Friday, February 5, 2016

Playboy puts on (some) clothes

Or it will in its March issue

By Morris Dean

A couple of posts we did on pornography and/or erotica late last year [Why Christians aren’t celebrating Playboy’s PG-13 move,” October 29, and “Eroticism and its discontents,” November 5] made extensive references to Playboy Magazine.
    A recent article in the NY Times says that the magazine’s March issue “will abandon nudity, which has been the core of the brand’s identity since its beginning in 1953” and “is shedding NC-17-rated fare and revamping itself for the digital age, when racy images are as easy to find as Wi-Fi.” [–“Playboy Puts On (Some) Clothes for Newly Redesigned Issue,” David Segal, February 4] Excerpt:
What is Playboy without naked women? It sounds a little bit like Car and Driver magazine without cars or drivers, and for readers who want only to gawk at the most intimate of female parts, it is just that. For everyone else, the makeover is subtler than you might expect. And frankly, the starkest changes have little to do with flesh....
    Playboy sent an advance copy of the redesigned issue, and let us get straight to the point: There are still naked women in this newly demure version of the magazine. It’s just that they have been shot in ways intended for strategic concealment....
    There are other updates. Gone are the bawdy cartoons as well as the racy ads at the back of the magazine, for stuff like “bedroom adventure gear.” The phrase “Entertainment for Men,” which has graced the cover since that 1953 debut, has vanished. So too has the dense and cluttered layout that has defined the magazine’s appearance since the 1970s, when circulation stood at 5.6 million. (It is now about 700,000.) In its place is an airier and more contemporary feel, with a lot more white space.
    In short, the new Playboy, which will appear on newsstands as early as this weekend, has ditched its jauntily illicit aura and become a slightly saucier version of a lot of other magazines, like Esquire and GQ. But the March issue retains elements of the original DNA, including a lengthy interview (with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow) and a long essay by a famous writer (the Norwegian memoirist and awkward-moment connoisseur Karl Ove Knausgaard). [read more]
Copyright © 2016 by Morris Dean

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