1
115 March 1965. In her analysis of Despair, Grayson is careful to compare both of Nabokovs English translations, the first dating to the 1937 London publication. Grayson claims the second translation is a more sophisticated and extensive elaboration of the two pre-existing versions (65). Nabokov tidies up the logical progression of the narrative and includes other forms of authorial patterning to better expose H ermanns delusions (Grayson 65, Connolly 138). For example, in the second English translation Nabokov includes three more references to Hermanns stick, three more referen ces to his car, and multiple allusions to Lydias love affair with Ardalion (Grayson 65-66) These additions make the puzzle of Hermanns delusional desires easier to decipher, which suggests that the average Playboy readers need more clues to move through the labyrinth of Nabokovs narratives. Playboy readers would have also enjoyed Nabokovs heightened depictions of violence and sexual obsessions. Nabokov adds five references to madness and violent death, includes grotesque humor when Hermann reunites with his brother, and increases the suspense surrounding Hermanns nightmare (Grayson 69-71). Nabokov better illustrates Hermanns sexual obsessions with a two-page description of i ntercourse and the dissociation he experiences during the sexual act (77). But Nabokov also include s smaller sexual references, such as adding a sausage to Felixs pack and descr ibing Hermanns premarital brothel experience in a more comic way. Compare the Playboy version: At sixteen, while still at school, I began to visit more regularly than before a pleasantly informal bawdy house; after sampling all seven girls, I concentrated my affection on roly-poly Polymnia with whom I used to drink lots of foamy beer at a wet table in a orchardI simply adore orchards.
116 with the 1937 version: When still at school, in the last form but one, I became a fairly regular visitor at a bawdy house; used to drink beer there (qtd. in Grayson 77). Including adjectives such as foamy and wet moves Hermanns flat announce ment of beer drinking to a heightened sensual experience. Besides expanding on Hermann s sampling of women at the brothel, Nabokov focuses on one female character, and even names her. These additions are similar to the stories Playboy editors create about their monthly playmate. These conscious revisions can be assigned to the cultural climate which introduced less censorship and more attention to sexuality. For example, Grayson re veals translation embellishments to Lydias naked body (fat thighs so tightly pre ssed together she could hardly stand), as well as homosexual innuendos. The trend of Nabokovs translations moves toward more curvaceous females: roly-poly Polymnia and Matildas and Lydias thick or fat thighs. In his foreword to the 1965 edition of Despair, Nabokov claims that many of these revisions were already written in the 1930s and we re omitted in more timid times (Nabokov Despair xi). Readers can infer from this forward that Nabokov consciously curtailed erotic content in deference to the pressures of public opinion and the tastes of his potential readers (79). In other prefatory notes, Nabokov describes accounts of editors censoring his works: Sovremennyya Zapiski marked Princes homosexual practices with suspension points and the Russian version of A Dashing Fellow was rejected as improper and brutal (qtd. in Grayson). ( Playboy went on to publish A Dashing Fellow in 1971, in all of its improper brutality.) Though some government restrictions were placed on Nabokov, so much self
117 censorship is suspect: 1) the migr literary scene could hardly be descri bed as prudish; 2) Nabokovs early Russian writings are hardly free of sexual details; a nd 3) few critics questioned Nabokovs moral integrity (79-81). Rather, in the wake of Lolita, Nabokov deliberately fostered his public image of the so-called pornographic wr iter and stepped up the erotic content of his novels not to ape pornography, but to parody it, and to parody the image of himself as a pornographic writer (81, 116). Grayson contends tha t Nabokovs sensitivity to criticism encouraged him to react by parodying the image himself as a pornographic writer. Playboy would prove to be the perfect venue for that reaction because of its obvious pornographic affiliations. The sexual content in Nabokovs works does grow exponentially after Lolita; Pale Fire deals primarily with the Cold Wars containment of homosexuals, and Ada contains multiple erotic themes besides incest. And because his major works af ter Lolita were not written for the casual reader or for the monetary reward of the bests ellers list, it is possible that Nabokov was parodying his pornographic status. However, the degree of attention paid to sexuality in American Cold War culture must have also played a factor in Nabokovs revisions. Saunders argues that, by the 1960s, the war over sex in the novel was in full swing (259). In The First Sexual Revolution Kevin White claims that, after 1880, American citizens were experiencing a break-down of Victor ian morals leading editor William Marion Moody to declare that 1910 was Sex OClock in America (qtd. in White 13). After World War I, fears regarding the dr astic changes in attitude toward sexuality increased public discourse, as well as sexual be havior in print (Saunders 259). World War IIs northern migration for Washington employment ca used "horror stories" of housing shortages and more "opportunities for sexual encounters"
118 (Johnson Lavender 52). A burgeoning homosexual literature proves the widening of sexual expression. But, during the early Cold War, Americans simultaneousl y feared sexual deviants and gave the sex industry millions in yearly profit (DEmili o and Freedman 279-80). With his Playboy connection, Nabokov would capitalize on American Cold War sexual discourse. Playboys willingness to pay for contributions from the iconic pornographic writer made Nabokov revise his contributions with the Playboy audience in mind. What Grayson, Appel, Andrew Field, Julian Connolly, and Carl Proffer do not allude to during discussion of Nabokovs translations of The Eye, Despair, and A Dashing Fellow is Playboys monetary inducement for these revisions. I argue that Playboy gave Nabokov $8,000 to serialize The Eye over three issues, and editors offered him a $1,000 bonus, in hopes that he would make extensive revisions to the galley proofs (Boyd 481, 484). The Eye exhibits many of the same features as Despair, just on a smaller scale, proving that Nabokov reworked these texts for Playboys American audience (Grayson 89). Playboy editors did not offer Nabokov the same $1,000 incentive to revise Despair, but they did bestow upon him the annual Best Fiction award for 1966which included a cash prize of $1,000. In the January 1967 Playbill, editors call Despair an elegantly wrought tale of narcissistic double identity, at once brilliantly wit ty and profound (3, Jan. 1967). Nabokov wrote to Hefner, expressing how very much touched he was by the award (Nabokov Selected 399). Nabokov states that this is the first time that any magazineor in fact any kind of publicationhas awarded [him] a prize (Nabokov Selected 399). He closes the letter exclaiming that Playboy can be always depended upon to provide brilliant surprises (Nabokov Selected 399). In this letter, Nabokov
119 admits that he received a bonus, of an undisclosed amount, before receiving the prize. That admittance means that Playboy paid him additional amounts, which would make the total payment for Despair over $10,000. The magazines hefty commission funds need to be considered a factor in, and for, Nabokovs revisions of his Russian short fiction. Editors were so pleased with Nabokovs admiration of Playboy that they published the second paragraph of this letter in the May 1967 issue. They also published Nat Hentoffs gracious note in response to winning the 1966 Best Non-Fiction prize for his The Cold Society. Hentoffs letter offers insight into how much Playboy editors revere its literary content: Not only in generosity in financial terms which manifests itself in the fact that as the magazines circulation and revenues have grown, so have its rates to writers; but more importantly, [Hentoffs] appreciation is for the fr eedom [he has] experienced at Playboy (16, May 1967). Thus, Playboys growing subscription audience, its ability to financially compensate for quality literature, and i ts willingness to provide authors with the freedom to express their opinions encouraged Nabokov to continue to publish with the magazine. Playboy provided him with the chance to heighten his erotic content and parody his both his pornographic image and his audiences attraction to his work, all the while enjoying the fact that the ave rage Playboy audience does not include his ideal, active reader. The strange dearth of reader response to Nabokovs serialized novellas supports notions that Nabokovs literature might be too complex for most Playboy readers. For Nabokov, the author often clashes with readerdom because he is his ideal reader and those other readers are so very often mere lip-moving ghosts and amnesiacs ( Nabokov Strong 183). The average Playboy reader was most likely looking for the sexual content,
120 while being a mere lip-moving ghost. The amount of space allotted to Nabokovs fiction does not correspond with the amount of published Dear Playboy lettersthe 54 pages of both works serialized over two years only elicited two letters. While bot h published letters praise the texts, the majority of readers did not write in to com ment on the works or editors decided not to publish the responses. The amount of dialogue spurred by other fiction contributions dwarfs the two letters regarding Nabokovs works. For example, editors published over 23 responses to Kerouacs contributions and the amount of Dear Playboy letters concerning Ian Flemings Bond series or stories by Herbert Gold and Ray Russell are too great to count. The only response to the serialization of Nabokovs The Eye was that it should not have been broken into parts; Josef Schwann of New York wrote that [p]art one of The Eye transported [him] to another world, a world of troubled dreams that vie with reality, and, when he arrive d at the unworthy cliff-hanger trick, he was thoroughly disturbed (12, April 1965). Edit ors responded that they did not want to mutilate the text by condensation or excerpting In March 1966, Vernon Williams letter also praises Playboy for printing Despair and helps to explain the lack of reader response. Williams claims that the first insta llment of Despair gives promise that this novel will be the closest book of his to the incomparable and wicked Lolita (8, April 1965). Thus, the majority of Playboy readers are searching for more of the controversial sexual content found in Lolita content that they will be hard-pressed to find in the original versions of his Russian works. So why would Nabokov want to publish his works for less than ideal readers and why would editors publish works beyond their readers scope of intellect? In his Lectures on Literature, Nabokov was very specific about his ideal reader: The good reader is one
121 who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance. With such high circulation numbers, Playboy might have been the perfect venue for Nabokov to help develop that artistic sense in a few of the millions of readers. And editors devot ed so much space to Nabokov because he represents the high expectations Playboy editors placed on their readership. For example, in the first survey of Playboys readers, conducted by the independent market research organization Gould, Gleiss and Benn, Inc., researchers claimed that over 70% of Playboy readers have attended college and the great majority of Playboy readers are business and professional men Playboy has a greater percentage of college men in its audience than any other national magazi ne (36, September 1955). But upon closer inspection of survey results, less than 30% of readers had obtained a college degree and the remaining 40% had only attended college at some point. Editors greatly wanted to claim college-educated, business, or professional readers, in order to promote Playboys model of masculinity as educated, white, heterosexual, and financially sound. Therefore, the same way Nabokov uses Playboy as a venue to parody his image, Playboy uses Nabokov. He becomes the serious author editors (specifically Spectorsky) need to balance out lighter materia l published in the magazine. Playboys intricate balance of challenging works with ribald classics and nude pictorials makes Nabokov a fitting spokesperson for the magazine. Robert Fogarty argues, in Current Fiction on the Up Bounce, that Playboy was slow to publish serious fiction and did not include provocative or challenging works (227). Aware of reader s capacities, editors have been known to turn down works deemed to challenging for their
122 audience base. For instance, Spectorsky refused to publish Nabokovs Solus Rex in the early 1970s because of its intricate plot. Editors also tried to persuade Nabokov to dum bdown his works by making new stories using the elements of his submitted work (Nabokov Selected 415). He, of course, responded to these suggestions with a typical tongue-in-cheek comment: Your suggestion is amusing, but completely unacceptable (415). But Nabokovs presence in the magazine and Adas publication discredits Fogartys claims in some regards. Even though editors carefully select ed which chapters to publishfive, six, nine, fifteen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, and twenty-fivethe t ext is still challenging. Macauleys Ada selection does not include the fixation with time, Lucrettas suicide or any of Nabokovs theories on family or history. But the e xcerpts plot, characterization, and style still present a challenge next to Boccaccio s commentaries on sex, the stories of the jazz underworld, or the science fiction. Andr ew Field, author of Nabokov: His Life in Art, agrees that Nabokovs prose presents a challenge to Playboy readers. However, he also insists that printing Ada presupposed the interest and existence of a highly sophisticated readership in matters m ore than mammillary (12, July 1969). After the Ada excerpt, Field revises his previous condemnation of Playboy as a randy magazine with occasional lapses in good taste to declare the magazine a dandy magazine with frequent leaps into fine taste (12, July 1969). In support of his observations about the magazines frequents leaps into fine taste, one needs to simply glance at the contents of the April 1969 issue, in which Ada is published. Editors included content such as Allen Ginsbergs interview, Richard Mathesons Prey and articles concerning The Toys and Games of Wa r and Peace. And, in true Playboy fashion, editors balance that with the ribald classic The Fixer,
123 Reginald Pottertons I Cut out Her Heart and Stomped on It, humor pieces, such as Jean Shepherds The Grandstand Passion Play, travel, food, and fashion content, as well as the multiple pictorials. This balance is best paraphrased in a response to Congressmans William G. Bray plea that Playboy ignore printing serious or political editorial content and stick to the pictures and cartoons and interesting bits of humor needed in these tense and troubled times (12, Oct. 1966). Pleased that the congressman reads the magazine, editors think the publications popularity is directl y related to the balance it provides between thought-provoking articles on serious theme s and its lighter pictorial, satirical and service features (12, Oct. 1966). The refore, unlike Kerouac who Playboy used as a foil, Playboy uses Nabokov as a serious author, who happens to deal with sexual themes. The author and the empire profited from the relationship. A Suitable Climate in Cold War America Nabokovs profitable relationship with Playboy reflects how welcoming the American Cold War climate was to both the magazine and Nabokovs works. As discussed prevsiously, Playboy owes much of its successful launch to Cold War redefinitions of space and sexuality. In a similar vein, Nabokovs popularity in A merica can be attributed to Cold War culture; or, Nabokov exploited Cold War cultural changes for his benefit. Either way, the Cold War proves to be a suitable climate for the reception of Nabokovs works. Most Nabokov scholars shy away from politicizing Nabokov because of his self-described apolitical status. Denying claims to eit her the Bolshevist Reds or monarchist Whites, Nabokov describes himself as a child of democratic liberalism (Nabokov Strong 22). In Strong Opinions, he claims he cannot tell a
124 Democrat from a Republican. Nabokovs only stated political conditions are no torture no executions and no regimentation of thought, governmental censorship, racial or religious persecution (Nabokov Strong 34, 48). Regardless of Nabokovs consistent statements regarding his apolitical status and critics shying away f rom political readings of Nabokovs texts, it is possible to situate his works within the political clima te of the Cold War. Nabokovs themes of containment, sign-economy and collapsed identities echo Cold War concernseven his syntactical use of the personal pronoun reflects the rising focus on the individual. In the midst of Cold War containment policies, Nabokovs Russian status would normally provoke audience hesitation or critical censorship. He should share Humbert s anxieties about being a brand-new American from sweet, mellow, rotting Europe (105, 280). But Nabokov was far from a shabby migr and is not treated like one of those suspicious foreigners whose citizenship and nationality is dubious (Petitte 85). Rather, Nabokov was very outspoken about his allegiance to United States policy and collaborated with the CIA and FBI. In this paradigm of foreigner and intellect ual, Nabobov is beyond reproach (Kova evi s 24). Outspoken against the Communist take-over in Russia, Nabokov could not be vilified; his self-portrayal as a modern, democratic liberal negated labels of outdated monarchist (Kova evi s 24). Therefore, Nabokov occupies the place of Americas imaginary desire for Russian (Eas tern European) elites that are rational, in step with the progress in the world, a nd reliable as Western allies (Kova evi s 25). In Strong Opinions, Nabokov admits that he deplores the attitude of foolish or dishonest people who ridiculously equate Stalin with McCarthy and the ruthless imperialism of the USSR with the earnest and unselfi sh
125 assistance extended by the USA to nations in distress (50). Nabokovs strong opinions regarding communism make him a welcomed exile. Playboy also has strong opinions regarding American policies. Even though editors refrained from straying from Playboys entertainment focus, they still argued that the magazine could be used as a weapon in the war against communism. Hefner claimed Playboy was a way to discover national dissenters. Because the single bachelor technically defied traditional social institutions, he could be branded as a homosex ual or a sexual deviant. But if the single bachelor was interested in gazing at nude f emales, he was not a homosexual. And since illogical rationale linked homosexuals with Communists, the Playboy reader was not a Communist because of his heterosexuality. Strategically placing his magazine within the Cold War homophobic climate, H efner argued that a picture of a beautiful woman is something that fellows of any a ge ought to be able to enjoy. If he doesn't, then that's the kid to watch out for (qtd. in Fraterrigo 41). Hefner, like Nabokov, also championed the universal rights of the individual and tried to deny political labels. But, Playboys championing of conspicuous consumption and Nabokovs praise of Cold War strategies suggests that a political reading can be applied to both. Nabokov distanced himself from Russia and pledged his allegiance to America. Far from the 1960s cultural upheavals, in an old-fashioned Edwardian luxury hotel in Montreux, Switzerland, Nabokov declared himself as American as April in Ari zona (Nabokov Strong 98). In Bend Sinister, Nabokovs first novel composed in his adopted country, he saluted Americas most exuberantly patriotic poet with a st range new adjective: waltwhitmanesque (Sweeney 65). Nabokovs decision to never wri te in
126 Russian again after The Gift serves to further distance him from his exiled homeland. His dual labelsRussian migr and American novelistallow him to be concurrently Othered and acceptably exotic. His autobiographical text, Speak Memory, hinges on precisely this dynamic of exile and its ambivalence (Straumann 9). Nataa Kova evi s second chapter, in Narrating post/communism: colonial discourse and Europes borderline civilization, claims that his political and cultural Othering of Communist regimes aligns him with Western liberal discourses, while his Russianness makes him different to American audiences (6). Timofey Pnin, perhaps the char acter that Nabokov most admired, exemplifies this trait (Krushcheva 67). In Pnin, Nabokov tells the tale of an awkward Russian migr teaching Russian studies at an upstate unive rsity. Like Nabokov, Pnins socially, awkward Russian ways are surprisingly welc omed. Pnin has the useless and impractical knowledge of a Russian intellectual and can perform a number of other tame tricks that Russians have up their sleeves (Krus hcheva 59). Playboys pursuit of the popular Russian migr reinforces how suitable his exiled status had become; as discussed earlier, editors praise the cruel wit Nabo kov gained from his exile. Nabokovs texts contain tropes of American capitalism. Nabokovs texts and Playboy can be studied as products of capitalism; Frederic Jameson dates the new moment of capitalism to the United States post-war boom, right as Nabokov began to invent his America for Lolita and Hefner launched his first issue. For instance, Lolita is set within the context of consumer society and reflects results of the s ign-economy, in which advertising has operated to colonize the social world and materialize de sire (Odih 113). What Pamela Odih calls sign economy can be witnessed in the
127 advertisements that bombard Lolita and Humbert on their cross-country drive: If a roadside sign said: VISIT OUR GIFT SHOPwe had to visit it, had to buy (Nabokov Lolita 136). Lolita constructs her identity according to the images advertising and popula r culture provide for her. Humbert describes her as the ideal consumer, to whom the ads were dedicated (136). Charlotte Hazes behavior is determined entirely b y homemaking guides, Hollywood films, movie magazines, advertisements, psychoana lytic clichs and such deadly conventionalities as book clubs or bridge clubs (Brand 15). Lolitas villain, Humbert, can resist the influence of these new and powerful forms of coercion (Brand 14). In resisting the sign system of the capitalistic ec onomy, Humbert also misses all the signs that would reveal his double. Lolitas savvy sign readi ng allows her to read the maps and routes, in order to meet up with Quilty. As a foreigner, Humbert has nothing but contempt for the sign systems, and his critique offers insight into the post-war American economic system (Brand 15). Pnin also offers insight into how Nabokov constructs and critiques American culture. Unlike Humbert, Nabokovs foreign narrator, Timofey, cannot resist the advertisements or the efficiency of American capitalism. Even though Pnin confe sses to Joan that he cannot understand what is advertisement and what is not advertisement, he always carefully scans them (Nabokov Pnin 60; 75). At this point in American capitalism, much of print media was an advertisement. Besides advertiseme nts, Pnin is also awed by efficiency, an aspect of capitalism that free market advoc ates champion and Playboy continuously praises in its advertisements for new technology. Intrigued by Joans washing machine, Pnin disregards being forbidden to come near it and feeds everything he can to the new machine: Casting aside all decorum and caution, he w ould
128 feed it anything that happened to be at hand, his handkerchief, kitchen towels, a heap of shorts and shirts smuggled down from his room, just for the joy of watching through that porthole what looked like an endless tumble of dolphins with the staggers (40). Pnins willful exchange of his perfectly healthy teeth for dentures proves his obs ession with American capitalism. Ten days after the extraction, Pnin enjoys his de ntures, the new gadget, so much so that he declares them a revelation: a sunrise, it was a first mouthful of efficient, alabastrine, humane America (38). Pnin even tries to persua de a colleague to have all of his teeth removed because then he will be a reformed ma n like [Pnin] (39). Thus, through the eyes of his European narrators, Nabokov confronts complex aspects of Americas Cold War consumer culture. Nabokovs capitalis tic commentary ironizes consumer culture. Nabokov incorporates many American Cold War tropes, such as the expansion to new frontiers. Similarly, Hugh Hefners Playboy launch and its daring trailblazing on the sexual front changed the way Americans viewed pornography during the Cold W ar (Watts 297). In his 1964 Playboy interview, Nabokov confesses that Lolita was the most difficult text to compose because he did not know America and, therefore, had to invent it (38). Many of Nabokovs inventions incorporate American mythology. For instance, the last scene of Pnin has Timofey lighting out of the territory, representing the American moves toward the final frontier. Pnins lighting out reflects Na bokovs artificial construction of America: I have invented in America my Ame rica and just as fantastic as any inventors America (Boyd American Years 375). In her analysis of EastEuropean immigrant narratives, Magdalena J. Zaborowska claims Pnins move is ve ry American, if not Americanized (263). After much heartache, Pnin pushes out to
129 discover what else America can offer. His move also signifies the third phase of American empire-building, reflecting the United States expansion of new territory ( Nugent 309). Historian Walter T. K. Nugent suggests that the Cold Wars [c]ontainment -asimperialism took the United States into space and into the disastrous Vietnam intervention in the 1960s, clothed in the classic idiom of the frontierKennedys New Frontier, space as the the final frontier (312). Pnins move, though, is not a heroic conquest of any frontier; as he drive[s] off into the proverbial sunset, he is a l oser, having been ousted by the more virile, manipulating Sirinhis Russian counterpart Nabokovs inclusion of counterparts, or doppelgangers, in his works also reflects Cold War fears of espionage and secret agents. Of course, the double motif appears in Nabokovs early fiction, and the history of the traditional double in literature is long. But Nabokov continues, and even heightens, this motif in his Cold War texts. For instance, written precisely at the exhaustion of the double theme in modern literature, Nabokov s Pale Fire features a monumental doubling, or even tripling, of character (Appel, Annotated Lolita x). The doppelganger motif is just piece of the puzzle of Nabokovs works; Nabokov professed that he had no special purpose, no moral message or any general ideas to exploit but he did like composing riddles and finding elegant solutions to those riddles he, himself, composed ( The Listener 857). When situated within Cold War fears of the Communist enemy, this literary element ref lects fears of the unknown double, fears regarding the concept of individuality. Communists could invade their inner circle at any time unbeknownst to Americans. According to Douglas Fields American Cold War Culture, the turning point in American Cold War politics was the growing awareness of communisms ability to seduce and infiltrate disparat e countries
130 (3). The fear of infiltration sparked numerous cultural artifacts, like Mickey Spillanes detective novels and even Mad Magazines Spy on Spy. The real event of the Rosenbergs supposed espionage found its way into American authors works; David Caute calls it the midsummers night of post-war anti-Communist, anti-Sovi et hysteria (62). For instance, their 1953 execution haunts Sylvia Plaths The Bell Jar. In his Cold War Correspondents: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassidy, and the Political Economy of B eat Letters, Oliver Harris traces Allen Ginsbergs telegram to Neal C assidy recording the event as a key document in the intersection of the paranoid style of American poli tics (170). Political paranoia in the United States encouraged government official s to wage domestic war on possible enemies within its borders. One of Nabokovs favorite games to play with his reader is hiding enemies within his text. This technique seems to parody the typical mystery or su spense story (Davidson Images). In Playboys publication of Despair, Hermann devises the perfect crime to kill his double, and Playboy readers would feel comfortable with the motif because they had encountered it in other works. In both his English and Russian versions, Nabokov clearly presents Hermanns crime as devoid of any pragmat ic purpose (Davydov). (Hermanns so-called perfect crime resembles the charges Senator McCarthy placed on hundreds of state officials.) In Ada, Nabokov combines the double motif with the incestuous account of Vans and Adas love affair: Adas right instep and the back of her left hand bear the same indelible and sacred birthmark that marks Vans right hand and left foot (Hayles 34). Adas nose is Vans in m iniature, and they have the same molar on opposite sides of their mouths filled with gold, which suggests that Nabokov wanted to make Ada and Van mirror images of each other.
131 The sexual relationship between the counterpart, or doubled characters, reveals Cold War homosexual fears, best depicted by David K. Johnsons Lavender Scare. Johnson reminds readers that historical and cultural literature about the McCar thy era focuses on the hunt for Communist and headline-grabbing cases such as those of Alger Hiss (3). But the typist of the Pumpkin Papers and the Rosenbergs were anoma lies in Americas hunt for enemies within its domestic borders; the majority of thos e fired or accused as security risks in the Cold War were homosexualsnot spies. Johns on reveals the contradiction between congressional fears of a powerful, threatening homosexua l ring in the State Department and the notion that homosexuals can be targeted as blackmail victims because of their weak will. The ridiculous hunt for homosexuals played out by the HUAC committee and government officials resembles Nabokovs dizzying ma ze of doubles; Nabokov critiques reading homosexuals as political threats on par with Communists throughout Pale Fire (Belletto 756). As Charles Kinbote desperately looks for clues to Zembla in John Shades poem, careful readers can decipher the doppelgangers and note that Kinbote serves as both sexual subversive and Cold War warrior. Nabokovs criticism of American sign economy and the sociopolitical implications of a pop-Freudian understanding of homosexuality reveal his debasing of an uncritical populace and his championing of the individuala feeling shared by Playboy and its ethos based on the individual (Belletto 760). In Strong Opinions Nabokov reminds readers that he doesnt give a damn for the group, the community, the masses (33). Born into an aristocratic, politically powerful family that e mployed more than fifty servants, Nabokovs life of luxury was cut short by the revolution, and he
132 was forced first into European exile by the Bolsheviks and then to American exil e by the Nazis (White, Khrushcheva 3). His father was assassinated, and his homosexual brother was murdered in a concentration camp; T. J. White argues that these events not only displaced Nabokov but they might be the reason for his individualism. His ardent respect for the individual and disdain for totalitarian governments can even be rec ognized in his syntax. His Russian writings are saturated with echoes of French and E nglish, and his sentence structure has always been very Latinate, making him very e asy to translate on a syntactical level (Scammell). Though Nabokov grew up in an aff luent Russian household, he called himself an English child (Nabokov Strong Opinions 81). Nabokovs wrestling between his Western and Russian identification often fi nds its way into his works. Nabokovs sentence structure, with a heavy emphasis on the English I, reflects Americas Cold War stress on the individual. In English, I shamelessly s tarts most sentences, and it never renounce[s] [its] exclusiveness in favor of gener al accord (Khrushcheva 13). In Imaging Nabokov Nina Khrushchevas states that Nabokov loved the prim and proper I whichunlike the tiny, derided Russian ya is anything but the last letter of the alphabet (13-4). The I allows Nabokov to avoid awkward Russi an constructions such as its fearful to me, making the doer an active subject, as opposed to an object of action (Khrushscheva 14). Khrushscheva admits that Nabokov taught her how to be a single I instead of a member of the many we in that vast, undifferentiated, traditional Russian collective of the peasant commune, the prol etarian mass, the Soviet people (4). Refusing to add to the stock characters already pres ent in Russian literature, Nabokov sought to liberate the thinking I (5). The emphasis on t he
133 individual, as opposed to the collective good, mirrors Cold War emphasis on those individuals who made up the growing middle-class. The privileges that came with be ing a member of the middle class can, according to William H. Whyte, render i ndividuals more susceptible to the pressures of conformitysomething neither Nabokov nor Hef ner would have championed (unless it included purchasing more goods). The paradoxical rise of high-brow art blending with popular culture during the Cold War proves why Playboy wanted to be associated with Nabokovs serious or sophisticated status. Andrew Hoberek argues that the boundary between high and middlebrow culture is difficult to demarcate, despite a post-war intellectua ls' obsession with doing so. Nabokov, like Saul Bellow and Flannery O'Connor, is an obvious candidate for representatives of fifties fictional high culture because he ha d a household name and was published in middlebrow venues (Hoberek 397n8). Nabokov was, and still is, revered by literary critics, regardless of the sexually e xplicit content of his work. For instance, Lolitas serious writing made it much more elusive for critics to deem obscene. Unlike the more over language in Lady Chatterlys Lover Lolita intermingled decorum and deviance (Giles 58). In Lolitas afterword, Nabokov praised the blend of deliberate lewdness with flashes of comedy associated with the French Enlightenment, Playboy editors included prominent cultural figures and elite literature in order to achieve this particular blend. The blend of high and low culture allowed Playboy editors to dismiss charges of commercialized pornography, which Nabokov also denied. Nabokov claimed modern pornography was a commercialized and entirely predictable operation, stylistically limited to the copulation of clichs (qtd. in Giles 58) The paradoxical rise of high-brow culture during the Cold War led to the growth of Amer ican
134 Studies and the rise of New Criticism. While literary critics, such as Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson, Alfred Kazin, Iriving Howe, and Allen Tate, debated over definit ions of the novel and analyzed Nabokovs novels, Playboy readers could read Nabokovs fiction and participate in critical speculations. As a serious author, the Cold War provided Nabokov with the chance to indulge his fascination with American vulgarianism (Be llVillada 165). The Cold War also allowed Nabokov to explore meshes of sexual and military affairs (Petitte 81). As detailed by Adam Petittes The Literary Cold War, Nabokovs Humbert participates in the military explorations of the Arctic DEW Line for uranium. Humberts complicity in the mechanics and economy of wartime and Cold War secrecies match his own secret sexual project to acquire nymphettes (82) Connecting Dolores Haze to the United States search for nuclear materials, radiati on, and bombs reinforces the relationship between Nabokov and the Cold War. Petitte argues that [s]olipizing Lolita is identical to solipsizing Cold War Americaboth g irl and state are under threat, and Humbert is a criminal psychiatrist, exploiting and exposing t he nuclear symptoms of Cold War sexuality (97). With Lolita and his other Cold War texts, Nabokov exploits post-war policies, such as the redefinitions of domestic space and t he creation of a masculinity model that stresses the affluence of Playboys post-war narrative. Adas Model of Masculinity Nabokovs Playboy contributions create an exotic model of masculinity, which values sophistication, virility, and sliding scale of sexuality. His dense pros e contains old-world narrators and multiple literary allusions. According to Boyd s Russian Years,
135 Nabokovs father passed down a strict sense of manliness and personal honor (97). In The Gift Nabokov writes that the protagonist, Fyodor loves his fathers live masculinity, and Boyd supplants this characters adoration on to the author. A quic k survey of Nabokovs texts reveals that virility is a highly desirable trait; for instance, in Playboys December 1971 The Dashing Fellow, Nabokovs narrator cannot concentrate on any business, until he takes care of his romantic interests (121, Dec. 1971). One of Nabokovs most vulgar narrators, Konstantin longs to tangle with a graceful gol d-bright little devil in a fantastically lit hotel room! (122, Dec. 1971). His wife i s not overbright and therefore, not jealous of his sexual encounters on trains and in foreign cities (122, Dec. 1971). His multiple affairs are judged based on the financial cost of each tryst. Besides his meticulous focus on adding up the dollar and cents of each sexua l encounter, Konstantins unquenchable virility fits very well into the Playboy ethos. Nabokovs live masculinity supports Playboy's call for consumption and explores how male characters should reclaim domestic spaces. But like Kerouacs model of masculinity, Nabokov's contributions do not always depict a clear heterosexuality and they can undermine aspects of Playboys white, American narrative because of their tendency to be told from an exiles perspective. Model of Masculinity: Space Continuing the tradition of Russian writers, like Lev Tolstoi and Ivan Turgenev, Nabokov thoroughly maps his narrative space. Unlike twentieth-century Russian wr iters or authors like Dostoyevsky, Nabokov renders his narrative space by carefully mapping it like a cartographer (Shrayer 641). His earlier Russian works contained explici t descriptions of narrative space, but his later fiction, especially his Cold Wa r texts employ
136 specific literary devices that map space and time. Nabokov often disregards t he boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate critical discourse; his narrati ves blur genre boundaries. In Mapping Narrative Space in Nabokovs Short Fictions, Maxi m D. Shrayer argues that Nabokovs works attribute enormous significance to repr esenting the space where a given narrative unravels and where characters interact (641). Stephen Hardwick Blackwell argues that Nabokovs later fiction challenges read ers to recognize the chilling parallels between the overconfidence of scientific progres s and the dogmatic certainty of the Soviet regime (ix). Marina Grishakova connects Nabokovs handl ing of space with contemporary philosophical models, thus situating Nabokovs artistic and scientific endeavors into the cultural framework of the Cold War. Scientific metaphysical, and ethical theories often permeate Nabokovs Cold War texts. Playboys 1969 excerpts from Ada highlight mid-century concerns of domestic space and the blurring of geographical and time boundaries. Slightly joking, Nabokov declared his novel Ada a book of geniusthe pearl of American literature; but the novel has divided scholars, provoking intense distaste and praise (Boyd Ada 3). Adas first sentence is an eversion of Tolstoys first sentence in Anna Karenin : "the opening sentence of Anna Karenin ...is turned inside out" (Nabokov Strong 285). Anna Karenin begins with All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and Ada with All happy families are more or less dissimilar, all unhappy ones a re more or less alike. Throughout the novel, Nabokov inverts time, the planet Earth, and sexual gender: Time is turned inside out, so that much of the present becomes the past (Swanson). Nabokov anachronistically confuses the centuries and transposes the eas tern and western hemispheres. The confusion could relate to Cold War fears regar ding the
137 Iron Curtain. But Playboys excerpt does not expose most of these inversions or the philosophical material that divided scholars, such as Vans long philosophical dia tribe, The Texture of Time which describes his attempt to control time. Rather, Playboy editors provided readers with less difficult material, due to concerns that it might be bey ond their readers intellectual abilities. Playboy excerpts recount Vans youth at his uncles opulent country mansion, Arcadian Ardis Hall. The excerpts opening contains a lengthy exposition of Vans first journey t o Ardis Hall; in the early afternoon, Van enters the sunny peace of the little rural s tation whence a winding road led to Ardis Hall (94, April 1969). A chance crease in th e texture of time presents Van with a hackney coach to complete his journey (94, April 1969). Nabokov thoroughly describes the half-hour jog through the pinewoods and over rocky ravines and uses sun flecks and lacy shadows skimming over Vans legs to show the progression of time (94, April 1969). Nabokov includes names of places and details that situate Van in a familiar, albeit foreign, setting. For instance, the firs t paragraph contains references to recognizable pinewoods, animals, flora, and people. But the dreamy hamlet he passes through has an exotic nameTorlyankaand contains izbas and ruinous black castles (94, April 1969). Nabokovs reference to a half-Russian vil lage only slightly reassures readers that this narrative space is a realis tic representation (94). With every description of the setting, Nabokov manages to include knowledge of our real world but undermine[s] it at every line (Boyd 3). As Van arrives at Ar dis Hall, the three-story romantic mansion built of pale brick and purplish stone, the estate looms realistic, like John Updikes suburbia (94, April 1969). And then Nabokov jars readers out of this realism: the mansion sat on a rise overlooking an abstract meadow with tw o
138 tiny people in cocked hats conversing not far from a stylized cow (97, April 1969 ). The painterly flourishes, like abstract and stylized, reinforce that thi s setting has been carefully mapped on a canvas. Ardis Hall somehow sits above the abstractions. Van s memories interrupt the forward motion of the narrative, and the setting of Ardis H all emerges as the most stable literary element. Nabokov uses a tour of the hall as the first interaction between Ada and Van, and this tour foreshadows their incestuous affair. During their first tea, Marina tells her nephew/son about the librarys view and explains that Ada will show him all the room s in the house (98, April 1969). The tour has no discernible pattern and takes up three pages of Playboys May issue. For days, Ada leads Van up and down the stairs, exposing all those nooks in which they were to make love so soon (100, April 1969). She takes him through semi-secret staircases, multiple bathrooms, servant chambe rs, drawing rooms, and the attic. But the first stop on the tour, Ardis Halls library, later becom es the space in which Van and Ada consummate their adolescent affair. Ardis Hall s library was its pride, even if it was not often entered. It contained collected works of uncol lected authors, tall bookcases and short cabinets, dark pictures and pale busts, ten cha irs of carved walnut and two noble tables inlaid with ebony (98, April 1969). After li sting off the rooms contents, Nabokov describes the librarys divan and a pair of candlestic ks, mere phantoms of metal and tallow (98, April 1969). The divan, or day bed cover ed in black velvet, with two yellow cushions, was placed in a recess, below a plate-g lass window that offered a generous view of the banal park and man-made lake (98, April 1969). Later in the summer, Van and Ada have sex on the divan, while the rest of the household tries to save the burning barn across the reservoir.
139 The setting of their clumsy, passionate tryst echoes two of Playboys main themes: masculine reclamation of domestic space and sexual stimulation as a matte r of the mind, not the body. Hefner declared that the whole idea behind Playboy was to put the two parts back together againmind and bodythat have been in conflict so long in our society (qtd. in Weyr 11). During Vans and Adas sexual experience i n the library, Ada constantly asks questions regarding his anatomy. Slithering away from V ans caresses, Ada wannask why Van gets so fat and hard there when you (250, April 1969). Her childish dialect and insistent curiosity remind readers that she is a just a chi ld during this encounter. When she sees Vans erection, her tone of voice change[s] immedia tely, and she becomes sympathetic, imploring whether or not it hurts because its all s kinned and raw (250, April 1969). Van explains to her that touching it will make it feel bet ter and begins to trace the relief map of his penis: Her index traced the blue Nil e down into its jungle and traveled up again (250, April 1969). Completely ignorant of the mal e sexual organ, Ada compares his penis to things she understandsmaps and flowers. The library setting provides Ada with a fitting backdrop to learn about sex. Joe Andrew s study of modern Russian literature discusses how the library setting was once used as a motif Russian literature: A young womans simultaneous entre into knowledge and sexuality by means of stealing books from an older man, or library, was a common motif in Russian literature (41n31). Ada does not need to steal any books during her simultaneous entre because both sexual partners are virgins. Nabokovs twist on t his Russian motif can be attributed to his characters age and the love that they shar e. Nabokov creates the space of the library to unravel his narrative and allow his characters to sexually interact.
140 Model of Masculinity: Sexuality As in Lolita, Pale Fire, and most of Nabokovs works, sexual relationships are complicated by social taboos. His Playboy contributions are no different. In both The Eye and Despair, Nabokov alludes to characters homosexuality. The narrator in The Dashing Fellow (1971) engages in multiple adulterous affairs. Nabokov exposes readers to middle-aged pedophilia in A Nursery Tale (1974), and, in The Admiralty Spire (1975), Nabokov makes readers question why authors turn love affairs into novels. In The Doorbell (1976), Playboy readers are misled to believe that Nikolay Galatovs search for his mother is a quest to rekindle a love affair. While Playboys Ada excerpt exhibits a clear heterosexual relationship, the incest factor undermines Playboys model of masculinity as boy-meets-neighbor/officemate. These instances of s exual deviance represent Nabokovs model of masculinity. On a superficial level, blurring the lines that separate normal sexual behavior from deviant behavior supports Playboys deviance from Cold War culture. However, Playboy really only deviated from mainstream cultures emphasis on the nuclear familynot heterosexuality. As Barbara Ehrenreich has stated, Playboys deviance was not the voice of sexual revolution but of male rebellion (51). Its didactic editorial content reclaimed domestic space for masculine pleasure and presented a cri tique of marriage, a strategy for remasculinization, and a spirit of acquisition bes t represented in its call for conspicuous consumption (50). Playboys deviance was focused on the escape from the bondage of breadwinningnot on deviant sexuality or sexual behavior. In fact, there is nothing really deviant, or even erotic, about Playboys sexuality. Playmates and bunnies are usually replicas of each other; most are blonde with 35-23-35
141 measurements. According to Playboys own statistics, the average Pla ymate is 22 years old, 5 6 and 115 pounds. Since the 1960s, Playmates have gained about a pound and almost two inches. The average bust size has dropped about an inch, waist size has increased an inch and hip size has remained about the same (Playmate FAQ). T hese statistics prove that Hefner has always been puritanical about his Playm ates image and their semblance of innocence. Times 1967 review of Playboy argues that its depiction of sex is more akin to a Midwestern Methodists vision of sin, whereas Nabokovs Playboy contributions include references to homosexuality, pedophilia, and incestmuch more highly contested versions of sex. Nabokovs works reflect Alfred Kinseys controversial scientific surveys of American sexuality and expose cultural fears of a sliding scale of sexua lity. For instance, Adas depiction of incest explores the volatility of subjective, social constructs of deviance and normality (Goldman 88). In Knowing Lolita: Sexual Devia nce and Normality in Nabokovs Lolita , Eric Goldman argues that Nabokov utilizes the sexology that was so controversial in the 1950s to present alternative interpreta tions of his characters sexuality (88). For Goldman, Lolita should not be characterized as a femme fatale or special nymph with a heightened sensuality; she should be view ed as an ordinary, juvenile girl whose normal sexual development is warped by a mani acal, myth-making pedophile (88). In order to create Lolita as an ordinary Ame rican girl, Nabokov completed hours of field research: attended primary schools, rode school busses to eavesdrop on conversations, scoured popular magazines for phrases, and read psychological studies on development. Through Lolitas characterization, Nabokov rendered a devastating commentary on American adolescents. Rachel Devl in states, in
142 her study of the post-war father-daughter relationship, that Lolitas personality sets the stage for a certain kind of adult masculinity, and Humbert represents the ki nd of masculine personality that was often produced through a relationship with a teenage daughter (Devlin Relative Intimacy 159). Devlins thorough study of Americas postwar record of father-daughter incest suggests that Nabokovs story of sexual deviance played a role in creating and sustaining important ideas about gender, family, pa ternal power and the sexual order (Devlin Acting Out). Goldmans and Devlins theorie s can be extrapolated to Vans and Adas adolescent incest and applied to Nabokovs model of masculinity. Adas innocence might reflect the manipulated image of a centerfolds innocenc e, but her incestuous relationship with Van undermines Playboys promotion of consenting, adult heterosexuality. Incest, in Kinseys reports and Kirson S. Weinbergs 1955 sociological text, is defined as lying with a near relative. But the data pr esented in these texts mainly deals with incestuous contacts between post-puberty fa mily members. Critiques of Kinseys work on incest involve his claim that incest between adults and consenting children can prove to be a satisfying experience. Kinseys study of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male contains passing references to incestuous contacts between pre-adolescent children and Kinsey does acknowledge that at least some children experience sexual interest and pleasure during these contacts (Bancrof t m). In his section Pre-Adolescent Sexual Development, Kinsey reports that 14% of all the females recalled that they had reached orgasm either in masturbation or in t heir sexual contacts with other children or older persons (105). Clearly Kinseys reports, how ever compromised they might have been, warn against viewing children as asexual, a w arning
143 that Nabokov exploits. Unlike Humbert, who was unable to consummate his romance with Annabel, Van and Ada consummate their romance during adolescence and continue their sexual relationship for the remainder of their adult lives. The knowledge that Van and Ada share a healthy adult relationship undercuts assumptions that their adoles cent deviance should have wrecked havoc on their mental stability. In this sense, Playboys excerpts of Ada like Kinseys reportschallenged notions of sexual deviance, notions that shocked Americans into reconsidering definition of normal sexual behavior. Ironically, Playboys inclusions of Nabokovs contributions, all of which present some sort of sexual deviance, end up undermining Playboys very clear model of heterosexual behavior. Conclusion Nabokovs Playboy contributions offer readers a slightly different model of masculinity than the coherent narrative presented by Playboys editorial content. Nabokovs characters participate in deviant sexual behaviors, ranging from incest to homosexuality. However, his depiction of domestic space in Ada reinforces Hefners wish for men to reclaim the indoors. Like Playboy, Nabokov benefitted from the Cold War cultures emphasis on conspicuous consumption and the blend of high and low brow art. An Olympian Press author, along with Beckett and Burroughs, Nabokovs works fi rst shocked the post-war generation because of their sophisticated construction and vul gar subject matter; Playboys didactic program for post-war males pairs serious social commentary with nude pictorials. The relationship between the author and the empir e suggests that both used each other for mutual gaina relationship that Nabokovs son, Dmitri, profits from decades after his fathers death.
144 CHAPTER 4BRICK BY BRICK: JAMES BALDWIN IN PLAYBOY As an African American, homosexual writer, James Baldwins Playboy contributions seem out of place in the magazines didactic program for white, heterosexual, male members of the rising middle-class. But Playboy has always adhered to an ethos of racial equality, even if it is dedicated to the dissemination of normative sexuality. Playboys push for civil rights can be evidenced in its liberal activism during the 1960s; aligne d with broad political movements, Playboy championed individual rights, especially economic freedom. According to Steven Watts, in Hugh Hefner and the American Dream Playboy promoted a particular activism, one that sought ways to break down barriers to provide greater, freer access to the socioeconomic syste m (193). To promote that brand of socioeconomic equality, different kinds of editorial content began to appear in the 1960s, and Hefner hired new editors, like Sheldon Wax, Murray Fisher, and Nat Lehrman, to influence the political bent of the magazineno longer would Playboy pretend to remain strictly in the entertainment realm. Lehrman claims tha t, during the early sixties, We were doing very interesting things, particularly in t he sexual area and in the civil liberties and civil rights area (qtd. in Watts 194). Watts sugges ts that the most striking aspect of Playboys heightened social awareness was in the realm of race relations (qtd. in Watts 194). Concurrently, Baldwin was desperately seeking t o define his identity as an American Negro writer and as a spokesman for his peopl e (Jones 107). Unsure of what kind of role he could play in the Civil Rights Movements or how to confront the political shift toward Black Nationalism, Baldwin increasing ly
145 adopted the stance of the representative race man (McBride 10). Having e xiled himself to Paris, Baldwin was, at first, not convinced he should be actively involved in the movement; but, after a second visit to the South in 1960, Baldwin became a member of Congress of Racial Equality and Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee (F ield 460). He ceased polishing [his] fingernails in France and realized that he di d have a role to play (qtd. in Field 460). His role as a writer, with an international audience and a reporter was unique because Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Ralph Ellis on did not publish significant texts during this time. Biographer James Campbell argue s that Baldwins value to the [civil rights] movement was mainly symbolic, bec ause he was neither a rank-and-file member nor part of the leadership (Campbell Talking 175). Due to his symbolic role, Playboy used Baldwin, and his international fame, to present its liberal stance on racism. Always short of money, Baldwin offered essays and articles to numerous magazines. He published in small, literary magazines, like the Paris-based Zero, The Nation, The New Leader, Partisan Review or the Commentary, as well as larger more commercial magazines, such as Esquire, Harper, Encounter, Time or Mademoiselle. When The New Yorker published Baldwins twenty-thousand-word Letter from a Region in My Mind on 17 November 1962, sales soared, and Baldwin became the talk of the town (Leeming 145). After Time magazine featured Baldwin on its cover, his fame spread to an even wider audience. David Leeming claims that some of Baldwins cri tics and friends resented Baldwins relationship with the larger magazines; s ome complained when he sold serious articles to Playboy and Mademoiselle (145). Detractors complained because his work was placed among the elitist ads for expensive
146 cars and clothes (145). Baldwins response to these criticisms was that hi s audience was the publicans and tax-collectors as well as the righteous (145). Expanding his audience base by publishing in small and large magazines afforded Baldwin the cha nce to expand his role as an artist and as a spokesperson. It also afforded the magazines, especially Playboy, the opportunity to cash in on Baldwins fame. Playboy relied on Baldwins authority to explain the magazines stance on race as soon as he became a household name; but the whole of his Playboy contributions reveal a strikingly complex nexus of race and sexuality. Because Baldwins open homosex uality obviously contradicted its celebration of heterosexuality, Playboy never acknowledged Baldwins publically known homosexuality, until the end of the Cold War when it published Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood. While many young authors and leaders of civil rights movements publically condemned Baldwins sexual ide ntity, Playboy simply ignored it. Baldwin was also taciturn on the subject of his homosexuality in his non-fiction texts and always dealt with the questions of race, before se x. His move away from writing about his sexuality during the Cold War encouraged Playboy to keep publishing his non-fiction contributions. Only later in his career does Baldwin direc tly address his homosexuality in non-fiction, but from the beginning of his literary care er, his fiction contained homosexual characters. Baldwins texts illuminate the socia l construction of both race and sexuality. For instance, two of Baldwins Playboy contributions analyze the constructed nature of both race and sexuality: his short st ory, The Man Child (1966), and his essay, Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood (1985). In The Man Child, Baldwin employs white, heterosexual characters to deconstruct the mid-century masculinity ideal. Many characteristics of this ideal
147 masculinity are upheld through Playboys editorial content; for instance, Playboy celebrates heterosexuality, capitalism, and patriarchal hegemony in its pictorials, advertisements, and articles, such as Philip Wylies The Womanization of America. Part of the ideal masculinity that Baldwin scrutinizes is the consumer ethics unde rpinning post-war prosperity and endorsed by Playboy (Fraterrigo 148). By critiquing Playboys conspicuous consumption and presenting characters with homosexual tendencies, Baldwins fictional selection undermines much of Playboys grand narrative. Using Race, Not Sexuality From its inception, Playboys grand narrative suggested that any male, regardless of race, could enjoy the playboy lifestyle. Hugh Hefner also claims that Playboy was always colorblind. Distraught with previous workplace discrimination, Hefner integ rated the Playboy staff and refused to ask for racial identification on the application for a Playbo y Club key. Any male with twenty-five dollars to spare on a one-time fee f or a Playboy Club key could always gain access to the empires many night clubs. In 1962, civi l rights groups awarded Hefner the Brotherhood Award and the Good American Award for his commitment to the fundamental right of equality of opportunity in employme nt without regard to color, creed, sex, or national origin (qtd. in Watts 195). However, most African Americans were denied a lifestyle of luxury in post-wa r culture. John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony, understood the discrepancy between race and affluence as a notion of citizenship: to be American was to be a consumer, and vice versa (qtd. in Fraterrigo 139). Pervasive discrimination excluded African Americans fr om earning expendable incomes, and mass media often ignored African Americans during adver tising campaigns. As a media outlet, Playboy did not address an African American audience or
148 include images of Africans in its pages until the 1960s, because during the 1950s it assumed a white middle-class audience and represented a world of white affl uence (Fraterrigo 138). In 1961, comic Dick Gregory performed at the Chicago Play boy Club, the first African American performance in a mainstream club. Hefner s 1960s late-night television shows, Playboys Penthouse and Playboy after Dark, presented a racially integrated crowd and hired black entertainers like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., and Ray Charles to perform and socialize with white guests. Editors r an Alex Haleys Miles Davis and Malcolm X interviews in September 1962 and May 1963, respectively. The January 1965 issue included an interview with Dr. Martin Lut her King, Jr., and Jennifer Jackson graced the March 1965 centerfold as the first African American Playmate. In the context of post-war society, these contributions can be comme nded. Brigitte Bermans recent documentary, Hugh Hefner, Playboy, Activist and Rebel, praises Hefner as a civil rights pioneer, and journalist Mike Wallace states in Bermans documentary that "Hefner helped build the audience for a different attitude about civil rights." Most Playboy readers appear prepared for this different attitude, but some stressed that they did not want to mix their entertainment with serious civil ri ghts concerns. The primarily affluent, white audience and Hefners goal for racial equality reveals Playboys complicated participation in the Civil Rights Movement. Playboy often relied on James Baldwin to promote its views on racial equality. For example, Playboys first full report on the plight of African Americans in the post-war era was Through the Racial Looking Glass (July 1962), by Nat Hentoff. Playboy commissioned Hentoff, instead of Baldwin, for this report because Hentoff represe nted a larger, albeit less affluent, less certifiably liberal, and surely less educated, audience
149 than Baldwin (Wyer 132). Importantly, though, Hentoff quotes Baldwin and relies on him for insights regarding the African American community, insights Hent off would be unable to posit because he was white. Hentoff uses Baldwin for his authority on various subjectsa tactic Playboy editors quickly adopted. In Through the Racial Looking Glass, Baldwin explains reasons for the growing Muslim population, as well as the underlying cause for stereotypes, such as the African American inabili ty to swim. In the article, Baldwin calls for African Americans to recognize how the maj ority culture systematically enslaves the minority. According to Hentoff, Baldwin s declaration for emancipation from controlling images is the one organic change which now appli ed to nearly all Negro adultsincluding the vast majority of the unorganized (66, July 1962) White Americans created, and then promoted, a particular eroticized, debased i mage of Africans American: The American Negro can no longer be, nor will ever be again, controlled by white Americas image of him (66, July 1962). Baldwin also poi nts out the awkward insight that most African Americans have allowed whites to impose on them their own self-image, even though they had superior knowledge of the battleground (66, July 1962). To support this claim, Hentoff cites another African American artist, playwright Lorraine Hansberry. She reminds reader s that the African American maid has observed so much from washing everybodys underwear for 300 years. We know when youre not clean (66, July 1962). Regardless of that superior knowledge, Dick Gregory, like Baldwin, is so goddamn sick and tired of a white man telling us about us (66, July 1962). Baldwin tells Playboy readers how white Americans image of African Americans makes them ashamed to have na ppy hair or ashy skin: One was always being mercilessly scrubbed and polished, as in the hope
150 that stain could thus be washed away (66, July 1962). These cultural insights allowe d Playboy to participate in the civil rights discourse by explaining the damaging eff ects of images to white readers. After Hentoffs article Playboy increased its reliance on Baldwin, as well as its civil rights content. In the October 1962 issue, editors published fifteen Dear P layboy letters responding to Hentoffs article. Only two of those letters include n egative comments; the first criticizes Playboy for not hiring an African American to write the magazines first perceptive report on the race, and the second wants Playboy to publish the Souths views on desegregation. Editors print lengthy responses to these letters solidifying their front for racial equality. For instance, in response to C. S ummer Stones objection to Hentoffs race, editors introduce the reader to a future Playboy author, James Baldwin, one of [Stones] nominees who, incidentally is author of an upcoming Playboy article (7, Oct. 1962). Editors then go on the record and declare the magazines colorblind status in hiring staffers, assigning art, photography and writing, purchasing creative work; they claim that the only criterionin judgi ng people and their workhas always been and will always be professional excellence (7, Oct. 1962). Editors repeat this motto for equality in response to Bill Castles desire for equal space to the Souths viewpoint: Playboy stands for the individual We are as much opposed to the bigotry that strikes out at racial and religious groups as we are to the bigots who burn books and attempt to censor and oppose all ideas and ideals that differ from their own (14, Oct. 1962). Yet, neither of the editors diatribes compare to James Baldwins succinct approval for Hentoff and his articleIf I can go downtownthen Nat ce rtainly can go uptown (7, Oct. 1962). Writing from Dakar, Senegal, Baldwin writes to D ear
151 Playboy that he has long admired Nat and he is one of the people on whom [Baldwin] most depend[s] to help bring these walls of incomprehension down (7, Oct. 1962). Using Baldwins response to Hentoffs article gives Playboy s campaign more authority, because, by the early 1960s, Baldwin had become an eloquent literary spokesperson on equal rights. Baldwins first appearance in Playboy, The Uses of Blues, revealed more insight into African American culture for the Playboy audience. William I. Smith claimed that Baldwins article moved him to write his first letter to Playboy because he could better understand his minority students (8, April 1964). Subtitled soliloquy, The Uses of Blues, celebrates the blues as a uniquely American art form and serves as decisive metaphor for the struggle for racial freedom. Because of its solil oquy label, or in spite of it, Baldwin speaks his mind directly to the Playboy audience. He refers to his audience using the second-person pronoun and asks them to consider the myriad of things the blues are aboutfrom love to lynching. Baldwin calls the blues the facts of lif e and cites blues singers, such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, F rank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte, and Miles Davis. Baldwin also refers to writers, like Horatio Alg er and Henry James. This range of American popular culture figures allows Baldwin to rel ate to Playboys readers. Baldwins allusions, syntactical choices, and tone suggest that he envisioned hi s audience to be educated, white males unaware of the realities African Ame ricans faced. For instance, he references European and American historical facts, Sigmund F reud and explains the Negroes difficult days to the reader (131, Jan. 1964). Baldwin begins his essay slowly, by defining his title and the conversation he is engaged with, as if the
152 readers are just being made aware of this particular conversation, which start ed a long time ago. He explains things like the blues on incredibly basic levels, as if he wa s scolding a Sunday school classroom (Pickney 2). He tells readers about the bl ues because they contain the toughness that manages to make this experience artic ulate; he lets readers in on the secret, however odd [it] may sound, that the blues also crea te a kind of joy because the pain is commonplace (131, Jan. 1964). For Baldwin, the blues can make people learn, mature, and ultimately gain wisdom from suffering, whic h may be seen as the blues connection to the Biblical concept of suffering as a way t o wisdom (Miller 16). Baldwin assumes Playboy readers are ready and willing to read how the blues relate to the African American fight for rights. In The Uses of the Blues, Baldwin bargains that Playboy readers will be willing to learn from his insights. Baldwin hopes that readers will liste n and learn about the experience the blues make articulate; he wants readers to understa nd how racism affects everyone, regardless of race (Hardy 52). However, Baldwin critic ally reminds white readers of their responsibility in the racial inequality. For exampl e, he claims white readers have lost their humanity and describes the American psychological l andscape as a festering, guilty wound. Baldwin condemns readers for their guilt and their i nability to survive if, and when, trouble comes. He says that guilt is a peculiar emotion that coaxes Americans into inactivity; no one wants to act because then one must be conscious and take great chances and be responsible for the consequences (240, Jan. 1964). Playboy readers must have wondered what kind of bargain Baldwin was brokering after reading these condemning, although honest, claims. Baldwin uses such accusatory language because he wishes to probe far deeper
153 than the overt issue of racism. Throughout the essay, Baldwin calls for readers to face reality by asking those very difficult questions concerning humanity (241 Jan. 1964). For him, the real Negro problem is not about injustice, murder, or criminal rac ism because what has been done to me is irrelevant simply because there is nothing m ore you can do to me (132, Jan. 1964). The real problem is about the lessons children will learn; the real Negro fight is about finding a way to make a child who wi ll be despised, not despise himself (240, Jan. 1964). Baldwin urges Playboy readers to go beyond empty statistics, which suggest that African Americans are finan cially succeeding: walk away from the TV set, the Cadillac, and go into the chaos and learn about reality (241, Jan. 1964). Undermining the standards by which middle-class Americans live, Baldwin seems to call for new standards. He wants them to ge t involved with the realities of racism, as opposed to assuming that, as liberals, they are f ree from guilt. You dont know what the river is like or what the ocean is like, Baldwin says, by standing on the shore (241, Jan. 1964). He criticizes readers for believing in the r eality set forth by John OHaras novels and Life magazine: Nobody lives in that country. That country does not exist and, what is worse, everybody knows it (241, Jan. 1964). Baldwin complains about those who are building bomb shelters to hide from the atrocities of humanity and exposes the deep divide between the American dream and the American Negros experience of life (13, Jan. 19642). Through all of these complaints, Baldwin uses the second person, directly calling out the white Playboy reader You havent [forgotten the guilt]. And that is the problem (214, Jan. 1964). Guilt seems to have forced white liberals into inaction, exactly when Americ a is simultaneously plagued with a myriad of social issues, such as classism and s exism.
154 These early radical declarations take white liberals to task for failure t o recognize how racism is just one aspect of Americas problems. And yet, throughout The Uses of Blues, Baldwin employs a calm tone that negates associations with other militant activists, such as Eldridge Clea ver or Malcolm X. Baldwin seeks to understand even as he condemns (Pickney 2). Through his consistent attacks, Baldwin seems to believe his integrated audience has the potential to be bet ter itself. For example, he constantly champions loving one another and switches to the more encompassing we when discussing how to be more humane. There is even a sense that he reined in his passionate tirades for the broad Playboy audience. He often halts, mid-thought, to quote a passage or familiar author; for instance, right after h e states that the only way to change the hatred is to ask ourselves very difficult questi ons, he simply begins a new paragraph: I will stop now. But I want to quote two things, and he goes on to compare a passage from Henry James to lyrics from Bessie Smith (241 Jan. 1964). James Campbell states that Baldwin enjoyed the attention of editors and steadied his hand behind the furious pen, when writing for national magazines (Sorrow). This appears to be true for The Use of the Blues: Playboy editors required minimal changes to the manuscript and rushed the non-fiction piece to print, most likely because it contained the appropriate mix of alienation and compassion. Playboy published another Baldwin soliloquy less than a year after The Uses of the Blues; Words of a Native Son (1964) also begs readers to act. In the byline to Words of a Native Son, Baldwin is labeled as the eminent author and the Playbil l refers to him as the Negros most eloquent literary spokesman (120, 3). In response to Baldwins second Playboy appearance, Morton W. Darby claims that Baldwins elegant
155 candor outshined the rest of [ Playboys] fine, fat Christmas package (10). Darby calls for other writers to mimic Baldwins capacity to get under the surface in looking at himself and his work (10). In Words, Baldwin reveals the creative process of an artist who wants to tell the terrible damage we are doing to our all our children (241, Dec 1964). He tells Playboy readers that the humanity of the menaced population is equal to the humanity of anyone else, equal to yours, equal to that of your child (241, Dec 1964). Employing the second-person pronoun again, Baldwin directly calls out to the white Playboy reader. Equating the dead Harlem boy, Emmett Till, to the child of a Playboy reader allows Baldwin to appeal to the audiences emotions: As long as my children face the future that they face, and come to the ruin that they come to, y our children are gravely in danger, too (241, Dec. 1964). Demanding that readers asse ss the national nightmare provides the essay with a sense of urgency, similar to the The Us es of the Blues. Baldwin also maintains a similar tone and adopts a spokesperson stance [that] invites the audience to actively participate (Norman 108). He shares the blame and the responsibility for deaths of children like Emmett Till: I know you didnt do it, and I didnt do it either, but I am responsible for it, too, for the very same reason (241, Dec. 1964). Because Baldwin could strike this rhetorical balance, Playboy was encouraged to continue to rely on him as its face of the Civil Rights Movement. This rhetorical balance is exemplified in Baldwins Dialog in Black and White (December 1966), a conversation with Budd Schulberg on how radicals and liberals might form a coalition. Liberals, both black and white, focused on a more superficial freedom for the individual; some liberals tended to ignore the various forces of oppression and viewed racial integration and consumption as markers of freedom.
156 Playboy promoted a very particular political orientation, rather than something more radical. Before being disillusioned by Kings assassination, Baldwin als o seemed to promote a liberal understanding of racial equality. But in this dialog, he functions more as a liaison between liberals and radicals. A white liberal, Schulberg obtained Na tional Education for the Humanities funding to establish the Watts Writers Workshop, a program for high school dropouts in underprivileged communities following the 1965 Watts riots. While praiseworthy, Schulbergs work still represented a white liberal a genda because he used funds from the national government to endow a particular kind of a freedomeducation. Playboy sought out big names like Schulberg to discuss race (Wyer 141). Schulbegs relationship with Baldwin is one that included fervent agreement and fier ce disagreement (279, Dec. 1966). Known for his community outreach and being on liberal-interracial side, Schulbergs dialog with Baldwin centers on t he role white liberals can play in the cause for civil rights. The dialog raises key issue s, such as African Americans rising skepticism toward the role progressive whites can pla y in fight for racial equality. As a white progressive, Schulberg was perturbed by D ick Gregory dismissing his liberal support at the 1964 Democratic Convention. Schulberg turned to Baldwin for explanations regarding the growing hatred of whitey. Playboy spent years promoting its liberal image, and publishing this dialog between Schulberg and Ba ldwin bolsters this image. Throughout this provocative, although fruitless, conversati on, Baldwin refused to concede that blacks had any need of white liberal support (Wye r 141). The split between the radicalliberal alliance foreshadows the immi nent changes of the Civil Rights Movement, and this dialog becomes integral primary material regarding this pivotal moment.
157 Baldwin negotiates between the Black Nationalist movements and white libera l concerns, while defending the criticism offered by Black Nationalists. Many leaders of Black Power movements viewed Baldwin as anachronistic. Middle-aged, gay, and associated with Kings non-violent program, Baldwin had a love-hate relationship w ith movements like the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Cultural critic Cheryl Clark shows how Baldwin did not fit into the political view of the Black Power Movement. The marked resurgence of radical black consciousness included the rejecti on of WASP American values, repudiation of homosexuality, and the embrace of nationalist, separatist, Pan Africanist sentiments (qtd. in Field 462). The potent masculinit y of the Black Panther Party contained an intolerant attitude towards weakness; it deni ed leadership opportunities to women, homosexuals, and those who aligned themselves with non-aggression. To be a member, much less a leader, in the movement, one had to be heterosexual, virile, and young. Henry Lois Gates, Jr. notes that as a older homosex ual, and an intellectual who befriended white liberals like Schulberg, Baldwin wa s now a favorite target of for the new cutting edge (qtd. in Field 462). According to Gates, Baldwin bashing was almost a rite of initiation for the younger member s of the more violent civil rights movements (qtd. in Field 466). As leaders, like Eldridge Clea ver, and writers, such as Ishmael Reed, dismissed Baldwin as a bootlicker kowtow ing to the white liberals, Baldwin never fired back (Field 466). Rather, in Dialog i n Black and White, Baldwin admits that he can understand the appeal of the black power to young black people who have felt their identity crushed and denied in a world of white power (286, Dec. 1966). Deeply disillusioned by the recent assassinations of Dr. Mar tin Luther King, Jr. and bombings of churches, Baldwin seems to have become more committed to
158 radical change. Baldwin previously promoted humanitys potential for love as major element for the Civil Rights Movement, but, after being disillusioned, Baldwin calls for new tac tics. For example, in response to Schulbergs questions about which side he is on, separatist or integrationist, Baldwin suggests that he will side with the separatists, if radical alterations are not made to the structure of all our institutions in the direction of a great er freedom, recognizing that the Negro is an integral part of this nation, has also paid for it wi th his blood, and is here to stay (287, Dec. 1966). Baldwin tells Schulberg that the United States is trapped in a massive moral contradiction we will perish if we ca nnot resolve it (287, Dec. 1966). He rails against the conflict in Vietnam as a fight for freedom because freedom is precisely what Americans fear most (287, Dec. 1966). Baldw in even reiterates W.E.B. Du Bois criticism of Booker T. Washingtons educ ation programs: being toilet trained and know[ing] how to use a shower is not by some miracle of transcendence, able to free millions (287, Dec. 1966). Baldwin argues that fede ral progress is not enough because from where [he sits], and from where [his] brothers a re huddling tonight in their black ghettos from Boston to San Diego, we cant wait for la ws that take so long to pass and then so much longerit seems foreverto enforce. Were ready now. Weve been ready for generations (279, Dec. 1966). Like the above respons e on federal progress, Baldwin redefines what Schulberg sees as the African American problem into the white liberal problem; he forces the majority race to review the damage and destruction it causes, converting African Americans from victims to c itizens with waning patience. Through Baldwins radicalized rhetoric, he maintains a friendly dialog with
159 Schulberg. In Dialog, Baldwins word choice and tone begins to more closely r esemble the persuasive language used by other radicals, such as Bobby Seale. Hinting at the violence on the horizon, Baldwin calmly answers Schulbergs questions, and they only each interrupt each others retorts seven different times. Baldwin often begins many of his responses with friendly nicknames or baby; for instance, when Schulberg poignantly asks Baldwin which side are you on, Elijah Muhammads side or what you call my sloppy liberal-interracial side?, Baldwin replies with Baby dont lay that on me (279, Dec. 1966). Using baby, could also be a rhetorical move, evoking the term boy that a white male would have used when addressing Baldwin. The combination of heightened rhetoric and calm tone makes this a friendly dialog that white Playboy readers can listen in on. Gates claims that Baldwin more carefully crafted his voi ce in his essays, which came to represent his official voice of the public intellectual, J ames Baldwin (qtd. in Field 466). Extremely sensitive about the younger generation s attacks, Baldwin had to reexamine his place in the Civil Rights Movements. Playboys Dialog in Black and White presents this voice, a balance between radical reformist, f iery intellectual, and friend of willing whites. Publishing Dialog affords Playboy the chance to build its liberal base and provide its white, liberal readers the logic be hind the more militant Civil Rights Movements. While Playboy continually stressed Baldwin in content regarding racial equality, it never mentions his sexuality. In its December 1962 On the Scene Baldwin expos, Playboy glosses over the authors sexuality. Below a flattering picture of Baldw in are details regarding his self-imposed exile, return to America, and his publica tions to date. Editors suggest that Baldwin creates a dark and desolate novelistic wast eland in which
160 men and women wallow in suspicious, fear, hate and lust, searching helplessly f or a sanctuary because he himself is wallowing (126, Dec. 1962). Yet, they do not fully disclose why he is wallowing. As a gay, black man in post-war America Baldwin felt the urge to flee. In Revisiting Madeleine and The Outing: James Baldwins Revision of Gides Sexual Politics, Jerome de Romanet claims that very little at tention has been paid to the sexual nature of Baldwins self-imposed exile (3). Romanet argues t hat Baldwins exile was as much concerned with issues of critical and racia l affirmation and identity as with the private aspects of his emerging sense of sexual emancip ation (4). Playboy editors support Romanets claims by mentioning that Baldwin deserted race conscious America for race-tolerant France and being mute on the homosexual persecution that also propelled his self-exile (126). And while Baldwins sex uality was public knowledge, editors never mention it in in-house introductions or book reviews. In place of Baldwins sexuality, editors consistently remind readers about his bestseller status and cultural fameby the time he wrote The Uses of the Blues , The Fire Next Time had been a bestseller for almost a year, and Baldwin was busy shepherding his play, Blues for Mr. Charlie, toward its Broadway opening (2, March 1965). Editors remind readers of his elevated fame: nearly everyone has come to know the nam es James Baldwin, Dr. Martin Luther King and even Ralph Ellison (24, March 1965). Besides Playboy multiple magazines devoted many pages to Baldwin. As the mid-sixties approached, Baldwin commanded an incredible amount of public interest. John Stevenson states that, during this time, he lit up the cultural landscape like a bolt fr om the heavensa prophet of the decades black liberation struggle who became one of the most widely read African-American writers in this countrys history (2). In May 1963,
161 Time featured him on the cover, and Life did a nine-page spread. His interviews were reprinted in magazines as wide-ranging as Encounter, Essence, Opera News, and Transatlantic Review. Coupled with his interviews, Baldwin published four essay collections, two novels, one collection of short stories, and one play during the sixties. Playboys silence regarding Baldwins sexuality, in favor of his fame, evidences Playboys reliance on authors who have already gained cultural currency. Playboy also ignores Baldwins sexuality during the Civil Rights Movement because it does not want to undermine his authority as its racial spokesman. Simil arly, Time magazine manipulated Baldwins public persona so as to not alienate its large, whit e audience. In its 1963 cover spread, Time describes Baldwin as nervous, slight, almost fragile figure filled with frets and fears and characterizes him as a sweet, exotic black boy who cries for his mother, in order to suggest that Baldwin is not threatening to it s white readership (Field 461). Unlike Time magazine, which alludes to Baldwins sexuality by emphasizing his effeminate manners, Playboy highlights his anger. For instance, in an After Hours book review of Another Country, Baldwin is described as an author intent on articulating the rage of country full of fury and torment ( 47, March 1964). Editors even compare Baldwin to the militant LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka)besides being angry men, both were intently discussed and admire d in postwar literary circles (137, Feb 1965). The constant references to his anger, coupled with silence on his sexuality, helps to create the stereotypical image of an ang ry, black man exactly the image Baldwin warns against in Hentoffs report. Rather than conne cting Baldwin with his sexuality or his homosexual characters, editors depicted Ba ldwin as the fiery intellectual so as to not alienate Playboys heterosexual audience. Ignoring
162 references to Baldwins Martin Luther Queen nickname, Playboy could concurrently continue its crusade for heterosexuality and racial equality. Playboys refusal to mention Baldwins sexuality was very much in line with his own insistence that sexuality was a personal matter. Both the magazine and the author assumed that matters of race took precedence over Baldwins sexuality; B aldwin and Playboy steer[ed] readers away from his homosexuality and his characters se xuality. Baldwin claimed that his sexuality was very personal, absolutely personal. It was really a matter between [him] and God (qtd. in Field 459). Rejecting labels such as homosexual, gay, or bisexual, Baldwin never adopted a publicly homosexual persona or the stance of a gay activist during his lifetime (Romanet 4). In an intervi ew with Richard Goldstein, Baldwin states that the word gay has always rubbed [him] t he wrong way. [He] never understood exactly what is meant by it (13). When Goldstein pr essed Baldwin to categorize his sexuality, he responded with: I didnt have a word for i t. The only one I had was homosexual and that didnt quite cover whatever it was I was beginning to feel (13). Baldwin was also suspicious of the gay movement (Field 458). Donald Gibson claims that his attitude toward homosexuality is decidedly cri tical (qtd. in Field 458). These revelations are made more complex by Baldwins so f earlessly and tirelessly addressing homosexuality in his fiction (Field 458). Romanet divide s Baldwins oeuvre into the public realm of his essays and lectures and the private realm of his fiction; the supposed private space of his fiction afforded Baldwin the opportunit y to explore sexuality (8). Douglas Field touches on the irony that Baldwin used the very public forum of the novel to explore what he considered very private matters (459). Most likely, the novel form offered Baldwin some distance from his audience and
163 partially liberated him from a potentially hostile audience. Jerome de Manet r easonably claims that Baldwin reserved his public voice of racial spokesperson for his essa ys and lectures because they were a direct reflection of his role in the Civil Right s Movements (Field 459). Field takes Manets observations further by suggesting that Bal dwins audience awareness and sensitivity to criticism of his fictional charac ters kept him from divulging information regarding his private sexualityhe simply did not want to m ake readers uncomfortable with his sexuality because then they might not accept his s tance on racial equality. Applying both Manets and Fields observation to Baldwins c hoice to distance himself from public discussions of sexuality can help to explain why Playboy editors were silent on his sexuality. The magazine needed a non-threatening spokesperson to bolster its stance on racial equality, and, even if readers were aware of Baldwins sexuality, silence was in the interest of both the author and the empire Hefner never considered himself homophobic, and he viewed Playboys healthy heterosexuality as an antidote to the gender confusion plaguing Cold War Am erica (Watts 113). According to Elden Sellors memoir, Hefners thirst for sex ual experience became so strong he even had a one-time homosexual encounter (Watts 59). But for Playboy to fulfill its grand narrative properly, it had to stress heterosexual sex. Promoting a healthier attitude towards sex in Cold War America often forc ed Playboy to keep within certain bounds; for instance, Playboy appealed for a more sympathetic consideration of homosexuality by taking the more progressive position that a sickness formulation should be dropped (Watts 215). However, in the Playboy Philosophy, Hefner still encouraged homosexuals to seek therapeutic help because homosexuality was still deviant from the norm. It was not until the 1970s that Playboy
164 specifically addressed homosexuality, with a panel of eleven contributors. A nd in the 1980s, with the end of the Cold War in sight, Playboy finally turned its attention to the world of sexual identitypossibly the most important factor in determining the differences in our changing sexual styles (126, May 1983). Playboys gradual change to identifying a sexuality that deviates from the norm parallels the societ al focus on identity politics. A few years later, Playboy published Baldwins philosophical critique of sexual identity, Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood (January 1985). Baldwins non fiction essay is the most explicit statement regarding his sexual comi ng-of-age and his most rigorous histroico-sociological genealogy of the customs and norms surrounding American sexuality (Lombardo 41). Baldwin does deal with homosexuality in two earlier essays, The Preservation of Innocence (1949) and The Male Pr ison (1954); however, in these essays, he avoids discussion of his own sexuality and claims, in The Male Prison, that author Andre Gides homosexuality was his own affair whic h he ought to have kept hidden from us, or if he needed to be so explicit, he ought to have managed to be a little more scientific less illogical, less romantic (Baldwin 128). The fact that Baldwins first non-fictional foray into his homosexuality was pub lished in Playboy suggests that, by the close of the Cold War, both the author and the empire were more comfortable with deviating from their normal patterns. Similar to his earlier Playboy contribution on race, Baldwin deployed specific rhetorical tactics in Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood. For instance he begins slowly, as he did in The Uses of Blues, by defining androgyny, and he conf lates questioning sexual identity with larger, universal acts of drinking, breaking br ead, or
165 making love (149-150, Jan. 1985). Baldwin very clearly states, The American ideal ... of sexuality appears to be rooted in the American ideal of masculinity. This i dea has created cowboys and Indians, good guys and bad guys, punks and studs, tough guys and softies, butch and faggot, black and white (192, Jan. 1985). To help ground the reader in his logic, Baldwin references ancient and more recent history, as well as Sig mund Freud, Karen Horney, Carl Jung, and Wilhelm Reich. He blends notions of racism with heterosexism, connecting oppressive patriarchal systems (258, Jan. 1985). To avoid alienating his heterosexual audience, Baldwin employs anecdotal evidence, uses we throughout the essay, and states that [t]here is nothing more boring, anyway, t han sexual activity as an end to itself (260, Jan. 1985). He goes so far as to suggest that a g reat many people who came out of the closet should reconsider, and he questions popular cultural figures like Boy George (260, Jan. 1985). For Baldwin, conceptions of manhood are embedded in social constructions, like race. Baldwin even returns to his adage regarding the sanctity of children; he is deeply concerned that the Amer ican boy will never be allowed to evolve into the complexity of manhood (192, Jan. 1985). These rhetorical techniques mimic the ones used for his earlier diatribes on race rel ations. Baldwin was careful to not estrange his audience in both his earlier essays on race and this later essay on sexuality; his overall attack on capitalism and the st ructures of the American middle-class challenge Playboys call for conspicuous consumption. In James Baldwins Philosophical Critique of Sexuality, Marc Lombardo argues that B aldwin tailored his message in Freaks for the Playboy audience (41). Lombardo says that instead of telling an audience what they (sic) wanted to hear, Baldwin alw ays seemed to tell them what they (sic) did not want but, rather, needed to hear (41, emphasis original).
166 Lombardo champions Baldwin for asking Playboy readers to recognize their own androgynous counterpart, as well as the connections between sexual identity, ra cism, and the development of capitalism. According to Tim Libretti, Baldwins sexual identity is part of a complex, yet single or unified history, and must be understood as shaped historically by the system of racial patriarchal capitalism (159). C ombining Lombardos and Librettis observations regarding Baldwins Freaks and the Amer ican Ideal of Manhood proves that Baldwin ultimately argues that Americas socioecon omic system enslaved its citizens. What both Lombardo and Libretti fail to acknowledge is how t his argument complicates why Playboy published Baldwins contributions. Baldwins condemnation of capitalism undermines Playboys push to purchase more goods. For instance, in his earlier essays on race, Baldwin condemns the gentrification of cities and refuses to be mollified by statistics claiming African Americans a re better off because they can purchase more goods. In Freaks, he traces the exigencies of sexua lity to the Industrial Revolution, when for the first time in human history, a man was reduced not merely to a thing but to a thing the value of which was determined, absolutely, by that things commercial value (192, Jan. 1985). Embedded between advertisements for menswear, technological fare, and liquor, Baldwins essays illustrate t he irreducible gap between an Americans lived experience and the societal ideal. Baldwin in the Cold War The intricate relationship between Playboy and Baldwin can best be understood when contextualized within the Cold War. Playboy owes its success to Cold War redefinitions of sexuality and space. Likewise, much of Baldwins work illumi nates the Cold Wars confining racial and sexual boundaries (Field 90). He can be and shoul d
167 be, considered a Cold War writer. Some scholars, such as Stephen Whitfield, do not associate Baldwin with the Cold War; Whitfield argues, in The Culture of the Cold War, that the trajectory of Baldwins works was unaffected by Cold War dem ands (14). But a simple glance at the span of Baldwins literary career suggests that his work was directly responding to Cold War concernsBaldwin was a prolific writer from April 1947, when Randall Jarrell commissioned a review of Maxim Gorki to January 1987, when Playboy published To Crush the Serpent. Other scholars have worked to contextualize Baldwins writings within the Cold War; Douglas Field, in Passing as Cold War Novel: Anxiety and Assimilation in James Baldwins Giovannis Room, Richard Corber, in Homosexuality in Cold War America, and William Spurlin, in Go Tell it On the Mountain and Cold War Tropes of National Belonging, make convincing cases for why Baldwins works need to be situated within the larger socio-historical c ontext of the mid-century. Baldwin, himself, references his obsession with the McCart hy phenomena in No Name on the Street (Baldwin Price 466). As the United States rise to world power was threatened by the strength of the Soviet state, Baldwin and his wor ks represent the twin domestic fears of racial integration and sexual deviance which in turn were quickly linked to Communist activity (Field 90). Baldwin exiled himself t o Paris at the very moment when the United States was rife with racial anxie ties (Ferguson 234). A witness to the damaging effects of Cold War restraints, Baldwin embar ked on a self-imposed exile on 11 November 1948. A black, homosexual Baldwin was oppressed by the ceaseless racism and sexual discrimination of the Cold War United States space (Ferguson 233). For instance barred from New York City restaurants, Baldwin felt deliberately beaten down: The whole
168 society has sought to make you nothing (qtd. in Ferguson 233). Baldwin specificall y condemns the actions of the FBI, who accosted him in 1945 and began his extensive file in 1951. Baldwin concludes that the FBI frightened [him], and they humiliated [him]it was like being spat on, or pissed on, or gang-raped (qtd. in Field 90). Baldwins FB I file grew to over 1,700 pages and it erroneously categorized him as a supporter of Soviet-style communisma professed anti-Stalinist, Baldwin had become a Trotsky ite during World War II (Wallace 296, Ferguson 239). Douglas Field claims that Baldwi ns FBI surveillance in American and in France points to a wider connection between the bureaus monitoring of racial progress and the ways in which early civil right s achievements were connected to subversive political activity (Field 91). The mid-fifties witnessed a sharp redrawing of racial boundaries and a horror of racial a malgamation that deeply divided the country, forcing people and parties to decide on either segrega tion or desegregation (Field 91). In the post-war, the connection between racial equali ty and political subversion was reinforced. While embattled against communism, the United States government had to project the illusion of progress on civil rights issues, all the while reassurin g Southern Congressmen that it would not uphold federal ruling to desegregate with all delibera te speed. Both Baldwin and Playboy were known for promoting desegregation. Their very relationship complements Arthur Davis 1955 predictions that after desegregation the Negro will move permanently into full participation in American lifesocial economic, political, and literary (qtd. in Field 95). But both Playboy and Baldwin knew that full immersion would hardly be speedy. Hefner continued to face obstacles with his colorblind policy. When the New Orleans Playboy clubs barred Africans Americans
169 from entering, Hefner had to buy back the franchised club in order to regain control. And Baldwin acknowledged that full participation would not be possible unless drastic changes were made to all institutional structures, especially economic one s (Baldwin The Uses 126). In response to seemingly ridiculously arguments regarding a hu rried integration, Baldwin composed fictional works with all white characters, as well as works that fused black and white cultures. Baldwins white cast of characters helps to illustrate the strict maint enance of boundaries that coincided with Cold War containment strategies. Around 1953, Baldwin wrote two works with all white characters, Giovannis Room and The Man Child. After publication of Giovannis Room scholars and civil rights advocates, like Langston Hughes, Robert Bone, and Richard Wright, criticized Baldwin for disregarding his race while writing Giovannis Room. For instance, Hughes claimed that his white characters represented the integration that would RUIN Negro businessas it apparently threatened to ruin the finest young writer of fiction in the race (qtd. in Fiel d 95). In The Negro Novel in America, Bone lambastes Giovannis Room for its bleached characters (qtd. in Field 95). More recently, scholars, like Yasmin Degout a nd Dwight McBride, commend Baldwin for creating complex representations of individuals regardless of race. The white characters in Giovannis Room and The Man Child makes Baldwins racial identity textually ambiguous (Field 95). Thi s narrative technique can be compared to his Playboy contributions, in which he adopts racially interchanging pronouns to better connect with his audience (Field 95). From t his stance, Baldwin acts as a witness, exploring the United States contradictions re garding race relations (Miller 337). For instance, when Baldwin discusses ghettos in Di alog, he
170 critiques government branches for simultaneously subsidizing suburbia via the Servicemen's Readjustment Bill of 1944 and deterring African American hom eownership via redlining. And when Baldwin talks about war, in The Uses of Blues, he quest ions why the same African American soldiers who fought for freedom in fore ign wars are not afforded certain freedoms at home. In his essays and fiction, especially his raceless works, Baldwin interchanges pronouns, in order to illuminate the contradictions betwee n the United States liberal-democratic claims and its practices (Fe rguson 256). Hughes bemoans Baldwins fused perspective, suggesting his writing is someho w bastardizedneither white nor black (Field 95-96). However, employing these narrative techniques permits Baldwin to comment on Cold War concerns regarding rac e, as well as other power relationsnamely sexuality. Cold War concerns regarding sexuality are rooted in World War IIs gro wing, visible homosexual community. As Baldwin began to explore his sexuality in the new institutions of the gay bar, Hugh Hefner was expanding his sexual encounters through experimentation, stag parties, and swinging. Alfred Kinseys scientific reports provoked post-war redefinitions of sexuality, which both Baldwin and Hefner exploited. During the Cold War, a national discourse that championed the nuclear family, fostered capi talist means of production, and challenged the spread of communism negated the recently emerged homosexual subculture, in favor of a universal-heterosexual culture. T his universal-heterosexual culture ultimately construct[ed] the liberal cit izen-subject of the United States as implicitly masculine and heterosexual (Ferguson 234). E ven if it did not endorse marriage or the nuclear family, Playboy participated in this masculinity discourse by disseminating strictly heterosexual editorial content. Baldwi n, on the other
171 hand, promoted complex representations of sexuality in his fiction and threatened the national narrative that privileged heterosexual masculinity. Baldwins Another Country, for example, contains characters, such as Rufus, who exist on a hetero-homosexua l continuum; Rufus has intimate sexual relationships with both male and female charac ters. Or, consider David, the white, athletic, virile narrator of Giovannis Room, whose guilt over his homosexual acts causes him to engage in heterosexual relationships. David disrupts Cold War notions of heterosexual masculinity simply by having the abili ty to pass for straight. As the Lavender Scare unfolded, the homosexual who could pass as straight became associated with threats to the nations security. Supposedly homosexuals had the potential to infiltrate straight communities and convert patriots into Comm unists. Like the discriminated against African American, the figure of the homosex ual often equated to the subversive. As a gay, civil rights activist, Baldwin posed a dual thr eat. For instance, in the margins of Baldwins FBI civil rights file, Hoover refe rred to his deviant sexuality by scribbling Isnt James Baldwin a well-known perver t? (qtd. in Field 90). Hoover (the ultimate voyeur) was suspicious of both Baldwins race and sexuality. Arthur Schlesingers correlations between the homosexual and subver sive activity reveal larger Cold War concerns of policing the porous boundaries of race a nd sex. Baldwin exploited these boundaries in his fiction by creating complex chara cters that often split Cold War dichotomies of black/white, straight/gay, and American/ subversive. Addressing the hegemonic discourses of masculinity in his fiction and non-fiction, Baldwin reveals that the Cold War crisis of masculinity can be viewed as a crisis of heterosexual, white masculinity. Post-World War II, the United States inve sted in white masculinity through subsidizing education, relocating women to the domestic realm
172 replacing African Americans workers with white veterans, and expanding the great middle-class. This subsidized, white masculinity was in crisis almost from its inception (Taylor 73). Responding to pressures of corporate, consumer, and domestic culture, some white men began to feel ambivalent about whiteness (Taylor 97). As the white working class rejected those aspects of themselves that they believed indi cated their low originsdirt, physicality, sexuality, labor, racism between whites and bla cks increased (Taylor 72). According to Douglas Taylor, white workers repressed and p rojected those unwanted aspects onto the bodies of black men and women (Taylor 72). At any other time in United States history, this repression and projection might not have cause d a crisis. But because the Cold War era was increasingly concerned with culti vating an image of freedom and opportunity, the contradictory desire to expel blacks from, a nd incorporate blacks into, the mainstream wreaked havoc on whiteness (Taylor 72). The effects of this havoc have been noted by cultural critics, such as David Riesman, Theodore Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse. One major effect of this crisis was that s ome white men began to view themselves as victims because they lost their place in the societal hierarchy. In Taking it Like a Man, David Savran traces the genealogy of the fantasy of the white male as victim to the 1950s (4). Playboy r esponded to this sense of crisis by presenting a particular brand of white masculinityone that was v ictimized by the feminization of America, as well as pressured to conform to organizations and domestication. Playboy adopted the rhetoric of crisis and victimization to appease its mainly white, middle-class target market. According to Meet the Playboy Reader advertising
173 campaigns, young, white men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four made up about 75 percent of the magazines readership (qtd. in Fraterrigo (68). Baldwin gent ly pushed back against this victimization in his Playboy contributions. In an attempt to move closer to some form of racial reconciliation, Baldwin used narrative tec hniques to renegotiate homosocial relations between black men and white men. But as noted in Dialog, Baldwins vision of racial reconciliation does not come easily in fact, it contained a sense of rebellion. White men wishing to rebel against de-ethicnicized, classless, hyperrati onal whiteness turned to alternative models of masculinity (Taylor 73). Playboy offered one available alternative for the white, middle-class male desiring more tha n the utilitarian goals of the nuclear family. The Beat Generation offered yet another. And, for some white males, African Americans represented a viable masculinity beca use of their association with sex and the body (Taylor 73). Savran claims oppressed white m ales sought refuge in Norman Mailers hipster. In The White Negro, first publ ished in Dissent in 1957, Mailer suggests that the white masculinity crisis was produced by the threat of assured nuclear annihilation. Emerging from this bleak future was a hi pster: a hybrid, white figure who absorbed the supposedly essential elements of Afric an Americans, such as the libidinal drives of the body and living in, and for, the moment (Taylor 76). Like Baldwins use of interchanging pronouns or fused black and white characters, Mailers hipster is racially united: he is a white male who has been coupled to an African American by means of a wedding in which it was the Negr o who brought the cultural dowry (Savran 50). In his admiration and desire for blackness, Mailer romanticizes African Americans similarly to the ways Ke rouac romanticizes his
174 fellaheen characters (Taylor 76). But rather than praise for the lack of materiality or a connection to the earth, Mailer praises African Americans supposedly aut hentic and primitive sexuality (Mailer 10). Because of a desired coupling with the ero ticized black body, the hipster becomes the most controversial alternative model of masculinity t o emerge mid-century. Clearly a product of the moment, Mailers white negr o embodies Cold War anxieties by disrupting racial and gendered norms. In The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy, Baldwin responds to Mailers The White Negro by illuminating the hipsters homoerotic nature and confining ge nder role. Baldwin condemns Mailers portrait of the African American as hypermas culinized. He suggests that Mailer has stereotyped African Americans as a wal king phallic symbol (217). Baldwin questions why the African American body has to be eroticized in order to justify the white mans own sexual panic? (230). Yet, Baldwin ultimate ly fails to disentangle himself from the masculinist premises he critiques in M ailers essay (Taylor 80). For instance, in The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy, Baldwi n deploys two contradictory tropes of masculinity: an endless hall of mirrors and a boxing match. In the endless hall of mirrors, white men desire the imagined emotional wholene ss of blacks, and black men yearn for the wealth and security that white men scorn (Ta ylor 85). In the boxing match metaphor, both white and black men square off, each attempting to affirm his masculinities at the others expense (Taylor 80). Besides the common association of Mailer with boxing, the pugilist trope makes readers awar e of performative nature of both gender and race. For instance, Baldwin describes t heir first encounter in France, with each author trapped in their respective roles: To proceed: two lean cats, one white and one black, met in a French living
175 room. I had heard of him, he had heard of me. And here we were, suddenly, circling around each other. We liked each other at once, but each was frightened that the other would pull rank. He could have pulled rank on me because he was white; but I could have pulled rank on him precisely because I was black and knew more about the periphery he so helplessly maligns in The White Negro than he could ever hope to know. Already, you see, we were trapped in our roles and attitudes: the toughest kid on the block was meeting the toughest kid on the block. (290-91) The intensities needed to fulfill these tough-guy roles must be tiring. B aldwin claims that continually playing the hyper-masculine role is always extremel y hardto maintain a kind of watchful, mocking distance between oneself as one appears to be and oneself as one actually is (290). Besides being tiring, gender performance also limit s the roles one can play. And because Baldwin was so intent on the individual, as opposed to the universal, he does not want to be limited by any restraints. For example, he admits that he envies Mailers success, youth, and love; he even says that they liked each other, emotions that would not be possible if he always had to play the toughest kid on the block role. In his response to Mailer, Baldwin exposes how both popular authors have dealt with confining gender roles that dictate sexuality. The dialog that exists between Baldwins The Black Boy and Mailers The White Negro can shed light on Baldwins complex relationship with Playboy. Obviously, Mailer cannot stand in for the entirety of Playboys editorial content, but he can stand in for its narrative of both the virile and victimized white male. Like Mailers The White Negro, the internal logic of the magazine reiterated gender and sexual constructs, playing up the divisions between men and women, homoand heterosexual. Baldwins Playboy contributions resisted an uncritical embrace of these gender and
176 sexual constructs. From The Uses of the Blues to The Man Child, Baldwi n tries to show Playboy readers that everyone, not just white males, is victimized by the limiting experience of these social constructions. Baldwin employs similar techni ques in his response to Mailer as he does in his Playboy contributions. Baldwin approaches Mailer with his concerns regarding his eroticization of the African American the sa me way he presents his concerns about racism to the Playboy readercarefully. For example, even though the boxing metaphor reinscribes stereotypes of masculinity, he adopts it because it is familiar for his readers. Just like he defines the blues in The Uses of the Blues, Baldwin clearly defines his perspective, as a black boy from the Harlem s treets in The Black Boy. Baldwin reassures readers that his reference to Mailer as a middle-class Jew is not a form of anti-Semitism. Rather, Baldwin introduces the issue of et hnicity and class because he is interested in the ways they overlap, in regard to ma sculinity (Taylor 79). He even suggests that he can understand Mailer because of their similar professions. And, when Baldwin admits he respects Mailer, one might be reminded of his admiration for Nat Hentoff or Bud Schulberg. As the black, gay man gazes back a t the white, straight man with respect or envy, Baldwin reveals American m asculinity to be an endless hall of mirrors with white men desiring the masculinity of black men, and bla ck men desiring the wealth, freedom, and culturally endorsed confidence that come w ith white masculinity (Taylor 83). This obviously intricate relationship, betwe en a black and white man, is like the complex relationship between Playboy and Baldwin because Baldwins contributions are situated within Playboys didactic narrative for its white audience. Baldwins non-fiction works on race remind readers that blackness is not an essence to be desired or feared; it is a process, a performance, which occu rs in direct
177 relation to process, and performance, of whiteness. His fictional contributi on with an all white cast of characters offers the Playboy reader yet another model of masculinityone without clear heterosexual characters. The Man Childs Model of Masculinity Published in Playboys January 1966 issue, Baldwins The Man Child provides readers with an alternative model of masculinityone that critiques Playboys economic and heterosexual editorial content. Literary editors also undermined their own a uthority when they published The Man Child. For instance, in the November 1965 issue, editors describe Baldwins fiction as abstract and lifeless in the After Hours Book Review of Going to Meet the Man Going to the Meet the Man contains Baldwins most anthologized short story, Sonny Blues, and Playboys choice for publication, The Man Child. Editors argue that Baldwin is a much better essayist than creative writer. He is at his best when he addresses our society directly with his tender anger and delicate agony (27, 26). Apparently his essays can movingly persuade readers, but his stories somehow diminish the truth by imprisoning it within a metaphor (27). Speculati ng on the reasons for his disappointing collection of short stories, editors suggest that perhaps Baldwin knows too much pain, too much personal tragedy, to write fiction (27). Editors conclude the review by labeling Baldwins stories wooden and shallow only to directly contradict themselves two months later by introducing The Man C hild as chilling, starkly brooding story of frustration, madness, and murder in Januar ys Playbill. Obviously, editors could not deride their own fictional selections, but this direct contradiction reinforces Robert Fogartys accusations that Playboy always followed on the heels of success rather than breaking any new ground (228). Baldw in
178 had been in the spotlight for The Fire Next Time and his bitter play, Blues for Mister Charlie Besides supporting Fogartys claims, publishing The Man Child emphasizes Chelsea Bauchs statement that editors allow for more varied material in Playboys fictional selections; in comparison to its consistent criterion for Playmat es, Playboy is far more varied when it comes to its featured fiction. The Man Child offers an alternative model of masculinity, another mirror in the hall of masculinities. The Man Childs lack of critical reception reinforces Going to Meet the Mans poor commercial success, as well as Playboys harsh reviews. Biographer James Campbell states that the entire Dial Press collection of stories was not w ell received, and W.J. Weatherby suggests that critics respectfully reviewed it (qtd. in D eGout 135). Campbell goes so far as to claim that the collection might reflect an actua l decline in the quality of [Baldwins] work (qtd. in DeGout 135). Besides Sonnys Blues, most of the stories in Going to Meet the Man have received sparse critical attention and none have been more overlooked than The Man Child. (DeGout 136). John Rees Moores 1965 review, An embarrassment of riches: Baldwins Going to Meet the Man , contains a brief paragraph on the story. Moore labels The Man Child a made up horror story a nd claims that it is unforgettable because the flow of the feeling among t he four characters is projected with subtlety and skill (12). Nevertheless, Moore ar gues that too well made well to carry conviction, the story leaves readers with an unple asant sensation of the authors self-indulgence (12). David Leeming calls The Man Child an improbable tale of veiled homosexuality culminated in a childs murder at the ha nds of his fathers best friend (qtd. in DeGout 136). Yasmin Y. DeGout fills a dearth i n critical analysis and situates the story within Baldwins larger gend er study.
179 The Man Child contains incredible imagery, strong homoerotic bonds, and brutal treatment of women and children. The plot of the story is simple: a young eight year old, blonde boy dies at the hands of his fathers bereaved best friend. Amidst thi s simple plot is incredible imagery which reveals startling dichotomies betwe en the urban/rural, adults/children, poor/wealthy, and men/women. For instance, Baldwins point of departure is the sun moving from the city buildings to the country fields: The city is like an experienced whore, night comes and goes in her, she is indifferent t o his approach and is left unchanged at his departurebut for the countryside, it is a different matter. There night watches his opportunity, bids his time, is patient with the si lly, upbraiding sun (210, Jan. 1966). Besides exposing the differences between the city and the country, this exposition genders the city and the sun as female and the night as m ale. Baldwin applies the same vivid imagery and gender constructs to Erics fathe r. Striding tall across his many acres, Erics father is depicted as the ideal American male; Jamie calls him the giant-killer, the hunter, the loverthe real old Adam (211-212 Jan. 1966). Erics father symbolizes the white, monied, ruling class, and Jamie is characterized as his war companion, drinking buddy, best friend, and servant (DeGout 136). Importantly, Jamie (the best friend), Eric (the child), and Sophie (a misca rried fetus or stillborn) are the only named characters. Diminishing the identity of Eric s mother and father forces readers to focus on Jamies and Erics actions. Erics mother had been captured by his father (22, Jan. 1966). The Man Childs narrator claims that s he did not know that she was chained any more than she knew that she lived in terror of the night (102, Jan. 1966). The narrator flashes back to when Erics mother has been sent away, and it was said that she would never, really, be better, that she would never again
180 be as she had been (102, Jan. 1966). She seems to only serve the men, cooking, cleaning, and laundering for both her husband and Jamie. The final description of her i s ghostly; pale and full of worry, she paces the yard calling for Eric. Her disembodied calls echo as the night covers the countryside. By the storys end, all of the children ar e dead. Erics mother has either miscarried or birthed dead infants twice, and Eric gets strangled by Jamie. Baldwins model of masculinity presents dour outcomes for greedy, white men whose society requires passing wealth from one generation to the nextboth adult male characters end up heirless. In the story, Erics father explains to him how hi s own children will one day own the land they walk: He paused and stopped; Eric looked up at him. When you get to be a big man, like your poppa, youre going to have children. And all this going to be theirs. And when they get married? Eric prompted. All this will belong to their children, his father said. Forever? cried Eric. Forever, said his father. (213, Jan. 1966) When Eric asks his father if he will get married and have a little boy to pas s his land to, Erics father seemed for a moment both amused and checked (213, Jan. 1966). He looks down at Eric with a strange, slow smile and reassures him by replyin g, Of course you will (213, Jan. 1966). Therefore, with The Man Child, Baldwin presents a model of masculinity that is linked to broader societal ideologies of race, c lass, and gender (DeGout 142). The Man Child helps explain how Baldwin contextualized black masculinity in the most volatile decade of the Civil Rights Movement, a decade t hat witnessed the rage of Watts, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Moynihan Report, and t he inception of the Black Panthers (Shin and Judson 255). By using young, blonde Eric as
181 the storys center of consciousness, Baldwin shows how homophobia, classism, and sexism force children into binary oppositions. Erics death signals an interrupt ion in the ideology that disrupts transcendental maturity (DeGout 149). Baldwin gives Playboy readers a model of masculinities suggesting a continuum between the homosocial a nd homosexual, and The Man Childs model of masculinity seems especially criti cal of gender (males), race (white), and class (wealthy) constructs. Tru e to most reviews, this facet of the text is heavy handed, while others, like the critique of space an d sexuality, are more complex. Model of Masculinity: Space Besides being more complex than his critique of gender or race, Baldwins comment on space is also not as thorough in The Man Child as it is in his other works. Most of Baldwins fiction uses the city as a setting, and he often employs the city as a spatial metaphor to analyze how the confines of the ghetto force particular inter actions. Consider his works like Sonnys Blues, Another Country or Giovannis Room in which the city setting exposes class discrimination and encourages sexual explora tions. In The Man Child, however, Baldwin replaces the city with a rural setting to crit ique the greedy accumulation of private property. He also contrasts a gendered, confining domest ic space with the great outdoors and a local dive bar, The Raftersboth the great outdoors and the bar are clearly masculine spaces used as a means of escape. Baldwins sp atial dichotomies (urban/rural; private/public) reinforce Cold War remediations of pr ivate space that allowed the government to intrude upon, and survey the actions of, subversives. Baldwins spatial dichotomies and spaces of escape also reflect Playboys Cold War agenda to redefine masculine space and the search for a safe space for t he
182 urban bachelor. Baldwins white, male characters loom over their land. Both men are farmers and sons of farmers. Eric is the only heir for the expansive farmland. When Erics f ather takes him for a long walk on Jamies birthday, he points out his expansive land: You know all the way we walked, from the house? Eric nodded. Well, said his father, that s all your land. Admiring his property, Erics father puts pressure on Erics shoulder, turns him, and shows him the farms expanse; wide-eyed, Eric asks his father where the property line ends, and his father boasts that it is too far to walk (213, Jan. 1966). As geographer Nancy Duncan claims, in Sexuality in Public and Private Spaces, t he space of the private farm is subject to various territorializing and deterritoria lizing processes whereby local control is fixed, claimed, challenged, forfeited and privatized (129). Walking his son through the farm is a territorializing act; Erics father fixes his claim on the farm and bequeaths it, even Jamies former property, to his son. Handing down the farm in this manner leads to Erics ultimate demise. On the day of his murder, Er ic pretended that he was his father and walked the expanse of his land pleased, knowi ng that everything he saw belonged to him (214, Jan. 1966). That day, Eric had been many places, he had walked a long way and seen many things on his land (214, Jan. 1966). He passed an apple tree and wondered if the apples lying on the ground belonged to him, if he were still walking on his own land or had gone past it (214, Jan. 1966). When he returned to the farm house at his mothers beckoning, Jamie leads Eric to the barn and strangles him. As Eric struggles for breath, he whisper s Jamie you can have the land. You can have all the land (214, Jan. 1966). Jamie responds calmly to Erics desperate pleas: Jamie spoke, but not to Eric: I dont want the
183 land (214, Jan. 1966). Fearing for his life, Eric adds to his first offer, telling J amie that he can have it all: if you kill my father I can be your little boy and we can have it all (214, Jan. 1966). But Jamie seems all the more intent on killing Eric after he voices t his option. Jamie gets silent, stops weeping and says directly to Eric: This la nd will belong to no one (214, Jan. 1966). Killing Eric allows Jamie to cease the cycle of privatization, and he drops Eric on the straw, his yellow head useless on his broken neck, and walks out into the night that covering the countryside (214, Jan. 1966). Once murdered, Eric is no longer useful in the cycle of territorializing land and with him di es the patriarchal system of inheritance. Besides rewriting the wealthy, white relationship to private land, Baldw in also critiques the gendering of space and offers his male characters an escape from the domestic realm. Hardly any of the storys action takes indoors; even Jamies birthday is held outside of the farm house. The domestic space of the farmhouse becomes less vit al to the storys plot. Erics mother rules the domestic space, making the farm house a n inhospitable place for the male characters because they are not in charge of this realm. For instance, when Erics mother was sent away to a either a mental instituti on or a hospital towards the end of her pregnancy, Erics father rarely went into the f ields or Jamie moved into the farm house (213, Jan. 1966). Eric was thoroughly disturbed by this reversal of gendered space; he found it unnatural and frightening to find [his f ather] around the house all day, and Jamie was always there, Jamie and his dog (213, Jan. 1966). When Erics mother returns from the hospital, she once again takes charge of the domestic realm, but the strict order of space has been upended. The adult male cha racters seem to escape more often to The Rafters, and Eric wanders off farther t han ever before,
184 pacing his new land. In Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era, Elaine Tyler May claims that some American citizens sought ways to e scape the ultracontained, confining spaces of the Cold War. May states that rural areas offe red the combined appeals of escape from the threat of nuclear attack and a retreat int o a vision of old-fashioned family life (103). Baldwin depicts both Eric and Jamie as escapi ng, when they walk through the countryside. The Man Childs narrator states that Ja mies wife left because he constantly strolled the farm with his dog, as opposed to being with he r in their home. For Erics father and Jamie, the escape to The Rafters mimics th e suburban males escape of confining, domestic spaces. Hefner often admitted that reading Playboy was one way for males to escape Cold War confines; in a 1955 interview, Hefner says that Playboy was an escapist magazine because it offered an imaginary escape into the world of wine, women and song ( qtd. in Watts 78). Emily Gold, in Into the Wild: The 1950s Suburban Males Escape Tactic, supports Hefners claims that magazines allowed the male reader to be an indi vidual rather than a part of the faceless and domesticated suburban masses (par. 1). Gold goes on to argue that [f]or men, there was a feeling that the domestic sphere had not only invaded, but even penetrated the sphere of masculinity, and instead of men being wild, free-loving, travel and experience heavy bachelors, men were traveling to the nearby grocery store, golf course, or job. Men lost their primal selves and became domesticated. Although the veneer of men as masculine was hard fought and still in place according to Stephen Gelber, mens roles within the community and especially within the home had shifted. (par 1) Mens magazines and bars, like The Rafters, provided an escape from the daily mundane, as well as from the traumas and identity crises suffered by males (Baxley
185 par 1). By providing his male characters with a safe space to escape, Baldwi n censures the gendered divide between public and private spaces. Model of Masculinity: Sexuality Baldwins critique of gendered spaces exposes the storys focus on the homoeroti c bond between Jamie and Erics father. For instance, when Erics mother is sent a way, Jamie quickly takes her place in the farmhouse. Baldwin constantly stresses their homosocial bond. Their bond is one that cannot be broken; the two men were never to be divided (211, Jan. 1966). Jamie admits that Erics father is the only reason he returned to the country after his own father lost his land; Jamie had nothing really to keep [him] here. Just all the things [he] knewall the things all the things[he] ever cared about (211, Jan. 1966). Because Erics father is Jamies only friend, t he italicized text suggests that Erics father is all Jamie knows, all he cares about. T heir strong bond expresses how the effect of the construct of manhood in the white male hegemony has negative effects on women and children (DeGout 146). Possibly, Jamie murders Eric to assure that their bond can never be broken. When Eric pleads for his life and questions why Jamie hates his father, Jamie tells him that he loves [his] father (214, Jan. 1966). However, there is a homoerotic subtext to the homosocial bond between the two men (DeGout 136). As Jamie hints at their past experiences together, too damaging to t ell Erics mother, Baldwin characterizes Erics father in terms of much broa der sexual preferences. Jamies and Erics fathers homoerotic bond disrupts Cold War discourses, which discriminated against any sexuality that was not clearly heterosexual. Homosexuality, in particular, is demonized. Bruce A. McConachie argues, in American Theatre in the
186 culture of the Cold War, that post-war psychiatry worked hand in glove with militarization to demonize homosexuality (61). The classification of homosexua lity as a mental illness allowed government officials to present homosexuals as a threa t to national security. Regardless of Kinseys research regarding the continuum of sexual ity, anyone not strictly heterosexual also experienced discrimination. Baldwin charac terizes Erics father as existing on this continuum. For example, during Jamies birthday party, J amie asks Erics mother if he ever told [her] about the things we used to do? (211, Jan. 1966). Erics mother admits that she doesnt want to hear about them, and Erics father quickly chimes in: He wouldnt tell you anyway he knows what Id do to him if he did (211, Jan. 1966). And later, when Erics father discusses Jamies old age (34) Jamie claims that he is young enough to still do all the things [they] used to do (211, Jan. 1966). The men also share exclusive moments of tenderness in between moments of aggression (210, 211, Jan. 1966). According to Eve Sedgwick, this type of interactionbetween the homosocial and the homoeroticdraws the homosocial back into the realm of desire: the potentially erotic, then, is to hypothesize the potential unbrokenness of a continuum between the homosocial and homosexuala continuum whose visibility, for men, in our society, is radically disrupted (1-2). Through their homoerotic rel ationship, Baldwin reveals the political agenda that acts across the boundaries of sexua l preference (DeGout 146). Expressing that sexuality exists on a continuum, as oppose d to a strict dichotomy, offers Playboy readers a model of masculinity that encompasses more than a fascination with the-girl-next-door Playmate. Conclusion By publishing The Man Child, Playboy editors provide readers with another
187 model of masculinityone that offers sexuality on a continuum and critiques gendered spaces. Baldwins fiction also illustrates the danger of strict dichotomi es, something his non-fiction Playboy contributions highlighted as well. When read together, the entirety of Baldwins Playboy contributions reveal his main concernthat children, African American children especially, are afforded the opportunity to grow up and out of simplistic binary oppositions (DeGout 150). His non-fiction essays on race and sexua lity, and his dialog with Bud Schulberg, all mention children. Appealing to Playboy readers, this shared concern for future generations allows Baldwin to critique aspects of Playboys grand narrative. Playboys editorial content promotes an ideal masculinity that includes heterosexuality, capitalism, and patriarchal hegemony. All of Baldwins Playboy contributions undermine conspicuous consumption, but Playboy editors continued to publish him because his cultural currency provided Playboy with an African American correspondent on the Civil Rights Movement. And later, towards the end of the Cold War, Playboy used Baldwin as its reporter on the changing sexuality scene, when it published his Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood in January 1985.
188 CONCLUSION Reminiscent of Baldwin's claim that the "great force of history is lite rally present in all we do," studying Playboy as a Cold War artifact bridges the gap between Cold War historical, gender, and literary studies. More than an arms race, the Cold War wa s the emergent superpowers struggle for governance, labor, wealth, and resources This global conflict altered, and continues to alter, the American landscape; national secur ity concerns forced permanent militarization, and the nuclear war produced intense uncertainties. Space and sexuality became sources of post-war tension, a s cultural ideology strove for homogeny. Government policy encouraged the eruption of homogenous suburbs. Organizational men drove to white-collar jobs on new highways and an exaggerated domestic ideology reminded women of their familial priorities Undiscriminating market forces offered standardized fare; McDonaldiza tion and Disneyfication promised predictable, sanitary conditions. The standardizati on from suburbs to sexuality required a tiring, constant performance on behalf of United St ates citizens. This performance, and the reactions to it, need to be studied. Cold War Playboys reinforces that "the normative characteristics of masculinityand of w hiteness, middle-classness, and Americannessrequire constant culture work in order t o appear the effortless attributes of a privilege they simultaneously justify and disg uise" (Gardiner 17). Containing the normative characteristics of masculinity, as well as al l of the tendencies of the Cold War, Playboy is an appropriate site of study. Embedded in the
189 glossy pages of Playboy are the inextricably intertwined narratives of Cold War history and post-war literature. In his first editorial, Hugh Hefner reinforces the purpose of Playboy and of literature; he reminds readers that, like Playboy, literature is meant to delight and instruct. Consequently, when Playboy prints a story, it reinforces classical assumptions stated by Aristotle and Matthew Arnold. The literature of Playboy requires an analysis that no one seems to want to complete; even the most comprehensive scholarship on the trajector y of the Playboy Empire or on Hefners biography ignores Playboys literary pretensions, or only provides them with a few paragraphs. This omission is striking, because, as Elizabeth Fraterriggo claims, in Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America, Playboy would not have stood out from the numerous mens magazines that traded in female flesh if it had not been for the larger editorial content (3). And because Hefner has always stated that sex by itself was never enough, the li terature in Playboy is just as, if not more, important than the Playmate centerfold. For Hefner, wooing women required being sophisticated, which meant engaging with literature. He fner claims the whole idea behind Playboy was to put the two parts back together again mind and bodythat have been in conflict so long in our society. Sex, after all, is more a social than a physical experience (qtd. in Weyr 11). Accordingly, Hefne r knew that seduction was a matter of the mind, not the body. Recently, at a Playboy mansion reunion, seventy-year-old Hefner thanked his Playmates: Without you gals, without t he Playmates, Id be the publisher of a literary magazine (Corliss). Whe n Playboys early editors quip that Playboy would die like a dog without the sex, even if it had all the Nabokovs in the world, they inadvertently prove the necessity of the literature, not the
190 naked playmates (Weyr 35). Thus, the literature and the sex become codependent features in Playboy. And, if seduction is a matter of the mind and not the body, it makes sense that the literature component of the magazine offers the most variety. Mont h after month, the centerfolds are all similarly posed and each has that same doe-eyed gaze, making their photo-spread more innocent than erotic. For variety, readers must t urn to the literature. Consequently, the huge amount of spacethe literal thousands of pageswhich the magazine devotes to literature becomes a form of escape from the grand narrative, from Playboys ethos of heterosexuality, wealth, and sophistication. The literature carves out a niche, in between the calls for conspicuous consumption and the female objectification. Playboys literature can offer readers alternative models of masculinity. The space Playboys literature presides over in the magazine parallels Playboys reclamation of masculine space in the feminized society of the Cold War. Playboy grounded its vision of the good life in a different kind of spacethe bachelor pad (Fraterrigo 83). In 1962, it started to advertise its bachelor pads by sharing layouts and full-color spreads of Playboys Chicago townhouses and the Playboy penthouse; the bachelor pads promoted an ultra-urban island of individuality the best of all possi ble worlds for the unattached, affluent young man happily wedded to the infinite advantage s of urbia (sic) (84, 105, May 1962). With this reclamation of domestic space, Playboy attempted to reaffirm male privilege and power at a time when gender boundar ies were shifting and the physical spaces of the city and the family home were being tra nsformed (Fraterrigo Answer to Suburbia 769). Editors advertised the bachelor pad as a way for men to rule a particular domain, and the bachelor pad allows men to construct an
191 imagined space that served as an extension of their constructed masculine ident ities (Fraterrigo Playboy 761). The bachelor pad was divided into two zones: the acti ve zone and the quiet zone. Editors considered the living room, dining area, and kitchen to be active, entertaining zones and the bedroom, study, and bath to be quiet zones. One might assume that a playboys bedroom should be part of the active zone, but editors made sure that the quiet zone of the bedroom, bath, and study, were private spaces within the privacy of the penthouse (Fraterrigo 91). The bedroom and the study were adjacent in the layouts, reinforcing the connection between physical and mental stimulation. One might also assume that editors would put primacy on the bedroom, but, instead, they claim the study is the sanctorum, where women are seldom invited, w here [playboys] can work or read or just sit and think while gazing into the fireplace (70) In the study, the playboy can escape from the tiring performance of his playb oy life. In the safety of his sanctorum, he can read quality, serious literature. Therefor e, Playboys literature offers the ultimate escape from the magazine that prides its elf on offering its own imaginary escape into the world of wine, women and song (qtd. in Watts 78). As a complementary feature to the magazines nudity, Playboys fiction safely provides readers with alternative images of masculinity.
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