Manage episode 358165444 series 3003360
"The hedonistic pursuit of uninhibited sex. Put these images together and a single name springs to mind--Hugh Hefner. From his spectacular launch of Playboy magazine and the dizzying expansion of his leisure empire to his recent television hit "The Girls Next Door," the publisher has attracted public attention and controversy for decades.
Mr. Playboy tells the compelling and uniquely American story of how one person with a provocative idea, a finger on the pulse of popular opinion, and a passion for his work altered the course of modern history. Spans from Hefner's childhood to the launch of Playboy magazine and the expansion of the Playboy empire to the present. Puts Hefner's life and work into the cultural context of American life from the mid-twentieth-century onwards."
He reveals that Hefner, from the beginning, believed he could overturn social norms and take America with him. This fascinating portrait illustrates four ways in which Hefner and Playboy stood at the center of several cultural upheavals that remade the postwar USA.
"The publisher played a crucial role in the sexual revolution that upended traditional notions of behavior and expectation regarding sex. He emerged as one of the most influential advocates of a rapidly developing consumer culture, flooding Playboy readers with images of material abundance and a leisurely lifestyle. He proved instrumental--with his influential magazine, syndicated television shows, fashionable nightclubs, swanky resorts, and movie and musical projects--in making popular culture into a dominant force in many people's lives. Ironically, Hefner also became a controversial force in the movement for women's rights.
Watts offers singular insights into the real man behind the flamboyant public persona. He shows Hefner's personal dichotomies--the pleasure seeker and the workaholic, the consort of countless Playmates and the genuine romantic, the family man and the Gatsby-like host of lavish parties at his Chicago and Los Angeles mansions."
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