Here’s a curious and alarming excerpt from this incredibly sycophantic article:
Her father lent his support to causes like birth control and abortion rights, but activism was at her core. She campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment and gay rights and was chairwoman of a drive that raised $30 million for an AIDS treatment and research clinic in Chicago. Gloria Steinem, who made sport of attacking Hef (â€œa woman reading Playboy,”she once said,”feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual”) brought Ms. Hefner onto the board of Voters for Choice.
Ms. Hefner lives in Chicago and is heavily involved in politics. She has donated $201,000 to Democrats and liberal causes over the last 30 years, according to federal data collected by the NewsMeat Web site.”It’s not unusual for someone running for Senate in Illinois to come see me,”she said.
For 25 years she was on the board of the Magazine Publishers of America, and in 2005 arranged for one networking friend, Barack Obama, to speak at its annual conference.
So Barack Obama is more than happy to take her porn money and her phone calls. Great. And what to make of the sentence: “Gloria Steinem, who made sport of attacking Hef (â€œa woman reading Playboy,”she once said,”feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual”) brought Ms. Hefner onto the board of Voters for Choice.” Unsubtle (not to mention false) implication that Steinem is perfectly fine with pornography now. I notice she apparently wasn’t interviewed for the piece, though.
The only references to the hardcore porn that is now the mainstay of the Playboy corporation were these two sentences: “She stayed 33 years, building a profitable Internet operation and creating a $1 billion brand licensing division that is the company’s biggest profit maker. While Hef bragged about not crossing the line into hard porn, she did, buying Spice TV and Club Jenna and defending the move as business. Interesting to contrast that with Supposedly Very Liberal Dood Victor Navasky’s description of her in the article:
â€œShe’s certainly a liberal feminist and a liberal Democrat,”said Mr. Navasky, former editor of the liberal Nation.”People would say, â€˜so what’s she doing putting out a magazine and running clubs catering to horny men?’ But she found a way to make it work consistent with her values, to serve Playboy and her father and give them an opportunity to do socially useful things.”
Consistent with her values, according to the article: “She recently signed a deal with the Canyon Ranch resorts to build a brand-licensing business for health products modeled on her efforts with the Playboy brand.” Consistent with her values, I’m wondering how healthy those products are actually going to be.
ETA: Coverage of the NYT article and of this post at Jezebel contains the surprising observation that “…Playboy Enterprises represents a very corporate end of the porn spectrum. Annie Sprinkle they are not.” Given that Playboy is a privately held company, not all of its involvement with pornography is easily ascertainable. Some of the pornography associated with Playboy may be on the less vile end of the porn spectrum. However, the Playboy corporation also produces and distributes large quantities of hardcore pornography chock full of violent and degrading acts, but they do so under subsidiary trademarks, because, according to a 2002 NYT article about Christy Hefner, â€œthe racier fare â€˜is a complementary and separate business from the Playboy business’:one in which the Playboy logo and brand”are obfuscated. Playboy also owns hardcore pornography cable channels such as The Hot Network, Vivid TV and The Hot Zone. The movies on these channels are advertised with descriptions like:”a comical adventure with 10 of the nastiest sex scenes ever filmed!”