Thursday, June 12, 2008

Making Hamburg of Your Sacred Cows #32:
Shel Silverstein Was A Porn Fan

There are few things that our staff agrees upon, but one of them is surely the joy derived from breaking the hearts of the pretentious, Woods Holier-than-thou types when you tell them that their beloved Shel Silverstein not only loved porn, but produced it as well. Yes, the old perv was employed by Playboy for a number of years, writing columns (later collected in the book, Around The World), drawing nudie cartoons, and enjoying the full perks package available to a 60's writer of said skin mag -- namely, hanging out at the Playboy Mansion, shagging the bunnies, and making skin soup in Hef's grotto. For a short while, Silverstein even called the place home!

For a complete list of Silverstein's contributions to Playboy, click here.

For a free ringtone of Shel's raunchy classic, Everybody's Got Some But Me, click here.

Here's a Booklist review of Silverstein's Around the World, written by Gordon Flagg:
Best known as a children's author but also a successful songwriter ("A Boy Named Sue") and playwright, Silverstein started out as a cartoonist. In the 1950s and 1960s, Playboy sent him around the world to draw a travel journal. His 23 dispatches hailed from such far-flung locales as Japan, Moscow, London, Paris, and Africa, as well as such closer-to-home precincts as Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, White Sox training camp, and a nudist colony. Most of the cartoons' gags play against cultural stereotypes, with a befuddled Silverstein as the butt of the joke: in a gorgeously limned Swiss village, he complains, "I'll give them 15 more minutes and if nobody yodels, I'm going back to the hotel." Befitting their provenance, many depict Silverstein's efforts to score with the local damsels. They feature the same deceptively casual line work that makes his children's books so visually compelling, and since far too little of Silverstein's work for adults is currently available, this engaging document of the countries he visited and of its era is a welcome delight.

This post is dedicated to all of the Waldorf School kids. Have a great summer, gang! Now's your chance to socialize outside of your economic strata!