New Hugh Hefner Documentary

The Washington Post says: Hugh Hefner is an American hero. And not just to 14-year-old boys.

That’s the message of “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel.” Part hagiography and part history of the girlie-magazine-turned-literary-journal known as Playboy, the documentary by Brigitte Berman takes a mostly uncritical look at the man known almost universally as Hef. In the movie’s view — and in the views of the vast majority of its talking heads — the now-84-year-old publisher should be remembered not for his iconic skin mag, but as a tireless champion of gay and civil rights, free speech and liberty, and as a ferocious opponent of censorship, violence, war and religious persecution.

Those few unlucky souls who appear on camera badmouthing him — mainly feminist Susan Brownmiller, singer Pat Boone and conservative talk-radio host Dennis Prager — end up sounding like humorless nerds at best, and puritanical killjoys at worst. “Without some suppression of the sexual genie,” Prager sniffs, “happiness is not possible.”

ON HIS RADIO SHOW TODAY, DENNIS PRAGER SAYS: “For the left, any suggestion that we should in any way suppress our sexual desires drives the cultural left into a fit. The left is undermining of liberty but there is one area where if you suggest you not act out every sexual desire, the cultural left goes bonkers. He could’ve chosen any line.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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