The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Hefner’s in Hell

Flowers at the gate of the Playboy Mansion in remembrance of Hugh Hefner on Thursday in Los Angeles.

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A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservatives bid good riddance to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who died Wednesday. In National Review, David French surveyed his “legacy of despair”:

It’s hard to calculate the damage he did, but the cultural rubble is all around us. My generation is perhaps the first to grow up with easily accessible porn. Every one of us knew whose father had a Playboy subscription (only the scary pervs subscribed to Penthouse or Hustler), and their kids knew exactly where dad kept his stash. They’d sneak out old issues, bring them to school, and pass them around. Before teens could rent porn on tape, they could see porn on the page, and once they saw it, they were hooked.

The effects have lasted a lifetime. Boys grew up believing they were entitled to sex on demand, and the sex would always be amazing. They learned to grow bored of the “same old thing” and instead to seek new adventures. They learned that monogamy was confining, that promiscuity was liberating, and that women should always be hot. The normal female form was no longer enough. It had to be enhanced, sculpted, and waxed.

“While he said he liked to listen to jazz, talk about Nietzsche, and be surrounded by beautiful women,” the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro wrote, “he’s only famous because of the last element: without publishing pictures of bare breasts, Hugh Hefner would have been a nearly-anonymous, seedy-type trying to hit on women who could pass for his granddaughters. Hefner is iconic only because our culture has been so degraded.”

In the Federalist, Ben Domenech largely agreed, but added reserved praise for Hefner’s upholding of gender norms. “Embedded in his work was the idea that what we appreciate in one another isn’t sexless,” he wrote. “It’s deeply rooted in our differences. Without those differences, sex itself becomes much less interesting. So while he was derided as selling prurience and stereotypes to the profane and stereotypical, he was actually celebrating the sexual complementarity that has bound men and women together since the dawn of time.”

The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson’s obit was simply two passages from scripture, quoted verbatim. “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” he wrote. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” In a Facebook post, the Blaze’s Matt Walsh criticized those who’ve suggested Hefner is now in “a better place”:

I’ve been assured that Hefner is “in a better place” now. I realize this is just a thing we say about all dead people, no matter who they are and what they did. And indeed it’s possible that Hefner repented before death and has now entered the Better Place. But to confidently state as fact that a pornographer is in Heaven is arrogant and dangerous. Pray that God has mercy on him, but do not run around declaring that a man who spent his life having orgies and taking pictures of naked women must necessarily be reaping eternal rewards.

In other news:

Conservatives also commented on the Republican pivot to tax reform. Erick Erickson wondered aloud whether the Senate GOP will mishandle the effort. “Hopefully they will not screw this up,” he wrote. “They should work with House Republicans now to shape a plan that can pass through reconciliation to avoid a Democrat filibuster. And conservatives need to watch the process of passing this legislation to ensure K Street does not award cronies and special interests who will use the changes to benefit themselves at the expense of middle America or small businesses.”

RedState’s Joe Cunningham asked whether Republicans in Congress “deserve” to pass tax reform:

These are all good things, but does the GOP deserve that loyalty now? To get our support solely because this time we think they’re serious?

It’s a tough sell to a lot of conservatives who have been burned before. While we understand the importance of the concept of tax reform, Congressional Republicans have not exactly been the most delivering group of people when it comes to promises. The specter of health care reform’s failure still lingers over them, after all.

But, I’ll be honest with y’all: I like the plan. I think it’s worth consideration. But, I also believe there is room to the Right of it that we should negotiate for.