Monday, June 27, 2016

The Divine Miss M

The Divine Miss M
Bette Midler, Notoriety, Nudity and Why I Get NOTHING Done. 

Bette Midler (@BetteMidler)
3/25/14, 8:14 AM
I have to laugh when I see young female pop star get nude in order to be "shocking". You want to shock me? Spell arachnophobia!

A friend passed me this gem. Pair with a photo of the tongue displaying Princess of Twerk, post on the blog and done. Right? 

Sadly no. Am I content with some additional examples of stars san clothing? 

Evidently not . . . 

A few more days of perusing and there are dozens of additional points of commentary, including the evolution of magazine cover expectations and notoriety.

ESPN jumped on the naked bandwagon post butt-kicking by the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. 

ESPN included admirable physiques that aren't shown in the perfectionist magazines of despair and inadequacy. 

Is any of this relevant? 

"Clothes make the man.
Naked people have little or no influence on society."
-  Mark Twain

There was a time when socialites and other patrons of haute couture by Chanel, Balenziaga, Dior and the like would snub designs worn by undesirables including entertainers and the nuevo riche. 

But things change . . . 

Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, plus . . .

Truman Capote, socialites he collected, and Tiffany became . . .

Fashion Icon Nirvana.

Socialite and celebrity evolved. Grace Kelly wearing a gown designed by Edith Head
 for Rear Window.

Design and designer evolved. Jacquline Kennedy designed her inaugural gown in collaboration with Bregdof Goodman.

Nicole Kidman's Red Carpet gown from Dior, listed John Galliano as hot designer and Kidman as best dressed.

At 45, she joined the fleet of gorgeous, middle-age stars keeping up with the posterior display. 

Barbara Streisand wearing Arnold Scassi at 1969 Academy Awards . . . for which she received a load of grief over the sheer backside . . .

but evidently Scassi was ahead of his time. 

Cher at the 1986 Oscars wearing Bob Mackie. 

"She has sensational armpits with no extra wrinkles or puffiness." - Bob Mackie

Anna Winter (wearing Chanel and posing with daughter Bee Shaffer), is the Vogue editor-in-chief, the chair of the Met Gala event since 1995 . . .

and the "inspiration" for The Devil Wears Prada. 

She banned parsley, bruschetta and cell phones at the gala.

BeyoncĂ© at the 2015 Met Gala wearing Givenchy. 

Jennifer Lopez at the same event wearing Atelier Versace.

The Royals suffered embarrassment when the future princess was photographed in a sheer skirt. Because, you know, what can you do to manage the commoners? 

More embarrassment followed when Fergie publicly wore a dress Di had previously appeared in and then given Fergie. 

That, however, was before the creation of TMZ and Prince Harry's 2012 Vegas strip poker incident. 

Jacquline Kennedy became Jackie O and her new husband, while carrying on several public affairs, retaliated against Jackie for contacting an old lover by giving paparazzi details of a private nude beach she frequented. 

Larry Flynt bought the photos of the 43 year old, former first lady and sold millions of the first issue of Hustler. 

Jackie, instead of capitalizing on the event, was mortified. She started the legal battle for divorce when her husband, in one of his only acts of chivalry fell over dead. 

Twenty-five years ago, Demi Moore started the Celebrity-Nude-Pregnancy-Cover right of passage.

"If you look at sculptures from hundreds of years ago,
everyone's naked.
It's not a bad thing."
- Gigi Hadid

Woodstock, hippies, and public nudity started the ramp up against the establishment.

During a concert in 1970, Jim Morrison made several adjustment to his fly and claimed to pretend to flash the audience. Pretend or not, he was arrested for indecent exposure and later found guilty.

In 1983 the Red Hot Chili Peppers first performed their socks on cocks routine (Google it) without . . . as far as I know . . . legal entanglements.

Madonna was threatened with arrest during her 1990 Blonde Ambition show in Toronto. She wasn't arrested but the publicity generated was seismic.

"Everyone knows I'm a lash girl by now. 
When I don't have my lashes, I feel naked." 
Nicki Minaj

Nick Minaj has had so many "nip slips", including during a live performance on Good Morning America, that Madonna is almost quaint. 

Bette is no stranger to bawdy titillation. 

During the Trash With Flash show at the London Palladium in 1978, fans held up placards reading "We love your tits." Midler provided a better view of her torso. 

In addition to changing norms and legality, I have a few questions about inclusion.

Is there a societal age limit on posing for nudes? 

Nice to see that a few women past youth, have the opportunity to drop their pants.

However, pants dropping requires a certain, let us say "booty appearance" rather than documentation of actual booty age. 

Titillation aside, there were a few years where non-plastic women (and men) got naked to make a statement and raise some funds. One of the first nude calendars of notoriety was published by the Women's Institutes in April 1999 for leukemia research. 

"I don't even like to be naked in front of myself!" 
-  Camryn Manheim

I tried to pinpoint when my pants dropping opportunity expired. Probably right after large, naked fertility totems fell out of favor.

I'm making a nifty circle back to Bette but I need a brief detour to the celebrity known almost exclusively for being naked.  

Not Anna. 
The one who was "shocked" when her sex tape was leaked . . . 

Not Kylie. 
The one who then posed for playboy . . .

Not Pamela. 
The younger one . . . 

Not Paris. 
The one that replaced Paris as the spreading rash of popularity in social media . . . 

Yes, that one. The one who had a meltdown over a nude magazine cover after Playboy.

Hard to believe, but 2010 W magazine, wrote a story starting with, "Kim Kardashian can’t sing, act, or dance, but she’s found the role of a lifetime in the fine art of playing herself."

Kim's hysterical response, "I don’t want people to be like, 'All she’s good for is, you know, being naked.'"

"I feel so taken advantage of. I’ve definitely learned my lesson. I’m never taking my clothes off again, even if it’s for Vogue."

Evidently a threat more than a promise.

"It annoys me whenever someone says, 'What do you actually do?' All I think is, 'How are you so ignorant that you don’t know?' I mean, what an uneducated question."

British GQ "Woman of the Year" 2014

"I only just started wearing underwear a month ago, and I never wore underwear until then."

"Well, a bear can juggle and stand on a ball and he’s talented, but he’s not famous. Do you know what I mean?"

"Stretchmarks are my biggest fear of life."

"Probably the number one thing fans say to me is, 'Will you adopt me?'"

In response to another self-promoting opportunity to see Kim naked:

Kim's witty reply:
'hey @BetteMidler I know it's past your bedtime but if you're still up and reading this send nudes #justkidding'.

'hey @BetteMidler I really didn't want to bring up how you sent me a gift awhile back trying to be a fake friend then come at me #dejavu'.

Bette's retort: 

I never tried to fake friend you. Looks like anyone can take a selfie but not everyone can take a joke. . .

I'm guessing Bette, who early on embraced Sophie Tucker "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas" and Pretty Legs and Great Big Knockers is aware of nudity, titillation, and cleavage exploration.

My favorite bawdy joke by The Divine Miss M via Sophie Tucker:

My boyfriend Ernie said to me, "Soph if you would learn how to cook we could fire the chef." So I said, "Ernie, if you would learn how to make love, we could fire the chauffeur." 

That aside, and at the risk of being pretentious, I'm assuming the tweeted barb focused not so much on the removal of clothes but on an inability to do shit-all-else other than remove clothing.

Twitter was all a buzz for about 5 1/2 minutes.

Including a response from Miley:

'Dear women, you ALL are acting tacky AF!'
'Why don't we overly (myself included) fortunate women come together and try to create and bring jobs to other women in desperate need of them so they can support not only THEMSELVES but their families!'

Best reader comment to Miley: 
You're the tackiest of them all...

You can practically hear the eye roll.

Back to The Divine Miss M 

And then Bette made use of the opportunity in a very non-Kardashian way.

So is any of this relevant?

Well only if you have daughters or sons or anticipate having children or use social media or want to grow old in a nation with things like scientific advances. 

"I wasn't naked,
I was completely covered by a blue spotlight."
- Gypsy Rose Lee

Eroticism, exploitation and advancement by prodding stage mothers has been around for a very long time and will be around as long as there is interest in sex and in accumulating things. 

The difference is the alarming increase in aspirations to be a Kardashian rather than an intelligent, educated, and functional female with the ability to think beyond one's self . . . 

as well as the phenomenon of tweens and teens taking Kim-esque selfies, and if not openly posting them, sharing them under an assumption of privacy. 

Heaven knows navigating junior high was hard enough without a firestorm of social wrath, the constant refrain of Slut and vocalization of every bodily insecurity you ever had. 

So for the love of God, Country, and our collective future, idolize all the naked people you want but only if they were also to, oh say cure ovarian cancer or spend time helping high risk kids learn a trade or promote acceptance and inclusion or . . . 

protest something important. 

"There's nothing unclassy about being naked,
if it's appropriate.
Being naked approaches being revolutionary;
going barefoot is mere populism."
- John Updike

At this point, I would be happy with a naked idolatry option of someone who wasn't horrible and occasionally had an interesting thought. 


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