Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner

Ross Douthat lays it on the line about Hugh Hefner.

I wrote here asking if he is in hell.

Ross doesn’t bother with that judgement. He simply makes the correct judgement not of the man but his deeds and his legacy.

In doing so he opens up the whole ugly side of Playboy America–claiming quite rightly that Clinton, Cosby and Trump are all part of the same sordid and seamy underbelly of modern America

Here are a few ripe paragraphs from a terrific column

Needless to say the obituaries for Hefner, even if they acknowledge the seaminess, have been full of encomia for his great deeds: Hef the vanquisher of puritanism, Hef the political progressive, Hef the great businessman and all the rest. There are even conservative appreciations, arguing that for all his faults Hef was an entrepreneur who appreciated the finer things in life and celebrated la difference.

What a lot of garbage. Sure, Hefner supported some good causes and published some good writers. But his good deeds and aesthetic aspirations were ultimately incidental to his legacy — a gloss over his flesh-peddling, smeared like Vaseline on a pornographer’s lens. The things that were distinctively Hefnerian, that made him influential and important, were all rotten, and to the extent they were part of stories that people tend to celebrate, they showed the rot in larger things as well.

Read the whole thing in the New York Times here.