Thanks and R.I.P., Hugh Hefner

 Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, passed away yesterday at the age of 91.  One of his best lines serves also as his epitaph: “Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dreams.”  Hefner was one of the great hellraisers of modern America and had a huge impact for much of the second half of the 20th century.  Playboy was a champion of freedom of speech and freedom of the press and was in the forefront of criticizing the Vietnam War.    I sometimes disagreed with Playboy’s political slant but I always loved their cartoons (well, most of them).

I wrote for Playboy from 1994 to 2002.  In a 1995 memo to my editor, Jim Petersen, Hefner said that I was a writer who  has a clear voice.   I appreciated that  and  appreciated even more that Playboy did not balk at controversial pieces on no-knock raids, racial profiling, Ruby Ridge, asset forfeiture, war on drug absurdities, Janet Reno, Waco, and other topics.  Some of the Washington/East Coast publications I dealt with in those years seemed paranoid of my ideas (as opposed to my investigative reporting). Not so with Playboy.  This was also thanks in part to Petersen – who was far more open-minded and literarily gifted than most editors I have encountered.   Plus, Petersen enjoyed firing machine guns.  (The New York Times labeled Petersen “a cultural icon of a carnal sort” thanks to his 20 years as the Playboy advisor.)

Playboy was the only magazine that ever allowed me to use the phrase “Flying Philadelphia ****” in a discussion of government health care subsidies.

After I started getting published there, some of my conservative and libertarian friends thanked me for making them honest men – since they could sincerely say that they were buying the magazine for the articles.


Below are links to the text of most of my Playboy pieces.


“Drug Courier Profiles,” Playboy, November 1994.

“Oops – You’re Dead! No-Knock Raids,” Playboy, December 1994.

“Informants – Uncle Scam wants you,” Playboy, March 1995.

“Overkill – Ruby Ridge,” Playboy, June 1995.

“Asset Forfeiture: Uncle Sam wants your stuff,” Playboy, October 1995.

“No-knock victory; U.S Supreme Court ruling on police raids,” Playboy, October 1995.

“Zoning: Conform … or else,” Playboy, March 1996.

“Zoning vs. The First Amendment,” Playboy, March 1996.

“IRS: Stand and Deliver,” Playboy, April 1996.

“Blown Away: Supreme Court Asset Forfeiture Ruling,” Playboy, August 1996.

“Know your banker: he may be working for big brother,” Playboy, December 1996.

“Prison sentences of the politically connected,” Playboy, April 1997.

“The return of the Hitler youth?” Playboy, November 1997.

“Time out for justice: why talking about drugs is worse than murder,” Playboy, December 1997.

“The Firing Range; FBI actions at Ruby Ridge, Idaho,” Playboy, October, 1998.

“Asset Forfeiture: The King’s Riches -when does a fine become excessive?” Playboy, December 1998.

“Ken Starr’s Greatest Hits,” Playboy, March 1999.

“Beyond Perjury,” Playboy, May 1999.

“Attention Deficit Democracy,” Playboy, June 1999.

“When You Put A Price Tag On Freedom, Guess Who Pays,” Playboy, October 1999.

“Janet Reno, Whitewash Queen,” Playboy, February 2000.

“Flash Bang – You’re Dead,” Playboy, March 2000

“Officer Laptop : do we really need more cops?” Playboy, August 2000.

“Feeling Your Pain: Abuse of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Playboy, October 2000.

“Drug Czar Wanted,” Playboy, March 2001.

“Snowjob – Drug Warrior Corruption,” Playboy, March 2001.

“Killer Cops,” Playboy, December 2001.

“Pork Barrel Prisons,” Playboy, February 2002.

“Patriot Act: Terrorizing the Bill of Rights,” Playboy, April 2002.


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4 Responses to Thanks and R.I.P., Hugh Hefner

  1. Jim September 29, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Crossposted on Facebook – lively thread here –

  2. JdL September 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks. I didn’t fully appreciate Hefner’s contribution until now. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a nice tribute: .

  3. Tom Blanton September 30, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

    “Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dreams.” Yup!

    Thanks for posting all those links to the Playboy Files.

    It is good for people who are just discovering many of these issues
    to realize these issues have been around a while.

    • Jim September 30, 2017 at 11:23 pm #

      Thanks, Tom! Speaking of recognizing that those issues have been ’round – folks should check out your great roundup of articles at the Project for a New American Revolution –