Culture News

White Supremacy and Erasing American History: John Wayne's Son Pushes Back Against Airport Name Change

Democratic politicians are pushing to rename John Wayne Airport after "White Supremacy" Playboy interview resurfaces

In Orange County this week, a group of Democratic politicians has been pushing to remove John Wayne's name as well as a 9-foot statue of the actor from John Wayne Airport, but John Wayne's son is pushing back.

America has always struggled to reckon with the crimes of its past. While Germany has made a national project out of remembering the evils of the Nazi regime, America prefers to either deny that our nation's crimes were as bad as they sound, or to shrug them off as too long ago to be worthy of attention.

Yet somehow, in that hazy distant past, beyond the realm of clear facts or moral concern, we manage to idolize and identify with a few sainted figures—like the slave-owning founders who enshrined the national values of liberty and justice for all (as long as you have some very strange definitions of the words "liberty," "justice," and "all").

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission is responsible for monitoring broadcast media, enforcing its guidelines on "obscene, indecent, and profane content," and fielding complaints from the public.

In the case of the Super Bowl halftime show, a Freedom of Information Act request from WFAA in Dallas, Texas revealed that the FCC had received more than 1,300 complaints, many of which called for fines to be levied against Fox, NBC, the NFL, or the performers themselves. While the complainants obviously have the right to express their distaste for the sexually suggestive performance that interrupted their three-hour marathon of CTE-inducing violence, many of their concerns were touchingly naïve.

Many viewers felt that J. Lo and Shakira's dancing amounted to pornographic material, with one Wyoming viewer stating that the show "would have been considered soft porn not many years ago." A Maine viewer, describing himself as "a father of 2 teen girls," said, "That 'show' should have been reserved for late night cable TV." Another person in Tennessee complained that, "I do not subscribe to The Playboy Channel, we do not buy porn for $20 a flick, we simply wanted to sit down as a family and watch the Super Bowl… we expected to watch football and a quick concert but instead had our eyes molested."

Eyeball licking

Leaving aside what it means to have your eyes molested, that latter comment seems particularly illustrative of the disconnect between many of these complaints and the reality of our interconnected society. The idea that pornography is confined to specialty cable channels and feature length films that cost $20 is so sweetly outdated that it's almost satirical. In 2004—when the FCC was overwhelmed with the furor of more than 200,000 complaints that Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the halftime show had exposed children to the appalling sight of most of a woman's breast—young Internet users were already assaulting each other with links to disturbing so-called shock sites, like "Goatse," "Lemon Party," and others that should likewise never be Googled.

But at that time the phenomenon was still fairly new, and the lack of awareness more forgivable. Today—more than a decade after the advent of "2 Girls 1 Cup"—estimates place the proportion of Internet content that is pornographic somewhere around 10%, and there is a virtually endless availability of videos and images that are far more offensive than "Goatse." Even restricted platforms like Instagram and Youtube offer much more sexually explicit content—much of it featuring former Disney stars—than anything in the halftime show.

On top of that, the prevalence of "sexting" among adolescents means that in many cases there is no company or platform to complain to—young people are exposing each other to sexually explicit material. It may be that these parents were not so much uncomfortable with the idea that their children were being made aware of the existence of sex, but with the fact that they happened to be in the room together while it happened.

The good news is that the proliferation of internet porn has given us a lot of information on the subject, and there is little evidence to suggest that this kind of exposure is damaging to young viewers' psychological development, or that it leads to sexually risky behavior. So while it's understandable that a viewer in Arkansas would say, "I don't want my kids imitating that behavior," they can probably rest easy knowing that their children will neither take up pole dancing, nor start recreationally slamming into one another in disputes over balls.

In reality, while the idea of acknowledging sex may make them uncomfortable, many of these parents could probably learn a lot from having the sex-talk with their kids, as their confusion seemed to go much deeper than assumptions about pornography and cable TV. Many seemed to mistake J. Lo's flesh-tone bodysuit for actual nudity, and several complaints betrayed deeply confused understandings of the terms "striptease," "orgy," and "masturbation," that any modern teen could probably help to clarify. Here are some highlights:

"It was indecent and inappropriate - with crotch grabbing, cameras zooming in on aforementioned crotch grabbing, a pole dance in a barely-there outfit, and other raunchy acts performed above a group of dancers imitating an orgy. [sic]"

"JLo was not only wearing a thong but bent over and showed her whole butt to the camera. Also, FOX cameramen kept zooming in on her crotch throughout her performance AND at one point her backup dancers were simulating an orgy while she writhed around on a stripper pole. [sic]"

J. Lo Pole Dancing at the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show Pictured: Not what an orgy looks like Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

"The Superbowl halftime show was pure filth and not suitable for on air broadcast. Pole dancing, crotch grabbing, simulated sex acts, and even a brief masturbation by J-low all beamed into our family TV room! [sic]"

"JLo did a striptease pole dance while barely-dressed backup dancers simulated an orgy underneath her [sic]"

"1. exposing practically naked backside (looked like thong with leather straps in place?? and crotch area in the camera while gyrating in a sexual manner. This went on for quite some time of the performance. 2. coming down a stripper's pole doing a striptease practically naked, hardly anything on clothes-wise, same with the dancers depicting an orgy-type of activity. It was disgusting!! [sic]"

"They had stripper poles and on stage masturbation on display. [sic]"

"Allowing soft porn with stripper poles and assholes being shown when children are watching. Totally inappropriate!!! Jennifer Lopez did not need to bring her stripper movie and outfits to the Super Bowl. Thanks for supporting porn! [sic]"

"The half time shows need to have tv ratings as it is not appropriate family viewing to see pole dancing, crotch grabbing and extreme booty shaking. [sic]"

J. Lo and Shakira at the Superbowl halftime show Pictured: Extreme Booty Shaking Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

"The Super Bowl halftime show was 100% pornography w women mimicking masturbation in close up crotch shots, imitating sex acts with men while twerking with bare bottoms. [sic]"

It seems unlikely that the FCC will be compelled to take legal action—nor should they—but it's actually kind of nice to see such heartwarmingly sheltered perspectives shared with the world. It's like visiting a historical reenactment village, or imagining the kind of scandals that caused fainting spells at Victorian dinner parties. We hope you never change, FCC complainers—and that you never check your loved ones' search history.

CULTURE

How to Get Billie Eilish's Baggy-Chic Look

From comfy sneakers to bulky chains, here's how to emulate the "bad guy" singer's best looks.

Aside from her buttery vocals and her record-setting Grammys sweep, Billie Eilish also stands out for her iconic, androgynous sense of style.

The 18-year-old pop star is immediately recognizable for her oversized, streetwear-inspired looks. Whether she's on stage riling up a crowd or walking the red carpet, Eilish likes her clothes loose and in bold colors and patterns. Her idol Tyler, the Creator likened her wardrobe to that of a quarterback, but, in reality, her roomy outfit choices are meant to distract critics from making inappropriate and sexist comments about her body: comfy and empowering.

Sadly, Eilish's budget can be a little out of range for most of us, but that doesn't mean average Joes can't participate in her baggy-chic attire. Here's just a few ways to emulate the "bad guy"'s best looks.

Start with the Sneakers

If there ever were a sneakerhead in pop music, it's Eilish, who sports comfy kicks no matter the occasion. But you don't have to shell out upwards of $1,000 for a pair of Balenciaga tennis shoes; the Adidas Falcons give off the same effect for a fraction of the price. You can get them in a versatile solid white like Eilish has here or in a bold color to make an extra statement.

Adidas Falcon Sneakers, $100

Simple Logos

There's something perfectly kitschy about the Playboy logo, whether it's in a singular giant graphic like Eilish sports here or in a repeated print. We think she'd approve of this sweatshirt from Playboy's collaboration with Missguided—just be sure to size up if you really want to get her look.

Playboy x Missguided Pink Repeat Print Oversized Hoodie Dress, $59

Snow-Ready Shades

More often than not, Eilish's eyewear looks better fit for the slopes than for the streets. But chunky goggles are an essential component to emulating her look whether or not you're in the snow. Opt for some with mirrored lenses that'll keep you looking sporty chic.

Roka CP-1X Performance Sunglasses, $215

Chunky Chains

You'd be hard pressed to find interview audio of Eilish where her statement jewelry isn't jingling in the background. When it comes to dangling bracelets and oversized rings, the more the merrier, but a simple layered chain necklace like this one is a good place to start.

Dolls Kill Subtle Intentions Lock Necklace, $15

Mad about Monochrome

May we never forget this marvelously massive all-blue look Eilish wore alongside her pals Tierra Whack and SZA. The easiest way to replicate her ensemble is to pick one color and run with it, the small business Big Bud Press is a great, sustainable resource for unisex jumpsuits and separates in each color of the rainbow. This blue one is a slightly more toned-down version of Eilish's look, but will still have you dreaming of Camp Flog Gnaw all day.

Big Bud Press Short Sleeve Jumpsuit, $172

A Boot

BILLIE EILISH on Instagram: “if only i dressed normal id be so much hotter yeah yeah come up with a better comment im tired of that one”

We're kidding, mostly.

Braceability Stress Fracture Walking Boot, $39.99

Just Have Fun With It

Eilish might've titled her debut EP Don't Smile at Me, but she never takes herself too seriously. The best part of her style is that all of her bold and billowy looks feel true to her personality. She can't be bothered to look "hot" or traditionally feminine—she's here for a good time, and no matter what outlandish accessory she's wearing, her looks prove she's always ready to have a blast.

MUSIC

King Princess's "Cheap Queen" Is Performative Queerness

Mikaela Straus's debut LP raises questions about the boundary between using queerness as a brand and using one's power to create an inclusive community.

King Princess is a different kind of gay icon.

While many stars have indoctrinated themeslves into the gay community by becoming beloved by mostly gay men, it's rare to see a star become beloved specifically by the lesbian and bisexual/pansexual femme community.

King Princess (whose real name is Mikaela Straus) burst onto the scene at a cultural moment that seemed overripe for a queer femme-focused star. She was preceded by Hayley Kiyoko, whose openly queer music earned her the moniker "Lesbian Jesus," and she's very far from the only queer femme musician around. But other than Kiyoko, she's one of the few to build a successful pop career off of a specifically lesbian-oriented aesthetic. She's garnered quite a following, and her shows have become safe spaces for queer women looking to express themselves openly and loudly.

Strangely, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Straus implied that she's not well-versed in the queer female community that loves her so much. "My shows are [filled with] very queer females, which is interesting because I cannot tell you a community that I have been less apart of in my life than that," she said. "It makes me interested in what's happening with them." Presumably, Straus is saying that as she identifies more with drag and nonbinary communities than the queer female sphere, but it's still a confounding statement, delivered without context in an article called "The Unapologetic Queerness of King Princess."

This raises the question: Could all this be an act, a well-timed and excellently executed branding technique? In all likelihood, it probably is, at least in part. King Princess's authenticity (a generally meaningless term) has been criticized extensively, and for good reason—she grew up in the music industry, as her father was a recording engineer and owned Mission Sound Studios, and her great-great-grandfather was a co-owner of Macy's. All of this meant she was offered a record deal at age 11 (which she turned down), but it allowed her to release an extremely successful EP in 2017; "1950" rests at a cool 300 million streams on Spotify.

King Princess - 1950 www.youtube.com

Probably at least a thousand of those streams are this writer's, as "1950" is a gem of a song. Fortunately, her debut LP Cheap Queen continues in that song's vein, keeping with the lush harmonies, hefty beats, and glossy 80s pop and rock influences that made that song such a standout.

In contrast to that song and much of her earlier work, Cheap Queen moves away from explicit references to queer culture and focuses on the dissolution of a relationship; take a step back, and it's largely about performance, curation, and fame. The songs are confident and forthcoming, buoyed by modern beats and rich, warm mixes. In some ways, the album's glistening, glittery finish is anti-DIY, totally committed to its own poshness and self-seriousness.

King Princess - King Princess: Deep Inside Cheap Queen www.youtube.com

In that way, you could see it either as the product of someone born with a silver spoon who's successfully capitalized on queer aesthetics and popular music's most familiar and trustworthy sounds and images—or you could view it as the passion project of someone who truly understands the meaning of drag and camp, and who is, as the Entertainment Weekly article states, "queering queerness, whether she knows it or not."

Ironically, in terms of its subject matter, Cheap Queen actually isn't that explicitly queer. It's more of a discussion of relationships, free from gender and sexuality; its lyrics are pure pop, cut through with a thread of Gen-Z angst but without becoming brooding. Sonically, it's relatively subdued and mellow, avoiding controversy or extremes, perfect for chill playlists or summer nights (perhaps it should've been released in June instead of October).

Cheap Queen is at its most out and proud when Straus sings about drag. The cover photo features King Princess clad in light drag makeup, armpit hair showing, casting a disdainful glare at the camera. King Princess identifies as genderqueer, still uses she/her pronouns, and drag has been a huge influence on her life and work. "Drag for me is just such an extension of my queerness because it was how I learned to become comfortable with myself," she told Entertainment Weekly. "I feel so grateful to drag because…RuPaul and everything that has made drag mainstreamed it in a way where a girl from Brooklyn, who didn't feel like a girl, saw drag, and learned how to become a woman."

King Princess - Playboy School Of Pop www.youtube.com

Drag, of course, began as a way for queer people to express themselves and their sexuality in a creative and liberating medium. Like its aesthetic sibling, camp, it originated largely in black queer communities, working as a subversive form of expression that existed outside of and in opposition to established hierarchies.

Women and lesbians have always dressed as men in drag, but of late, increasing numbers of women and nonbinary femmes have been using drag as a way to subvert expectations of femininity. In an article from The Guardian, Rebecca Nicholson writes, "It's a deliciously complicated web to untangle: these are women, performing as what would have been (historically, at least) a man performing as a woman. These female queens are traversing gender boundaries as well as putting on outrageously entertaining performances, often in the face of prejudice and misogyny, even within queer culture."

The fact that cis women have begun performing femme drag has been met with some discomfort and accusations of cultural appropriation and fetishization, though these arguments have also been criticized. In Dazed, Jake Hall writes, "The irony is that drag is designed to disrupt gender norms – anyone can bind, stuff, pad and 'perform' gender to an exaggerated extent." Many have also argued that criticizing female drag performers places too much emphasis on genitalia and bodies themselves, when drag is supposed to be an inclusive space, one dedicated to the deconstruction of gender and exclusivity, and one that can be liberating for nonbinary people or anyone struggling to come to terms with their gender identity. Plus, queer women and nonbinary people have always been around, and trans women like Silvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson were at the forefront of early battles for LGBTQ+ rights.

In the midst of this sacred tradition enters King Princess, who has largely avoided mainstream controversy thus far. Most publications have branded her as a victorious new kind of queer icon. It's hard to say how her legacy will hold up, but for now, she seems to have hit a sweet spot between ingenious branding and a genuinely meaningful message.

Whatever you think of King Princess and the way she uses queerness, she is creating an inclusive space where queer people can congregate and celebrate their identities, with all their inherent fluidity, confusion, and contradictions. And in a way, wasn't that always the point of queer activities like drag, which are inherently, beautifully performative? Aren't they supposed to be about the presentation, the artifice, and the show, highlighting the cracks in the idea that anyone has a fixed gender identity and shattering the idea that anyone is exempt from performing their gender, style, and selfhood all the time?

Maybe King Princess should have the final word on this. "Growing up, I thought it was much more simple," she told Vice. "I was just like, 'I'm gay.' But now that I have the words to describe how I've always felt, it makes it complicated." She's quick to clarify that this is a good thing. "I like that complication, because we are all walking dichotomies of some sort. We are all just walking contradictions. I don't think any of these identities are mutually exclusive."


Newsday.com

Hugh Hefner must be looking down on NYC with a twinkle in his eye.

RIP Hef brightcove04pmdo-a.akamaihd.net

Come September, the iconic Playboy Club is returning to midtown Manhattan, with a va-va-voom vibe that will mix the pleasures of Playboy's past with a modern (and titillating) touch.

The original NYC club tribwtic.files.wordpress.com

Four giant deluxe rooms will occupy the vast 14,000-square-foot space on 42nd Street in Manhattan; the club called 59th Street home from '62 – '86. Each of the rooms has its own look and feel, full of luxe lounge-style areas and bars as well as a restaurant on the premises, with a "luxurious, seductive, and playful spirit," throughout, as Playboy Enterprises describes, much like the famed Playboy Mansion, where fantasy met reality for those who had the good fortune of stopping in for what was sure to be a good time.

Bunnies, bunnies, and bunnies, oh my! tribwtic.files.wordpress.com

Naturally, Playboy "bunnies"/servers will be prancing and parading about, decked out in their skimpy uniforms, fluffy cotton tails, and perky bunny ears. Music will play, drinks will flow, and there will be no shortage of eye candy as staff and guests are sure to be among NYC's sexiest.

And if a visit to the club every now and then isn't fulfilling enough, you can become a member. And boy does membership have its privileges. For instance, the most inclusive membership will cost you a whopping $250,000/year, but you'll get private access to VIP rooms and surely/hopefully a whole lot more. If you've got the dough and the desire for serious swank and sexiness, where better to spend your hard-earned dough?

Stay the night www.hospitalitynet.org

The Playboy Club will be located in the Cachet Boutique Hotel, so no need to head home after a wild night of bunnies and booze. And after the New York opening, there are plans for more clubs to open in Asia. Hey, if they can make it in New York…you know what they say.

Just a few more months of waiting and soon your teenage fantasy will be a cab ride away (if you're a New Yorker, of course). For everyone else, there's always the magazine.


Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.


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Arts

Hugh Hefner (1926 - 2017)  Seven things you didn't know

LOOKING BACK | He was famous for the Playboy empire, but Hefner also did a lot of scrapbooking.

Hugh Hefner is well known for establishing Playboy magazine, which led the entire Playboy empire.

Hefner died Wednesday in his home in Los Angeles at 91. Playboy Enterprises has confirmed that he died of natural causes. Many know Hefner from the famous Playboy Mansion or from his many exploits as a playboy himself. He was often surrounded by women and regarded as a sleaze. However, there are a few things about him that might surprise you.

The New York Times

1. He set the Guinness World Record for scrapbooking

Early @playboy 🐰#favoriteyears #scrapbooksaturday #playboyclub

A post shared by Hugh Hefner (@hughhefner) on

In 2011, Hefner earned a Guinness World Record for his obsessive scrapbooking. He had the largest collection in the world with nearly 3,000 scrapbooks. They contain pictures from his time at Playboy and photos surrounding visitors to the Mansion. They even go back to when he was just six months old. Hefner went so far as to employ his own personal archivist to help compile these books. While not included in the award, he also has several thousand hours of personal tapes of himself filed away.

2. He saved the Hollywood sign not once, but twice

Getty Images

In the 1970s, the city decided that the sign was in disrepair and needed a complete rebuilding, which would cost about $250,000. Hefner stepped up and organized a gala fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion, where the old sign letters were auctioned off to raise money. And in 2010, he stepped up again when a Chicago-based investment group said the property would be sold unless it could raise $12.5 million. Hefner donated $900,000 of his own money to effectively halt the sale.

3. He was a philanthropist and civil rights advocate

Cheers 🍸 #scrapbooksaturday

A post shared by Hugh Hefner (@hughhefner) on

Throughout his life, Hefner was a vocal activist for LGBT rights and supported same-sex marriage. He also advocated for civil rights. He even bought out two franchised Playboy Clubs because of their discriminatory practices. The two clubs were based in New Orleans and Miami and routinely refused to hire black women and discouraged black membership. Hefner bought the clubs at a significant financial loss and said that he wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior in Playboy Clubs.

4. He founded Playboy after failing to receive a raise at Esquire

Playboy's 25 anniversary #scrapbooksaturday

A post shared by Hugh Hefner (@hughhefner) on

Hefner's first real job was as a copywriter for Esquire magazine. He quit in 1952 after his request for a $5 raise was denied. Before that, he had served in the U.S. Army in the 1940s and then attended the University of Illinois and earned degrees in psychology and creative writing and art. After quitting his job at Esquire, he raised $8,000 from 50 investors (including his mother) to found Playboy just a year later in 1953.

5. An endangered rabbit is named after him

Wiki Commons

The Playboy bunny is a huge part of the brand that allowed the empire to expand into clubs, casinos and more around the world. But Hefner also has a real life animal breed named after him. Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, also known as the Lower Keys rabbit, bears his name to recognize his financial support. The rabbit was named in 1980 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hefner's infamous Playboy Mansion also had a zoo license, which allowed it to house many exotic animals.

6. He is a distant relative of both George W. Bush and John Kerry

Getty Images

Hefner is ninth cousins to both former President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. He is twice removed from Bush, but only once removed from Kerry. Hefner also claimed he was an 11th generation descendant of William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower. That would make him a direct descendant of a Puritan.

7. He planned to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe

In 1992, Hefner purchased the crypt next door to Monroe at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery for $75,000. His plan was to be interred next to her for eternity, which will now become a reality. Before she was famous, Monroe was on the cover Playboy's first issue. She was also featured in the centerfold. Hefner found the already five-year-old photo of Monroe while looking through the files of a Chicago calendar company. He bought the photo for $500.


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