• U.S.

People, Jul. 31, 1972

5 minute read

Is Women’s Lib rhetoric getting out of of hand? Yes, says the movement’s founder Betty Friedan. In the August McCall’s, she insists that “female chauvinist boors” are trying to “elevate women as a separate class” and that this “threatens backlash among women even more than men.” Singling out Gloria Steinem for having referred to marriage as “prostitution,” Ms. Friedan protests “the assumption that no woman would ever want to go to bed with a man if she didn’t need to sell her body for bread or a mink coat. Does this mean that any woman who admits tenderness or passion for her husband, or any man, has sold out to the enemy?” Ms. Steinem responded with disdain: “Having been falsely accused by the male establishment journalists of liking men too much, it’s a relief to be falsely accused by an establishment woman of not liking them enough.”

Sporting a tan, a toupee and a temper, Frank Sinatra finally showed up to testify before the House Select Committee on Crime and promptly denounced the legislators for permitting “character assassination.” Specifically, he fumed that Mafia Enforcer Joseph Barboza had been unchallenged in testifying that Sinatra had “fronted” for the Mafia in real estate investments. “This bum went running off at the mouth. I resent it. I won’t have it. I’m not a second-class citizen.” Shaking a newspaper headline (WITNESS LINKS SINATRA WITH MAFIA) Sinatra snapped: “That’s charming. That’s all hearsay evidence, isn’t it?” In an effort to get first-hand evidence, the committee asked Sinatra about his $55,000 investment in a Massachusetts race track that also had some alleged Mafia backers. The entertainer said that a man he met casually while he was singing at a nightclub had offered him the deal and it sounded profitable. Wasn’t that a little unusual? Not at all, said Sinatra’s lawyer. “Any time Mr. Sinatra appears anywhere, at least ten propositions are thrown up to him.” The 400 spectators thronging a House caucus room guffawed at the double-entendre; even the indignant actor held up ten fingers and smiled.

They were supposed to appear in Boston, but bad weather forced their plane from Montreal to land at Warwick, R.I. There the Rolling Stones were passing through customs when a photographer began snapping pictures. First thing you know there was some pushing, then some shoving, then some cops. When things settled down, Mick Jogger, Lead Guitarist Keith Richard and three other belligerent members of the Stones’ entourage were on their way to the police station. Boston Mayor Kevin White calmed 15,000 sweltering fans who were waiting in the Boston Garden by telling them that he had telephoned a plea to the Warwick police to rush the boys through court. The busted Stones finally made the Garden at 12:30 a.m. and the show went on.

There was Brobdingnagian Songbird Mama Cass Elliott at Harrods, the elegant London department store, buying crochet wool and minding her own business. “I pulled two £ 1 notes out of my purse,” said Mama Cass, “but they were wrapped inside five £ 10 notes, which fell to the floor. When I stooped to pick them up, this lady started hitting me on the head with her shopping bag, shouting ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I don’t know why she did it. She was an upper-class type, in a tweed suit, and I think she was offended that my type was in Harrods. But if she was so damn stylish, what was she doing carrying a shopping bag?”

A thousand Chinese youths gathered on the shores of Lake Kun Ming, plunged into the water and swam 15 abreast to the accompaniment of rhythmic whistling. They were commemorating Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s swim down the Yangtze River six years ago. When Mao took his dip, according to official press reports, he “at times swam side stroke and at other times he floated and had a view of the azure sky above.” Mao was reported by his hagiographers to have swum nine miles in 65 minutes—a lot better than last week’s youngsters, who climbed out after a mere two-thirds of a mile.

“Do not be content with thrillers and bestsellers, which are often of doubtful moral, human and literary value,” Pope Paul VI counseled some visitors during his working vacation at Castel Gandolfo. The summer reader should also avoid “those disgraceful magazines, which are now invading and infecting every place.” Instead, concluded the Pope, “you should feed your spirit on clean and high thoughts.”

Richard Speck, 30, who methodically slaughtered eight student nurses in a Chicago dormitory in 1966, is just as methodically raising birds. Still confined to death row despite the Supreme Court’s edict against capital punishment, Speck has been nicknamed “the Birdman” by his fellow prisoners—a reference to the 1962 Burt Lancaster movie, Birdman of Alcatraz. “I haven’t raised any fuss about the birds,” said Stateville Assistant Warden George Stampar. “Two sparrows flew into his cell and he’s attached to them. I understand he even shampoos them.”

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