Late Wednesday, the Playboy Magazine Twitter account announced the death of the magazine’s founder — and perhaps the inspiration for generations of increased sexual licentiousness — Hugh Hefner at age 91.
As a public figure and avatar for a different kind of cultural change, Hefner is fair game for analysis. What is the lasting impact of his Playboy media empire and the cultural evolution it helped spawn?
Playboy Magazine was founded in 1953, when Hefner was just 27 years old. Those were different times; the past is always different, both in reality and as our perceptions change.
There are too many anecdotal stories and data points which suggest but cannot conclusively support a causal connection between the advent of public sexuality, represented by Hefner’s empire and its many media avenues, and certain social ills such as children borne out of wedlock, single-parent homes, unmarried mothers, divorce and even substance abuse.
Whatever the causes, it certainly seems over the last four decades that America (if not the entire Western world, influenced heavily by American entertainment and mass media) has experienced a weakening of the association between sex and love, between sex and marriage, and chastity in general.
As sex has been pulled out of the realm of the private, it has become a subject not only welcomed in the public arena, but expected to be public in its very nature. The disturbing implication? Sex is something to which one should have no expectation of privacy, of love or indeed of any emotion.
Of course, few dare to express the actual emotions which now accompany public, unemotional, unattached sexual expression: remorse, regret, shame, guilt, emptiness and loneliness. Just to name a few.
The baggage of the so-called liberation of sex is rarely discussed. However, when several full generations have experienced it, only to consequently feel its emotional and painful aftereffects, we should wonder what the long-term ramifications have been.
When families are torn apart, when children lose their innocence at younger and younger ages, the common denominator is emotional pain.
Some people attempt to self-medicate this emotional pain, through substance abuse. Others engage in equally dangerous activity, trying to assuage their guilt or remorse by encouraging others to repeat their mistakes in an attempt to normalize dysfunction.
We have seen the weakening of Western social and cultural institutions, but most particularly, the family, in recent decades stretching back perhaps to the post-World War II era (if not earlier).
Sexual liberation, involving both temptations of the flesh and producing far-reaching and damaging consequences such as unplanned pregnancies, single mothers and successive generations raised with little or no mature parental guidance, has been an effective tool for weakening these institutions and the larger society.
Now, as we see a Western civilization where ideological divides are more apparent than ever (magnified by social media) and traditional values are more openly under assault than most of us can remember in our lifetimes, it is possible than a cultural revolution — of which Hefner played a role in encouraging — is not merely ongoing, but has occurred. In fact, it could have been so profound, yet gone so unnoticed over decades, that the tipping point we might have been theorizing as to its existence has in fact already taken place.
Cultural revolutions engender political revolutions, as politics is downstream from culture.
Classic Gramsci Marxism proposed that revolution in the strongly Christian West could be achieved by weakening its institutions, targeting the family in particular.
Could this mean that Hefner, long viewed as a sexual liberation icon and worldwide celebrity, can appropriately be viewed as not just a libertine, flamboyant “playboy,” but as a Gramsci Marxist, a perhaps unwitting agent of Marxist revolution?
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15-17
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
That is all.
Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy in 1953, with Marilyn Monroe on the cover. He has died age 91. https://t.co/QvvOEyO2fD pic.twitter.com/CFowu1N2x8
Hefner contributed an introductory essay in which he envisioned the magazine’s readers: “We like our apartment. We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex …”
Hugh Hefner, publisher of skin mag everyone said they read for the articles, is dead at 91. pic.twitter.com/vrEeXCAgrF
— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) September 28, 2017
The death of any person is a tragedy. Hugh Hefner is no exception to that. We can't though w his obits call his life "success" or "a dream."
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) September 28, 2017
Well at least Hugh Hefner has gone to a better place. No…hang on a minute.
— Tony Shepherd (@tonysheps) September 28, 2017
— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2017
— Steve Berman (@stevengberman) September 28, 2017
[This is Steve, not Eric writing this part – Ed]
I was going to write my own obituary for Mr. Hefner, but it seems most of what I was going to say has been written for me. “Contribution” is not the word I would use to describe Hefner’s transaction with society. I’d say it was a “withdrawal.” This paragraph from CNN describes his ethos and his customer base very well.
“We like our apartment. We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex …”
Think about that. Within years after World War II, men, many who have seen horrors beyond description and suffered emotional damage we’d call PTSD today, were looking for a life of meaning, or distraction. I’d like to contrast Hefner’s life with one of his contemporaries.
Two men rose up at about the same time. Billy Graham started his public preaching ministry in 1947, offering meaning through salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ. Hefner offered distraction, abstraction, Nietzsche (whose benighted teachings led directly to the two wars we had just fought), music and eroticism. The two things could not be more in opposition to each other.
We can observe the results with our own eyes. As Graham’s influence waned in America after the turbulent 60s and cynical 70s, the rise of Internet pornography that ultimately ruined Playboy’s almost quaint smut by comparison and its influence on society was in many ways enabled by Hefner’s societal “withdrawal.” He got the life he deserved, as the Gospel tells us, surely he has his reward. We can only pray that a deathbed confession brought redemption. But we cannot expect to live a life venerating sin and enter Heaven. Such an expectation is frequently futile and self-deceiving.
Hefner’s death is the marking of the passage of one man’s era, whose time passed a decade or more ago. Billy Graham lives on still, but his era will not pass until the one he preaches returns for His bride.
In UK, Ancient Heathenism Reigns Supreme
Several minutes had passed since the medical examination of the newborn had begun. They stood inspective over the infant, occasionally murmuring to one another in a hushed tone. The babe’s father stood nearby, pacing: his eyes intractably fixed on the small group of elders in a desperate attempt to interpret each subtle lift of an eyebrow or pinch of the lips.
Then came that dreaded nod…
The tormented father wept as the judge read the decision aloud: “as thinking it neither good for the child itself…” the child must die.
The above description is not a reference to the United Kingdom’s government-ordered killing of little Alfie Evans, nor the United Kingdom’s government-ordered killing of little Charlie Gard.
The infant’s death-order, described above, was merely the price of societal perfection for his father, living in the Statist abyss of Ancient Sparta.
In Lives: Lycurgus 16, Greek historian Plutarch (48-122 A.D.) wrote of the medical inspections of infants by “elders,” and of the state-ordered murder of infants in Ancient Sparta under the rule Lycurgus, a tyrannical central-planner:
“Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the child as he saw fit (as was his right in most heathen societies). He was obliged to carry (the newborn) child before certain men at a place called Lesche; these men were some of the elders of the tribe to which the child belonged; their business was to carefully view the infant, and, if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rearing and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land above mentioned for its maintenance, but, if they found it puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae (“depository”), a (large cave) under Mt. Taygetus (in the Peloponnese); as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not, from the very outset, appear to be healthy and vigorous.” (emphasis mine)
Undesirable Infants – those either deemed unfit in some way, were conceived through rape, were unwanted, or were female – were often exposed, meaning that these infants were tossed into pits or over cliffs, or were abandoned in the wilderness and then left to starve or to be eaten by wild animals.
Such was life in the pagan purgatories of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.
Such has life begun to be again, today, in the United Kingdom.
As I type, a toddler lies in the hospital, a prisoner, detained by the pagan pride of evil monsters, by his own Statist government.
The “elders” in the UK have sentenced little Alfie Evans to die, “as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself.” Alfie may not be alone in the wilderness, but he is being exposed by the sword of starvation.
Right now, a tormented father weeps for his child.
The cruel winds of an evil-ridden history are circling ’round again.
Once Christianity came upon the scene, Christians began to regularly rescue exposed infants.
As Tertullian stated, “Christians sought out the tiny bodies of newborn babies from the refuse and dung heaps and raised them as their own or tended to them before they died or gave them a decent burial” (Early Church History).
“The Christian idea that each individual person has worth because they were created by God was foreign to the lies of pagan society where the State, the tribe, the collective was the only value they knew” (Early Church History).
One can even visit these once abandoned babes at the Catacomb of Praetextatus. “The catacombs are filled with very tiny graves with the epitaph ‘adopted daughter of…’ or ‘adopted son of…’ inscribed on them. These inscriptions refer to the many babies and young children Christians rescued from the trash over the centuries” (Early Church History).
Unlike during the times of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, however, today’s United Kingdom prevents Christians from aiding Britain’s exposed children.
Christians from across the globe have offered aid and open arms to little Alfie Evans. Pope Francis has faithfully attempted to save the ailing child, arranging medical transportation for Alfie so that he might fly via air ambulance to the Vatican’s hospital.
Still, the prideful “elders” cling mercilessly to their pagan heathenism, determined to deny any and all Christian charity for little Alfie.
Alas! One thing is now crystal clear: in the United Kingdom, ancient heathenism reigns supreme.
For a glimpse of the future, listen to these famous voices from the past:
In On the Laws 3.8, Cicero (106-43 BC) states:
“Deformed infants shall be killed.”
Posidippus, a Greek poet, wrote:
“Everybody raises a son even if he is poor, but exposes a daughter even if he is rich.”
In On Anger 1.15, Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) wrote:
“…mad dogs we knock on the head…unnatural progeny we destroy; we drown even children at birth who are weakly and abnormal.”
In Politics 7.1335b, Aristotle (364 BC-322 BC) wrote:
“As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared; but on the ground of number of children, if the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it (the child).”
In Theaetetus, the Greek philosopher Plato (quoting Socrates) wrote of the important societal task of killing infirm infants:
“For we must take care that we don’t overlook some defect in this thing that is entering into life; it may be something not worth bringing up, a wind-egg, a falsehood. What do you say? Is it your opinion that your child ought in any case to be brought up and not exposed to die? Can you bear to see it found fault with and not get into a rage if your first-born is stolen away from you?”
In Ad Nationes, Tertullian (155-220 A.D.) recorded the frequency of pagan infanticide in the Roman Empire during the late 100’s and early 200’s A.D.:
“…because, although you are forbidden by the laws to slay new-born infants, it so happens that no laws are evaded with more impunity or greater safety, with the deliberate knowledge of the public, and the suffrages of this entire age…But then you make away with them in a more cruel manner, because you expose them to the cold and hunger, and to wild beasts, or else you get rid of them by the slower death of drowning.”
In Book 3 of Instructor, Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.) wrote of Roman women caring more for animals than for children:
“And though maintaining parrots and curlews, they do not receive the orphan child; but they expose children that are born at home, and take up the young of birds, and prefer irrational to rational creatures.”
Face Off: Congress v Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony revealed much about both the social media industry, and our government’s mentality.
First, Zuckerberg. He seemed “in over his head,” repeatedly inserting “run out the clock” words and phrases into his responses to evidently hide his nervousness (do you blame him?). How many times did he say, “Congressman!” and “that’s a great question”? (Well, of course it was a great question, I waited for someone to say, because if it wasn’t so great, I wouldn’t have asked it!) Zuckerberg time and time again seemed to be buying time, running seconds off each elected representative’s four or five minutes of allotted time.
Zuckerberg got buffeted by representatives on privacy, on European regulations, and most notably by Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Steve Scalise on the subject of political bias.
Yet Zuckerberg disappointed before a worldwide audience. He had a chance to tell the world that:
1. no, a private tech company is not an unpaid deputy of the government, acting with the authority and power of the state;
2. A private tech company is not acting
in loco parentis when it obtains user information, and
3. Users across the world are free to use, or leave, Facebook and that these freedoms often exceed the freedoms people enjoy under the laws of most nations in the world today. Facebook, warts and all, is one of the most democratic institutions on the planet!
Instead, Zuckerberg came to Capitol Hill, showing contrition over the involvement of Cambridge Analytica (a third party as to which Facebook’s responsibility is unclear and dubious). What we saw — what the world saw — was the United States Congress bullying a private social media company.
Now, Zuckerberg is hardly a sympathetic figure. Many people envy him for his fantastic wealth and profile, and for his youth. Also, Silicon Valley and indeed much of American big business is quite leftist (Zuckerberg acknowledged this). But his beating — which he handled pretty well, all things considered — was both undeserved and likely to backfire.
Some representatives used the hearings to preen, showboat and showcase their “fighting for the common man” bonafides, and any business leader makes for a great whipping boy these days. But almost everyone grilling Zuckerberg showed a zeal for flexing the awesome powers of government.
There are many problems with the operations of major social media platforms. The growing publicity surrounding these problems is already causing reform, and in some cases, boycotts and departures from the platforms, and innovations by new competitors.
All we got from Washington, DC was a group of elected representatives reminding the tech innovators of America of “who’s the boss.”
I can’t help but think that, across the world, innovators and disruptors are heeding that message. So are, I fear, America’s competitors.
Paving a greener California, $40000/mile at a time.
Many weird ideas come out of California. Painting roads a lighter color to reduce heat in order to combat global warming is a new one. It is well known that paved surfaces are hotter that natural surfaces. So consequentially cities create heat islands through urban sprawl. Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, is a vocal critic of Trump, especially when Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. Last June, Eric Garcetti was quoted saying:
“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — and it is not debatable or negotiable,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This is an urgent challenge, and it’s much bigger than one person. With the President pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, L.A. will lead by committing to the goals of the accord — and will work closely with cities across America and the world to do the same.”
It appears $40000/mile every seven years is part of the effort for LA to lead the country in fighting climate change.
“We’re exploring ways to reduce the heat island effect by reducing the absorption of heat in the built environment.”
Street Services, working in conjunction with GuardTop LLC, an asphalt coating manufacturer based in Dana Point, had first tested the cool pavement seal in the Sepulveda Basin.
Asphalt at a parking lot at the Balboa Sports Complex once averaged 160 degrees in summer. After the seal was applied two years ago, company officials say, surface temperatures dropped to between 135 to 140 degrees.
Now, after rigorous testing for durability and wet skid potential, the CoolSeal coating was being slathered across a half block of Jordan Avenue just north of Hart Street near the headwaters of the Los Angeles River.
If the new seal could boost solar reflectivity —and dramatically cool a street lined with two-story apartments in the hottest region of the San Fernando Valley — it could do it anywhere, city officials said.
The experiment will soon be duplicated in 14 other council districts before the end of June. If successful, city officials hope to encourage manufacturers to help develop cool pavement that could be incorporated into a multimillion-dollar drive to fix a backlog of L.A.’s failing streets.
“I’m thrilled to be here. This is a great day for all of us. We look forward to seeing what the results will be,” said Kevin James, president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works.
A CoolSeal coating could cost an estimated $40,000 per mile and last seven years, city officials said. But that’s subject to change pending pavement innovation.
“We’re going to try to make Los Angeles as cool as possible,” said Jeff Luzar, national sales director for GuardTop, a privately owned firm that has covered coated mostly playgrounds and parking lots. “We’re going to be the coolest island in Southern California.”
Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 5 degrees in the past 100 years on account of the heat island effect produced by miles of asphalt freeways, roads, parking lots, roofs and more, climatologists say. In summer, temperatures have risen an average 10 degrees.
In addition, extreme heat days near 100 degrees have risen from two a year in 1906 to 24, while their duration has increased from a few days in a row to heat waves of two weeks, said climatologist Bill Patzert of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“I’m all for it,” Patzert said of the cooler pavement. “We could certainly stop the rise — and perhaps reverse it.”
Unfortunately, he added, the urban forest across Los Angeles is dying because of insufficient watering during the recent drought. “They can paint the streets gray,” he said, “but when all these trees die, you’ll see a dramatic increase in the heat island effect in the whole Basin.”
The lack of fiscal responsibility is reason enough that this idea should be thrown out upon arrival. The idea isn’t bad. Reducing city heat does have a public benefit, in the summer. However, $40000 is comparable to a person’s yearly salary. That’s a lot of cash just to paint about one mile of roadway. California has problems and environmental concerns, and these concerns ought to be addressed. But the most pressing concerns are sourced from the fact that California is overpopulated.
California could stand to benefit from more plants as noted in the article. But plants require water, of which California has struggling issues with. California’s booming agriculture requires a lot of water and the entire country would hurt if it went thirsty. This was a foreseeable issue that California is behind on addressing. California should be leading the world in desalinization, thus watering its state and perhaps other states as well. But instead, they would rather focus on high price low reward methods of combating environmental concerns. Environmental policies should keep to a strict cost-benefit analysis. Eric Garcetti needs to learn that unlike climate change, fiscal responsibility should be non-negotiable.