Hefner, Trump and the “New Morality”

Your’s Truly was somewhat gratified with the passing of one Hugh Hefner. Not because he finally expired and was in the process of finding out that his grand experiment in atheism and hedonism were tragic mistakes, but because there were very few encomia from the media regarding his tawdry life and pathetic death. To me this is huge.

Ordinarily, anytime a paladin of the “new morality” transitions from life to death, gleaming obituaries are written. Often, they praise the “transgressive” nature of the dearly departed’s life and excesses. I remember reading one about William J Burrough’s who The New York Times tells us “experimented with young boys” or Lillian Hellman, who once offered herself as the prize at a poker game hosted by your lover, Dashiell Hammett. You get the picture.

Consider: we have undergone a grand experiment in hedonism, feminism and sodomy over the past two generations. To say that our culture is pornified beyond all measure is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Normal human decency and the necessary, albeit hidden hypocrisy which sustained it has pretty much gone out the window. I’d say right about the time when Sen Ted Kennedy drove his Chevy off that bridge at Chappaquiddick.

Some of course would say “good riddance!” In their view, there is no place of hypocrisy of any kind. I beg to differ. I believe it was Churchill who said that “hypocrisy is the tribute which vice pays to virtue”. Lot of wisdom there.

Now, I’m no prig. I’m not unappreciative of the feminine form and yes, I’ve peered between the pages of Hefner’s magnum opus. (For a long time, I thought that all women had a staple in their mid-section, imagine my surprise to find that this was not so.) But that’s not the point. Civilization cannot be constructed if the base appetites of men (especially men) are not constrained. To be crude about it, there is more to life than satiating one’s baser appetites. In this sense the great pagan philosophers and Church Fathers are in complete agreement.

So why was Hef’s death met with such a ho-hum? I can’t say for sure but I’m not unhappy. It’s possible that we’ve reached the saturation point in which pleasure is no longer pleasurable. That his false sanctimony about “women’s rights” is seen for the farce that it was. And that nobody bought his magazine simply “for the articles”. Perhaps our aging Boomer population has come to see the wisdom of our grandparents’ generation (and every generation since the dawn of time). What is often called the Wisdom of the Ages.

We could babble on about that but what fascinates me is that as a culture we have hit that sweet spot where the hedonic excesses of one Donald J Trump of Pussygate fame were also met with apathy. It was delicious to watch the howls of outrage generated by the purple-haired lesbocrats, licentious SJWs and all the other pearl-clutchers; how their new-found adherence to Victorian principles found no purchase against Candidate Trump.

Even now, the estimable editors of The New Republic continue to muster outrage:
https://newrepublic.com/article/146631/triumph-porn-social-conservatism. Why they ask, are not the Christians not outraged? Why do so many social conservatives look to the Golden Don as their champion? Is it possible because he’s the first President (and only Republican one) which chose to address –in person–the annual March for Life?

Unfortunately, they’re missing the point. The outrage which they feel towards Jerry Falwell, Jr, because he endorsed Trump, thereby essentially abandoning his father’s Moral Majoritarianism is laughable. Where were they when Candidate Jimmy Carter gave his notorious interview to the self-same Playboy magazine back in November, 1976? The obloquy that President Ford heaped on Gov Carter for doing that interview provoked howls of outrage from the left. And in the end, it didn’t work as Carter went on to win the Presidency.

So now the liberal chickens have come home to roost.

We saw intimations of this back in 2003, when it was revealed that Rush Limbaugh was a drug addict. I remember many of my conservative friends calling me in a panic, worried that the loudest, most effective voice for conservatism had been taken out. Being a pharmacist, I wasn’t too worried. If anything, I knew how easy it was to get addicted to opioids. (More on that another time.) Furthermore, he was then a twice-divorced man. In a more restrained, dignified and pre-sexual liberationist time, both of these should have taken Rush out for good.

In other words, as far as the quaint, Midwestern Protestant culture of pre-1960s America was concerned, the culture wars had already been lost. Lest we forget, Ronald Reagan, a divorced man had already been elected to the highest office in the land in 1980, thereby ending the disastrous tenure of the devout Christian, chaste Baptist deacon and parsimonious peanut farmer.
And Reagan’s daughter lest we forget would later go on to pose naked in Playboy.

So what’s the point? That we’ve come full circle? I’d say –not yet. But the lack of praise heaped upon the late Mr Hefner is a good indication that we are no longer oblivious to the rank hypocrisy of the left or are in slavish adherence to their smelly little orthodoxies.

Maybe once the libertine program which we have been subjected to is playing itself out. It’s possible. After all, the Regency period of England with its Byronic bad boys and loose countesses gave way to Victorian era. And Great Britain went on to enjoy a Golden Age.

It would be an ironic masterstroke if the Manhattan playboy we elected in 2016 and who took office exactly one year ago today will usher in a new era of rectitude. Stranger things have happened.

Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see.


  1. Churchill, not La Rochefoucauld?

  2. Wanna know why Trump is President? Trump is us, America that is. He is exactly what most American men want to be; rich, handsome, and a lady’s man. Most American woman see him as a prize as well. Let’s admit it, money, and power makes even the ugly to the farthest degree of ugly, handsome, in our Americana’s eyes. So beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not to mention, political party of choice for many.

    Two key words in your essay George. Saturation, and Pornified! In this You Tube, open pandora’s box world, where every fetish and curiosity is there for us to witness. Trump is not that bad a boy. We have seen our political system kill millions over the last few decades to feed the military complex, so how am I shocked by a man that brags about his green light to grab, you know whats.

    I suppose you and I George, should be grateful that we were never exposed and tempted by what Trump had coming of age, most would not survive spiritually or physically. Most are dead, crazy, or worse condemned in eternal fire. Rich, handsome, and powerful, in one of the most vice filled cities in the world, most don’t come out unscathed, and just want to live out their golden years in peace. Perhaps abstaining from alcohol, and drugs keep him alive long enough, to see the world as it is, and in his way try and fix it.

  3. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Maybe Churchill said it, but La Rochefoucauld did first.

    Hefner was in his 90s and his time was long past, so there was less coverage than there might have been. But my impression was that there was indeed quite a bit of it.

    To me, Playboy is there with Sean Connery as James Bond, tuxedos and dry martinis, and Jack and Jackie. But being an old man now, I can say it was all bad! So I hereby shake my cane, and my wattles, and say “fie”!

  4. George,

    Methinks the Donald is focused primarily on the economic ball rather than morality. He tends to want to simply brush off and encourage women’s rights advocates, as such, so long as the focus is not on abortion:


    On abortion, thankfully, he stays on script.

    If we equate Christianity to prudishness, we lose. We always ought to bear in mind that in the world of the early Christians and the Church Fathers, the patriarchy was in force so there was simply no room to “hookup” other than by using prostitutes, prostitution/harlotry/fornication being condemned by the Church.

    The modern issue of pre-marital or extra-marital sex is trickier to navigate. If adultery is sex with a married woman by someone other than her husband; and if fornication is harlotry, the meaning the Greek word held as used in Scripture and the Fathers, then what of the modern “hook up” culture.

    Well, if we are to be honest, we must say that it simply does not fit the paradigm that we Christians use. It does not fit because it presupposes a non-patriarchal culture. Christianity is nothing if not inherently, vehemently, resoundingly and relentlessly patriarchal.

    The only analogy with which I can come up is to the relationship between single female slaves/serfs and their masters in Byzantium and Old Russia. But that relationship presupposed that the master was the mutually recognized, exclusive provider for the female slave and any potential offspring. That type of custodial relationship does not exist between dating couples or hook-ups.

    Thus, the Hefner/Cosmopolitan/Metrosexual lifestyle fits most accurately in the category of prostitution/harlotry/fornication.

    As such, it has all the social pathologies associated with whore culture: STD’s, economic deprivation, emotionally orphaned children of single parent families, violence and crime. That is the side of the Playboy lifestyle one does not see if one is not on the lower end of the socioeconomic pyramid. But the psychological/spiritual damage is there in the upper-middle and upper classes as well. It is The Graduate, Class, and the like – cosmopolitan youth mentality which is quite outside Christian boundaries and a rudderless, compass-less, playground for the passions.

    Feminismum delendum est.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Misha, it’s always “about the economy, Stupid”.

      Most moral pathologies are aided and abetted and enabled by economic conditions and/or financial incentives to act out in immoral and unproductive ways.

  5. Constaninos says

    Dear George,
    Since you mention Paladin in your editorial, I would like to ask you a serious question. In your opinion. which was the best western show? These are your choices: Have Gun- Will Travel(Palladin), The Rifleman, Yancy Derringer, Bat Masterson, Death Valley Days, The Big Valley, The Rebel, Wanted- Dead or Alive, The Restless Gun, The Zane Grey Theater, The Westerner, Shotgun Slade, Annie Oakley, Laramie, The Tall Man, Sky King, The Lone Ranger, The Tales of Wyatt Earp, Wagon Train, and Bonanza. My two favorites are The Rifleman and Bat Masterson.
    Why is this such an important question? Because Bat Masterson ” became a legend in his own time.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      I grew up watching The Rifleman and Gunsmoke. Some of the others two but the former stayed in my mind for some reason.

    • George Michalopulos says

      All, for what it’s worth, back in the mid-80s, this grizzled old fella wearing a cowboy hat walked into the pharmacy where I was working and presented an Rx to be filled. The name on the Rx was “Wyatt Earp III”. I looked up and mumbled something. He said that he the original Wyatt Earp was his grandfather.

      (BTW, I did not commit a HIPAA violation in retelling this story as he’s no longer alive and I didn’t give out the information on the Rx in case you were wondering.)

  6. Jim of Olym says

    Dear George:
    I saw a rather inebriated Jane Wyman fall off a bar stool in a Malibu restaurant once. She had at one time been the wife of Saint Ronald. Does that make me a third class relic?
    And I don’t see Carter as a ‘failed’ anything. He has spent his post-presidential years doing good around the world for his Habitat work and his looking at elections in other lands.
    What good did Reagan do in his retirement (well, he was senile with Alzheimer’s) what about the two Bushes, what about Clinton, what good they do for humanity, for the poor?
    did I forget some president out there? Can’t remember, just wondering.

    • George Michalopulos says

      St Ronald did not want a divorce, Jane Wyman forced it on him. Her career was going up, his down and she found him verbose and tiresome. Carter has had a productive retirement, unfortunately his presidency was one of the worst on record. Reagan was able to take New York State and Georgia away from him.

      • Carter won Georgia in 1980, George:


        • George Michalopulos says

          My bad. He lost the rest of the South though. And he was a real Southerner.

          My point is this: it took a real doofus to lose the election to a “grade-B movie cowboy” who was down in the polls just a week before the election. But by Jimminy, Carter pulled it off.

          • Carter is a sad case. Habitat is about all the good one can say for him. He treated us to month after month of national humiliation at the hands of the Iranian ayatollahs and “students”.

            That was truly shameful and something for which I simply can’t forgive him.

            He’s continued to take the side of the Palestinians against Israel. The only Palestinians who are worthy of sympathy are Palestinian Christians who get the worst of it all. The Palestinian Muslims are beneath contempt.

            Not that the Israelis are saints, not at all. I would rather not have a Jewish State in Palestine but for the fact that it probably fits in to God’s plan in some way.

            But Carter was a train wreck.

  7. Trump is ruthlessly open and honest in revealing himself. If he changes, I will be ruthlessly unsupportive.

  8. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Many of our presidents, including President Jimmy Carter, who commanded a nuclear submarine, served our country in uniform. Likewise,Senator Tammy Duckworth (Lt Col, US Army, retired) not only served and led troops, but lost both legs for our country. She calls President Trump “Cadet Bone Spurs!” I don’t know where George Michalopoulos or other habitues of Monomakhos served, and I have no understanding at all of how “Dimitri” and George can say of our president Trump, that “he walks the walk” or is “RUTHLESSLY open and honest in revealing himself.” And I find George’s referring to Jane Wyman’s suing Reagan for a divorce as”FORCING” a divorce on him indicates that the Trumpists are now losing it by the numbers. The stronger the panic, the wordier the over-wrought essay topics here. Give it up while you still have SOME reputation!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Your Grace, if anything Trump (and Trumpism) is getting stronger by the day. The generic Congressional ballot which favored the Dems has collapsed. Maybe Pelosi should start worrying about her Botox Rx being expired rather than measure the drapes in the Speaker’s office.

      And yes, Jane Wyman “forced” Ronnie to grant her a divorce. Not legally mind you but let’s just say that if a woman puts her mind to it, she can get what she wants.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        George, how well did you know Jane Wyman? (“Jane Wyman “forced” Ronnie to grant her a divorce. Not legally mind you but let’s just say that if a woman puts her mind to it, she can get what she wants.’)

        • George Michalopulos says

          Well, Your Grace, not being a married man, I guess I’ll just have to take my word for it.

    • Constaninos says

      Dear Your Grace,
      I find it troubling that George conflates political conservatism with Orthodox Christianity. George is incorrect in his assertion that Trump is getting stronger by the day. He is an embarrassment to our country. The hypocrites on the religious right( George, you are neither a hypocrite nor a member of the religious right) were aghast at Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky but not one word about Trumps alleged affair with a porn star in 2006. It’s like people are saying,” he’s a scoundrel, but he’s our scoundrel.” What about Trump’s propensity to lie about everything? Oh, Ronald Reagan was no saint.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Constantino, “I feel your pain”. However I am a trad/con. That being said, I see no reason why Orthodoxy cannot comport itself to a moral liberalism. However that train left the station in 1968 when AAA (Amnesty, Acid and Abortion) took over the Democrat Party.

        Trump is a scoundrel. You know what? I don’t care. He’s done more socially conservative (and financially conservative things) since Reagan. More so in fact. Plus, he pisses off all the right people. The people who drove me and millions of others out of the Democrat Party and into the clutches of the neocons.

        I’ll submit to you the short essay “I don’t care” by Ace of Spades after I track it down.

      • Estonian Szlovak says

        When addressing a bishop, it is customary to say, “Master, Bless!”, not “Dear Your Grace”, if one is Orthodox, that is.
        As to Trump, I associate myself with George’s remarks; I don’t care. Winston Churchill was a drunk( at least by some accounts). He was also fat, chain smoked those large cigars, some have speculated he may have been gay, as well. Yet he recognised Hitler for the evil that he was. Had he been at Munich, instead of Chamberlain, millions of lives might have been spared. I wouldn’t nominate Winnie for sainthood, but King George didn’t appointment him Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a war time Prime Minister, and thank God for it. Since seeing “Darkest Hour”, I’ve modified my anti-British sentiment considerably.

        • Constaninos says

          Dear Estonian Slovak,
          I’m not 100% certain your first sentence is well taken. How do I know it is really the Rt. Reverend Bishop Tikhon I am addressing? I am actually just following protocol on this forum. One letter up from mine( the only one you criticised) George writes “Your Grace.” Your implication is that I am not Orthodox. Let’s not swallow a camel and strain at a gnat. I thought the rest of your post was interesting combined with excellent analysis. By the way, I would like to see that new movie about Winston Churchill. A woman said to Prime Minister Churchill one time,” Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison you.” Mr. Churchill replied,” Madam, If I were your husband, I think I should drink it.

          • Estonian Szlovak says

            Well, “Your Grace” itself isn’t bad. I guess to my ears “Dear Your Grace” sounds obtuse. It is better than talking to him in a familiar, or even insulting manner, as some have done in the past. The only reason I wouldn’t ask his blessing is because I’m anonymous. His Grace would want to know whom it was he was blessing. I’m sure George would not tolerate someone masquerading as the bishop. Someone did once use His Grace’s secular name as his/her handle and His Grace was not amused.
            I suppose I get a little bit under the collar with the accusation of racism being directed at anyone who appears to support the President. Many years ago, I stopped a White Supremacist from being ordained. I’m not going to name the time, place, or jurisdiction. Let’s just say I MAY have stopped the bishop involved from winding up with egg on his face. I can’t imagine any hierarch would be happy bailing out a cleric from prison after the latter had participated in a Kluxer rally. I don’t think such a thing would have helped the image of Orthodoxy in the eyes of the general public. Like I said, this was years ago. The man hopefully has changed his views since then.

  9. George Michalopulos says

    Constantino, if you don’t mind, I’d like to post a video I made this morning after my workout at the Y. I think (hope) that this will answer your questions:


    • Constaninos says

      Coming to you from the EIB…. Rush, sorry, I mean George, I thought you smoked a pipe. That’s a great video. Two things- Obama is not a good looking guy, and when he went to Columbia, he probably went by the name of Barry Sotero. By the way, is that a confederate flag you are wearing on the visor of your hat? Also, did you wear that scarf inside the gym? You have a great sense of humor. ssshhh… (whispering in your ear) I won’t tell Michael Bauman that you are an evangelical. Thanks!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Usually a pipe but today a stogie. I do that when I feel particularly celebratory. Even though the Dems hadn’t cave just then I still felt a whiff of victory in the air.

        The hat is courtesy of Dixie OutfittersTM. I don’t wear the scarf indoors because I don’t need it but outside, that and the hat are de rigeur at least in this cold.

        I see your point about the name change. However at the Harvard Law Review, he’s the editor and his name is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (“Born in Nairobi, Kenya”, believe it or not.)

        Since I’m on this tangent, doesn’t it pique your interest that as an unemployed student he traveled all over the world? I have this feeling that doors were opened for him for some strange, inexplicable reason. Just thinking aloud.

  10. Joseph Lipper says


    When the State calls itself the Christian State (Holy Roman Empire for example), then the Church has that responsibility to point out when the Christian State is no longer acting in a Christian way. Right? It’s called speaking the truth in love. We see this exemplified in the lives of the saints who lived in the Holy Roman Empire and spoke truth to power when the Christian State was no longer acting in a Christian way (as with iconoclasm for example).

    I suspect most people who contribute to this blog would like to live in an Orthodox Christian State. I think I would, although I don’t have much of a reference point for this. Probably the closest I’ve experienced of this would be a week I spent in Moscow a year and half ago. That was thrilling. I hope some of the readers here will go and visit.

    However, if the state doesn’t call itself Christian, then how can Christians reprimand it? Christ didn’t reprimand the pagan authorities he encountered, and neither did the martyrs of the early Church. When the athiests finally took over Russia, St. Tikhon of Moscow ceased to criticize their newly formed athiestic government. Instead, he only prayed for it. The Bolshevik revolution was the separation of the Church and State in Russia. However, for St. Tikhon of Moscow, the Church and State were still unified in the Divine Liturgy and in his prayers.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Of course. The secular ruler should receive his vesture from the Church. Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree that the Church should reprove the State when necessary. Thomas Jefferson believed that as well.

  11. Veras Coltroupis says

    Hefner brought belly dancing burkas and snap Islamic divorce to America.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    The New Morality: The Frankenstein Scientists have cloned monkeys. There should be an outright and complete ban on any human cloning with life imprisonment and forfeiture of all assets for any person and/or institution convicted of even trying.

    Thus if a university lab is responsible that includes the director of the lab and the dean of the research department up to and including the Chancellor/President of the university.

    But there won’t because “Science is King” and human beings are nothing more than biomechanical machines who need spare parts.

    God help us.