As Programming Director of Ladd House and one of the architects of the party we hosted October 4, I would like to defend our choice of theme. The inspiration for this Saturday's controversial event at Ladd house came from an "Entourage" episode that features a party at the Playboy Mansion, not from a particular interest in the magazine itself.
Our party was meant to emulate a party at the Playboy Mansion? the theme was not Playboy itself. This is important because the Playboy Mansion represents an ideal outside of the modern Playboy magazine, and not only its reputation for insane parties, but of Hollywood glamour and style.
Parties at the Mansion and their unique dress code are a timeless tribute to that simple but ephemeral period in 1960s America when Playboy was an erudite celebration of the cultured man. He would don a smoking jacket and relax to lounge jazz, smoking his pipe and reading a magazine that offered first and foremost enlightening social commentary through interviews of political and cultural icons, and clever fiction from the likes of Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ray Bradbury.
The addition of the odd nude was just a pleasing garnish to the literary feast that Playboy offered the reader. But these images were of great consequence, as Marilyn Monroe's classic likeness offered more than meets the eye?it warned American men that their wives weren't bringing them another Martini. Playboy centerfolds gave a fleeting glimpse of the fairer sex escaping the Middle American prison of domesticity and gender repression, a first salvo against the kitchen walls and the oppressive chauvinism in what was still a Man's America.
The rest is history, and in the wake of the Feminist and Sexual revolutions Playboy has fallen from grace, and is rightfully derided as the mere pornography it has become. However, the Mansion defends the last bastion of its former glory, a reminder of the evanescent days of yore.
We picked the Mansion theme for its iconic imagery and its reputation. Simply put, we thought it would be a great party. However, since members of this campus found in it implications beyond our intentions, allow me to do the same.
By celebrating the Mansion and not the contemporary magazine, Ladd House commemorated the dawn of the same feminist ideals that brought protesters to our lawn. The publication of Playboy liberated women from misogyny, a hateful term I only mention because it was shouted Saturday night.
Demonstrators questioned the dignity of our guests who were?probably unknowingly?paying homage to women in all their power and beauty. At Ladd, we are always open to criticism and encourage campus activism?please just do your homework first.
Wes Fleuchaus is a member of the Class of 2011.