Speaking Ill of Hugh Hefner - NY Times Article

And in the New York Times [subscription may be required after reaching a monthly quota], op-ed columnist Ross Douthat pulls no punches in “Speaking Ill of Hugh Hefner.” Commenting on what the Playboy founder accomplished by bringing pornography into mainstream culture, Douthat suggests: “Now that death has taken him, we should examine our own sins.”
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 différence.
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.