Monday, November 1, 2010

'Hugh Hefner Has Been Good For Us'

Roger Ebert has a piece up over at his blog that I would like to recommend to you. It’s called, ‘Hugh Hefner Has Been Good For Us’; and not only is it well-written,  I believe it's ultimate assertion (that Hugh Hefner has been good for us) it's true, which is an added bonus.


“Hefner and Playboy have been around so long that not everyone remembers what America used to be like. It was sexually repressed and socially restrictive. College students were expelled for having sex out of wedlock. Homosexuality and miscegenation were illegal. Freedom of choice was denied. McCarthyism still cast a pall over the freedom of speech. Many people joined in the fight against that unhealthy society. Hefner was one of them, and a case can can be made that Playboy had a greater influence on our society in its first half-century than any other magazine.
No doubt Playboy objectified women and all the rest of it. But it also celebrated them, and freed their bodies from the stigma of shame. It calmly explained that women were sexual beings, and experienced orgasms, and that photographs of their bodies were not by definition "dirty pictures." Not many of today's feminists (of either gender) would be able to endure America's attitudes about women in the 1950s.”
 Of all the things in my life that I feel guilty about from time to time--my weakness for donuts and Guinness, the difficulty I have sticking to an exercise regime, my periodic inability to think objectively about personal conflicts --my subscription to Playboy  is not among them, largely for reasons that Ebert lists in his piece. The women that are presented in the magazine are more pleasant than they are arousing; they have more in common with the nude sculptures at your local art museum than they do the images and videos you may find at your favorite porn site. And the articles, interviews, stories, cartoons, essays, and trifles that appear in the magazine make it well worth buying in and of themselves.

Overall, Playboy magazine promotes a largely progressive, epicurean worldview and culture that I cannot fault. I didn't know all of the history of Hugh Hefner that Ebert presents in his piece, but it makes me appreciate him and his magazine even more.


Willie Y said...

I was a Zappa fan at one time. I got hooked on his early albums with The Mothers of Invention. I always loved the way they would look at the culture of the times, all of it, and comment on it in a very amusing way.

I posted a blog about meeting the Mother's and Zappa at the Filmore East back in the day, here.

Willie Y said...

I posted the comment above on your site that should have been on Lodo's site. Vacation poisoning, sorry.

I like playboy for the same reason that you do. I think you were right on about the pictures, they are more art then titillating. If I wanted that from a magazine there was always Jugs or Cheri, which I never read a article in.

the elegant ape said...

I have never recovered from seeing katarina witt in playboy december 1998.
God Bless You Hugh..