February 11, 2014

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner

Source: Bigstock

Her activism on these issues seems limited to staging her “multi-media memoir,” however. Liberty hasn’t inherited her direct ancestors’ passion for pranks and “principled” lawsuits. It’s unclear whether she inherited anything more corporeal from her late father’s estate, either.

Wiser observers than I have pointed out that when the underclass adopts the elite’s “progressive” social experiments, the results can be especially tragic. After all, the poor lack the financial resources and social capital that help the rich counterbalance or even reverse the ruination these fads inevitably wreak.

No one in my working-class family ever made $25,000 a year, let alone $25 million. They were more or less law-abiding, unintellectual, and non-ideological, with no use for “art.”

But they took their cues from the larger 1970s culture. One sunny afternoon in my father’s new girlfriend’s backyard, her neighbor passed around Polaroids of his family’s vacation to a nudist colony. The grown-ups attempted to sound sophisticated, twittering about how “normal” and “natural” such an excursion surely was. Mostly I recall the blank, bewildered look on the face of the naked prepubescent daughter in one photo, a girl around my age.

My father matter of factly left his Playboys lying around his red-shag-carpeted, cork-walled “bachelor pad” on the rare occasions he kept to his post-divorce visiting schedule. To do otherwise was to “shelter your children.” That was frowned upon by “experts.”

For precisely the same reason, my stepfather was equally adamant that I not be banished from the living room should a “not recommended for children” R-rated movie come on TV.

Interestingly, only one of those men was a perv.

As I write this, twenty-year-old allegations against Woody Allen are back in the headlines. His films are once again being autopsied for evidence of his supposed lust for Lolitas. As eager as I am to blame the 1970s for everything”€”and the lyrics to many of that decade’s popular songs are Exhibit A in this case“€”our culture’s sexualization of children hasn’t followed an undotted chronological line. Gigi was enthusiastically received in 1958, while Pretty Baby caused an uproar in supposedly “liberated” 1978. We roll our eyes at the “prostitot” fashions at the playground, but who else remembers moms boasting, circa 1990, that their little girl was “going out for Halloween as ‘Pretty Woman’”?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that ”[o]ur cultural canon is built on the backs of young girls.” The sexualization of children is more like the weather. Everyone complains about it, but…you know the rest.



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