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Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine has died at the age of 91. His death has caused a bit of a stink over how he should be remembered.
It's probably not easy for us to imagine how the 50s were in the US in terms of buttoned up views of sensuality. The Kinsey Reports into male and female sexuality had been published in 1948 and 1953 to the general amazement of the public, revealing these sexual beings, like Aliens, lived amongst us. The hypocrisy of the times. The same as any times, recreational sex, glam for the rich, disgusting method of procreation for the poor.
And then Playboy pushing back boundaries but bound, hidebound by a bogus credo of sexual freedom. Being able to hold a magazine in one hand only sets you so free. Being photographed in its pages maybe not at all.
The only Playboy magazine I ever owned came perhaps appropriately shrinkwrapped, like all the later editions eventually in many shops too. Shrinkwrapped as it was vintage paper by that point, featuring an interview with Jack Kerouac and I suppose when I wonder where my life went wrong, all those years ago, maybe it's because I was buying out of date porno mags to read interviews with dead beat writers. If I could live this life all over again would I do anything differently? Only every single minute. I am unsure of course but possibly Hef didn't die with my kind of regrets.
Early on the teen boys at my catholic comp eschewed playboy as too vanilla anyways. Probably not gynaecological enough back then. Hey, we were teen kids in Catholic school and no live girls would look at us. Anyways soon enough Playboy was eclipsed by Penthouse and then by a long list of titles just as youporn has been eclipsed by pornhub and then by xxnx.com and so it goes.
Later, when I was a nascent temporary pornographer I convinced myself that I needed to do it because people need to masturbate and the movies we rented out in little envelopes like a plain wrapper Netflix were there to help. There are a lot of lonely people in the world who're never gonna even get to speak to a potential partner let alone get it on with them. Let them live a little in their imagination. Some say that makes men attack women. Mainly at my end of the business I worried about the post office having a deal with other dvd companies to keep their bulk mail costs down vs. ours. So much to think about.
I have shopped at the Hustler Hollywood store, I liked their t-shirt slogans, 'Relax it's just sex'. I never went to the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, not even on a tour of the Hollywood Stars homes, but I did see Playmate, August '79, (and Playmate of the Year 1980), Dorothy Stratten's grave in Westwood Village Cemetery and was of course rendered breathless by the quote from Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms on her grave marker. She was shot in the face by her angry husband as you probably know.
So yeah, some sort of fighter for freedom early on, enriched, and then some say seemed to let his pets shit on his bedroom carpet which probably says a lot. I don't like that. But I did like Suzanne Moore's obit about him quite a bit. It's here