Does posing nude let Patti Davis bare her hostility, too?

June 10, 1994|By MIKE LITTWIN

Here's my memory of the Reagan administration. Nancy always wore red. And Ron ran the country as if each day were another chance to play the lead in "Father Knows Best."

Well, there's a new episode, just out. This is the one in which Kitten (played by Reagan daughter Patti Davis) poses nude in Playboy.

And Father?

Father figures they're never going to put him on Mount Rushmore now. After all, nobody ever saw any of the Lincoln kids naked.

But we can see Patti staring at us from the cover of Playboy, naked from the waist up -- except for the guy's hands on her breasts. I'm thinking, as most of us might, this would make maybe a lovely Christmas card.

If you look inside the magazine (I know -- you only get it for the articles), the Davis photo spread is everything you'd imagine. Although, as it turns out, you don't have to imagine much.

After a few feel-good shots of her as a little girl with the family, Davis moves quickly into the traditional Playboy boy-toy mode. And, yes, she is seen in the traditional Playboy altogether.

To answer your question: She looks thin and fit and, most of all, happy she could do this one last little favor for Mom and Dad.

It could be the single most vicious thing I've ever seen a child do to a parent.

For a parent, particularly one who happens to be a former president, particularly a former president who also happens to have invented the term "family values," this has to be the ultimate humiliation.

("Mr. President, I saw Patti the other day. Wink. Wink.")

Yes, it's pretty awful. But you have to admit there's some irony in the G-rated Mr. Reagan finding his daughter romping around in Playboy with the rest of the sybarites. What do you think Reagan would have said if it had been a Kennedy kid?

Why is she so angry? It's unhealthy. Maybe instead of working out with a personal trainer for the last six years, Davis should have been seeing a shrink.

What she doesn't need is lessons in vengeance. She's a genius. I mean, she could have just taken a knife and cut her parents' hearts out. But this is so much more subtle, not to mention painful.

Face it, if given the choice, you'd rather bring the Menendez brothers into the world than Patti Davis. At least, with the Menendez boys, it would be over quickly. Davis, meantime, has made her adult life a one-person terrorist campaign against her parents and everything they stand for.

Maybe you remember some of her more suggestive assaults.

At age 24, she underwent tubal ligation, saying she wouldn't want to risk passing on her mother's gene pool. I don't think she meant Nancy's big head either.

Eventually, after Ron became president, she would write two novels about a family that was only slightly less dysfunctional than the Borgias. Presumably, she was writing about her own family.

Now, this.

Now, at 41, Davis is as naked as a jaybird in a national magazine. (Why jaybird? Aren't all birds equally naked? And, since we're on the topic of nudity, Miss July, also astonishingly undressed, says her "turn-ons" are anyone who can "educate or inspire her." Now, admit it, you thought all these centerfold types were shallow, didn't you?)

How did Davis think up this latest strategy? I wonder if she planned it from the day she started hitting the gym, or if it came to her in a revelation, or if she just happened to bump into one of the Hefners at a hot-tub party.

What we do know is that Davis apparently didn't do it for the money. She says she gave it away to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has long been one of Dad's favorite charities.

It's pretty clear Davis did it because, even into her middle years, she doesn't seem to have exactly resolved that tricky parent-child relationship. Now, I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm going to guess that this hey-dad-look-at-me-naked pose may suggest just the slightest hint of hostility.

She's 41. Whatever her parents did to her, she should have gotten past that stage by now.

What you want to do is to take Patti by the hand and tell her it's

time to grow up. Or, at least, get dressed.

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