Wednesday, October 14, 2015

10.14.15 Bee-otch of the Day: Playboy

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Name: Playboy Magazine
Age: 62
Occupation: men's magazine
Last Seen: Chicago, IL
Bee-otched For: becoming useless

Some twenty-five years ago, legendary TV chef Graham Kerr was a guest on Late Night With David Letterman.

The former Galloping Gourmet was formerly known for whipping up meals loaded with butter, sugar, cream, oil and other things that could clog up a heart. After his wife suffered a heart attack in the 1970s, Kerr decided to go towards a healthy approach to cooking. Anyway, Kerr made Zabaione, an Italian dessert traditionally made with egg yolks, wine and sugar. However, he used non-alcoholic wine and Mr. Letterman responded with "what's the point?"

In all fairness, the concoction turned out delicious. All Kerr did was replace some of the ingredients with healthy alternatives without destroying the flavor. In regards to the wine, however, Dave is right: what's the point?

When news broke yesterday that Playboy Magazine would be eliminating nudity from its magazine starting in March, those words rang true: what's the point? To some, this is the biggest mistake in the world of printed media since TV Guide dropped local listings from its magazine 10 years ago. During those ten years, its circulation has dropped by a million copies and is now a bi-weekly periodical. Then again, it sold 20 million copies weekly fifty years ago.

The reason for Playboy dumping nudity is kinda simple: the internet. Why spend $8 on a magazine loaded with Photoshopped nudes (and articles worth reading) when there's nudity at your fingertips on the web for free? According to CEO Scott Flanders, "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture."

Thankfully, this will not affect, which will still have nudes chronicling the mag's 62-year history.

To many, Playboy was the publication of record regarding nudity for decades. Hugh Hefner took a huge risk when he found some nude photos of young starlet Marilyn Monroe and made millions of copies of his young magazine. Marilyn was an overnight sensation and Playboy took off. For years, men ogled over the sexy nudes that the magazine published. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the photos the magazine published were considered artsy to today's standards but sexy and risque. Of course, young kids would always somehow get their hands on an issue and puberty would come at no time. Just ask Gunhill Road

Yes, Playboy had its competition and knock-offs, but in 1969, Penthouse was born and they did something that Hugh Hefner would have never done: show pubes. Hef wanted to preserve the "girl next door" image and also feared obscenity charges if he dared do so. But fearing a drop in circulation, he caved in when they published black actress Paula Kelly full-frontal in April of that year. Of course, the movie "Deep Throat" was released in 1972 and Larry Flynt's Hustler Magazine came five years later. Hardcore was taking over, but Hef kept it simple: fully-naked girls with sophisticated articles.

Of course, the 80s came and so did the religious right who pressured retailers to yank Playboy and other nudie mags off the shelves. Thanks to their efforts, stores such as 7-Eleven and family grocers adhered to their demands. But then, the internet came in the 1990s and like Mr. Flanders said, any type of nudity and sex act is now at your fingertips. The magazine's circulation now hovers around 800,000 and now loses $3 million yearly. However, the company's profits mostly are from licensing.

The man behind Playboy's parting from boobies is chief content officer Cory Jones, who personally told Hef at his Playboy Mansion in California that since removing all nudity from and making the website safe for work, the site's traffic has exploded from four to sixteen million hits per month. If eliminating nudity from the magazine could be a reality, they could get more female readers and they could be sold in family-based retailers again.

While making Playboy PG-13 sounds good from a financial standpoint, it will definitely take away many of its long-time readers angry that the Playmate of the Month won't show much skin after March. It's like going to a strip club and none of the girls takes their clothes off... Kind of like Grand Rapids post-strip club ban. Since the ordinance was passed in 2006, several former clubs have shut down. Now, I have a hunch that the girls will still be nude in the magazine to a point, but the only nudity that the girl will show will be to the horny photographers and crew behind the scenes. Like I want to pay $8 for that.

OK, so I'll admit. The last issue of Playboy I bought was in 2008. If I want to look at nekkid chicks, I go someplace else. Besides, it's when they have stupid pictorials that have no place in the magazine whatsoever (i.e. Heidi Montag and *now I'm trying not to puke* Lindsay Lohan) that devalue the brand as a whole. As-is, celebrities rarely pose for the magazine anymore.

In a way, I had a spiritual connection with Playboy. Just eight days shy of my 12th birthday, my parents separated and my mom took me to a place that I didn't have at my regular house: cable and places to go. As any divorced dad would do to make my stay with him better, he had to fight for me, even if he did things my mother wouldn't allow me to do. Since he was now a bachelor, he regularly bought the magazine and gave them to me to keep (and yes, I still have them). To me, the 1990s were a magical time for Playboy. Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Julie Cialini... All women who are waaaaaay too old for me.

Sadly, because the only magazine that I still read regularly is Mad, I can tell you what Al Jaffee drew in last month's Mad Fold-In vs. who the Playmate of the Month or Year was. You see, I think part of Playboy's problem is that the girls Hef wants in his magazine aren't really everyday women. They use a lot of Photoshop to make the girl look right for the magazine. Maybe that's why - at least according to the website - more girls apply to pose for Suicide Girls than Playboy every month. If I ran Playboy, no, I wouldn't turn it into Hustler, but I would do away with all Photoshop. Stretch marks, zits, labia and anus would not be a problem. It's time to realize that girls are human, not candy.

Otherwise, I think Hef is now senile.

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