need more stuff?

August 11, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenekkid!

Daniel Radosh

Lately, embarrassing photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger have been popping up left and right. Here's the one he really doesn't want you to see (though he's got nothing to be ashamed of)...

You're looking at a genuine, guaranteed 100% unaltered photograph of the next governor of California butt naked nude and proud of it. One story is that it originally appeared in a German magazine. In any case, it's out there and Arnold knows it.

I have it, of course, because it appeared in the March, 1992 issue of Spy magazine, my employer at the time. Nearly as interesting as the picture was the article that it accompanied. Until the famous Premiere expose (back-up link) by former Spy pit bull John Connolly that scuttled Arnold's nascent run in 2001, this article by Charles Fleming was the most serious attempt to puncture the Terminator's spin machine to date -- and it knew whereof it spoke. "By all accounts," Fleming wrote, "he hopes to run for governor of California."

Much of the article focuses on how Arnold's handlers bully magazines and TV stations into only giving him positive coverage. It's nothing that would shock anyone today, largely because Spy did such a good job 11 years ago letting everyone know that this is how Hollywood works. But there's other tidbits in here worth reading again. Fleming points out that it's not only the media that Arnold manipulates. He funnels big money to Jewish charities in order to mitigate his support for Kurt Waldheim and his father's membership in the Nazi party. "So what if the rumors -- confirmed for Spy by a businessman and longtime friend of Arnold's -- that in the 1970s he enjoyed playing and giving away records of Hitler's speeches are true? The Wiesenthal Center dinner still makes perfect sense. As one guest said of the gathered moguls, 'Arnold's very big right now, and everybody wants to work with him. Besides, this is Hollywood, and these guys would hire Hitler if it meant making money.' And Arnold is nowhere near as bad as Hitler!"

Then there's the bit about Arnold inviting his friends to look for girls "who will perform an act Arnold calls 'polishing the helmet.'... 'It's not being unfaithful. It's only some plo-jobs,'" says Arnold in Spy's cute approximation of his accent. Additional dirt comes from Wendy Leigh's unauthorized biography of Arnold, and Fleming tells some funny stories about Arnold's failed attempts to quash that book, which delves into steroid use, among other things. How concerned is Arnold about his image? "His current obsession is with pictures that show him holding a cigar, since he thinks it ill suits the head of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to be seen smoking. So let's get this straight: A man who took huge amounts of steroids becomes head of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, but his main worry is that people will think he smokes cigars. If cigars are Arnold's fitness scandal, then he really has mad the steroid problem go away."

But it's at the end of the piece that things get interesting for those of us in 2003. "If Arnold really believe it is his right to do whatever stories he wants to do, though, he's in for a rude shock. In a race for the governorship or a Senate seat, 'the real press will eat him alive,' as one magazine editor says. A longtime associate of Arnold's agrees. '[Running for office] isn't like doing a PR campaign for a movie. If there is anything at all unpleasant in his background, [the press] will go after it like animals.'"

Were we really that innocent in 1992? To think that running for office was not like doing PR for a movie? Ah, idealistic youth. As the press continues to fawn of Arnold, count it as one more reminder that despite its best efforts, Spy lost the war.

Spy says: "The most embarrassing photo of Arnold we could find: Taken for a California magazine. The outfit, the 'Goin' my way?' grin -- why wasn't this suppressed?"

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2