on two dirty books.
Collage made from photographs found in Taschen’s Big Book of Pussy
Happy Valentine’s Day
Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers: An American Tale of Sex and Wonder
Soft Skull Press, November 2011. 320 pp.
Dian Hanson, ed.
The Big Book of Pussy
Taschen, November 2011. 372 pp.
Introducing “The Epiphany,” one of the “Etc.” pieces in Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc., Lethem explains that selling the piece to Playboy amounted to “a secret victory, since I’d had several stories rejected on the basis that ‘Hef has a policy against any mention of masturbation.’ I suppose they figured he wouldn’t know what le petit mort meant.”
Le Petit Mort was the name of Lethem’s villain, and of Hefner’s silent business partner. “Hef told me he thought everyone who masturbated was deeply ashamed of masturbating, and so it was Playboy’s job to keep it ‘our little secret,’” Dian Hanson tells Mike Edison in the latter’s new newsstand-porn chronicle, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers: An American Tale of Sex and Wonder. Hanson, the former editor of Leg Show and Taschen’s “sexy books editor,” with The Big Book of Breasts, The Big Butt Book, and the new Big Book of Pussy among her titles, took a different tack:
What they didn’t realize is that a lot of their readers felt guilty because they really thought that no one else was masturbating to the pictures, that they were the only ones, that it was shameful … One of the first things I did with Leg Show was to acknowledge that it was for the purposes of masturbation, and that we were happy with that. It was a big part of the attitude. We said that what really turns us on is, Look at us and masturbate.