Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Rich and weird

From a book review of an autobiography by the daughter of famous reviewer and socialite Kenneth Tynan:
From an early age,” Tynan writes, “I had learned to accept my parents’ aberrant behavior with a kind of voyeuristic fascination.” Recounting a variety of incidents — some intimate, often funny, frequently uncomfortable, bizarre or upsetting — Tracy contends with the bedazzlements of her parents’ world, and her awareness that it fails to deliver the basics required for her well-being. Take this account of a screening her father arranged as part of the celebration of her 21st birthday:

My father told me that our friends George and Joan Axelrod had a special birthday present for me. (George was the writer of many classic screenplays, including The Manchurian Candidate and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Joan was an interior designer.) They wanted to give it to me on the evening prior to the big bash. Their pal, Sammy Davis Jr., was in town, and they had arranged to screen his personal copy of Deep Throat, the infamous porn film that had come out the previous year in the States but was still banned in Britain.

She goes on to state that she’s never seen a porn flick at this point; she barely has managed to get it on with a mellow boyfriend called Mike, also present. The 20-person screening is introduced by Sammy Davis Jr.:
As I watched him, I could only think how incredibly small he was and wonder what kind of a person traveled around the world with a personal copy of Deep Throat. I supposed he did it to impress people like my father — and this night he had clearly succeeded...
When the lights went up, I was so embarrassed I wanted to flee. But as the daughter of Kenneth Tynan, important critic and writer and übercool purveyor of all things sexual, I felt compelled to hang around, chat with the guests, and act nonchalant, as if I’d been watching this kind of thing since I was a toddler. After profusely thanking my father, Michael and his parents quickly left. Actually, I think everyone felt a bit awkward, and as soon as they could, they too escaped.
 This was a particularly 70's "sexual revolution" kind of thing, wasn't it?   That it was a sign of alleged sophistication that you were not only not embarrassed to talk about being a private viewer of pornography, but that it was cool to share in it with a like minded, insider audience.  

I was going to say that I'm glad we're over that;  but then again, I did notice the publicity being given to 50 Shades of Grey being shown on free to air TV soon.  (Yes, no doubt, it's not quite the same as Deep Throat.)

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