The History Channel recently aired the one-hour special Playboy & How It Changed the World. The special on Hugh Hefner and his pornography empire, however, lacked significant objectivity in its reporting, presenting a positive, one-sided fluff piece on the effect the publication and its various subsidiaries have had on America and the rest of the world since it was founded in the early 1950s.
Directors of the program portrayed Hefner's magazine as being a profound and positive influence in reshaping the social and secular landscape of not only this country, but of the world. The program bragged that since Playboy's inception "sexual permissiveness has permeated social culture."
A portion of the program touched on the Reagan administration and how it (unjustifiably, in Hefner's opinion) persecuted the porn industry and Playboy in particular. Hefner lamented that the decade of the 1980s was a "very anti-Playboy period" when "Reagan, Meese and the Moral Majority" joined forces to oppose his empire and the impact it was having on America.
But when President Bill Clinton and his attorney general, Janet Reno, assumed office in 1993, they decided to drop a number of the obscenity cases against the porn industry pending from the Bush/Reagan era. During the History Channel broadcast, Hefner gloated that this change represented "a complete victory over conservative America".
Of course, the History Channel made abstinence before marriage sound foolish to its viewers. Barbie Benton, Hefner's one-time Playmate and girlfriend, said "in a conservative society, girls didn't get in the sack before marriage … and that all changed" (with Playboy).
What this so-called "history" channel failed to report was that the practice of abstinence before marriage was generally a societal norm prior to 1960, encouraged and promoted from belief in morality and the Bible. It was also during this time that Christian churches across America had more influence on society. Sadly, America's culture has deteriorated drastically since that period of time.
The program went on to glorify multiple-partner sexuality, explaining that it "represents personal freedom" in America. Even the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson, who was interviewed for the program, defended Playboy and its culture. I wonder if this man who calls himself a minister has ever read passages from the Bible regarding lust and the harm it causes families.
It was also interesting to see comments during the special by actor Bill Cosby who defended his friend, Hugh Hefner. Cosby has recently been accused of rape by a number of women. Just a few weeks ago, those revelations involving Cosby were widely reported by print and computer media to the point that the well-known actor and comedian was disinvited by a major television network to appear on a popular late-night program.
Interestingly, former Playboy Bunny Brenda MacKillop, who talks about her dramatic conversion to Christianity in my book16 Amazing Stories of Divine Intervention, once told me about Cosby's friendship with Hefner and how he, along with other Hollywood stars, used to frequent the Playboy Mansion party scene.
The History Channel program neglected to report the negative effect that the pornography industry and Playboy's various enterprises have had on society. This sexualized, pornography-riddled culture has resulted in over 100,000 child porn sites as well over three-quarters of a million hard-core porn sites now available on the Internet. Even today, adult books stores will not allow people under 18 to enter their establishments, yet children of all ages (via the home computer) have access to hard-core porn sites that display every type of obscenity imaginable.
The world's appetite for illicit sex has resulted in a skyrocketing demand and increase in sex trafficking in almost every country around the world, including America. This is hardly the "reshaped social and secular society landscape" (in Jesse Jackson's words) that the world needs.
James Lambert is a licensed nationwide real-estate mortgage loan sales agent in Southern California. He is available to speak in public forums about the damaging consequences of pornography. He is the author of 16 Amazing Stories, which includes several testimonies of individuals who, with God's help, overcame overwhelming personal circumstances.
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