The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Hef at 85: A Myth Grown Old

Posted on | April 11, 2011 | 24 Comments

The octogenarian hedonist celebrated his birthday in Vegas, at one point posing with 31 previous Playboy centerfolds, the oldest of them being Miss May 1998, Deanna Brooks, now age 36.

Hefner is now engaged to 24-year-old Crystal Harris (Miss December 2009) and, of course, the bride-to-be will be required to sign a pre-nuptial agreement prior to the June wedding.

Because it’s all about the money. And the sexual “liberation,” as Daniel Flynn explained at The American Spectator:

Nobody told Izabella St. James that sexual liberation came with curfews, monitors, and allowances. A former live-in girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, St. James has come clean on the dirty life inside the Playboy mansion. . . . The busty blonde reflected in the Daily Mail earlier this year, “Little did I realize that by moving into the mansion I was losing all the freedom I associated with the Playboy lifestyle.” . . .
Reality-television star Kendra Wilkinson, a five-year resident of the mansion, recalls: “It was way more strict than my parents had ever been.”
An authoritarian libertine is not as unusual as one might think. American history is littered with immoral moralists seeking gratification through the domination of others. As Chesterton put it, “A man must be something of a moralist if he is to preach, even if he is to preach immorality.”
Hugh Hefner is one in a long line of preachy perverts. . . .

You should read the whole thing.  Blog readers will remember reading the story of Izabella St. James here in January:

Ex-Playmate: ‘Everything in the Playboy
Mansion Felt Old and Stale’ Including Hef!

Really, however, what could be more old and stale than the ridiculous myth of “liberation” that Hef has been peddling the past half-century? While Rule 5 — “Everybody loves a pretty girl” — certainly applies, the aesthetic admiration of nubile pulchritude should not be confused with an incitement to concupiscent promiscuity.

That’s Naissance de Venus, by William Adolphe Bouguereau, a timeless classic. Perhaps you can perceive the distinction between this artistic celebration of beauty, and Hef’s business of reducing women to the status of “Miss January,” “Miss February,” “Miss March,” et cetera — just so many commercial products cranked off the assembly line every month and mass marketed as disposable consumer items.

For whom is this “liberating,” and from what are they being liberated? Well, you’re not supposed to ask such questions, or you’ll be condemned as a puritanical prude trying to impose your morals — or your repressive “hang-ups” — on others.

What Hugh Hefner has spent the past half-century selling America is an unrealistic myth, as mythical even as the scene of Venus Anadyomene portrayed by Bouguereau. And like the ancient myths, Hefner’s myth of the Playboy Lifestyle has attracted its cultic devotees. Among these are the 300,000 women a year who resort to breast-enhancement surgery, as well as Hollywood madman Charle Sheen and his erstwhile “goddess” Bree Olson, winner of a 2008 industry award for “Best Anal Scene” in a porn video. (Think about that: One can now become a “celebrity” — even win awards! — for being sodomized on camera.)

Certainly there is an irony that while pornography is now more plentiful than ever in world history, the rise of the Internet has destroyed Playboy’s profitability. The company lost $48.5 million last year. Hefner recently took Playboy Enterprises off the stock market, offering $6.15 a share for outstanding shares. Exactly what he’ll do with the Playboy “brand” (it’s not just a magazine) remains to be seen. Hef has recently gone back to the idea of “Playboy Clubs,” opening one in Vegas and announcing two others in Sydney and London. But these are not really “clubs,” just Playboy-themed casino/bar/restaurants, a sort of chain operation like the Hard Rock Cafe.

The value of the Playboy brand isn’t likely long to outlive the man who created the myth on which the brand depends, and of which he is the absurd elderly symbol. Hefner’s myth of “sexual liberation” is, like the man himself, now hopelessly obsolete.


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