Tag Archives: 1929

RIP Richard Lewontin (1929 – 2021)

Richard Lewontin was an American evolutionary biologist noted for many things, but also for opposing Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) by E. O. Wilson, co-writing  Not in Our Genes (1984), in the preface of which is stated:

“We [Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon Kamin] share a commitment to the prospect of the creation of a more socially just—a socialist—society. And we recognize that a critical science is an integral part of the struggle to create that society, just as we also believe that the social function of much of today’s science is to hinder the creation of that society by acting to preserve the interests of the dominant class, gender, and race.”

RIP Monte Hellman (1929 – 2021)

Monte Hellman was an American film director known for his cult films.

I remember seeing Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) on the Moviedrome cult movies programme.

I’m fond of road movies and suddenly I am reminded of C’était un rendez-vous (1976) by Claude Lelouch, the short film that plays in Paris and where the race ends at the Sacré-Cœur.

Another road movie of particular interest is Vanishing Point (1971) with the unforgettable part of DJ Super Soul.

RIP Earl Kemp (1929 – 2020)

Earl Kemp was an American publisher, science fiction editor and critic.

Illustrated edition of Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970)

During the 1960s and 1970s, Earl Kemp was involved in publishing erotic paperbacks through a company, Greenleaf Publishing, where he was employed by William Hamling. In an example of détournement, in 1970 Kemp published an Illustrated edition of the Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. According to Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide, the book was “replete with the sort of photographs the commission examined.” Kemp eventually was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence for distributing the book (as was Hamling). However, both served only the federal minimum of three months and one day. The story of their arrest and prison time was covered in Gay Talese’s Thy Neighbor’s Wife (1981).

RIP Christopher Plummer (1929 – 2021)

Christopher Plummer was a Canadian actor best-known for his part in The Sound of Music.

Harrison Bergeron (1995). Christopher Plummer can be seen from 30:04 onwards.

In my universe, Plummer played parts in The Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusThe Man Who Would Be King and Harrison Bergeron, an admirable adaptation of the wonderful short story by Vonnegut.

In Harrison Bergeron, Plummer is John Klaxon. Klaxon is the benevolent tyrant of the intelligent elite that gives the masses the illusion that they rule.

There seem to be quite a lot of differences with the short story, but I have not had time to check them out.

Update: I re-read the short story, which is only 6 to 7 pages long so there is barely opportunity to compare. In the short story the parents of Harrison are watching television, their son having been arrested some time before. The parents are watching television. All of a sudden the son is seen on television interrupting a ballet performance. The son speaks to the people, imploring them to free themselves from their handicaps. He ‘marries’ a ballerina and is subsequently and tragically shot.

The 2009 short film 2081 follows the short story faithfully.

The film version, with Harrison becoming part of the elite, is reminiscent of V for Vendetta, one of the best films of the 21st century.

RIP Arik Brauer (1929 – 2021)

Arik Brauer was an Austrian artist, co-founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism.

“Allaweil Die Arbeit” from the album Sieben Auf Einen Streich (1978)

The work of Brauer strikes me as uninteresting.

Maybe I’m too harsh on this whole school of Vienna, but the only artist of that school who really impresses me is Johfra Bosschart.

RIP François Leterrier (1929 – 2020)

François Leterrier was a French film director and actor. He entered the film industry when he was cast in Robert Bresson’s film A Man Escaped (1956).

Slices of Life (1985), full film
Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977), side one of the album

Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977) features a reggae-inspired soundtrack by Serge Gainsbourg.

Paris sera toujours Paris” segment from  Slices of Life (1985)

His sketch film Slices of Life (1985) is a bit silly but features the prescient and good-hearted “Paris sera toujours Paris” which is an illustration of the Great Replacement theory.

RIP Betty Dodson (1929 – 2020)

Betty Dodson was an American feminist and sex educator.

Unlike Shere Hite, who passed away last September and became known worldwide after her 1976 “Hite Report”, few outside the United States knew the witty Betty Dodson.

Hite became known for assuring women worldwide that penetrative sex is not the way to orgasm for women. Before Hite, many women faked their orgasms. After Hite there was a little less faking. However, it was Dodson who taught American women how to masturbate.

Dodson started out as an artist, she debuted in the late 1960s with drawings of couples making love. That went well. For a second exhibition she decided to invite friends to her studio to masturbate and draw them. That exhibition was a flop and also marked the end of her career as an artist.

Dodson went on to become an orgasm evangelizer, working with the likes of Annie Sprinkle, and writing a number of top-selling books. She looked very young in old age. Perhaps because of all the masturbation she so passionately promoted? She loved the Hitachi Magic Wand, an vibrator called the Rolls-Royce of sex toys. She organized group sessions for ladies to masturbate together. Each with such a Hitachi (I read somewhere that these sessions were sometimes broadcast live on TV). Her dream was to orchestrate a simultaneous group orgasm, but it was precisely in that orchestration role that she saw objections.

Anyone in Europe who was a little curious – and you know what Zappa said about being curious: “the mainstream comes to you, but you have to go to the underground” – saw Betty Dodson in the 1971 film WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971) about the influence of Willem ‘orgasmatron’ Reich (1897-1957) on the hippie world. There she talked about her erotic drawings.

Betty Dodson belongs to a movement within feminism called sex-positive feminism. It is a movement that I became familiar with via the work of Camille Paglia, an American academic who made the world a smarter place in 1990 with her book Sexual Personae.

Sex-positive thinkers have a positive attitude towards, for example, porn, sex work and sexting.

In that sense I am also sex positive.

But.

If you fully agree that sex is a good thing, you can only decide, as some feminists do, that rape is not about sex, for example.

They reason for this is, and I quote, The Evolution of Human Sexuality (1979) by Donald Symons, a fantastic book:

“The notion that rape is not sexually motivated” [may be due to the fact that] “part of the modernization of sex is the belief that sex is a good thing; yet almost everyone agrees that rape is a bad thing, and one way of eliminating the threat of cognitive dissonance is to deny that rape is sex.”

Sex can be a very beautiful thing indeed. But sex can also be very ugly.

Most of all, sex is often a bit disruptive. And having come to this point in a discourse like this, I like to say it with Schopenhauer who famously said that “sex is a malevolent demon.”

RIP Milton ‘I ❤ NY’ Glaser (1929 – 2020)

Milton Glaser was an American graphic designer.

His designs include the I ❤ NY logo, the psychedelic Bob Dylan poster, and the logos for DC Comics and Brooklyn Brewery.

To Inform and Delight: The World of Milton Glaser

Glaser was the subject of the 2008 documentary film To Inform and Delight: The World of Milton Glaser.