“But most important, I think, is the golden rule that all revolutions get stuck at some point. Every revolution contains within itself the pull towards its own demise. And usually this demise is symbolized by one person.
“Think of the French Revolution, which brought all kinds of new democratic ideas, but was corrupted by the advent of the dictator Napoleon. Napoleon brought the achievements of the Enlightenment to the rest of Europe yet ruled like an old-fashioned monarch, installing his family on thrones across Europe. The Russian Revolution was halted in the same way by Lenin’s violence and particulary by Stalin’s crazed powerlust.
“The Napoleon or Stalin of the sexual revolution was called Hugh Hefner. This Playboy magnate appeared to be a supporter of the counter movement. For example, he helped to sponsor the district court cases that eventually led to the famous American lawsuit Roe versus Wade. But he also signalled in the derailing of the sexual movement. Playboy magazine standardised sexuality on a gigantic scale. The women featured there were stripped down to the bare essentials in more ways than one. Like the famous playboy bunny, Hefner turned them into completely predictable images of sex. His enterprise made him incredibly rich and made sexuality incredibly boring.
“You might say that we are living in the hefnerist era now. The liberal achievements of the sexual revolution exist in name only. Its creativity and playfulness have been destroyed by huge industrial concerns like Playboy and other marketing companies that use sexuality and porn in a routine and commodified way. But this does not mean that we should return to the period before the sexual revolution. I think both anti-porn feminists and conservatives are wrong when they battle against the pornofication of society. The democratization of sex is a vast achievement which should not be reversed…. or restricted to ‘haute couture’.”
Sexing the Handbag, by Dylan van Rijsbergen, Sign and Sight, October 31, 2007 (via 3quarksdaily)