commenting on a comment on my other blog

Es­ti­mated reading time is 6 min­utes.

MOST OF THE COM­MENTS that I re­ceive on my blogs are com­pli­ments of or ques­tions re­lated to the ar­ticle to which the com­ment was made. Yes, I get the oc­ca­sional less-than-positive bit of feed­back but they are rare, in­deed. Even rarer are ones com­menting on truly per­sonal and in­ti­mate topics. Sex is al­most never mentioned.

A few years ago, I posted an ar­ticle on my Elvis — A Touch Of Gold blog ti­tled “The (Un­for­tu­nately) En­during Image of Fat Elvis.” In it, I ad­dressed the fas­ci­na­tion of some mem­bers of the media with the image of an over­weight Presley. There I wrote:

“[Pres­ley’s] fluc­tu­ating weight and how it af­fected his looks goes back to the ’60s. His love for starchy foods often gave him a soft look, padding his face so that his jaw­line was al­most lost. And there was his in­creasing use of pre­scrip­tion drugs for mal­adies real and pos­sibly imag­ined. These be­came the dom­i­nating force on his health and his ap­pear­ance as the ’70s moved on.”

But the man was svelte and sexy for most of his ca­reer, sporting a rea­son­ably trim waist­line from 1954 into 1973. Even the “fat years” of 1974–1977 saw his size bal­loon up and then melt away, both ap­par­ently caused by the magic of pre­scrip­tion drugs.

Glom­ming on to the few years in which Presley dealt with obe­sity along with a range of health fac­tors, in­cluding what was prob­ably un­di­ag­nosed chronic de­pres­sion seems a symptom of a journalist’s or cartoonist’s ha­tred for the man (or the cul­ture he was per­ceived to rep­re­sent) as many of the car­i­ca­tures are rather cruel.

Be­fore con­tin­uing here, you might want to read my orig­inal ar­ticle here.


Commenting: caricature of Elvis in the '50s by Alberto "Sting" Russo.

This car­i­ca­ture of Elvis is by Al­berto “Sting” Russo. His ex­cel­lent draughts­man­ship com­bined with a keen eye for the as­pects of Elvis that are ripe for ex­ag­ger­ating plus his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Elvis the mu­si­cian and the man make him my fa­vorite caricaturist.

The comment

I only re­ceived a few com­ments on the “En­during Image” ar­ticle, the last one three years ago. Ear­lier today, a new com­ment was con­tributed by an anony­mous reader whom we will refer to as Quasimodo:

“Who re­ally cares? He lived a de­ranged life and was one of the en­ablers of sexual promis­cuity, which has ru­ined our civ­i­liza­tion like nothing else. This was known even back in the 1930s when J. D. Unwin pub­lished Sex and Cul­ture. No, Presley has to be seen in the same light Madonna or Di­eter Bohlen have to be seen: people who sold their soul to gain the world; de­gen­er­ates, miscreants.”

When dealing with com­ments from anony­mous sources, I take every­thing at face value, trying not to infer any­thing. That said, I be­lieve that we can as­sume that, if Quasimodo’s com­ment is an ac­cu­rate re­flec­tion of who he or she is, then we can as­sume he or she is rel­a­tively con­ser­v­a­tive, both sex­u­ally and so­cially. (I also make a few other as­sump­tions in the ar­ticle below.)


Commenting: caricature of Elvis in the '70s on the cover of National Lampoon magazine.

This is the cover of the July 1976 issue of Na­tional Lam­poon, a mag­a­zine noted for its sopho­moric and often crude humor. Their take on “fat Elvis” was one of the first to reach the main­stream public and lived up to the mag­a­zine’s afore­men­tioned rep­u­ta­tion for tastelessness.

Commenting on the comment

That said, my re­sponse to Qua­si­modo was simple:

“Having come of age in the post-Preslyean Amer­ican cul­ture and then having ea­gerly em­braced the ‘free love’ spirit of ‘the six­ties,’ I am a much hap­pier, healthier, ful­filled in­di­vidual (a better man all the way around) than so many others I in­teract with among the mass of men who live lives of quiet des­per­a­tion. In fact, I am so much better a man that I say unto you:

If you prefer to live with the sexual mores and the vast array of re­stric­tions on be­havior that cur­tailed many in­di­vid­uals’ lib­erty and pur­suit of hap­pi­ness and ful­fill­ment ages ago, go for it and grab the first one in your reach and do the clam!”

I as­sume that every reader here is fa­miliar with Madonna. I also as­sume that most readers are un­fa­miliar with both J. D. Unwin’s book Sex and Cul­ture and Di­eter Bohlen. Below is a bit of in­for­ma­tion on each of these three en­ablers of sexual promis­cuity men­tioned by Quasimodo.


Commenting: cover of the book "Sex and Culture" by J. D. Unwin.

This is a cur­rent edi­tion of J. D. Unwin’s Sex and Cul­ture pub­lished via Amazon’s Cre­ate­Space In­de­pen­dent Pub­lishing Platform.

J. D. Unwin

Pub­lished in 1934, here is the one-sentence syn­opsis for the book found on Amazon and other sites selling or ref­er­encing the book: “In Sex and Cul­ture, Unwin studied 80 prim­i­tive tribes and 6 known civ­i­liza­tions through 5,000 years of his­tory and found a pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion be­tween the cul­tural achieve­ment of a people and the sexual re­straint they observe.”

This ex­cerpt is taken from a lengthy com­ment by Yo­dat­sras­cist on Reddit:

“Even if Unwin’s em­pir­ical finding might be right (and it’s de­bated), I think most an­thro­pol­o­gists would argue his analysis of that finding is way off be­cause of the as­sump­tions he makes about cul­tural evo­lu­tion. Also, some of his in­ter­pre­ta­tions seem grossly off: was the Chi­nese em­pire (with its com­plex con­cu­bine system that lasted until the Com­mu­nist take-over) not ‘civ­i­lized’?

Or, since these were not mar­riages but con­cu­bi­nages, does that still count as ‘civ­i­lized’? What is and isn’t monogamy, and what ef­fect monogamy has or hasn’t had, is its own bag of worms.”

I do not know any­thing else about Unwin or his work, so I re­quested Sex and Cul­ture via in­ter­li­brary loan from my local library.


Commenting: caricature of Dieter Bohlen in 2015.

This is a re­cent photo of Di­eter Bohlen. (Image cour­tesy of WikiCommons)

Dieter Bohlen

Ac­cording to Wikipedia, Herr Bohlen is a German song­writer, pro­ducer, singer, and tele­vi­sion per­son­ality. He first achieved fame as a member of pop duo Modern Talking in the 1980s and has since pro­duced nu­merous German and in­ter­na­tional artists. He is also a judge on casting shows Deutsch­land sucht den Su­per­star and Das Su­per­talent, having been present on all sea­sons of both shows.”

I do not know any­thing about Modern Talking so I lis­tened to their video hit You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul on YouTube. It was a world­wide smash in 1985 and fea­tures two cute guys making syn­thetic pop music for young girls.  That’s more than I will prob­ably ever need to know about Bohlen but I spent a few more min­utes looking him up, es­pe­cially to see if he was as­so­ci­ated with any kind of sex scandals.

Aside from his fan­cying gor­geous models as dates, lovers, and wives, I don’t know why he was in­cluded in Quasimodo’s comment.


Commenting: photo of Madonna in 2015.

This is Madonna on her Rebel Heart Tour of 2015. (Image cour­tesy of WikiCommons)


I as­sume we can all figure out why Qua­si­modo in­cluded Madonna.


Commenting: caricature of Elvis in the '70 by Ron Coddington.

This car­i­ca­ture of Elvis from the 1973 Aloha From Hawaii Via Satel­lite tele­vi­sion spe­cial is by Ron Cod­dington. I don’t usu­ally care for car­i­ca­tures of the “fat Elvis” but I find this one charming.

It feels so right

Again, my re­sponse to Qua­si­modo’s state­ment is based on that state­ment being real and then re­sponding to it in a more or less se­rious manner. I mean, it feels so right, so right, how can I be wrong? Nonethe­less, Qua­si­modo might be a troll looking to “own” a lib­tard. If so, he/she is a rather ar­tic­u­late troll.

If so, then I guess I have fallen for his/her ma­nip­u­la­tions and can be con­sid­ered owned . . .


Elvis lived a ‘lived a de­ranged life and was one of the en­ablers of sexual promis­cuity, which has ru­ined our civ­i­liza­tion like nothing else. This was known even back in the 1930s.’ Click To Tweet



Leave a Comment