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De Mortuis Nihil Nisi Bonum: An Exception

Pornographer Hugh Hefner has died at 91.  His time had come and passed long ago.  Playboy magazine has been losing boatloads of money for some time, long ago superseded by ubiquitous internet porn.  It recently adopted the desperate tactic of losing nudity, before switching back to airbrushed nudes.  In his dotage Hefner came across as much more pathetic than evil, but evil he was.  Hefner produced pornography, and became wealthy doing it.  That is not unusual.  Pornography doubtless has been with us since a caveman scrawled a dirty picture on a cave wall.  No, Hefner’s contribution to evil was in mainstreaming it and making it appear respectable, thus being one of the fathers of the modern age in which sex, amputated from its procreative purpose, and stripped of romance, makes contemporary life akin to swimming in a cesspool.  This probably would have occurred without Hefner, but he rode the societal waves that produced it, championed it and took credit for it.  He thus earned his share of the blame for it.

Politically he was a completely conventional limousine  liberal and for decades inflicted his pretentious “Playboy philosophy”, which ranged from banal to jejune and back again, on the hapless fools who purchased his magazine for other purposes.    Hefner was a dullard who thought himself a genius and that always is too sad.  A wasted life, and that is a terrible crime indeed.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

19 Comments

  1. May God rather have mercy on the young women whom Hugh Hefner objectified and on the young men whose minds he polluted for over six decades. His sale of pornography is for the sex addict no different than a drug dealer’s sale of heroin or cocaine to a drug addict. A visit to an open meeting at one’s local Sexaholics Anonymous Group should be enough to show anyone that pornography addiction is just as insidious and corrupting as drug addiction, alcoholism and grambling addiction. And yes, there is a http://www.sa.org. I know about because my 2nd AA sponsor and my priest-confessor (who was my sponsor’s sponsor) both threatened to send me there when I was early in sobriety if I didn’t start working the 12 steps the way they are written.

  2. He wasn’t a dullard. He was energetic and inventive, just toward all the wrong ends.

    I don’t think he ever made it appear ‘respectable’. Rather, he was able to adjust the rheostat on its disreputable quality such that men would buy it without understanding themselves as pervy and that men who vociferously objected would be understood as prudish (by others if not themselves). He could not have accomplished that without assistance from the purveyors of mass entertainment, from the media, from the legal profession, from the mental health racket, from academe, from the school apparat, from the Planned Parenthood Federation, and (in their stupid and derivative way) from some among the clergy.

    Playboy‘s peak circulation was around about 1971. I think the clubs began to shut down around that time. Hefner’s rapport was most thorough with his own contemporaries (those among them dissatisfied with the texture and dynamics of human relations as they were in 1951). Succeeding cohorts of men had sensibilities sufficiently damaged by the time they reached a certain age that his fare was a big meh – they either had no interest in stroke books or were sucked in by truly vile material that Hefner wouldn’t publish. And, of course, the problems in living they confronted were a different mix.

    Fitful attempts to restore some stigma to looking at pornographic material have largely failed (bar the institution of draconian legal penalties for people possessing pornographic images of underage youth) and deserved to fail because they were based on rancid premises – not the notion that human sexuality belongs in defined channels, but the notion that the corruptions women are prone to are kosher and the corruptions men are prone to are traffe.

  3. Ad Hominem attacks are hate speech. Ad hominem attacks are character assassination, slander, calumny, false accusation and detraction, all rather nefarious approaches to debate and conversation.
    Public domain belongs to the public in joint and common tenancy. You own it all and I own it all. Our ancestors own it all and our constitutional Posterity, all future generations, own it all. “We, the people” own it all.
    Ad Hominem attacks are hate speech. Ad hominem attacks are character assassination, slander, calumny, false accusation and detraction, all nefarious approaches to good will for the common good through debate and conversation.
    Blasphemy, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, ad hominem attacks, all of which are hate speech, do not have freedom of speech, which is the proliferation of Truth, innocent speech in good will for the common good.

    Pornography is a lie about human sexuality, the vice of lust, the denial, like the addiction to sodomy, of the human soul. The human soul needs the virtue of chastity without which the human being becomes a vacuum, a plaything of the devil. Playboy is the mainstream vehicle for devil infestation and possession.
    Abuse of freedom of speech as these are diminishes freedom for all people.

  4. “Ad Hominem attacks are hate speech. Ad hominem attacks are character assassination, slander, calumny, false accusation and detraction, all rather nefarious approaches to debate and conversation.”
    I am really working hard at learning this computer, but this is the second paragraph. Perhaps AI will help.

  5. SEE: Mathew Fradd “Ten Myths About Pornography”. Scientific proof that use of pornography shrinks the good part of the brain so that more and more and more are never enough. The last or tenth myth is that pornography cannot be conquered. The brain may recover.

  6. “Playboy‘s peak circulation was around about 1971.”

    Sophisticated decadence exists only in transition. During those years the transition happened fast.

  7. I find nothing wrong with the beauty of the nude female form. From my submarine sailor days I found Playboy to have the best photography. Penthouse, Hustler and all the rest had zero interest for me. Maybe that was because everything was so stylized in Playboy. But what bothered me was this: Hugh Hefner denigrating women as just sex objects to be used. Bob Guiccione and Larry Flynt were far worse. But Hefner made it respectable – I say that with dismay. And I always thought to myself that I would never want to really meet one of his Playboy Bunny girls because I would be so embarrassed at having seen all of their bodies unclothed. Didn’t JP II say the problem with pornography is not that it reveals too much but too little – nothing of the real woman – daughter, wife, sister, mother – under the nude photo?

  8. . Didn’t JP II say the problem with pornography is not that it reveals too much but too little – nothing of the real woman – daughter, wife, sister, mother – under the nude photo?

    Whoever said it, sounds right– I know a guy who was in a group that “decided” to go to a strip club, and long story short the gal on stage may as well have been his sister.
    He didn’t punch any of the guys, but….

  9. Oddly enough, Hefner was mentioned was mentioned in the sermon this Sunday at my late parents’ parish. The gist of it was that:
    Hefner was being canonized by the secular media and entertainment industry. (my aside: is there any difference between the two?) Father called him not an entrepreneur as the news called him, but said he was the ultimate in consumerism. Among other things, he consumed people. Hefner also let it slip in an interview that he often felt very alone. The congregation was ask to pray for Hefner because God wants all His humans to join him in heaven.

  10. I am always amazed at seemingly respectable people who use porn and keep it out in the open or accessible to children. When we were stationed in the P.I. in the late 80s my 3rd grade son repeated to me what the he’s heard from two of his pals on the school bus. The two boys had watched one of the dad’s porn movies while the parents’ were out. Thankfully all who heard the descriptions on the bus were grossed out. Guessing from what my son told me the films were homosexual porn.
    Exposing children to porn or age inappropriate sexual information whether visual or aural is child abuse.

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