LIONEL AUDIO: The Alta Kaka Hef, Clenched Jaw & Sailor Hat Notwithstanding, His Contribution To Our Culture Is Colossal

Hugh Hefner is sad. Today, that is. The poor guy’s in his ninth decade pretending to enjoy the company of a bevy of Botoxed, bogus-buxom bottle blonds whose collective IQ hovers near soap dish or speed bump. It’s a symbiotic relationship as opposed to parasitic. They seek fame and fortune by clinging to Pops’s arm. Granddad pretends that he can still get it up and on with these chickies who really like him for his looks and eau de mothballs countenance. There seems to be an inordinate attention to his wizened decrepitude. And that’s sad also. Kendra Wilkinson, one of his house tramps who’s virtually indistinguishable from the other putanas, even dished on the old guy. Make that ratted out. He’s 84, for Chrissakes! These bimbettes unload on the poor codger without surcease as though (1) we care and (b) are surprised. He’s 84!

Look at him! This once a man who personified urbane cool. A hip, literate jazz aficionado who was at the cutting edge of the cutting edge. Now he’s reduced to that goofy old guy with the captain’s hat. Why? Well, not if I can help it. Maybe it’s something that happens naturally when we age. Like our penchant for Velcro shoes and baseball caps that say “Veteran.” Even if we’re not. But bless his heart, he’s Hef and that counts for something.

But there’s a new documentary about Ol’ Hef entitled “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel” and it documents (hence the term, I suppose) his incredible accomplishments and contributions to our culture. He courted the libidinous and gave them a magazine that verified, acknowledged and provided approbation for a new worldview, the Playboy philosophy. It wasn’t just about being carnal or concupiscent, it was a manifesto that delimited the au courant validation of a new way of thinking: open-minded, adventurous, liberating and free. Free to indulge, free to embrace hedonism. It was OK. And what a thunderstorm it caused. Even to this day, the idea of sexually unrestrained anything still confounds and scares the bloody hell out of significant faction of seriously tight-assed folks. But this was the early fifties. Imagine that.

This image supra is the Hef this documentary addresses. He looks devilish and diabolical. The pipe, the Pepsi addiction, the pajamas. And that dancing! Hef insisted (and still does) on flailing about on the dance floor and it had many a neurologist scratching his head wondering what exactly was the diagnosis of this most serious neuromuscular whatever. The man lacked a gram of soul but insisted nonetheless on cutting the rug. But his dancing wasn’t what he’ll be known for. No, Hef was at the forefront of First Amendment issues. No, make that the front line. He advocated and supported women’s reproductive rights and the abolition of laws that criminalized sexual behavior even between husband and wife! Remember, under the laws of the day and up until the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision, fellatio and cunnilingus even between married couples were considered sodomy. (Sodomy, why not take sodomy!) He filed an amicus brief in Roe (a case I’m not completely in agreement with as far as how the doctrine of privacy was construed). And yet, the usual suspects find him to be sexist and exploitative of women. Invariably, the pack of feminists who voice the loudest protestations couldn’t get lucky nude on a Greek galley ship or a lumberjack camp. (See Brownmiller’s disagreements with Hef and note the ravages of gravity on her breasts which she’s constantly in fear of tripping over.) Why do I suspect that envy and jealousy of the allegedly objectified playmates are major sources of contempt? Anyhoo.

Just see the documentary. Trust me.

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