Hugh Hefner is dead. I pray for him. But I can’t help but think that the days of Hefner as a culturally significant figure passed a decade or two ago. Not for good reasons.
Hefner invented the glossy paged Playboy lifestyle which was cutting edge back in the 1960’s. He had women get naked for money and put a staple in their belly button. (I heard from a friend.) It’s hard to overestimate what a cultural icon he was. “Was” being the operative word.
But with the advent of the internet, our cultural depravity soon surpassed even Hefner’s libertine ideas, leaving him and his empire almost seeming like a quaint historical footnote even as his Jacuzzis were filled and women threw themselves at him in the hopes of becoming minor celebrities. Doesn’t it seem like Hefner’s been gone for years?
Hefner now seems like a stop in a tour of the slippery slope; something we have to crane our necks backwards to see.
I could only wish for the days when Hefner seemed shocking to Americans.