Monday, February 25, 2002

HEFNER WATCH: Relapsed Catholic sends me to this analysis of Playboy that seems out of date in spots to me --but only because it's dealing with an out of date magazine like Playboy. Still an interesting read; I get to these comments down the bottom and enjoy them where not being horrified:

Hiding in plain sight in the June 2001 issue of Philadelphia magazine is Ben Wallace's essay "The Prodigy and the Playmate." In it Sandy Bentley, the Playboy cover girl and former Hefner girlfriend (along with her twin sister Mandy), describes Hugh Hefner's current sexual practices in just enough detail to give you a good long pause:

The heterosexual icon [Hugh Hefner] . . . had trouble finding satisfaction through intercourse; instead, he liked the girls to pleasure each other while he masturbated and watched gay porn.

Yes, you read that right. There it is, attributed to someone who ought to know, the stated fact on the public record. It may seem shocking or it may seem trivial, but it amounts to a significant confirmation that Hugh Hefner embodies what his detractors have been saying for years: All pornography is ultimately homosexual. All pornography stifles the development of genuine human relationships. All pornography is a manifestation of arrested development. All pornography reduces spiritual desire to Newtonian mechanics. All pornography, indulged long enough, hollows out sex to the point where even the horniest old Viagra-stoked goat is unable to physically enjoy the bodies of nubile young females.

Ultimately, Hugh Hefner is an old joke: a solitary master baiter. Armed with two-thirds of the truth and a well-lubricated marketing machine, he has single-handedly stroked the American id into accepting his adolescent fantasy of false desire and technological gratification, a legacy which amounts to our generation's toxic dump.

Those comments about all pornography being ultimately homosexual: I mean, they're true --there's reasons why there's so much gay porn and hardly any lesbian porn-- but they only go so far; it's like saying all fratboys are really gay, or all wrestling is really gay. These things have their gay elements but to say they're gay at bottom is just silly, especially when they are used (as the article rightly points out about porn) to prove heterosexuality in many situations.

And I'm all for Hefner trashing but this guy is way overstating his importance. He was just the first; if he didn't exist, someone would've done something else Playboy-like. But this is a pretty thought-provoking read, if you've got any interest in the subject. Dig this line: "The Playboy Philosophy, which requires women to be thin, infertile, and always available, essentially requires childlessness." I would say Playboy requires women to be thin, infertile, but never available, always an unrealizable ideal --which explains the lack of genitalia in Playboy and maybe Hefner's behavior quoted above. I mean, I doubt Hustler ever retarded anyone's social growth because the ideal reader of Hustler is a solitary masturbator. (I add this because the article opens with this quote: "In launching Playboy, perhaps the smartest thing Hugh Hefner did was in establishing his personality as that of a witty, urbane sophisticate who enjoyed the company of many, many young women. After all, who knows how many fewer copies the magazine might have sold, had he instead depicted himself as a solitary masturbator?") Playboy, on the other hand, he (he is Read Mercer Schuchardt) might be right about it in terms of its negative effects, or its limits as a pornographic magazine; if you substitute "Playboy" for "pornography" in that "All pornography...." paragraph above, I might agree with him. But read it for yourself, it's good.

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