Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mae West: She Said

Too often the vanilla-flavored Huffington Post is not worth sampling — — but now and then a writer flavors up with MAE WEST.
• • Desperate for a cash cure, and pondering how to secure "some of that Huffington Post Investigative Fund money," unpaid freelancer Jason Notte fills up a lot of space while looking for a few quotable females. Surely there had to be one "she" who said at least some of these things, scribbles Jason Notte. Suddenly, after sifting through a sea of "long" and "hard" wordplay and other juvenalia, an old, grainy image hit me in the face like dual-side airbags: Mae West.
• • Yes, she's been dead since 1980, but Mae West was most certainly the "she" behind much of what she said, realizes Jason Notte. This was a woman working at a time when Donna Reed was considered a vixen and Two and a Half Men would have been tantamount to pornography. With the Hays Code (the movie biz's version of the Patriot Act): in effect, West basically invented the "That's What She Said" approach to double entendre out of necessity. Even under heavy scrutiny, West was able to slip these past the suits at the studios:
• • • • "I do all my writing in bed; everybody knows I do my best work there."
• • • • "A hard man is good to find."
• • • • "When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better."
• • and, in what may have been a precursor to the falafel culture at a certain news network:
• • • • "I'm the kinda girl who works for Paramount by day, and Fox all night."
• • Nearly every comedian since has made made West's quips look like Bible verse, but thanks to Mae you can't so much as Twitter under the table without eliciting a slight chuckle. This investigation ended at Mae's family plot in Brooklyn's Cypress Hills Cemetery (and my mailbox, where I'll be expecting that check from HuffPo any day now), but West's take on her sassy stand against the censors still resonates at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and in dirty minds everywhere:
• • • • "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."
• • That's what she said.
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: “Long, Hard Probe Finds 'She' Behind 'That's What She Said'"
• • Byline: By Jason Notte, [underpaid] Editor-turned-freelance writer
• • Published in: The Huffington Post — — [not the right URL but who cares since they are unfair to writers]
• • Published on: 14 April 2009
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

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