For the past weeks, the media have been gaga over the 50th anniversary of Playboy magazine and the "Playboy philosophy," whose guru, Hugh Hefner, began to mainstream pornography and de-couple sex from a committed marital relationship.
What interested me most about this latest excuse to run pictures of almost naked women on television and of the 77-year-old Hugh Hefner in his silk pajamas, surrounded by surgically enhanced women young enough to be his great-granddaughters, was the usual media complicity in promoting a one-sided and incomplete picture of the "free love" generation (which, as it turned out, was neither free nor love).
Where were the stories on venereal diseases, broken marriages and shattered lives of the women who were "bunnies" and "playmates" in Hefner's fantasy world? One might think that those "hard-hitting" journalists so dedicated to presenting both sides of any story would have interviewed people whose lives have been transformed - not for the better - by the sexual revolution.
Writing on FreeRepublic.com, Patrick Fagan says we now live in a "culture of inverted sexuality." This is Hugh Hefner's legacy.
Remember modesty? Gone with the cultural winds. Writing in the Washington Post last week, Tina Brown said that Paris Hilton's pornographic antics and fame show we live in an age "beyond embarrassment."
The progeny of the Playboy philosophy - which said men did not have to limit their sex drive to their wives but could plunder whatever woman would allow them - is brokenness, depression, addiction and, in some cases, suicide. What Hefner thought would liberate has, in fact, enslaved. What he promoted as fun turned out to be its opposite for larger numbers of people.
The throwing off of all restraints has produced a culture without rules, without signposts and without meaning. Is Hefner ever asked by the numerous toady interviewers about what responsibility he bears for any of this? Not that I've seen or read. I guess lust means never having to say you're sorry.
Would Hefner acknowledge that AIDS, which is currently devastating Southern Africa with a vengeance worse than Europe's medieval Black Death, is any of his doing? There is a cause and effect relationship between promiscuous sex and venereal disease, divorce, 40 million abortions in this country, depression and suicide among teenagers who thought they had a right to grow up in a two-parent home. The Hefner message to constantly pursue "greener grass" mocks the message I grew up with. Then, if your marital "lawn" turned brown, you fed it nutrients. Now, if it starts to die, you move to a new "yard."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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