Comparing President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, as many liberals have done, was so common early this year that it's argubably become quite passé. Yeah, that Trump-Hitler comparison is so early 2017. The new wacky comparison of choice in the latter part of 2017 now seems to be comparing Trump to the late Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner. This is what James Wolcott, who a month ago threatened a deranged "reckoning" upon Trump supporters, has done in the December issue of Vanity Fair.
Of course, he couldn't quite let go of the favored liberal comparison of Trump to Hitler so we see him occasionally relapse by performing the amazing feat of likening Trump to both Hefner AND Hitler in WHAT DONALD TRUMP LEARNED FROM HUGH HEFNER:
Is the presidency of Donald Trump the price America paid for Hugh Hefner’s sins? Did Playboy magazine’s gospel of monogrammed hedonism ultimately produce the tufted warlock in the White House, much as Charles Manson rattlesnaked out of the hippie ethos of free love? “The current president of the United States may be Hefner’s most sterling achievement,” wrote Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker in September, shortly after the founder of Playboy magazine and its once fluffy bunny empire evacuated his waxen envelope of flesh at the age of 91. “Hefner may have . . . promoted the kind of persona that helped carry Donald Trump to the White House,” the historian Gyorgy Toth speculated on the website “The Conversation.”
Hmmm.... It sounds like Donald Trump is Peter (or Paul) to Hugh Hefner's you-know-who that Wolcott all but specifically named. Probably the first time Hefner was the subject of such a comparison:
Even partial responsibility for Trump’s election is a heavy rap to lay on Hef’s mottled reputation, but affinities between the two glazed oglers are indisputable, as was their mutual-admiration society. Along with lording about like har-em masters (Hefner with the pneumatic Playmates and centerfolds at his Los Angeles mansion, Trump with the tiara-pursuing contestants in the cheesy beauty pageants he produced), both moguls promoted their brands as aspirational models, running their companies as patriarchal fiefdoms, extensions of their biorhythms and fidgets. (The Hefner described in Tom Wolfe’s 60s-era profile “King of the Status Dropouts,” poking at the headboard dials of his round bed, trying to get the damned thing to revolve, is an innocuous precursor to Trump orchestrating chaos from his Twitter app.)
Comparing revolving bed controls to tweeting? Can you say "streeeeeeetch":
Trump was also an occasional visitor at the Playboy Mansion, and, in a bi-coastal salute, “a complete run of Playboy, bound in luxe leather,” resides in the lounge of Manhattan’s Trump Soho, according to The Nation’s architecture critic, Michael Sorkin.
“If Donald Trump has a maestro in matters of taste,” observed Sorkin, “it’s surely his fellow teetotaler and sex fan Hugh Hefner, the pajama-clad, Pepsi-swilling progenitor of the lifestyle that so intoxicated boys of The Donald’s generation.” Trump picked up his cues for public indoctrination from Pajama Man. “Trump’s politics are, like Hefner’s ‘Playboy Philosophy,’ an impossible combination of liberalism, hedonism, bloviation, and misogyny.” What makes this combo platter menacing to civic health is when you add Fascism to the menu. Sorkin posits a third bro looming in the background of these two stylish schlockmeisters: the glowering specter of Adolf Hitler. It is no secret that Trump kept a copy of Hitler’s speeches at his bedside, not exactly lullaby reading, and all three men were arch-merchandisers. “Hitler, Hefner, and Trump—the real rat pack—share a logo fetish (the swastika, the bunny, and the big T are among the most ubiquitous signifiers of their times) and a powerful fascination with building and design. Hefner in the Playboy Mansion, Hitler in the Berghof, and The Donald in his Trump Tower triplex are obsessed with self-corroboration by decorative context and the dramatic possibilities involved in the public marketing of a ‘private’ lifestyle.”
Ah! And now the irresistible Hitler comparison again. It was just too tempting for Wolcott to completely forsake. Yes, all three had logos and lived in buildings. Case closed! I'm surprised that he didn't mention that Hitler also didn't drink alcohol. And since all three of them also breathed oxygen, the cycle is complete.
Published in 2016, when Trump’s election still appeared to be a black-swan event, Sorkin’s unholy trinity of Hitler-Hefner-Trump seemed a mite overwrought, even for The Nation, but hyperbole is the horse we all ride now, and some of the obituaries for Hefner cast him as a serious contender for History’s Most Heinous.
Perhaps a great deal more than a mite overwrought which obviously hasn't prevented Wolcott from riding that hyperbole horse to death.