Playboy: In Like Flynt
Last October, the Polish Immigrant blog snapped the above photo in the parking lot of St. Matthew parish in Hillsboro, Oregon before an evening mass. As you can see, the text reads:
SHE IS NOT A WOMAN!
SHE IS A REPUBLICAN!
And for maximum unintended irony, mounted just to its left, is a Christian fish emblem.
During the 1990s, because he went to bat for Bill Clinton, a Strange New Respect emerged amongst the enlightened left on both coasts for pornographer Larry Flynt, including a big-budget airbrushed Hollywood biopic that pimped his sleazy career as a triumph of free speech, complete with James Carville amidst the film's cast. Of course, in the 1970s, it seemed that Flynt's Hustler existed to make Hugh Hefner's Playboy look refined and classy, a paragon of taste and virtue. These days though, Playboy finds itself in Flynt-like territory; or as Ed Morrissey writes, "It’s official: Playboy is a hate site":
Playboy likes to claim that it prints pictures of naked women as a means to empower them. Uh-huh. It seems that Playboy and Hugh Hefner only like to empower women to the extent that they’ll take off their clothes, but when they open their mouths and have an opinion … well, then it’s time to roll out the demonization. They have a new feature on the website that features — and I’m not making this up — conservative women they’d like to “hate-f**k” (link NSFW):Obama promised us the dream of post-partisanship—a cuckoo land where party affiliation and factional animosity were forgotten. Turn on cable news or open any newspaper, however, and you’ll quickly discover that the dream has yet to materialize. But there is a way to reach across the aisle without letting principles fall by the wayside. We speak, naturally, of the hate [f**k]. We may despise everything these women represent, but goddammit they’re hot. Let the healing begin.
The hatred is certainly apparent on all ten of the entries on this list. The boss hits #1 on this list, Amanda Carpenter’s on it too, but perhaps the entry on Mary Katharine Ham demonstrates their misogynism best:The Hate F**k Rating: You get this one pregnant, she stays pregnant. Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?
Let’s be clear about terms here. A “hate f**k” sounds like something perhaps just short of rape, but degrading enough to entertain the perverted twerps at Playboy. The fact that the magazine published this piece of effluvium should be enough to show that everyone in the editorial process, from the writer to Hef himself, don’t want women empowered. They want silent sex objects, and when confronted with women whose opinions differ from theirs, want them humiliated.
Because, to bring this full circle with the bumper sticker above, they're not human to the identity politics-obsessed left, because they think different. Somebody should write a book about this phenomenon.
Update: Tommy Christopher of Politics Daily writes, "Playboy Magazine Officially Hates Women, Conservative or Otherwise":
I get that Playboy is a sex magazine, but I don't see what hate has to do with sex. While the author might think it's funny or edgy, none of these women consented to be "hate f***ed," and the whole exercise is just foul and creepy.
What's worth noting, too, is that although he singles out conservative women, the author belies a hostility toward all women.
Update (2:23 PDT): Well that didn't last long -- Playboy pulls the article, as Elizabeth Blackney, a.k.a., “Media Lizzy” notes.
Update: John Hawkins of Right Wing News writes of the press release he received from Playboy promoting the article -- before the magazine lost its nerve and the post went Playboy After Dark:
The article is no longer up -- which I find very fascinating, since they obviously put it up and sent out a release to conservative bloggers in an attempt to generate controversy. So, I called Playboy's Editor/Online Community Manager Aranya Tomseth. She didn't have any comment on it and referred me over to their PR department, where I got voice mail. As a side note, both Aranya and the PR person were female. Is that a way for them to deflect criticism? Hiring women for positions that talk to the press? Interesting technique.
I wonder what the women employed by Playboy behind the cameras thought of the piece and what it says about the magazine they work for.
Update: Karol of Alarming News writes on Twitter, "If you're a company on the brink of collapse, perhaps you shouldn't piss off half the US with sick hate f*** article." But then, firms on the brink often act irrationally, to say the least.And Playboy is far from the first "non-ideological" publication to assume its consumers all think the same. (See also: NBC, CBS, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated...)
Update: Salon's Gabriel Winant hems and haws, and tries to have it all ways, but ultimately in his equivocations, he's willing to give Playboy the benefit of the doubt. After all, as Winant writes, the "conservababes"on Playboy 'author' Guy Cimbalo's hate-f*** list "are parasites on the body of feminism, free-riding on its gains to denounce its goals."
Update: Politico's Anne Schroeder Mullins is pretty cool with the article as well, merely running the list of women Cimbalo had rape fantasies about, and repeating his "So Right, It's Wrong" quote. Many (not all) of Mullins' commenters are equally blasé about the idea of a good "hate-f***" as well, having already (ala the bumper sticker from last fall) dehumanized their targets.
Update (6/2/09): I thought with that last update that I was through with this post. But this morning, Big Hollywood linked, and Pajamas' editors posted a link on the front page. And Michelle Malkin linked, in an item primarily about Politico's Anne Schroeder Mullins' post.
Fortunately, Michelle took a screen cap of Mullins' post, as it was airbrushed as well. Or as Danny Glover puts it, "Politico Pulls A Playboy." Read his post; there's too much of it to excerpt here. And as Danny and Michelle have spotted, Caleb Howe of The Activist Conservative apparently has screen caps of Playboy's original trainwreck from yesterday. Caleb's server is being blown out at the moment from the traffic, but I'm glad somebody documented this shameful episode before it was airbrushed into history. Much like the 2008 Democratic Primary, and the election season that followed (see photo at top of post), it's helped to shed a glimmer of light on a remarkably primitive side to what's commonly called "liberalism" or "progressivism" these days.
Update: "All That, and Braindead, Too", J.R. Taylor quips:
It’s been a long time since I worked for Playboy.com, so what I’m about to say may not have anything to do with the current staff running the site. Still—in the wake of their recent article that should’ve been titled “Women Who Scare My Wee-Wee”—I’ll note that I once was pulled aside after a Playboy.com staff meeting to be told that it was in bad taste for me to pitch a feature titled “America’s Sexiest Feminists.” I think what really made them nervous was my suggestion that more ladies have modeled for Playboy than currently belong to the National Organization of Women.
John Hawkins boldly, but tastefully goes where Hef feared to tread, here.
Update: Screencaps of the article in question are here, for what it's worth.