September 30, 2017

HUGH HEFNER, GANGSTA RAP & THE EMERGING MORAL MAJORITY. “Moral concerns pop up one decade in right-wing clothes, and, in the next, change into another outfit:”

But as angels sang Hugh Hefner toward his final reward, whatever that may be, I realized very few believe Hefner’s overall effect on the culture was positive. And the anger at him was especially strong on the left. Hef’s pushing of Quaaludes on his “girlfriends” was well-documented going back to the 1970s. (So was Bill Cosby’s. In some rumor mills, the Kennedy family’s use of “poppers” lives on.) But fresher reports about Hefner’s abusive behavior, ornamented with decidedly embarrassing and unsexy details, have circulated in recent years. And he got far more of the “Good Riddance” treatment than any social conservative could have expected ten or even 15 years ago.

If you look for it, you see signs everywhere. A recent, and largely well-done, HBO documentary on the parallel careers of music producer Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre was noticeably squeamish about the details of the early 1990s “gangsta rap” scene. Conservative moral figures such as Bill Bennett and Tipper Gore were trotted out and given a perfunctory whipping for their role in trying to suppress the free expression of artists. But the subjects of the documentary showed little hints of remorse, embarrassment, or shame at their treatment of women, their friends, and the law itself. In the one truly plaintive moment, Jimmy Iovine recalls that, amid the violence between East and West Coast rappers and after Snoop Dogg’s arrest in connection with a murder, he stopped to ask himself, “Am I standing up for free speech, or was I funding Hamas?”

Of course, none of the violence or misogyny troubled the gangsta rappers enough to give back all the money they made and dedicate their lives to moral improvement and uplift. Slowly, however, the elite of our culture seem to be drifting toward a new, far-more jaundiced and suspicious view of popular culture from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “It’s a tough time to be a male feminist, especially in Hollywood.”

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