Brown was the flip side of Hefner, offering women permission, even encouragement, to embrace a female version of Hefner's freewheeling "Playboy philosophy" of unrestrained sexual pleasure. Brown and Hefner offered one-way tickets to fantasyland, a journey supposedly without cost to a destination seemingly without consequences.
I confess to pausing at the supermarket checkout each month to read Cosmo's enticing headlines and to notice the cleavage of the "cover girl" -- both Brown's signature. It is something like slowing down to view a multi-car pileup. Yet the "damage" Brown's philosophy of sexual liberation caused (or reflected) is far more severe.
A sampling of Cosmo headlines included: "75 Sex Tricks (Warning: They Are So Hot That This Magazine May Burst into Flames)"; "Surprising Stuff They Don't Want From You in the Sack"; and "Guys Sex Confessions." There is raunchier stuff not suitable for those with gentler sensibilities.
In any revolution -- political, or the sexual one championed by those like Hefner and Brown -- there are casualties. No one wants to talk about the casualties of the sexual revolution because that wouldn't sell magazines or seduce a new generation of young people. Sex sells, but it also brings misery when it's misused.
There was a time when words served a purpose. Some were once used to discourage bad behavior that was thought to be harmful to individuals who practice it and to societies that tolerate it. "Fornicator" was one. We changed the word so as to appear less "judgmental," but the behavior that word describes didn't change. "Sexually active" is now the preferred phrase that describes what the word used to. It seems more tolerant and that's the problem.
I recall reading an interview in the 1970s with Xaviera Hollander, who was promoting her memoir "The Happy Hooker." As I remember it, the interviewer asked Hollander a penetrating question, the gist of which went something like this: What's the difference between you and what used to be called a "tramp"? Hollander's answer didn't matter. The question answered itself. This was before "anything goes" replaced self-control as a worthy goal.
Just as there are laws in nature which, if violated, bring repercussions, so, too, are their moral laws which, when violated, cause physical, emotional, social and spiritual consequences. It is one reason we have preachers to remind us of such things, but fewer of us listen to them and suffer as a result.
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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