Monday, August 14, 2000

Week of 08/14/2000

Dem’s Bunnies, Dem’s Bunnies
- by David Matthews 2

"Just for the record, ‘hypocrisy’ means insincerity, overt piousness and/or doing the opposite of what one preaches. A hypocrite is one who practices hypocrisy. Now, since we have democracy, aristocracy and bureaucracy, I guess we can conclude that ‘hypocracy’ is when the government is run by hypocrites! Not an entirely new concept, come to think of it!"
- Lyle F. Padilla, a member of the Playboy Mailing List.

William Donohue has got to be proud of himself.

As leader of the Catholic League, the layperson lobbying front for the Roman Catholic Church, no doubt he has been troubled by recent events. The US judicial system has been slowly eating away at the domineering control religion has traditionally wielded in society. Too much press has been given to other religious groups like the Southern Baptists. As a matter of fact, the only time there’s any attention given to the Catholic Church is either when Pope John Paul II speaks, or when a priest is charged with molesting an altar boy.

Worse yet, Donohue’s moral enemy, Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner, was recently honored with a street named after him in Chicago - much to his group’s objections!

So what does a self-righteous moralist to do to get attention? Well, like any political opportunist, he manufactures an issue!

Donohue finds out that one of the many fundraising parties being held during the Democratic Party’s convention is being hosted at the Playboy Mansion. A fundraiser for Hispanic Unity, no less, an ethnic group that is predominantly Catholic. AND, as it were, the event is scheduled on the Feast of the Assumption - a holiday that only has any significance to Catholics.

Put all of that together and what do you get? A ready-made "holy war" that any self-righteous thug with delusions of grandeur would lap up faster than a frat boy at a keg party.

And that’s exactly what the Catholic League did. They went to the press and bemoaned that on their holy day (and when ISN’T it a holy day with it comes to the Catholic Church?), the Democratic Party would be hosting an orgy masquerading as a fundraiser, complete with those "evil" scantily-dressed Playboy Bunnies. And because they considered the whole affair to be not only obscene but also blasphemous, they DEMANDED that the Democratic Party either cancel or relocate that fundraiser IMMEDIATELY. They declared it to be a real-life "holy war" and asked that people of other religious faiths take part by contacting the Democratic Party and Vice-President Al "I Invented Fundraisers" Gore and expressing their self-righteous anger.

Not surprisingly, it worked. DNC chairman Joseph Andrew sent a letter to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the organizer of the fundraiser, and threatened to take action if she did not relocate the event. After briefly revoking her scheduled speech at the Convention, Sanchez relented and had the affair moved to Universal Studios.

Now folks, let’s get brutally honest here with a few facts. First of all, longtime fans of Brutally Honest know that I am a big supporter of Playboy, and especially of the Playboy Playmates, of whom a few of them I have the honor to call friends. I have never been to the mansion myself, but I do know quite a few people who have, and they can vouch that the house that Hef built is NOT a 24-7 sex party.

That isn’t to say Hef doesn’t have some wild parties. After all, it IS his home. Wouldn’t you want to have a party over at your house the way you want to if you could?

However, contrary to its own notoriety, the Playboy Mansion has been host to numerous fundraisers in the past. Everything from inner city school funding to AIDS research to legal aid. Anti-sex feminists contently chant the mantra that Playboy exploits women, but they constantly ignore the fact that the Mansion has served as the source for fundraising for countless women’s issues, including the right to choose. Hef has also used his home for several charity functions for families. The annual Easter egg hunt is held throughout the grounds of the Mansion, where the only "bunnies" seen are either wearing a rabbit’s costume, or really ARE rabbits.

Nor would this have been the first political fundraiser held at the Mansion. Just ask former California Governor Jerry Brown or Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley if their respective fundraisers were "wild sex orgies" as the moralists claim. I’m sure they would tell you their fundraisers were very formal and about as sexually exciting as watching water boil.

And according to the people connected with Playboy, Hef and crew bent over backwards to accommodate Hispanic Unity. When Congresswoman Sanchez was concerned about having Playmates present, Hef told the Playmates not to be there. Upon Sanchez’ wishes, Playboy nixed the idea of having conservatively-attired Playboy Bunnies present to greet the guests. As a matter of fact, if nobody ever said which Mansion was sponsoring the party, you would probably have gotten the impression that it was being run by a bank.

That’s an important thing to remember. If the Catholic League didn’t throw a screaming fit over this fundraiser, it probably would have been an uneventful occasion. It probably would have been buried amidst all of the other fundraisers being held in the Los Angeles area.

But no, the Catholic League didn’t want that. Like modern-day Torquemadas, the self-righteous servants of God wanted.. no.. DEMANDED that the hierarchy in the Democratic Party adhere to their puritanical stances; to show the world and the party bosses that they still carried some political weight. And by targeting Playboy, they got that, and a measure of revenge for Chicago’s "Hugh M. Hefner Way."

Once the Catholic League got involved, other people had to stick their noses into the matter. First and foremost being the DNC chairman, but let’s not kid ourselves either by saying the Gore campaign staff is blameless. Until last week, the party bosses didn’t care too much about the fundraiser. Their basic attitude was "Hey, we don’t sponsor it, it’s out of our hands." Then Al Gore tapped Senator Joe "Uber-Moralist" Lieberman for running mate, and suddenly, it WAS the party’s problem.

Now I want you to understand the level to which the Democrats were ready to descend to in order to force Sanchez to heed the will of the Catholic League. According to the Associated Press, Sanchez was told by the Democratic Party and by Vice President Al Gore’s campaign staff that if she did not relocate the event, she would lose her speaking spot at the convention, lose her access to the convention, be removed from her position as co-chair of the DNC, AND lose all political and financial support in her re-election campaign.

Mind you, the Democrats are supposedly the party of "inclusion." The party of "diversity." The party that supposedly values civil rights and personal freedoms.

Oh, wait a minute! I forgot, this is supposedly the "NEW" Democratic Party now. The party of family values and blame assessing.

"This stinks," said Hefner. "It smells like the bad old days. It’s like a return to the bad old days of the Moral Majority." Too true, Hef. This "New" Democratic Party sounds a lot like the OLD Republican Party of 1996, with Gore and Lieberman playing Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan.

Now for starters, the Catholic League should NEVER have been given any kind of credibility on this subject. The church forfeited any and all credibility when they decided it was easier to quietly shuffle pedophile priests around the world than it was to have them face the charges in court and be punished for their actions. There’s a passage in the New Testament about people with planks in their eyes passing judgement on those with splinters that perhaps they should have heeded. And no, JP2’s all-purpose "mea culpa" for the past sins of the Catholic Church does NOT balance things out.

Speaking of hypocrites, there’s Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, who was oh-so-warm towards Playboy CEO Christie Hefner at her spring fundraiser for Lauren Beth Gash, who is running for Congress. Months later, as news of the fundraiser started to come out and the Catholic League started making noise, Kennedy suddenly claims that an association with Playboy (quote) "totally contradicts what our party stands for in terms of equal rights, civil rights for all people, and respecting the human dignity of every individual" (unquote).

Oh really, congressman? Like your family’s a shinning example of that morality, huh? One relative drives his date into the Chappaquiddick. Another gets charged with rape. Still one more gets in hot water with his child’s babysitter. And now another is facing a trial for a murder that happened in the 1970’s. The good ones in the family either get shot, ski into a tree, or do something stupid like try to fly a plane at night with a broken leg and very little night-training.

Hugh Hefner and Playboy, on the other hand, have been fighting the fight longer than any Democrat out there! As 1966 Playmate, former Playboy Bunny, and Brutally Honest fan Dianne Chandler so phrased it perfectly: "I think that the (Democrats) owe Hef a debt of gratitude… Who crusaded AND practiced what he preached back in the 60’s in the fight against racism? What was the first mainstream publication to address gay rights? Who fought for freedom of speech and put (money) where his mouth is? Who has always championed Pro-Choice and a woman’s right to her privacy between her and her doctor?"

Who indeed? You certainly didn’t see too many Democrats willing to go to jail or willing to lose their homes for those causes.

And that’s not to say that Playmates can’t raise money for charity either. Just ask Monique Noel, 1989 Playmate and yet another Brutally Honest fan, who recently managed to raise more money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in their marathon than any other participant.

But you know, I can’t forget Chairman Andrew’s response once Congresswoman Sanchez relented and had the fundraiser relocated. He said it was a "courageous choice."

Oh really? Courageous? After politically whipping her like a dog, you have the utter audacity to say her decision to relent was "courageous"? What sort of drug-induced dementia are you under?

It would have been courageous if Sanchez said NO to the Democratic Party and held the fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion despite their objections. It would have been courageous if she stood her ground and watched as the Democratic Party rendered her persona non grata. That’s courage!

Under Chairman Andrew’s demented definition of "courage", it would have been better if Rosa Parks gave up her seat in the 50’s, or if the African-Americans who fought for civil rights stayed home instead of risking arrests and assaults by the local police. Chairman Andrew’s definition of "courage" would have battered wives staying home so they can be beaten to death by their abusive spouses. That’s not courage, Chairman Andrew, that’s submitting to the will of a thug, which is what you are!

But what makes this really unbearable is the hypocrisy involved. Gore and the Democrats don’t like the association with Playboy, but they’ll easily accept their money. Tens of thousands of dollars have been contributed to the Democrats, and they’ll cash those checks very eagerly. Two words quickly come to mind: political whores! Just like the grand master of spin, Bill Clinton, the Democrats will take the money, just don’t expect them to respect you in the morning.

So now Hef and daughter Christie are feeling betrayed. They are, after all, lifelong Democrats. They are feeling exactly what millions of other Americans have been feeling for years.. that feeling of betrayal, that sense of political disconnection when they realize that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans care one whit about the American public. They only care about what they want, that is more power and more money.

Perhaps it is time for the Hefners to do the right thing and give up the DNC. If the Democrats don’t want the association, then they don’t deserve the money! The same holds true for other supporters of free speech and personal freedom. Neither of the dominant parties want you! They only want your money, and then they expect you to sit down and shut up and accept whatever laws they force on you.

Bear in mind that not too long ago Playboy had to fight the Democratic-controlled White House all the way to the US Supreme Court on a law that curtailed the viewing of Playboy TV to 8 million homes in America. That’s a "New" Democrat for you, Hef. Want to try your luck with a Republican?

The solution, of course, is easy once you get your mind away from the political duopoly: give your money to the parties that DO share your values. Give it to the Libertarians, or the Greens, or the Reformers if they support the same things you do. Those groups will appreciate that money far more than the Democrats or Republicans ever could.. and they’ll be more receptive to your suggestions as well.

Playboy and both Hef and daughter Christie have done far more for civil rights and free speech than most politicians could ever do. What happened with the Democrats is an insult to not only Democrats, but also to the millions of Playboy supporters and subscribers… all of whom are voters, and no doubt some of our votes will be influenced by this decision to place pious symbolism over diversity and civil rights.

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