we are all complicated.
we are all super nice to some people and cant fucking stand others.
my mom is the greatest grandma and mom and friend and co worker
but if neighbor kids play on her lawn she freaks out like a dog does on a squirrel.
THERE’S A PARK LITERALLY ONE BLOCK AWAY! she’ll grumble.
hugh hefner was even more complicated. he loved women so much that he wanted to look at them all the time. clothed, unclothed, sorta clothed.
and omg he wanted to live with them!
unlike a lot of his critics, i actually got to meet him a couple of times and i was invited to have a one on one interview with him when i worked for the LA Times. i asked him all the questions i wanted to ask him and he answered them openly and honestly.
some today are saying he was the saint of not giving a fuck. but he cared very deeply. in fact he cared so much about being misquoted that he had his own video team filming my interview so he would have proof if i was up to something. i appreciated that.
he was a friend of the First Amendment, Jazz, Civil Rights, good writing, science, humor, and the most sensitive topic of all: human sexuality.
weirdly he wasn’t able to rid the conflicts that people have in their minds about an untraditional sex life. but he tried.
one way he tried was by living by example. he told me the happiest times of his life was when he was married. he explained that he was a romantic but he also loved learning and exploring and experimenting. so when his previous two marriages failed, he did what most men would do if they could: he lived the life of a single man.
heres the things i loved about Hef: he made a magazine that had a naked superstar in its center during a time that was so uptight that naked bodies were only allowed if they were of black people in Africa. to display an American white woman was super dooper taboo. And he did it and it was an overnight success.
he made a magazine that championed quality music, style, fiction, nonfiction, sports, politics, interviews, cars, stereo equipment and even religion.
he loved animals so much he had a mini zoo at his house. And full time zookeepers. one of the very few private residences in LA that was allowed to have such a zoo.
who saved the Hollywood sign? (it was Hef)
i loved how he proved how important his magazine was (and is) simply by the reactions that people EVEN TODAY have about the nude body.
they still can’t get over the fact that he had pictures of boobies in his magazine.
even my beloved LA Times in the Metro Section today, written by one of their top editors has a story about his life but they simply couldn’t do it without putting “hedonistic” in the headline.
Hedonism is defined as the pursuit of pleasure. Who among us isn’t looking for pleasure?
and as much as i am truly madly deeply in love with my local paper, they are stuck in the same exact 1950s uptight sexually repressed mindset that Hef so successfully rebelled against.
Sex is part of life.
It’s ok to have fantasies.
It’s ok to be just as progressive about our sex lives as we are about our politics.
And if you were to have someone preach those messages, isn’t it nice to have that same person not be a hypocrite, and actually live that way.
Hugh Hefner was a fascinating groundbreaking publisher who loved journalists of all kinds.
He loved film and scrapbooking.
But most of all, at his heart, he loved love.
That’s what I loved the most about him.