It shouldn’t be politically incorrect to denounce an organisation which employs rapists, exploits children as young as ten in sexual ways, advocates for pedophilia as a sexual preference and has been nothing but a venerable carousel of women’s exploitation for decades. Yet say anything against Playboy and it is playfully shrugged off as a few bad apples in a slightly racy publication, besides, it has intellectual articles, political features and supports the arts, don’t you know?
In a time where not only lewd imagery of women was taboo, so too was Jazz to an extent. As such, Playboy and Jazz have had a very public and storied relationship, from the first iconic interview with Miles Davis by Alex Haley in 1962, to the establishment of the on-going ‘Playboy Jazz Festival’, first in 1959, and then every year from 1979 to the present, for which serial rapist Bill Cosby was the Emcee until his retirement in 2012. When approached about the Cosby allegations, the Playboy estate maintained that they had no knowledge of these allegations with Hugh Hefner himself saying “I would never tolerate this kind of behaviour, regardless of who was involved”. This is a fascinating dismissal considering that much of the accused behaviour was perpetrated on Playboy property, and that Hefner was named by victims as a ‘Co-Conspirator.’
Bill Cosby’s relationship with Jazz has been a lifelong love affair, he is billed on some releases, including a collaboration between himself and Quincy Jones from recording sessions in 1969 called; ‘Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby: The Original Jam Sessions 1969.’ The two men billed for the album do not actually perform; which is a theme that Jones managed to maintain throughout much of his career. The music was a series of outtakes of recordings for The Bill Cosby Show, and boasted a billing of highly talented musicians such as Les McCann, Monty Alexander and Eddie Harris. The Bill Cosby Show itself did a fine job of presenting Jazz musicians to a wider American audience, featuring the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey and Max Roach. A long-time proponent, on early rise to fame he remarked on being able to watch and be recognized by one of his musical heroes; Grant Green. In turn Cosby became somewhat of a figurehead to many, and through his storied comedic and televised career he became a cultural icon for many Americans.
Not all heroes wear capes, but some have a history of rapes.
In 1953 two separate projects were launched. On June 9th CIA Head of Technical Services Sidney Gottlieb gave the green light for use of LSD in the infamous ‘MK-Ultra’ Experiments, one of which was ‘Operation Midnight Climax’, whereby men were lured by prostitutes in Marin County and subsequently dosed with LSD to test the effects for the purposes of sexual blackmail. In December of that year Playboy was launched, a far mre public endeavor seeking to push the limits of what is morally acceptable in America, and by extension many other nations by pushing the boundaries of decency and advocating for female exploitation under the guise of ‘free speech’. The similar sexual nature of both projects notwithstanding, the CIA and Hugh Hefner would later share the use of a bank in the Bahamas, known as ‘Castle Bank and Trust’. Initially it was set up by a former member of the OSS turned CIA asset; Paul Heliwell. The bank would largely be used for funneling monies for covert CIA operations, along with providing services for the likes of Moe Dalitz, John Fogerty and the Pritzker Family.
Hugh Hefner was a University of Illinois Psychology graduate, who in university had already been publishing somewhat racy materials, influenced heavily by Alfred Kinsey and his infamous ‘Kinsey Report’ on sexuality in males and females, which asserted among many salubrious things that ‘Children are Sexual From Birth’. Years after the publication was released and the media hype around it had shifted from sensationalism, it found its way into informing a lot of the sexual education which is still taught in schools today. A reflection of these teachings is also evident in Kinsey’s association with Harry Benjamin, the endocrinologist who was influenced by Magnus Hirschfield’s works on Transgenderism in the former Weimar Republic, work which Benjamin continued in America… Many have come to the horrible conclusion of a particular table in the Kinsey Report regarding infants; the infamous ‘Table 34’, which purports to have measured the ‘rate of orgasms in children as young as two months old over the course of 24 hours’ as atrocious a crime as one can commit. There were hundreds of children cited in the study, mostly infants, and the methods to which these ‘results’ were reaped do not bear thinking about. Kinsey used this and other methods, many times interviewing rapists and allegedly employing pedophiles to gain these results and present them as ‘the norm’ to the American people. And yet the Kinsey Report has become a staple of American culture, even garnering attention from Cole Porter where he referenced it in the song ‘Too Darn Hot’.
In-keeping with Hugh Hefner’s fascination with Alfred Kinsey, he also sought to fund two controversial and self-proclaimed ‘sex researchers’; Masters and Johnson, who have since been dramatically serialized in a Showtime series known as ‘Masters of Sex’, whereby their entire body of research was just that; studying people have sex. The experiments ranged from the somewhat mundane to the thoroughly profane. They received a fair amount of funding from Playboy, and even featured writings in several of the publications. They were known to have partied at the infamous mansion itself on occasion. Between the Playboy Foundation and Hefner’s own foundation, funds have also been allocated to ‘Pro-Choice’ organisations such as NARAL, Planned Parenthood and The Guttmacher Institute; initially an offshoot of Planned Parenthood but now a standalone organisation which is also funded by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank. It stands to reason that the same people peddling promiscuity would be funding institutions that actively eliminate not only the moral ramifications of such lifestyles, but the potential lives of others to support it.
Along with these organisations, Kinsey’s methods and outcomes have been rightly scrutinized over the decades. The ramifications of Kinsey’s popularity and its knock on effects were by no means the first or last case of a professor manipulating the results of a study to suit a warped hypothesis. Take the case of Philip Zombardo and his famous ‘Stamford Prison Experiments’, where he sought to prove that ‘evil’ can be a result of the conditions of an environment and power over others. Decades after the fact, a TED Talk and a feature film later, it was discovered thanks to a release in Stamford University Archives and testimonies from the students who were paid for the experiment that Zombardo had been actively coaching the guards of his faux prison to act with increasing brutality towards the prisoners. One student who had been observed to have had a ‘breakdown’ admitted that he feigned so in order to simply get out of the experiment, and that he was not in fact having a psychological episode as a result of the experiment.
During his early time at Stanford, Zombardo used his influence as a faculty member to invite saxophonist Stan Getz to become the Artist in Residence for the newly built Braun Music Centre on the campus. It had turned out that the two had attended the same high school; James Monroe (NYC) within years of each other. Zombardo was so enthused about Getz’s arrival that he had business cards made for him, and from the remarks he made to the Stanford Historical Society in 2017 this was a well spent, productive period of about 6-7 years, and that Getz enjoyed his tenure as an artist in residence immensely, even going to far as to invite other prominent musicians to the campus. A Stamford colleague of Zombardo, David Rosenhan has also been exposed in recent years to have acted fraudulently, thanks to the tireless works of writer Susannah Callahan. This fraudulence led to the closure of many psychiatric hospitals and a revision of the profession itself. This in turn set back the profession by decades, to see the results of that look no further than the mental health epidemic currently plaguing not only California, but many other parts of America, and indeed the world today.
The prevalence of pornography over the decades from many publications was widespread, but none have been more influential than Playboy. It is part of the modern fabric of America, and has been ‘graced’ with a venerable who’s who of so called ‘elite’ endorsements, all of whom have bolstered the profile and credibility over the decades. With each celebrity endorsement, public figures who were otherwise adored were now overtly sexualised. The acceptance of this over the decades, naturally, has led to porn being freely available to all, thanks in most part to the organisations push for legality, but as the saying goes ‘If you want something for nothing, you will get nothing for something’. The darker side of this is that the Porn industry has ushered in a new age of sex trafficking, whereby many of the women engaged in the practice are being actively trafficked against their will. At no point can a viewer assert whether or not the practice they are watching is wholly consensual, nor would they be able to surmise the levels of narcotics a woman has imbibed to stand the humiliation and pain. Heavy eye-makeup and tears see to it that pupil dilation is hard to spot, and the eyes are not exactly the first parts of anatomy on the screens that the viewer’s gaze would be drawn to, nor the welfare of those involved. Sadly, in some cases, the concern for welfare is quite the opposite.
For all of the ‘Sexual Health’ research that Playboy have been funding through the decades, their core message and sexual-boundary pushing publication has indirectly (or some could argue; intentionally) led to one of the largest epidemics of detrimental addiction in modern men today. This in turn has led to excessively degrading moral standards, infidelity and skyrocketed rates of divorce. Another strange adage to the phenomenon is that never in the history of mankind has there been such a widespread accepted behavior of men pleasuring themselves to not only the sight of so many women (including ones outside of their commitments), but sexually touching themselves to the sight of other men’s erect members penetrating them. This is an entirely contemporary trend, and the ramifications of that have not yet been fully scrutinized. The nature of porn addiction on the other hand, has been to some extent. With excessive watching and repeatedly diminished stimulation, the brain chemistry can be altered causing ‘hypofrontality’, which to may seem a somewhat unfamiliar word, but is effectively the term for the effects of addiction on the pre-frontal cortex; most commonly associated with the cravings of drug addicts.Much like drug addicts, the behavioral shift in the user renders them into somewhat of a juvenile state, especially in men where they are prone to sulking and mood-swings, cold silent treatments to friends and family, a propensity for lies and many other guilt-based behaviors. To many these will appear to be symptoms of depression, but the addiction runs far deeper than that. It is a modern epidemic among many modern men, spawned from an industry that parades itself as a ‘liberation’ movement, but is in fact quite the catastrophic opposite.
The reality of the lives of the women who have passed through the walls and pages of the Playboy enterprise have been far more tragic. Some former playmates have ended up meeting their maker in the most bizarre ways imaginable. One Jasmine Fiore was found in a suitcase with her fingers and teeth removed as not to leave any identifying marks, however the perpetrator forgot to remove her breast implants which bore a serial number and therefore identified her. Another; Dorothy Stratten, was shot in the face by her former pimp/lover who then proceeded to rape her and then blow out his own brains. The pair was later found by horrified friends. She had been named Playmate of the year in 1979, the same year the Jazz festival returned to the publication. The first Playboy bunny, the infamous Marylin Monroe who went on to court politicians, musicians and even had dealings with the US military at Lookout Mountain base in Laurel Canyon also met an early fate. To quote another iconic Laurel Canyon alumni who also met an early fate; “No one gets out alive”.
Hugh Hefner at one point dedicated his time and resources to getting some children out of a warzone alive. In 1975 both he and Cardinal Terence Cooke, Archbishop of New York put their support behind ‘Operation BABYLIFT’; a process implemented by the US Government at the end of the Vietnam War. The operation sought to rehouse children safely in the wake of the abject horrors of war they had been subjected to, but not in Vietnam or anywhere close. It was a forced diaspora. According to the ‘official’ records, some 2,500 children were airlifted out of the region and rehoused and adopted by families both in the USA and elsewhere. However, thanks to cables released by Wikileaks we find that Peking officials alleged that these were mass ‘abductions’, and that they were airlifting at least 750 children out of the city each day. Further still, that the operation was denounced as ‘kidnapping on a vast scale that served evil political aims.” Hefner went so far as to offer up his plane, and he and the Cardinal were there to receive the Children at LaGuardia Airport.
What on earth would a prolific Pornographer of women and children and a Catholic priest have to do with ‘rescuing’ thousands of Vietnamese orphans and ‘re-homing’ them thousands of miles away? It appears that politics can make for strange bedfellows, or perhaps something else. The fallout of the Operation has led to several lawsuits, and also documentaries of those who sought to return to Vietnam with a view on ‘finding their roots’.
As it stands Playboy is not quite the powerhouse it once was (although the Jazz festival continues), Hefner took the company private in 2011 and over the years its corporate hegemony over the collective libido of the western world has somewhat diminished. However, the legacy of what it spawned has had dire consequences for the public at large, giving way to a far more debauched, promiscuous and miserable culture than that of the 1950s zeitgeist it sought to subvert. We as a society could do well to learn from these former orphans in regards to reconnecting with our own roots, taking a page out of their books, rather than lusting over the remnants of rags peddled by those who kidnapped them.