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Hugh Hefner's Legacy

The picture of Hefner on his eightieth birthday sitting
in his mansion in
his bathrobe, in the company of "girl -
friends" paid to be there, and his jars
of Viagra tablets,
is a pathetic, tragic one, and it exposes his true
The lesson: The life lived in pursuit of pleasure and

self-gratification leads to nothing less than self-destruction.


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Hugh Hefner--A Playboy to the Bitter End

Hugh Hefner turned 80 on Sunday. That's right--the world's most famous playboy entered his ninth decade, still wearing his pajamas and still preaching his gospel of free sex, paid pornography, and liberation from sexual morality.

The story of Hugh Hefner is the story of America in the midst of a great social and moral transformation--the Sexual Revolution. In the span of a few short decades, America (and much of the Western world) rewrote the entire system of sexual ethics. What had once been condemned was now celebrated, and what was once unmentionable became material for mainstream conversation, entertainment, and debate. Few revolutions have been so comprehensive in scope and reach--from the personal to the political. And Hugh Hefner has been one of the major revolutionaries of our times.

Hefner's Methodist mother wanted him to be a missionary. In a very real sense, she got her wish in reverse. Hefner became a missionary all right, but a missionary that preached a rejection of the Christian sexual ethic. Hefner has been one of the most effective instruments of social change of the past century. At an early age, he set for himself a major goal--to be an agent of sexual revolution. Along the way, he also intended to make a great deal of money. He was to accomplish both goals in a big way.

It all began with Hefner's idea for a magazine that would mainstream pornography. He obtained revealing photographs of Marilyn Monroe and intended to launch his new magazine to the American male, calling it Stag Party. Legal complications required a name change, and a friend suggested Playboy. Few brands have become so dominant in America's cultural imagination--or done so much damage to the fabric of our society.

Pornography was not invented by Hugh Hefner, of course. His commercial achievement was finding a way to mainstream porn in the culture by selling it as a liberated lifestyle, complete with other features of the "good life," including everything from fast cars to expensive clothes--all intended to sell a new image to the American male, who would rationalize pictures of naked women as "art" and culture.

For Hefner, selling himself was central to selling his magazine--and his empire of pornography. He created a persona by cultivating his image as a silk pajama-wearing playboy who lived the ultimate good life, housed in the Playboy mansion and accompanied by the constant company of beautiful young women. With Hefner, the personal was the commercial. He was, in effect, his first real invention. His image of the good life in the fast lane was picked up by the larger culture. For several years, his Playboy Mansion became the stage for a television show that drew major Hollywood celebrities as guests. His strategy was to remove the shame from pornography by linking the pornographic lifestyle to cultural respect, big money, and political power.

Nevertheless, the money was never far from mind. Playboy Enterprises became the first explicitly pornographic business to go public, with shares traded in the stock markets. As Matthew Scully commented in The Wall Street Journal, "It was Mr. Hefner who put the real money in porn, a business hard to go poor in under any circumstances (except for the unfortunates given starring roles) and today a $57 billion-a-year global industry. He brought it into the central stream of culture, so that now even upscale bookstores stock Penthouse or similar offerings without a second thought. He gave porn that 'classy' feel and its phony creed of 'artistic' expression and protected 'speech' by which far livelier fare than Playboy would soon ease into the popular culture."

Playboy may have mainstreamed pornography, selling itself as "soft" porn, but Hefner and his company quickly ventured into the "hard core" sectors of the squalid business of pornography. As Scully remarked, "Playboy Enterprises itself, years ago, dropped the pretense of refinement and delicacy, following the money into hard-core cable. Soft-core, hard-core, these were all along just degrees of exploitation and self-debasement and for the procurers a purely legal and commercial calculation."

Just this month, Hefner's daughter, Christine Hefner, the CEO of Playboy Enterprises, announced that the company intends to roll out a new line of product for homosexual men. "We've extended the Playboy brand to women, and where there is a meaningful gay market, launching under a different brand is something we are very comfortable doing," she said. Like father, like daughter.

The company is also a global business, with a reach that extends to all parts of the globe. That doesn't mean that its products are always well received. This past week, Playboy Enterprises attempted to launch a soft-core pornographic version of Playboy in Indonesia. The venture hasn't gone well, with death threats and public protests by local Islamic figures greeting the magazine's arrival at the newsstands.

Playboy Enterprises now wants to describe itself as "pro-sex" rather than pornographic. This marketing ploy is slick and also at least partially effective, branding all opposition to the magazine and its constructed lifestyle as "anti-sex" and repressive. Hefner repeats one theme over and over--describing America as a land mired in moral and sexual repression due to what he describes as its Puritan roots. Speaking on Playboy magazine's fiftieth anniversary, Hefner reflected: "I recognize that I remain--even after half a century--a controversial figure, but America has always had conflicts related to things related to sex. In other words, we remain essentially a very Puritan people. It was the Puritans who arrived on the Mayflower, and they came over to England because they were trying to escape from religious persecution, and the first thing they did was turn around and persecute the people who didn't agree with them."

In other words, America should hail Hugh Hefner as a great liberator, he feels. He styles himself as the smiling prophet who has led America out of the darkness of moral hysteria about sex into a new and hedonistic era of sexual freedom. He never admits that it is all based in a lie.

Millions of American males gained their early conception of women and sex from Playboy and its pictures. Hefner sold America on a false and distorted vision of sex and a degraded vision of women as sexual playthings for male fantasies. The magazine does not present sexual reality and the truth about sexuality freed from moral constraints--it just rolls out a monthly issue filled with fresh pictures.

The playmates of the month are airbrushed into unreality, and their true selves are hidden from view. Their bodies are 'artistically enhanced,' and their services are merely for hire. This is a business, after all.

There is no truth in this presentation, other than the tawdriness of the entire enterprise. Hefner and his magazine mainstreamed pornography by selling America on the idea that women can be reduced to nothing more than visual images for male sexual fantasies. Hefner's women never age, never blush, and never say no. The men (and boys) who consume these images never have to grow up, even as their objects of lust never grow old.

But Hugh Hefner's vision for the Sexual Revolution never ended with heterosexual lust. "Part of the Sexual Revolution was bringing irrationality to sexuality," he once commented, "and that means sometimes it's within the bounds of marriage, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's heterosexual, sometimes it's homosexual. But it should be done in an enlightened way and should not be done in secrecy."

As far as his own experience with marriage goes, Hefner has little use for bonds or matrimony and fidelity. "I tried the more traditional way," he told National Public Radio, "I've been married twice. I paid an emotional price for it. I have less conflict and emotional turmoil in my life now with seven girlfriends than I did when I was married."

The legacy of the Playboy lifestyle will be with us long after Hugh Hefner is gone. Millions upon millions of lives have been warped by Playboy's corruption of sex and sexuality. The total impact of his personal crusade defies calculation.

As for Hefner himself, this was one missionary who has never stopped preaching his message, even as he is now a pathetic picture of sexual excess. He is still wearing those silk pajamas and grinning into the cameras--a playboy to the bitter end.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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