Douchebag Decree: Dem Playmates ain't know nothin'


Ugh, you know when you've been hired as an editor at Playboy, a job that is only given to the most talented, intelligent, amazing dudes ever, and they make you write the bios for the stupid Playmates? Like, completely wasting your talent and intelligence and amazingness on some brainless woman who's just a "blank slate with cleavage"? John Blumenthal sure does. Oh, what's that? You don't know who John Blumenthal is? Hmm...that's weird, because according to him he's pretty much the greatest thing ever. But according to us, he's the recipient of this week's Douchebag Decree (highest honor, yet, Johnny, I'm sure).

Pathetically posted on his blog this week, Blumenthal rants and whines (sticking true to the "first class kvetch" classification he gives himself in his bio) about being subjected to actually having to interact with women he essentially describes as completely useless if not for their looks. The Playmate copy is basically a little bio about that particular month's Playmate, but according to Blumenthal, it is more like "the driveling nonsense that attempts to turn an 18-21 year-old woman, whose only real asset is her beauty, into a cultured, sophisticated, grown woman with an interesting background and ambitious plans for her future". At the time he worked for Playboy, Blumenthal was 25 and had just graduated from college with an English degree, which he uses to substantiate his worldliness and amazingness when stacked up against the women he had to interview. He was, and is, so much better than them. I mean, hello, he was an editor at Playboy which is, if I remember correctly, the pinnacle of journalistic aspiration (or, as Blumenthal himself describes it, "known throughout the world as a bastion of journalism"...I'm serious, he said that).

Not only does this douche literally reduce these women to ass and tits, but then goes on to say, "Of course there was no chance of a lowly editor like me having anything even approaching a sexual relationship with any of these gorgeous creatures. That virginal terrain was cultivated exclusively by Hef. How we all admired him for his dilligence and dedication!!" So they're not okay to talk to, but they are okay to have sex with? Is that the rule? Okay, so if you're taking notes, this is how you become as amazing, successful and intelligent as John Blumenthal: you get an English degree (which is totes hard, what with all the reading and writing), you get a job as an editor at Playboy (you betcha, Hearst Awards will be falling in your lap with that gig!), you call the Playmates stupid and yawn when they talk and you can sleep with them, but only because that's all they're good for.

The icing on the misogynistic cake is when Blumenthal is taken aback when a Playmate who has a masters degree is able to form a sentence (actually, paragraphs, for that matter) and write her own bio. Apparently, the other Playmates couldn't read or write (they did not get degrees in English, like Blumenthal did, remember?), or so Blumenthal would have us believe when he describes this particular Playmate as "literate".

I feel sorry for Blumenthal. Not because he endured all those "years of hard living" getting his degree, not because he had to write about Playmates who wouldn't sleep with him (maybe that's where this diatribe on their stupidity is coming from) and certainly not because his intelligence and amazingness was wasted. But simply because I don't know that douchebag will fit nicely on his list of credentials between "professional comedy writer" and "formidable braggart". Johnny Boy, you're not funny, and I'm not impressed with your bragging. You are, however, an outstanding whiner, which is the one classification you got right. Good day, sir.

See also, The Heartless Doll's post on this asshat over at SF Weekly!

Thanks to KJ for the tip!

by Ashley Brittner
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12 Comments Have Been Posted

Wow. I haven't seen that

Wow. I haven't seen that much misguided, misogynistic vitrol in a long time. Maybe I' ve just been lucky. Seriously though, how many women has he interacted with? Because I am reasonably certain that most of the women I know would tear him a new one-after they had gotten over the slack jawed reaction that this would have received.


Maybe it's simply that text is notoriously slippery, but I really got the impression that he was making fun of himself, and Playboy, and the whole stint of working there. And, um, some people are kinda dumb, including, gasp!, some women. I don't necessarily think it's sexist to write a few paragraphs talking about a job you had years ago in which you often had to try to make up interesting details about people who weren't that interesting.

Maybe he wasn't being tongue-in-cheek, but that's how I read it, and I just didn't get offended enough to call the guy a douchebag based on this one piece. Maybe taken in context with the rest of his work, I would come to a different conclusion. There are other, much more egregious examples of misogyny that I'd rather spend my time getting pissed about than this.

fair enough

I am not saying that there aren't people out there that are stupid, but in my opinion he's creating this image of every single one of these women as stupid and on top of it, literally calls them "blank slates with cleavage". That's not cool. I don't really know that it is tongue in cheek, his last words are, "I know. Some of you men will think I’m an idiot. Some of you women will think I’m a sexist pig. Let the games begin." Seems to me if he were saying this facetiously he wouldn't have included that. I don't know anything about his other works because I've never heard of him. I'm just calling him a douchebag based on the comments from this particular blog. Perhaps he's just a part-time douche, but that's bad enough.

Book cover= T&A= don't judge

As an attorney who models part time (but I "still have to keep [my] normal job"), it's incredibly offensive to me when I get, "YOU'RE an ATTORNEY?" from men who think, inexplicably, it's a compliment to assume that being photogenic precludes the ability form rational arguments. On the flip side, in the courtroom I have been told on more than one occasion by other attorneys that I "shouldn't waste my time being an attorney when [I] could go model." I don't believe one profession is any better than the other, but to intimate that my life choices should be dictated by my appearance alone is misogynistic and insulting.

While I have encountered many a model who did not have many thoughts or opinions worth voicing, much less heeding, I've met just as many unattractive people who were equally vapid. Isn't one of the cornerstone principles of feminism that a person's inherent worth is not in any way related to their looks?


This is is exactly what I mean. And exactly why I think Blumenthal's comments are harmful. Thank you for sharing, and I'm sorry you're subjected to such objectification. And you're right: vapidity does not discriminate.


The points you make are all valid, and part-time douchebag might be accurate. But I do still think most of this guy's piece was intended to be ironic, even the bit at the end where he presumes arguments like Bitch's are going to come along. He starts off pointing out the irony that most would assume young men would be stoked to be with these models, but most of the guys who had the opportunity weren't interested in it. I think his comments about everyone admiring Hef's "dedication" and Playboy being a bastion of journalism were 100% ironic.

I'm not saying the guy's a feminist or being subversive or even wrote an interesting piece. I just meant that I didn't read it and feel like I should get up in arms about it. There are much more blatant and egregious examples of real misogyny around us everywhere. This one didn't seem as offensive to me as others.


<blockquote>I think his comments about everyone admiring Hef's "dedication" and Playboy being a bastion of journalism were 100% ironic. </blockquote>

I'll buy that his comment about Hef's dedication [to sleep with as many playmates as possible] was ironic. But what counts is whether his statements about the playmates being stupid and worthless for anything but sex and boo hoo none of them gave him any (probably because they were all too repulsed by the stench of his palpable contempt for them as human beings to even entertain the idea without barfing) were ironic. And that doesn't appear to be the case.


<blockquote>"I just meant that I didn't read it and feel like I should get up in arms about it."</blockquote>

Then don't. He's an idiot, IMO, and a perfectly acceptable target for criticism. The fact that he knew he was going to get criticized doesn't make it alright. In fact, it almost makes it worse. He knew what he was writing was objectifying, offensive drivel, yet he did it anyway. He has the right to do that. He doesn't have the write to expect others not to respond. I didn't read this award entry and think defending him was something I "should get up in arms about," either. The fact that you did is your perogative, just as the writer has the perogative to call this guy on being a fuckwit.

How many objectifying pieces of drivel does one have to write before it's acceptable for someone to criticize? If one isn't enough, what is the threshold? Frankly, if you're going to commit it to black-and-white text on a website and sign your name to it, it's unlikely that it isn't something that you actually agree with. Hence, once is more than enough.

I also don't believe that the idea that it's not "as offensive to me as others" is any kind of valid defense. It's probably worse to kill someone than to simply <i>attempt to</i> kill them, but I'm not going to defend the latter on the basis that it's not as egregious as the former.

Ah, yes. The old, "She won't

Ah, yes. The old, "She won't sleep with me - there must be something seriously wrong with her" defense. Good times. Did it ever occur to said Douchebag that these women didn't have much to say to him because they didn't have any interest in conversing with someone as stupid as he was? No, that would be Impossible. They must have been morons. I can't tell you how many times I've opted not to have a conversation with a man because his mental capacities were so obviously lacking that to speak to him would require either a severe dumbing down of myself, or else result in his complete and utter confusion. I chose not to waste my time, and perhaps these women did as well.

The idea that a woman might actually refrain from conversing with (or sleeping with) and man because SHE is not interested in HIM is still a mystifying impossibility for some men. It's just easier to assume that ALL women are the problem and he is perfect and awesome. That's the most logical explanation, right?

He's gross, but you knew that...

This gave me pause:

[...]<i>you get an English degree (which is totes hard, what with all the reading and writing)</i>[...]

Yeah, careful there. I realize you're alluding to his apparent viewpoint that women are not "literate," but it comes off as making fun of people who majored in English. As a major, it's not just simple "reading and writing;" oftentimes it's quite a challenging route to take.
Besides, there are plenty of better reasons to mock him, no?

I think her point was that

I think her point was that he uses his having recently earned a bachelor's degree to make a comparison where he's sooo much more wordly and sophisticated and intelligent than any of the women he interviewed. Plus he was like 2 years older than them on average, which is also a big flippin' deal for some reason.
Some of those Playmates he's so dismissive of might have had - or been working towards - bachelor's degrees themselves and from his article it doesn't sound like he even bothered to ask.


From one English major to another - you should never use more than one exclamation point in a sentence.

"That virginal terrain was cultivated exclusively by Hef. How we all admired him for his dilligence and dedication!!"

Yes, I have to agree - he's kind of a douche.

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