Well, one of the porn industry's legends has shuffled off this mortal coil. Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse, died a couple of days ago of lung cancer, after a life of contradictions. A conservative sort who was working in the anything goes world of porn, he started out a seminary student. Later he went into art, and finally after Hugh Hefner (Hef, for short) founded the rival Playboy, he saw a niche, and started up his own magazine in 1965.
Oh, we guys have all seen Penthouse at one time or another (usually more then once; come on, we're guys!). Where Hef tried to go at least a little upscale, Guccione went straight to the point, with more explicit nudity and more of those letters that start out with "I never thought this would happen to me, but..."
Back in the day, it was Penthouse that published nude pics of Vanessa Williams, which cost her the Miss America title yet launched her career. And there was a nude layout (pun intended) competition with Hef over Madonna (this was back before Madge got into her current phase of weird mysticism, pretentious passing herself off as English, and irrelevance).
Not that it did him much good in the end. The porn industry moved on without him. Home video and DVD passed him by, and some monumentally bad business decisions cost him everything. He lost the brand he started out with, and lost pretty much everything else while he was at it. At least Hef managed to stay relevant. And reasonably solvent. And mellow. Having three girlfriends on your arm would probably do that for you.
How to commemorate his death? Norma suggested that Ron Jeremy has called for all dicks to be at half mast as a show of support. It wouldn't surprise me if that particular porn legend and resident troll (he is pretty damned ugly, and you know it) would do something like that.
The funeral would be another matter. As a show of support, would black condoms be handed out? Would the ladies be wearing black negligees? And would it inevitably wind up becoming a mass orgy, to be marketed for the DVD audience as Four Hundred Orgasms And A Funeral?
The answer, of course, is yes.