Friday, May 14, 2010

News about sexually frustrated people in funny glasses

I believe today’s the day the June issue of Playboy hits the stands with its 3D centerfold.

This latest frontier in wanking technology is all very exciting, but I suspect it’s just a temporary distraction from the bigger problem, a glitter pastie on a Sumo wrestler.

Playboy isn’t what it used to be. Or, rather, it is exactly what it used to be. Playboy was hardly the first girlie- or even pornographic magazine. What Playboy did to shake up the culture was to put the girlies into a glossy, high-end book – a tart in a business suit, if you were looking to replace the image from the previous metaphor – and give it a certain legitimacy, even prestige. Hugh Hefner didn’t give us the naked lady. He gave us the phrase “I read it for the articles.”

The magazine doesn’t appear to have weathered technology nearly as well as it conquered the existence of imagination and actual women. In either form, porn is more common than the former and much more convenient than the latter. Technology isn’t the issue. Technology isn’t even close.

The home theater and the Internet didn’t improve on the image quality of a glossy magazine page. I somehow doubt that improves on the beauty of the models Playboy hires. I suspect what Playboy is up against is convenience and immediacy for starters – no more trying to sustain the mood while you run to the Walgreen’s magazine rack – but, even more against its old nemesis, imagination. Pretty as they are, the bunnies just sit there. And ultimately, Playboy suffers from the very shamelessness the magazine helped to foster.

Nobody feels the need anymore to say, “I only read it for the articles.”

Me, I always enjoyed it for the cartoons. And the day they bring back those Buck Brown cartoons with the naughty, saggy-boobed granny in 3-D, I’ll be the first in line at Walgreen’s.


tri.bassett said...

We 'men of a certain age' have fond memories of Playboy. Mine involve a discovery of a trove of back issues in a garage with a young female friend, and later, a love of B. Kliban cartoons. The young love is long gone, but I can't look at a cat without thinking of those early B&W drawings.

Jim Smith II said...

I had a chance recently to read several issues of Playboy and was quite surprised at the quality of the writing and interviews. Obviously most don't pick it up for that, but once you've looked at the pictures (and laughed at the comics), there's actually some very good articles...