Sunday, July 09, 2006

Wax On, Wax Off

So, Mr. Fluff and I are trying to spend some quality time together before he takes off for the great European beyond. What this has devolved into, as of yesterday, is spending the day running errands. ("Wait, I think the new shoes I'm taking require new socks. I need a journal. Now I need pencils to write in said journal. How many pairs of underwear does one take? I suppose it depends on how many times one is willing to wash underwear at friends' houses...) After a day of this, all we can really do is come home and partake of some life-affirming television. Which is how we ended up seeing this on HBO (because we're too lazy to send in our Netflix films):

If you haven't seen Autofocus, and I'm not necessarily suggesting that you should, it's a biopic about Bob Crane--Hogan of Hogan's Heroes. The film essentially charts what I think we can safely call his sex addiction, and its effect on his marriages, career, and eventually the end of his life. Crane and his friend, John Carpenter, spend years of their lives cataloguing their sex acts by compiling books of photographs of women's breasts, and then using emerging video technology to tape themselves having sex with a number of women. [Of Crane's post-Hogan jobs, the role of "SuperDad" for Disney was adversely affected by gossip about these practices. Go figure.]

The film does quite a job, I think, of not judging Crane himself for participating in these practices. While it does show the continued negative reactions of those around him, it's admirably objective about the sex itself (up to and including Crane's, ahem, implants).

It did, however, bring up an idle question for me. In the film, the action (so to speak) takes place over the course of the 60's and 70's. As Crane is watching one of his own sex videos, he comments on the woman's pubic hair--let's say that it's "extensive and enthusiastic" (because I like metaphors). Here's my question folks: what's happened in the decades between then and now? How did we get from "enthusiastic" to "non-existent"? [*Note: I understand and support the idea that the utter lack of pubic hair echoes the infantilization of women. And I also know that some women simply prefer going without. I get it. That's not really my question.] What I'm trying to discover, here, is what were the key moments in this change? Did it happen slowly or all at once? When? What were the cultural shifts that brought this about?

I gave myself a good laugh thinking about writing up a proposal for a Ascesis U. research grant on this.

Dear Colleagues:
Please find attached my proposal for a semester of research on the shifting patterns of pubic hair on women. As you will see, the budget is composed primarily of monies devoted to the purchase of materials: various types of American pornography, as well as global porn for comparison; complete sets of both Playboy and Hustler from 1968 to present. In addition, I've requested at least 3 undergraduate research assistants to cull through the materials and make careful notes. I can't think of a better use of their work-study funding. Finally, please note that I fully intend to share my research with the college community; I'd be happy both to donate said materials to the library upon completion of the project, as well as deliver a lecture to faculty and students to report my findings.

Dr. Kfluff

Hee. I should send it just to see the reaction. You think I should wait for tenure first?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sad life of a "happy man."
Whatever happened to his daughter, Ana Marie? All his other children are mentioned in the movie and online, but the daughter he adopted with wife Patricia Olson has never been mentioned.
Also, was Bob a republican? A supporter of Nixon??

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:59:00 AM  

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