Thursday, 14 January 2010

Icon #37 Hugh Hefner


For @nessalouise's first week in control of the Icon Post she chose 'iconic media moguls' as her theme.

It's been a tough one on twitter and facebook today, partly because most people hate media moguls, myself included.  Murdoch is greed personified, Maxwell was a crook and Branson, well he's so smug it hurts, although I was tempted as there's a personal link of sorts.  Maybe more on that one another day.

 Whether Hugh Hefner is a true 'media mogul' is probably up for debate, but in the late 1960's and '70's there's no doubt that he had at least some of the world, mainly the men, in the palm of his hand.  And most of the women he wanted doing more than just sit in the palm of his hand...

Playboy is an institution whether you like it or not.  No one really buys it any more (apart from collectors), not even for the articles, because the porn industry completely revolves around the internet, but back in the day the only way to get hold of some 'reading material' was to buy a magazine.  And Playboy was the mag that defined the acceptable face of porn.  That wasn't always the case though and Hefner is an icon less for the success of Playboy than he is for creating a lifestyle (and a life) out of living his own surreal and vaguely fucked up dream.

So yeah media is a stretch because he hasn't really deviated from porn, indeed despite handing over the reigns  of the Playboy empire to his daughter in 1988, he's still considered to be powerful in the industry.  He ruled the porn roost because he presented it as an obtainable dream to the men of the world and they/we(delete as appropriate) lapped it up.  The whole Playboy mansion mythos is just this bizarre story of an old man living with porn stars, probably rubbing himself up against them inappropriately a bit, whilst shovelling Viagra down his neck.  This man is not one of my heroes... can you tell?  I just find him a 'tiny' bit seedy.

But, and there is a but, you can't deny he's done well out of what he's done.  Which is why for many I'm sure he is an icon and one that they aspire to be like even if that is some twisted version of the American Dream.

I have no doubt he's a clever, shrewd man but like all moguls there's this air of manipulation and exploitation that surrounds him, and with him it's worse than most.

I picked him because I knew I'd enjoy writing the post.

'Picasso has his pink period and his blue period, I'm having my blond period right now' - Hugh Hefner


Tonight's post is dedicated to @flashmcglash81 and @themonkey1976 who probably didn't get the post they were expecting.  Sorry guys.