“The Anti-Hef”


That’s what Will Sloan calls the creator of Screw magazine, Al Goldstein, who died earlier this month:

Goldstein launched Screw, his “weekly sex review” of New York, in 1968. United States courts were regularly redefining what constituted obscenity and what passed for “redeeming social value,” but from the beginning, Goldstein said, “a hard-on is its own redeeming social value.” Unlike Playboy, the publication to which Screw stood in contrast, there was no attempt to flatter the reader’s sense of sophistication, or to depict sex as anything but a physical act. “The word love is alien to us,” said Goldstein in his 1974 Playboy interview. “Who needs love? Yuck! We deal with masturbation, the most common sex activity for most people, in graphic words and pictures.” …

Playboy had the debonair, sophisticated WASP Hefner; Screw had the obese, crass, and very ethnic Goldstein. Hefner often shot the early Playboy pictorials himself, leaving articles of his clothing in the background to hint that he’d seduced the women; Goldstein admitted (or perhaps bragged) that he could rarely get laid unless he paid for it. Hefner lived a lifestyle that his magazine urged readers to strive for; Goldstein was proudly in the muck with the rest of us. Screw gained enough counterculture credibility in the late ’60s and early ’70s to score interviews with Henry Miller, Salvador Dali, and John and Yoko (during their Montreal bed-in), but Goldstein was the kind of interviewer who could bring anyone down to his level. He got Jack Nicholson to admit he used the magazine to masturbate.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)