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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
This is a recent photo of Dieter Bohlen. (Image courtesy of WikiCommons)
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.
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.
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
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)