Reactions to Hef’s death

Here’s a tweet from The Independent that will stand for the vultures dismembering Hugh Hefner’s cold body:

The ultimate enemy of women? I can think of many worse, including the rulers of Saudi Arabia, lots of imams, and the Republican party. Looking over the Independent‘s tweets, many of them are Authoritarian Leftist or clickbaity, resembling articles from HuffPo. Since when did The Independent become this way? I haven’t read it in years, but when I lived for a while in the UK I would read it all the time as a reliable liberal newspaper.

That’s an overreaction, but I’ll give the floor to Grania, who’s been collecting these things (her take is indented):

Mkay, well, personally, I don’t care one bit about Hugh Hefner and I never did. Although his publication did in fact produce good writing, it was clearly a publication for cis het men and was as attractive to me as a dumpster behind a takeaway. That said, as far as I am concerned, what consenting adults get up to is their own business, including if money changes hands during the course of business. I’m not sure that Hefner was more the harbinger of a sexual revolution than the Pill; but his obsession with sex and women (even if his preferences seem to run exclusively towards the emaciated Barbie after a lobotomy look) doesn’t make him a predator or a monster. Did he exploit women? Sure he did. And the women exploited lined up to be paid to be exploited.

Someone with 14.7k followers, and apparently no sense of irony. I mean, she surely understands what “heaux” means?

Below is one area that I think is worthy of condemning. Although Brooke Shields is on record saying that she had no issues with the photo-shoot either then or with hindsight in later life; it is still never okay to exploit children, not even with the consent of her seemingly morally oblivious mother.



My favorite commentary from today has been from the New York Times‘ Choire Sicha:

In his endless dream, forever partying in his custom black lodge, nothing changed around him. Even his Christmas cards featured him in pajamas.

But, like in a nightmare, Mr. Hefner was the only one at the party who aged.


  1. Posted September 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Hef came of age during WW ll when many young men went off to war with the hope of saving the world, bolstered by their haunting reminiscences and longings of small town first loves, movie star pinup girls and the heady promise of French stockings, Belgian farm girls, foreign brothels, star crossed love affairs and one night stands. They returned with a hard earned, hard edged, testosterone-driven ethos of ‘Save the World and Get Laid’ as their unspoken reward.

    The America they returned to had changed as well, and that seismic cultural shift was reflected in the popular books and movies of Ian Fleming and his glamorous, galavanting, globe-trotting super spy James Bond, Jack Kennedy in the White House, and to no lesser extent, the early 1953 appearance of Playboy Magazine at the local corner drug store magazine rack.

    The war had come home, but the battlefield shifted from the European theater to Publisher’s row, Television City, Madison Ave. Hollywood, Big Corporation and ultimately mass social and cultural revolution. We still experience vestiges of that dying ethos in the antics of aging Baby Boomer political dinosaurs, the comeuppance of ‘has been’ comedians, scandalized celebrities, and piggish corporate predators like Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, (and, apparently, most of Fox News), but it is fast going the way of the Woolly Mammoth, WW ll, Playboy Magazine, and now, Hef himself. It’s been a helluva ride.

    • somer
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Agree – admittedly though a lot of the reviews were vituperative and quite nasty

  2. DrBrydon
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I snuck my stepfather’s Playboys for the nudie pics & learned about Marlon Brando, Norman Mailer, and Malcolm X. What a strange publication.

    Hehe. There’s a lot of truth in that.

    Hugh Hefner was a product of his time. Unfortunately, the products of this time are just the sort of Puritans he was fighting against, and for them there are no shades of gray, only a different scarlet letter.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh, well, messed up my italics, which should have end with “this.”

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      It is kind of hilarious(in the bad sense of the word) watching all the “sex positive”, ultra tolerant folks get their burlap knickers in a knot about normal male sexuality being catered to by other adults.
      Of course the contemporary concept of choice comes equipped with several asterisks.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    That Robb Fritz tweet is the best laugh I’ve had all day.

    Plus, it has a laudable moral — never narc on your brother. Never. (Unless maybe he’s the Unibomber.)

  4. ploubere
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Many are condemning him for exploiting women, but the only difference between Playboy and any other publication that features attractive women is that his models were nude, and intended for sexual arousal, presumably. So the issues would be whether displaying a woman for her attractiveness is always exploitative, and whether her being nude makes it worse.

    • KiwiInOz
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      A close female friend of mine said that reading her brother’s Playboys as a young teen awakened her later awareness of her bisexuality.

    • Posted September 28, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      No, people are condemning him for the way he treated the women he actually interacted with.

      • ploubere
        Posted September 28, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        Some of the condemnation is merely the idea of displaying nude women as objects of gratification for men.

        • Posted September 28, 2017 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

          Fine. Much of the condemnation is for his treatment of the women he actually interacted with, as I said.

          • Posted September 29, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

            None of the women he “interacted with, none of his staff, none of his colleagues, has a bad word to say about him.
            The calumny is revolting.

            • Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

              Uh, several playmates do indeed have bad words to say about him:


              • KiwiInOz
                Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

                I’m sure that you could find any number of examples of staff who are unimpressed with their boss or workplace.

              • Posted October 1, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

                Did you read the article? Tell me those things are just a matter of a disgruntled employee’s opinion. I mean, are those things ok, in your opinion?

            • Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

              And just so we’re clear, I couldn’t care less about being promiscuous or providing a platform in which exhibitionist women can do their exhibiting. That’s fine, in and of itself.

              Read the article. I mean, among many other things he refused to wear protection and *also* refused to get tested for STDs. Do you think that’s ok?

  5. Frank Bath
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The Independent – The Indy – is no longer published. It exists only as a website with bits on a tw**ter site @Independent. I follow its Chief Political Commentator @JohnRentoul.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      True, but its mini-me tabloid-for-the-hurried spinoff, the i newspaper, is still published in hard copy. FWIW, I think it’s a bit better than the website which, despite its distinguished columnists like Rentoul and Fisk, still contains an awful lot of clickbait.

      Still, both of them are better than anything short of The Times or the Grauniad. What has the British press come to?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 29, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        What has the British press come to?

        It has been locked into a death-spiral with Murdoch for a generation and a bit now. The joke about not wrestling with pigs in the gutter rears it’s tired head again, and still the pig enjoys it.
        It’s certainly been years since I brought a copy of the Times – Murdoch rag, ’nuff said – and I can’t remember the last time I saw it on sale this end of the country. I’m considering going down to the Old Smoke for a lecture this evening, where it’s more likely to be on sale. Grauniad OTOH, is on sale in the supermarket over the road.

  6. Stephen Barnard
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Judging Hefner by modern feminist standards is a mistake. And he wasn’t half the vulgarian as our current President of the United States.

  7. Ken Phelps
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    @Matt Zoller Seitz – “What a strange publication.”

    Yes, that’s right, something that doesn’t fit into a simple black or white, good or evil caricature. A magazine that mixed normal sexuality in with normal life. I can see where this might be an utterly incomprehensible concept for some people to wrap their heads around.

  8. Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Joss Whedon himself, after decades of making shows and films starring tough, independent women, is currently considered Literally Hitler by SJWs for apparently having affairs.

    • BJ
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      He was already persona non grata, having been harassed off Twitter for months due to a single line in The Avengers that the social justice brigade decided was just the worst thing ever.

      Just so everyone knows: the line was said by a character named Black Widow, a female assassin created in a Russian laboratory (or something like that) and therefore unable to have children. She said she felt like “a monster” due to her sterility. The film makes it abundantly clear that she’s NOT a monster, and is dealing with a difficult issue that she doesn’t know how to process. But, naturally, the very idea that she could even have non-SJ-approved feelings was too much, and Whedon was subjected to harassment and death threats until he quit Twitter.

      • Harrison
        Posted September 28, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Specifically she was raised and trained to be an assassin and with no other purpose. That was what made her a monster. Being medically sterilized was intended to narrow her options and keep her committed to the cause. Not being able to have children was not the part that made her a monster.

        Of course any sort of nuance is easily dispelled that simple regressive tought-terminating cliche: “Intent is not magic.”

        • BJ
          Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          Huh, I guess I misunderstood what she meant when she said it in the movie. It seemed like she was saying she felt like a monster partly because she couldn’t have kids (at least, I remember thinking that, but maybe my memory has been colored by what the SJ brigade said it was).

          But, you know, that just makes the whole situation even more ridiculous.

        • Posted September 29, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Watching the scene, I personally felt that the ‘monster’ reference was a bit ambiguous as to what she was referring to (monster because she was sterile vs. monster because she was an emotionally damaged programmed assassin). She was trying to get with Bruce Banner, and convince him he was not the only troubled & dangerous person. What is clear is that the SJWs were reading way too much into it because it was ambiguous. Anyway, here is the scene:

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted September 29, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            She was trying to get with Bruce Banner, and convince him he was not the only troubled & dangerous person.

            Huh? OK, I’ve only seen fragments of the Marvel movies, but what the fsck was going through the script-writer’s communal hive mind and focus group to be relieving the sexiest member of the Avengers of her sex-robot, Vision? Couldn’t they see the potential for getting free publicity from “Disgusted” of Tonbridge Wells?

      • Posted September 28, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Wow. What nonsense. I had heard that Wheden was the “Witch of the Week” ™ some time ago, but didn’t care enough to find out why. I had no idea the reason was soOOOOO stupid.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted October 1, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          What? Having multiple affairs and keeping his wife in a permanent state of uncertainty of betrayal is So stupid?

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted October 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Still a hypocrite. And a liar.

  9. busterggi
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I’m just thrilled I misread the title – I thought it read Reactions on Hel’s Death and contained spoilers for the new Thor movie.

  10. jwthomas
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    The only credit Hefner deserves
    is for providing a steady job and shelter for two wannabe novelists: Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, who colluded in the murky dopesmoke of the Playboy offices to conceive and write the immortal Illuminatus! Trilogy. RIP to all concerned.

    • Posted September 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Please consult a document called “the Rules” from the sidebar — The Mgt.

      • jwthomas
        Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Consulted it (again) but don’t see what the problem is. Please clarify so I can avoid future error.

        • Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          There is no such document, and I am neither the management (that would be Mgmt.) nor the Illuminatus! midget (the Mgt.) 😉

          In other words, I agree.

          • KiwiInOz
            Posted September 28, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

            I see that you are still pining for the fnords, Aneris.

            • jwthomas
              Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

              Apparently I’ve been hijacked by a couple of elves from Fernando Poo:D

  11. Nicholas K.
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Can’t say I approve of the knock on Bowie (not an knock on Bowie himself, but how people relate to celebrities in personal ways). I don’t see anything wrong with descriptions of how their work affected individuals. I don’t expect it from an obituary in a newspaper, but stories related on blogs and twitter are certainly fair.

    • Posted September 28, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Pretty much everything I post on the Internet is about me on some level.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Hard to avoid, since most comments embody one’s own viewpoint.


      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted September 28, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        That’s a tendency one should try to overcome. (With irony).

  12. Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Playboy always reminds me of this parody from The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

    Playbeing, a curious journal devoted in roughly equal parts to galactic politics, rock music, and gynaecology…can be obtained over the counter from any moderately disreputable Galactic newsagent.

    Growing up in the U.K. we were lucky if we found a few stray pages of Razzle left in the bushes by porn pixies.

  13. Derek Freyberg
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Just wait till Larry Flynt dies.
    Playboy was tame (and literary) compared to Hustler back when both were considered scandalous.

  14. Harrison
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Twitter has proven a spectacular tool for people to show themselves to be spectacular tools.

  15. Craw
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Hefner was the enemy of puritans, prudes, and pecksniffs. We see that is true even in death.

    • Posted September 29, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Take care that you’re correctly comprehending any criticism you come across. There’re plenty of non-prude criticisms to make of Hef.

  16. Filippo
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Fr Matthew Schneider

    “We should pray for Hugh Hefner, but we can’t forget to pray for all those whose lives he ruined through his pornography empire.”

    I trust that he no less assiduously prays for children whose lives were ruined by having been raped by priests.

    • XCellKen
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Or abused by nuns to the point that I can’t have normal relationships with women…

    • BJ
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Or the people whose lives were ruined to make the computer he used to post that Tweet, or maybe it was his phone, or many of the other products he uses on a daily basis. Selective outrage says so much about a person, and much more about the people they hate than the people they care about.

  17. Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    An important theological question now needs utmost urgent clarification. Is the Christian and the Islamic heaven the same?

    If so, how long can Imams promise virgins, now that Heffner joined?

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Osama Bin Laden goes to heaven and gets punched, karate-chopped, and batted by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. He asks, “Where are my 72 virgins?”. He is told that was a scribal error. It is actually 72 Virginians. 🙂

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Sauce Be Upon Him) has had that one covered since day one. Next to the beer volcano (side cones provide other drinks) is a stripper factory where your desires will be fulfilled with a short production time and a much longer readout time. Infinitely recyclable. Infinitely expandable. Even Hefner will chafe, eventually.

  18. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    If Hugh Hefner is an enemy of women, then he is the “Mini-Me” to “Dr. Evil” of folks like Jeffrey Epstein who imprisoned underage women on his island.

    For those unfamiliar with the “Austin Powers” parodies of James Bond films,
    Mini-Me is an unsuccessful clone of Dr. Evil and is cute and cuddly and eventually converts to the good guys.

    Here they are: Mini-me is on the left.

  19. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    The Brooke Shields photos are fairly disturbing.

    They were taken about 5 to 10 years before America got “woke” to the problem of child molesting, and likely contributed to that process.

    • Posted September 28, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      I think the Brooke Sheilds stuff is enough to condemn Hefner. As if his treatment of other women isn’t.

      • Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        “As if his treatment of other women isn’t.”
        What is This??
        The women featured in Playboy were *proud* to be in the magazine. Not to mention substantially well rewarded.

        • Posted September 29, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          The 10 year-old Sheulds was proud to be so photographed? There’s a reason statutory rape exists.

        • Blue
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          Calling out someone as unliked,
          say Mr Hefner, calling him out
          for what he had done, say since y1953,
          does not make one a regressive leftist.
          It does not make one an alt – right ideologist; it does not make one prudish;
          it is not overreacting. It does not make one wrong.

          It just makes one UNafraid. UNafraid of
          being herein (this thread, for one example)
          ganged up upon and labeled … … wrongly … …
          as calumnious. It may even be stated that
          it makes one wonder .where. an equal publication, only FLIPPED / REVERSED
          gender – wise, is. AND where it has been
          for as long a time, say at least 64 or
          more years, as was that one to date of
          Mr Hefner’s. One with the pictures promulgated by the workshops of Mr John
          Stoltenberg’s The Poser of thus:

          People like musical beef and
          a former Hefner – employee, Ms Steinem ?
          … … of thus:
 … …

          After viewing all ten episodes of Ms Novick’s
          and Mr Burns’ Viet Nam War, I am so glad I, having reached the age of majority independence a decade before the Saigon bugout of 30 April y1975, half a decade afore Kent State’s May, along with others voicing their dislike and UNafraid, faced down mounted militia in full riot gear outside then President Nixon’s speaking venue of NY City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. Voices of opposition … … just .other. speech. we all were. And .not. … … overreacting.


  20. Randy schenck
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    This is the same as I have mentioned a few times before. Judging people in history from your own 2017 mind. And a small mind it is. Pathetic too. Who the hell are these people?

  21. Merilee
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink


  22. Posted September 28, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey. Women were paid to pose nude, but Hefner posed in his pjs for free.

  23. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 28, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I think Playboy contributed significantly to the ‘sexual revolution’ and to the fact that we can all talk about sex relatively openly now (instead of pretending it doesn’t exist). Not so much because huge numbers of people read** it, but because it existed and was known to exist. It made 1950’s attitudes to sex seem uptight and uncool (as indeed they were).

    Also, it had a decidedly liberal bent, as I recall.

    (** Okay, looked at the pictures while claiming they ‘only read it for the articles’. But still, the articles were of a fairly high standard – if you cut out all the nudie pics, you’d still be left with a substantial magazine that left most other glossies of the day for dead in terms of reading interest.


    • ploubere
      Posted September 28, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Agree. I always thought the “playboy lifestyle” was laughably corny, though.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:09 am | Permalink

        Agreed, insofar as the whole ‘lifestyle’ package goes. I think most things labelled ‘lifestyle’ are corny, actually. For shallow poseurs.

        However, the general image projected in Playboy – suave, sophisticated, educated, cultured even – carried some influence, I think.


        • Merilee
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Agreed on “lifestyle” sh*t. I remember our local supermarket advertising “Lifestyle-brand” dishes. It’s kind of like the word “quality”: can be good or crappy. Very poseurish. A high school bf ( short-term) tried to pose as this kind of poseur🤢

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          I agree with that; and the later emergence of mags like Penthouse or Mayfair in the UK made Playboy seem even more sophisticated by comparison.

          Not that I ever bought any of them on a regular basis, you understand…

  24. Stephen Barnard
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    To be frank, Playboy lost the porn audience to Penthouse, then to Hustler, and finally to the Internet — a race to the bottom, so to speak.

  25. Posted September 29, 2017 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    “Ultimate enemy of women” is a grotesque statement – if one thing is clear, it’s that Hefner loved and adored women. I believe he did a lot to promote the notion that women can be successful, interesting, smart, and beautiful and sexy at the same time – I never got the “look at the dirty sluts who get naked for our pleasure, ha ha” vibe from Playboy.
    I think that Playboy stood for truly liberal values: personal freedom for both sexes, self-improvement, and appreciation of success, beauty and style; and I have a gut feeling that it would do, e.g., the Arab world a lot of good if they absorbed some of these values.
    Hefner was definitely no saint – and I suppose he never claimed to be – but the world would have been poorer without him.

    • Warren Bailey
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I seem to recall an interview where he and his daughter were surprised at Playboy’s popularity among some conservatives.

    • Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Yay! Three, nay five, upticks!

  26. Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I would thank the guy and his magazine for moving the Overton window on many things, but it does seem he was in his personal life authoritarian jerk, to put it mildly. Not the objectification thing, or (most of) the “exploitation.” (The under age thing is, however.)

    My friend Raven used to say (paraphrased) that if you’re sick of a woman being exploited by a girly mag, change things so that capitalism doesn’t suck, because lots of jobs are exploitative in that sense – sex is not special.

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