Playboy To Drop Nude Pictorials

From now on, you'll just have to read it for the articles.

Hugh Hefner Playboy

Some sixty-two years after it began and set off a revolution that is still reverberating, Playboy is getting rid of the thing that made it most famous:

Last month, Cory Jones, a top editor at Playboy, went to see its founder Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion.

In a wood-paneled dining room, with Picasso and de Kooning prints on the walls, Mr. Jones nervously presented a radical suggestion: the magazine, a leader of the revolution that helped take sex in America from furtive to ubiquitous, should stop publishing images of naked women.

Mr. Hefner, now 89, but still listed as editor in chief, agreed. As part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy will still feature women in provocative poses. But they will no longer be fully nude.

Its executives admit that Playboy has been overtaken by the changes it pioneered. “That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.

Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Many of the magazines that followed it have disappeared. Though detailed figures are not kept for adult magazines, many of those that remain exist in severely diminished form, available mostly in specialist stores. Penthouse, perhaps the most famous Playboy competitor, responded to the threat from digital pornography by turning even more explicit. It never recovered.

Previous efforts to revamp Playboy, as recently as three years ago, have never quite stuck. And those who have accused it of exploiting women are unlikely to be assuaged by a modest cover-up. But, according to its own research, Playboy’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, along with those of Apple and Nike. This time, as the magazine seeks to compete with younger outlets like Vice, Mr. Flanders said, it sought to answer a key question: “if you take nudity out, what’s left?”

It is difficult, in a media market that has been so fragmented by the web, to imagine the scope of Playboy’s influence at its peak. A judge once ruled that denying blind people a Braille version of it violated their First Amendment rights. It published stories by Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami among others, and its interviews have included Malcolm X, Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter, who admitted that he had lusted in his heart for women other than his wife. Madonna, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell posed for the magazine at the peak of their fame. Its best-selling issue, in November of 1972, sold more than seven million copies.

Even those who disliked it cared enough to pay attention — Gloria Steinem, the pioneering feminist, went undercover as a waitress, or Playboy Bunny, in one of Mr. Hefner’s spinoff clubs to write an exposé for Show Magazine in 1963.

When Mr. Hefner created the magazine, which featured Marilyn Monroe on its debut cover in 1953, he did so to please himself. “If you’re a man between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you,” he said in his first editor’s letter. “We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex …” He did not put a date on the cover of the first issue, in case Playboy did not make it to a second.

Mr. Hefner “just revolutionized the whole direction of how we live, of our lifestyles and the kind of sex you might have in America,” said Dian Hanson, author of a six-volume history of men’s magazines and an editor for Taschen. “But taking the nudity out of Playboy is going to leave what?”

The latest redesign, 62 years later, is more pragmatic. The magazine had already made some content safe for work, Mr. Flanders said, in order to be allowed on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, vital sources of web traffic.

In August of last year, its website dispensed with nudity. As a result, Playboy executives said, the average age of its reader dropped from 47 to just over 30, and its web traffic jumped to about 16 million from about four million unique users per month.

The magazine will adopt a cleaner, more modern style, said Mr. Jones, who as chief content officer also oversees its website. There will still be a Playmate of the Month, but the pictures will be “PG-13” and less produced — more like the racier sections of Instagram. “A little more accessible, a little more intimate,” he said. It is not yet decided whether there will still be a centerfold.

Its sex columnist, Mr. Jones said, will be a “sex-positive female,” writing enthusiastically about sex. And Playboy will continue its tradition of investigative journalism, in-depth interviews and fiction. The target audience, Mr. Flanders said, is young men who live in cities. “The difference between us and Vice,” he said, “is that we’re going after the guy with a job.”

Some of the moves, like expanded coverage of liquor, are partly commercial, Mr. Flanders admitted; the magazine must please its core advertisers. And all the changes have been tested in focus groups with an eye toward attracting millennials — people between the ages of 18 and 30-something, highly coveted by publishers. The magazine will feature visual artists, with their work dotted through the pages, in part because research revealed that younger people are drawn to art.

The company now makes most of its money from licensing its ubiquitous brand and logo across the world — 40 percent of that business is in China even though the magazine is not available there — for bath products, fragrances, clothing, liquor and jewelry among other merchandise. Nudity in the magazine risks complaints from shoppers, and diminished distribution.

Playboy, which had gone public in 1971, was taken private again in 2011 by Mr. Hefner with Rizvi Traverse Management, an investment firm founded by Suhail Rizvi, a publicity-shy Silicon Valley investor, who has interests in Twitter, Square and Snapchat among others. The firm now owns over 60 percent. Mr. Hefner owns about 30 percent (some shares are held by Playboy management).

Rather than being seen as a sign that the kind of content that Playboy revolutionized is going out of style, this move is obviously more geared toward a recognition of the fact that such content has become so pervasive and easy to find online that there’s little about it to draw users to the magazine or the company’s website at this point. Anyone who wants to see the kind of nude models that grace a Playboy centerfold on a monthly basis need to merely point there web browser to one of the many such sites where such material, as well as material that is far more explicit, is readily available for free. Combine that with the fact that Playboy has obviously faced many of the same pressures that the rest of the print media has faced in the rise of online content in general, and the fact that the magazine has survived as long as it has while similar publications such as Penthouse has largely floundered is something of a miracle in itself that is most likely largely attributable to the fact that the Playboy brand has become internationally recognizable, and indeed has become the element that has made the company as a whole financially successful in recent years notwithstanding the decline in magazine circulation.

The real question, of course, is whether this move, which is obviously being done as much to draw attention to the magazine as anything else, will be enough to revive a floundering magazine. Even taking into account the fact that Playboy has continued to be source of the kind of writing that distinguished it from other “men’s” magazines from almost its beginning, the competitive pressures of online content will remain and it’s hard to see how this move will do much to boost the magazines sagging circulation numbers, which now stand somewhere near 800,000 copies per year after having reached over 5,000,000 per month at its peak. Just as there are plenty of places out there to find pictures of nude women, there are plenty of places to find quality writing and reporting. So, starting in March we will find out whether it really is true that people only read Playboy for the articles.

 

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Entertainment, Popular Culture, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    I’d go over and post at TAC that glory hallalujah the socons’ bete noir, Playboy, is getting rid of its nudes, but somehow I don’t think they’re going to be any happier.

    Socons. Being in a snit about how ordinary Americans live, updated daily.

    (It sounds like Playboy is becoming more and more something like Monocle. The editor of Monocle had/has a column in the FT and when he wants to, can be a very funny fellow. His description of a trip to Bratislava and a stay in what he called “the worst hotel in the world” had me in stitches.)

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    Playboy long had a clever business model: surround your pictures of naked women with top quality articles so that men can legitimately claim to read it for the articles. They paid more than any other magazine and they actually did have some really really good articles (my dad quoted one in his war college paper). But like almost all dead tree media, they’re dying. I think they reorient themselves around web business, hiring the best writers and producing great content. Otherwise, this is just bailing out the sinking ship with a thimble.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    I haven’t seen that magazine in years…but as I remember the photos were pretty milquetoast anyway.
    Considering that you can readily find totally raunchy XXX porn for free…or so I hear…what choice do they have but to beef up their non-porn offering?
    Good for them if the can adjust and be relevant.
    A world without Hef and Playboy? What would Bill Cosby do?

  4. EddieInCA says:

    Playboy the magazine still exists?

    I’m not being snarky. I just haven’t seen it in years, and I thought it had gone the way of many other dead tree magazines.

  5. Jenos Idanian says:

    I once poked through a collection of Playboy interviews (in book form). The two best I remember was Paul McCartney and George Lincoln Rockwell.

    McCartney gave little anecdotes about Beatles songs. He said that Ringo Starr basically talked in song titles, and several Ringoisms ended up as songs — “it’s been a hard day’s night, mates” and “we’ve been at this eight days a week” are two that stuck in my brain.

    George Lincoln Rockwell was the head of the American Nazi Party. Playboy sent Arthur Hailey to interview him. The discussion between those two was fascinating.

  6. James Pearce says:

    In the digital magazine realm “SFW” is the way to go from a business perspective. Still, I can’t help but lament the puritanical turn our culture has taken.

    And contrary to Grumpy Realist, I think it has more to do with the social justice movement than social conservatives.

  7. bill says:

    hopefully they don’t stop making car air fresheners.

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    If Playboy could only collect a small royalty from every woman who has the Playboy logo tattooed on herself somewhere, they’d never go broke.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: That was Playgirl. I think Penthouse went the way of the dodo as well.

    Cosmopolitan is still around, however (sigh)….

  10. Slugger says:

    The whole atmosphere of late 1950’s and early 1960’s America was stultifying and repressive in a very provincial way. I know that it is now frequently presented as some peaceful Eden, but the world view of Americans was very limited. A wedge of iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing was fine dining. Things changed, and Playboy was a part of the change along with rock ‘n’ roll and oral contraceptives. Official desegregation was the acme of liberation in the new era, and Vietnam the nadir. During that time a 18 year old guy (me) could read Playboy and garner the wit and wisdom of a 22 year old. I stopped looking at Playboy when I was about 20 when I realized that no magazine would help me in my quest to become attractive to women…a truly Quixotic quest. The magazine did get me to read more. I last looked at a Playboy in 1990 when a friend was hospitalized, and I bought one as a gag gift. It struck me as not having changed from 1966 to 1990.
    I have not thought about Barbi Benton for many decades. Ms. Benton, you have my eternal respect.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: Oh, I don’t think the socons had anything to do with it (as Doug mentions above, the demand for smut is now easily satisfied elsewhere free.) I just find it hilarious that one of the long-claimed goals of the socons has been achieved but it means bupkis.

    In other words, be careful of what you wish for; you may actually get it. Karma, baby, karma.

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @Slugger: And how. My teeth grind whenever I run into someone who is sentimental about the 1950s and thinks it would be just dandy if we moved back to it.

    I notice that most of the individuals saying such are white males. Some women also think it would be just dandy, which makes me think they never heard about “Mother’s little helper.” The caricature of zombie housewives doped up on Valium and Vodka didn’t come out of nowhere….

  13. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I just find it hilarious that one of the long-claimed goals of the socons has been achieved but it means bupkis.

    Has there been a socon fighting against Playboy recently? I thought most of them gave up fighting porn around the time the videocassette was invented. Most of the complaints I hear about porn these days is that it’s degrading to women or it promotes unhealthy* sexual practices. (* Literally, not morally.) These are liberal concerns, not the concerns of social conservatives.

    One interview I saw, Playboy executives were talking about the move in terms of not limiting their audience and they weren’t talking about appealing to bible-thumpers. The younger generation is much less comfortable with sexualized depictions of women.

    I notice that most of the individuals saying such are white males.

    Careful now…. I don’t disagree on the merits. We white males can be awful creatures, it’s true. But sooner or later, our foibles will need to be attributed to our humanity, not the color of our skin or our hormonal orientation.

  14. MBunge says:

    @grumpy realist: My teeth grind whenever I run into someone who is sentimental about the 1950s and thinks it would be just dandy if we moved back to it.

    I would bet that at least a plurality, if not a majority, of folks living in the 1950s were happy with how things were. Satisfaction, of course, being higher among white men than women and minorities.

    The cultural image of the 1950s has been created by people who were bitterly unhappy with the age to the point where it’s become thought of as exceptionally awful.

    Mike

  15. Alfred E. says:

    Don’t worry! There’s always the MAD Fold-In!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuSlejnid1A
    (very SFW)

  16. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    You must live in a pretty liberal area if that is your take. Everywhere I’ve lived SoCons were up in arms about porn and about the neighborhoods where it and other prurient activities and materials were available. SJWs do have issues with certain types of porn. SoCons have issues with all porn. There is an intersection of materials that neither like, but only one group has much political power and it isn’t the one you are indicating.
    Playboy isn’t giving up naked women because of SoCons or SJWs, it’s giving them up because of facebook and SFW viewing. It needs to pic up the magazine’s slack on the web to keep the brand relevant so it can continue to make money on merchandizing.

    The younger generation is much less comfortable with sexualized depictions of women.

    Where are these young people because I haven’t seen them in California, Hawai’i or the Netherlands and I’ve been working with young people (mostly late teens) for going on 20 years now and I have yet to see them.

    Careful now…. I don’t disagree on the merits. We white males can be awful creatures, it’s true. But sooner or later, our foibles will need to be attributed to our humanity, not the color of our skin or our hormonal orientation.

    I didn’t read GR’s comment the way you seem to be taking it. I read it as an acknowledgement of the fact that the only people that would want to go back to a time when white, male, christians held all of the privileges are white, male, christians or people with a false view of that time.

  17. bookdragon says:

    @MBunge: If a plurality living in the 50s who were happy with the way things were, then it was either because white men made up the plurality or because living in the 50s was a vast improvement over living during the Great Depression and WWII.

    For anyone who wasn’t a straight WASP male, going back to the 50s would be appalling.

  18. stonetools says:

    I remember as a teenager finding my dad’s Playboy stash at the bottom of the closet and finding it to be AMAZING. These days, of course, you can get video porn on demand on your TV and your mobile phone. Indeed (so I’ve been told) through the magic of the Internet you can order up a woman who will appear at your door to perform “escort services”.
    In light of all that Playboy is no longer so AMAZING. However, there is still a place for magazines that you can read for good commentary on popular culture, news, and “men’s issues” , so maybe a rebranded Playboy can still survive.

  19. Grewgills says:

    @MBunge:
    A majority of the population were/are white and christian. Ten years earlier the country was embroiled in WWII and by the 50s the US was ascendant. We had become a super power not only militarily, but economically and culturally. People in general were better off than 10, 20, or 30 years prior. That said, the lot of women (a small majority by itself) has radically improved since as has the lot of religious and ethnic minorities.
    We aren’t talking about the 50s relative to the past, but to the present. No one who understands what life was like in the 50s would prefer to live then than now unless they were a WASP male and even then I don’t think most would prefer that life.

  20. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Everywhere I’ve lived SoCons were up in arms about porn and about the neighborhoods where it and other prurient activities and materials were available.

    Maybe that’s true, but I think of the big SoCon push against porn was well over by the time The People VS Larry Flynt came out. Porn was in the mainstream by then and the socons focused on gays and abortion.

    SJWs do have issues with certain types of porn.

    I’m glad you can acknowledge that SJWs are, indeed, just as censorious as the socons.

    Where are these young people

    On the left, mostly…..

    white, male, christians held all of the privileges are white, male, christians

    I continue to resist disparaging people based on race, gender, or relgion. It’s not really that hard.

  21. MBunge says:

    @bookdragon: For anyone who wasn’t a straight WASP male, going back to the 50s would be appalling.

    More appalling than the 40s? Or the 30s? How about the 1890s?

    I’m not denying the oppression, repression, suppression and all the other ‘pressions that were certainly facts of life during the 50s. But the idea that everyone who was not a straight WASP male was seething in misery for the entire era is a picture created by people who were seething in misery and came to dominate the cultural narrative.

    There are plenty of people who hated the 60s as viciously as anyone despised the 50s. They just weren’t the sort of folks who write books and movies and magazine articles.

    Mike

  22. MBunge says:

    @Grewgills: No one who understands what life was like in the 50s would prefer to live then than now unless they were a WASP male and even then I don’t think most would prefer that life.

    No one who understands what life was like in 99.999999999999999999999% of the past would ever prefer to live then than now. But I don’t think there’s been anything like the cottage industry of 1950s hate for any other era.

    Mike

  23. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    But I don’t think there’s been anything like the cottage industry of 1950s hate for any other era.

    I only hope that in 65 years, there’s a cottage industry of 2010s hate for our era.

    “You mean, people used to complain about the casting of white people in movies?”

  24. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    Maybe that’s true, but I think of the big SoCon push against porn was well over by the time The People VS Larry Flynt came out. Porn was in the mainstream by then and the socons focused on gays and abortion.

    In Alabama and other SoCon strongholds it certainly remained an issue. Hell, sex toys are still illegal in several states and zoning boards in many places make it all but impossible to get porn anywhere but the internet. Free, easy and ubiquitous internet porn was not yet the norm in 1996. SoCons are still fighting that fight, though it is a rear guard action.

    I’m glad you can acknowledge that SJWs are, indeed, just as censorious as the socons.

    That is not what I acknowledged. Censorious indicates using the power of law to remove a class of art or entertainment. SoCons do that. SJWs generally try to shift opinion via social pressures (SoCons do this as well).

    Where are these young people

    On the left, mostly…..

    I mean where in the world. I’ve taught (primarily college freshmen) in Southern California, the Bay Area, and Hawai’i in the last 10 years (all pretty left leaning areas) and I absolutely do not see students worrying about sexualized images of women or men. Look at ads aimed at teens and 20s and you will see an awful lot of sexualized young people. I am curious where you are seeing this widespread discomfort with sexualized images from young people, because I’m not seeing it at all.

    white, male, christians held all of the privileges are white, male, christians

    I continue to resist disparaging people based on race, gender, or relgion. It’s not really that hard.

    How is it disparaging of anyone to note that virtually all societal privilege rested with male WASPs in the US in the 1950s? That is a simple matter of fact.

    I only hope that in 65 years, there’s a cottage industry of 2010s hate for our era.

    “You mean, people used to complain about the casting of white people in movies?”

    That is more than a little disingenuous. What some are opposed to is white, hetero, and christian being the default position for virtually all roles. Casting an all white Exodus is the norm, casting an African American as James Bond or the Human Torch freaks people out, as does casting a female Ghostbusters. Why don’t you display as much disdain for the much larger group of people that freak out because James Bond and Santa Claus must be white as you do for the much smaller group of SJWs that protest Exodus being all white?

  25. Grewgills says:

    @MBunge:
    That is all true. I would suggest it is because there is a sizable political contingent in the US that wants to move the US politically and socially back to their mythical version of the 50s. The contingents that want to move back to the Renaissance or any other fetishized time are much smaller and less politically active on those fronts.

  26. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Hell, sex toys are still illegal in several states and zoning boards in many places make it all but impossible to get porn anywhere but the internet.

    Probably accounts for why Alabama is a heavy internet porn state…

    SJWs generally try to shift opinion via social pressures

    SJWs use the law too. You don’t see bikini posters down at the auto shop anymore, but it isn’t because of social pressure. SJW are more than content to use the law when they can, just like socons.

    I absolutely do not see students worrying about sexualized images of women or men.

    You don’t? I’d provide examples but I’d have trouble picking just one.

    Here’s a good one: Playboy is going to stop publishing nudes to appeal to a younger audience (Facebook users).

    How is it disparaging of anyone to note that virtually all societal privilege rested with male WASPs in the US in the 1950s? That is a simple matter of fact.

    Not actually a fact…..

    I come from a long line of unprivileged male WASPs and the privileged came in many forms.

    What some are opposed to is white, hetero, and christian being the default position for virtually all roles.

    I actually had in mind something else. Rooney Mara, the new Peter Pan movie. Read about how awfully offensive it is to cast a white woman as the princess of the fictional Piccaninny tribe of Neverland.

    How is that not racist?

  27. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    SJWs use the law too. You don’t see bikini posters down at the auto shop anymore, but it isn’t because of social pressure. SJW are more than content to use the law when they can, just like socons.

    Sexual harassment laws were on the books prior to the existence of the term SJW. If the bikini posters came down for a legal reason it had to do with harassment laws and people working for them that might complain. They are also coming down because it isn’t just men taking their cars in to the shop anymore and if the women coming in don’t feel comfortable they lose business. No SJWs necessary.

    Here’s a good one: Playboy is going to stop publishing nudes to appeal to a younger audience (Facebook users).

    That is about FB rules, not what a younger audience wants. BTW facebook is now the old people’s social networking site. You will find younger audiences on tumblr and instagram. My students use those for networking with peers and FB for family. Notice the terms of service for those sites are far more open to sexualized images. In short, bad example.

    Not actually a fact…..

    I come from a long line of unprivileged male WASPs and the privileged came in many forms.

    Your line of unprivileged less privileged male WASPs in no way counters the truth of my statement. That virtually all of the privilege in the USA in the 50s rested with white male WASPs doesn’t mean that all white male WASPs were ultimately privileged. It does mean that virtually any white male WASP was more privileged than a woman or a minority all things else (wealth, education, etc) being equal. Your reading of this speaks to a poor understanding of what is actually meant by privilege.

    I actually had in mind something else. Rooney Mara, the new Peter Pan movie. Read about how awfully offensive it is to cast a white woman as the princess of the fictional Piccaninny tribe of Neverland.

    I can’t say I’ve heard about it and a quick google search doesn’t turn up much in the way of outrage. I did find an article mentioning that this was another example of Hollywood setting the default to white regardless of the initial ethnicity of the character. Now, imagine what the reaction would be in much of the middle and south of the country if Peter or Wendy were cast as Asian or African or say transsexual. Now tell me again whose outragometer is out of whack.

  28. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    If the bikini posters came down for a legal reason it had to do with harassment laws and people working for them that might complain.

    Sure, but it does kind of lay your “social pressure” argument in ruins. Consider: it’s not the socons who are making sex workers in LA wear condoms.

    That is about FB rules, not what a younger audience wants.

    Instagram bans nudity. Facebook bans nudity. If this generation were starting cable channels, their version of HBO would ban nudity. The younger generation wants safe, harmless. They want warnings. They don’t want boobies.

    Your reading of this speaks to a poor understanding of what is actually meant by privilege.

    No, I just don’t buy into the social justice view of history. I think it’s much more complicated than privilege/non-privilege.

    I can’t say I’ve heard about it and a quick google search doesn’t turn up much in the way of outrage.

    I have yet to read a review that didn’t mention it.

  29. Paul Hooson says:

    I’m quite a historian of old adult magazines where I’ve sold many odd ones on Ebay over the years including a rubber fetish magazine from 1950! Where in heck did you even find a rubber fetish magazine back in 1950, BTW? – If PLAYBOY really helped to create any sexual revolution in the country, then why is nudity at the newsstand now so unacceptable that PLAYBOY needs to conform to the same standards as FAMILY CIRCLE or GOOD HOUSEKEEPING to even find a place at supermarket newsstands. – If anything, it sure seems that the religious right such as the American Family Association have won…magazines with nudity have been driven off most newsstands except for adult stores, and PLAYBOY has only hoisted up the white flag of surrender.

  30. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Now, imagine what the reaction would be in much of the middle and south of the country if Peter or Wendy were cast as Asian or African or say transsexual.

    Imagine if an actor of color had to read headlines saying crap like this:

    Casting Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily is only one of many problems with ‘Pan’

    Casting Laurence Fishburne as Perry White is only one of many problems with ‘Man of Steel?’

    Casting Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie is only one of many problems with the new “Annie?”

    These statements would not be mistaken for what they are…..racist bullshit.

  31. Slugger says:

    I am not a social scientist, and I am just reporting my recollections of the impressions of life in the prePlayboy era. Yes, if someone would have asked my neighbors in the working class community that I grew up in, they would have said that they were happy. However, their lives seemed tepid and boring to me; dull and gray even when they had some material success. They seemed to have no passion, no salt and pepper. In order to get their share of the pie, they were ensnared in a slowly suffocating conformity. Like Telemachus they made humble obedience to the household gods. Rock’n’roll, beat poets, and Hef were a refreshing plunge into a more technicolor world. That is how things appeared to a nerdy, pimply boy of that era.
    By 1980, a lot of those things had peaked and become irrelevant. Especially Playboy.

  32. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    I didn’t see Man of Steel and from what I’ve heard didn’t miss much and neither did I see Annie. I do, however remember considerable outrage over Miss Wallis playing Annie. There was also a considerable backlash at the idea of Idris Elba playing Bond. In both of these cases and others people argued against these choices because the characters just are white. Even newscasters argued on TV something as silly as Santa just is white. In all these cases the outrage was far larger than the complaints about the casting of Tiger Lilly or even the recent Exodus. The SJW outrage du jour is dwarfed in scale by the outrage du jour of the SoCons on this (and every other) topic.
    I really don’t understand why you have such a thing about SJWs and (by pixel count here) a much less emphatic problem with the garden variety bigots that protest Elba as Bond or Wallis as Annie or random black man as Santa. Step back and consider scale.

    As a side note, do you really not see that giving one of the very few explicitly Native American roles in a Hollywood film to a white woman is different than giving one of the very many more not even explicitly white roles to someone not white? Can you not see the imbalance that makes the difference?
    It’s far from a perfect analogy, but I’ve had a long day, so here goes:
    I have a voucher for groceries that states it should be used to feed someone in need*.
    I use this voucher to feed someone who is comfortably upper middle class because they seemed nice.
    I have a voucher to by groceries that states it should be used to by gourmet treats for someone who makes at least $100K a year*.
    I use this voucher to feed a family that is struggling to pay their bills.
    In both cases I have changed the target of the charity. Do you think that both of these actions are equally bad/good? Did I do something wrong in either or both cases? Would criticism of one action be more warranted than the other?

    * The statement is in no way legally binding

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: Casting an all white Exodus is the norm, casting an African American as James Bond or the Human Torch freaks people out, as does casting a female Ghostbusters.

    I had my doubts as Idris Elba in Thor because why the hell would the Vikings have a black god? But the man owned every scene he was in, and that was up against Tom Hiddlestone, Renee Russo, and even Anthony Hopkins.

    The issue with a black man as the Human Torch is that he and the Invisible Girl/Woman are supposed to be siblings, and they cast a white woman as Sue. That required some serious gymnastics to preserve the FF’s family dynamic that is essential to the concept.

    How interesting, though, it’s Good when non-white actors take on traditionally white roles, but Bad when a white person takes on a tradtional non-white role.

  34. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    I really don’t understand why you have such a thing about SJWs

    Allow me to express the reason. The methods employed by SJWs lead to neither justice nor equality. They lead, however, towards Playboy ceasing to publish nude pictorials.

    Let me repeat that: SJWs do not create the conditions for justice or equality. They just make the world a little less interesting.

    @Jenos Idanian:

    How interesting, though, it’s Good when non-white actors take on traditionally white roles, but Bad when a white person takes on a tradtional non-white role.

    My point exactly. Once it’s established that any actor can play any role, you don’t get to complain exclusively about white actors taking on non-white roles.

    Unless you’re racist.

  35. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The issue with a black man as the Human Torch is that he and the Invisible Girl/Woman are supposed to be siblings, and they cast a white woman as Sue. That required some serious gymnastics to preserve the FF’s family dynamic that is essential to the concept.

    I know this may come as a shock to you, but mixed race families do exist.

    How interesting, though, it’s Good when non-white actors take on traditionally white roles, but Bad when a white person takes on a tradtional non-white role.

    What an utterly predictable and boring misinterpretation of what I said.

  36. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    They lead, however, towards Playboy ceasing to publish nude pictorials.

    BS, market forces led Playboy to that decision. They want to be Facebook and workplace break accessible to keep their brand more active. Keeping their brand active means they make more money on merchandizing, which is their primary income stream. SJWs didn’t target Playboy to do this. You are grasping at straws here.

    My point exactly. Once it’s established that any actor can play any role, you don’t get to complain exclusively about white actors taking on non-white roles.

    The thing is, this has NOT been established in any meaningful sense. White is still the default. Explicitly non-white roles are few and far between. I expect better from you than from Jenos. This is truly disappointing. I hope you will actually engage with the substance of my argument.
    I asked you a few questions above, that would be a good place to start.

  37. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    BS, market forces led Playboy to that decision.

    Oh man…I think I’m just going to give up here. Of course we’re talking about market forces. We’re talking about social justice warriors -activists- not government agents.

    You talk about “Keeping their brand active,” but that’s not what they’re doing. They’re totally re-branding. They’re going for a younger audience that wants to read Playboy on Facebook, minus the nude photos.

    This is a complete 180 from my generation, which only wanted to read Playboy for the nude photos. Why does the younger generation want a nude-free Playboy?

    Here’s my answer: 20 years of liberal prudery.

    The thing is, this has NOT been established in any meaningful sense.

    Yeah, it has. It even has its own wikipedia page.

    White is still the default.

    If you believe that, you haven’t been paying attention. There has never been more effort than now to give juicy roles to non-white actors. Hell, they’ll hire an actor of color these days just to make the SJWs happy. If it makes things weird, in the words of John Boyega, “Deal with it.”

    But the SJWs won’t ever be happy. This angst confuses them, makes them think they’re fighting for racial and gender equality, when really all they want to do is keep the white man down, justifying the endeavor with bogus arguments about “privilege.”

    Go ahead, deny it.

    I asked you a few questions above, that would be a good place to start.

    What do you want me to say?

    I don’t believe in racism. I don’t believe in the “privilege” framework you won’t let yourself get out of. I don’t believe in lazy, shallow displays of performative morality.

    I believe SJWs perpetuate racism. I think they’re so focused on a certain form or privilege that they’re blind to all the other forms of privilege. I believe that defeating racism is hard work, and it won’t be accomplished by staging a version of Steel Magnolias with black actors.

  38. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    They’re going for a younger audience that wants to read Playboy on Facebook, minus the nude photos.

    Facebook is NOT where to find a younger audience. The younger audience communicates with their friends on other platforms like instagram, snapchat, and tumblr. They use facebook to communicate with their family. Playboy wants to be on facebook to compete with Maxim and Esquire there and support their merchandising arm. Nobody cares about Playboy’s nudes and certainly won’t pay for something that a google search will turn up more of in 3 seconds. This change doesn’t mean what you think it does.

    The thing is, this has NOT been established in any meaningful sense.

    Yeah, it has. It even has its own wikipedia page.

    That the idea of race neutral casting has a wiki does NOT make it anything approaching standard practice. The American Communist Party also has a wiki, does that mean that it is prevalent in American politics?

    If you believe that, you haven’t been paying attention. There has never been more effort than now to give juicy roles to non-white actors.

    They are up from zero effort to minimal effort. It is a move in the right direction, but no where near what you are claiming. As an analogy, there as never been more effort to ensure work place equality. Does that mean that women get equal pay for equal work? There has never been more effort to ensure equal rights for LGBT. Does that mean that discrimination has ended? There has never been more effort to ensure equal protection by police. Does that mean that the African American experience with police is the same as white experience with the police?

    when really all they want to do is keep the white man down

    If you think the white man is being kept down in any meaningful sense you are living in a very different world.

    I don’t believe in the “privilege” framework you won’t let yourself get out of.

    You have demonstrated a deep misunderstanding about what is meant by privilege. It is very similar to the misunderstanding that many have about feminism equating it with man hating female chauvinism.

    I think they’re so focused on a certain form or privilege that they’re blind to all the other forms of privilege.

    No, you simply equate someone saying you enjoy privilege because you are white and male and can pass as christian for saying you have all the privileges.

    I believe that defeating racism is hard work

    No doubt it is and it is made harder work by this type of criticism by so called allies.

    and it won’t be accomplished by staging a version of Steel Magnolias with black actors

    No it won’t, but it won’t be helped by criticizing that production while giving a pass to the all white production of Exodus.

  39. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    I missed this bit.

    Why does the younger generation want a nude-free Playboy?

    I don’t know where you are getting the idea that the younger generation doesn’t want to sexually provocative images. Reading that after seeing what the girls were wearing in my lecture this morning made me laugh. Younger people, and indeed a quick at the numbers would indicate that almost all people, prefer to get their sexually provocative images somewhere other than playboy. Their instagram and tumblr feeds have much more provacative images than playboy and often of people that they will actually see in person. It is mind boggling to me that you think the sexting generation is prudish. I don’t think you could be much further off the mark if you tried.

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: You did notice that I said Mr. Elba was the best actor in his movie, right? And in the rebooted FF (which I skipped), I assume that they explained how the black man and white woman were half-siblings or step-siblings or something. Which was time that could have been spent advancing the plot.

    Which, I understand, could have really used the assistance…

  41. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: I know this may come as a shock to you, but mixed race families do exist.

    Really? That is SO helpful to hear. I was confused by the families of Barack Obama and George Zimmerman and Clarence Thomas…

  42. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Nobody cares about Playboy’s nudes

    My God, bud… I’m trying to figure out how we got from “3.6 million subscribers in 1979 cared about Playboy’s nudes” to today’s “Nobody cares about Playboy’s nudes.”

    That the idea of race neutral casting has a wiki does NOT make it anything approaching standard practice.

    No, the constant braying from the SJW makes it standard practice. I don’t know if you noticed, but Rooney Mara’s Pan was a huge flop. Now much of that probably has to do with how tapped out Peter Pan is as a subject and how awful that movie looks generally, but I’m sure that some of it has to do with the fact that every reviewer felt compelled to mention the “problematic” casting of a white actress.

    They are up from zero effort to minimal effort.

    Yes, I would agree that SJW apply minimal effort. (Boom boom peesh.)

    Look, man, I would agree that unequal pay for women is a problem but I don’t see why solving it requires me to buy into a worldview that would totally fall apart the second it leaves the United States. I mean, you know who’s not worried about the white male patriarchy?

    The Chinese.

    You have demonstrated a deep misunderstanding about what is meant by privilege.

    Disagreement, not misunderstanding.

    If you think the white man is being kept down in any meaningful sense you are living in a very different world.

    I don’t think the white man is being kept down. But I do think SJWs wouldn’t mind it if they were. Maybe I’m wrong.

    But the constant fixation on the white male makes me think otherwise.

    No, you simply equate someone saying you enjoy privilege because you are white and male and can pass as christian for saying you have all the privileges.

    Let me tell you what my white male privilege bought me: Nothing.

    it’s a classic error. “The privileged all seem to be white people. Therefore, white people are the privileged.” Not the case, man, not the case. This country is 70% white, but we’re all ruled by the 1%. Do the math, man.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You did notice that I said Mr. Elba was the best actor in his movie, right?

    Idris Elba is often the best part of any movie he’s in.

    (I was using the editorial “you” by the way and, shockingly, agreeing with you. Revised slightly, it would read: “Once it’s established that any actor can play any role, one doesn’t get to complain exclusively about white actors taking on non-white roles.

    Unless one is racist. ” It’s less finger-pointy that way.)

    @Grewgills:

    Reading that after seeing what the girls were wearing in my lecture this morning made me laugh.

    Please tell me that you will resist indoctrinating them into thinking that pornographic images are degrading to women…

  44. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    My God, bud… I’m trying to figure out how we got from “3.6 million subscribers in 1979 cared about Playboy’s nudes” to today’s “Nobody cares about Playboy’s nudes.”

    As I and others have mentioned before, the reason is ubiquitous and free porn at virtually every potential subscribers’ fingertips is why people no longer care about playboy’s nudes. In a few seconds time I could find nudes and much, much more that make playboy’s offerings look either tame or raunchy depending on my tastes. Nudes simply aren’t the money draw they once were. It would be akin to having free fried chicken of any type you wanted available on every street corner and then blaming PETA for KFCs going out of business.

    No, the constant braying from the SJW makes it standard practice.

    Yet, somehow as I look through all of the films currently playing at my local cinemaplex only the Maze Runner sequel has a non-white actor in one of the major roles. Where are all of these roles white folks are losing?

    Look, man, I would agree that unequal pay for women is a problem but I don’t see why solving it requires me to buy into a worldview that would totally fall apart the second it leaves the United States. I mean, you know who’s not worried about the white male patriarchy?

    The Chinese.

    Shockingly enough the argument for privilege doesn’t collapse when you move to another society where different groups hold the privileges. That argument is rather like saying that arguments against racist police abuse falls apart because of Zimbabwe.

    Disagreement, not misunderstanding.

    The way you have disagreed, equating having privilege to having all the privileges, indicates a fundamental misunderstanding or intentional straw manning.

    I don’t think the white man is being kept down. But I do think SJWs wouldn’t mind it if they were. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Then why did you say: “when really all they want to do is keep the white man down”. That would seem to pretty clearly indicate that the white man is being kept down.
    And yes, you are wrong, as wrong as you would be if you claimed that feminists just want to keep men down.

    But the constant fixation on the white male makes me think otherwise.

    The fixation in the US on white male privilege is because in the US that is where the bulk of the privilege rests. In China the fixation would be on Chinese men, potentially an ethnic subset of Chinese men. It would also attach to membership in the party and perhaps a few other signifiers. Not all privilege is white or male or christian, but in the US there and with wealth and family connections is where the vast majority of the privilege rests.

    Let me tell you what my white male privilege bought me: Nothing.

    I don’t know you, but I’d be willing to bet you are wrong.

    This country is 70% white, but we’re all ruled by the 1%. Do the math, man.

    Again you equate having privilege with having all the privileges. Going back in time several hundred years, birth gave privileges. Guild members had privileges, knights had privileges, lords had more privileges, royalty had even more privileges. The fundamental error lies in thinking that since the royalty ran things that lords, knights, and guild leaders didn’t have any privileges.
    @James Pearce:

    Please tell me that you will resist indoctrinating them into thinking that pornographic images are degrading to women…

    I’m teaching them biology. That foray would be rather off topic and inappropriate.
    I will, however, teach my daughter how to recognize images and actions, whether pornographic or not, that are degrading to people (women or not). I would hope you would do the same if you had a child.

  45. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    In a few seconds time I could find nudes and much, much more that make playboy’s offerings look either tame

    Yes, of this I have no doubt. That’s why I’m somewhat dubious that ubiquitous hardcore pornography rendered Playboy’s tame nudes moot. Oh, it’s in the press release.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s true.

    I just looked through the films currently playing at my local cinemaplex and only the Maze Runner sequel has a non-white actor in one of the major roles. Where are all of these roles white folks are losing?

    Well, first, there’s plenty of roles to go around. Secondly, it never ceases to amaze me that people who claim to want to watch non-white actors in leading roles do not watch movies with non-white actors in leading roles.

    Asia (both East and South) is pumping out some awesome cinema, almost none of which features white actors. Want a different perspective from male WASPs? There ya go.

    Spend some effort curating interests beyond what’s playing at the multiplex.

    If you’re interested in seeing stories about non-white, non-male characters, why go to movies that feature almost exclusively white male characters? Batman, Spiderman, Superman, James Bond. At least the Star Wars guy were smart enough not to make Han Solo or Luke Skywalker black, but instead created a whole new character for a black actor to play. That’s how to create diversity. Not by making white people lose roles.

    where different groups hold the privileges.

    Which was my point…The powerful are privileged. In this country, those people just happen to be white.

    I will, however, teach my daughter how to recognize images and actions, whether pornographic or not, that are degrading to people (women or not).

    That’s a good standard. I like it. Just make sure to include that sexual activities between consenting adults are not really degrading.

  46. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    That’s why I’m somewhat dubious that ubiquitous hardcore pornography rendered Playboy’s tame nudes moot.

    Those tame nudes are also ubiquitous and free on the internet. Why would anyone pay for a subscription to playboy to get what they can easily get more of for free at any point they want? SJWs have nothing to do with it. The utter ubiquity of free prurient material of any type anyone could want killed the look at these titties business model. Facebook has an irrational fear of nipples. That has nothing to do with SJWs and everything to do with them wanting to be a ‘family friendly’ platform. As I mentioned before, the teen students I have communicate with their families on facebook and with their friends on instagram, snapchat, or some other platform.

    Well, first, there’s plenty of roles to go around.

    You made the claim that SJWs have successfully changed Hollywood casting, there’s even a wiki about it. Yet when I check your claim against what’s at the box office I see a whole lot of white and very little else.

    Secondly, it never ceases to amaze me that people who claim to want to watch non-white actors in leading roles do not watch movies with non-white actors in leading roles.

    What makes you think that I don’t?

    Asia (both East and South) is pumping out some awesome cinema, almost none of which features white actors.

    Which has absolutely fwck all to do with your claim about SJWs’ influence on Hollywood or what is actually happening in film production in the US. Maybe Asian Americans that want juicy roles should move to Asia? and African Americans that want juicy roles should go to Africa?

    Spend some effort curating interests beyond what’s playing at the multiplex.

    I have gone to the multiplex 3-4 times in the past 5 years. For us, it is generally netflix or hulu or some other internet option.

    That’s how to create diversity. Not by making white people lose roles.

    You seem rather fixated on the idea that white actors are going to lose roles. If whites are about 70% of the population, yet are 90% of the actors cast in major motion pictures, then more equitable casting could mean some lost roles for white actors. Why does this prospect bother you so much more than the dearth of roles for anyone not white?

    Which was my point…The powerful are privileged. In this country, those people just happen to be white.

    You’re half way there. Simply being white affords some privilege in the US. Simply being male also affords some privilege here. Ditto simply being christian, wealthy, well connected, tall and/or attractive. All of these things offer some privilege, some of them more than others. That wealth and connections offer privilege doesn’t mean that being white or christian or male don’t also offer privileges.

    Just make sure to include that sexual activities between consenting adults are not really degrading.

    If you think that SJWs believe different, then you don’t understand them at all. Many, if not most, SJWs are sex positive.

  47. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Facebook has an irrational fear of nipples.

    They have an irrational fear of pissing people off. You know what pisses people off? Nipples. That’s right, parents, socons, and SJWs are all pissed off by nipples, for very different reasons.

    And those reasons are puritanical.

    You made the claim that SJWs have successfully changed Hollywood casting

    And it’s true. There has never been more effort to get actors of color starring movie roles or television vehicles. I remember reading a things years ago about Taraji B Henson saying that studios didn’t know how bankable she was. Now she’s proving it on Empire. They shoulda listened…

    Trust me, if you don’t see movies with non-white actors, it’s not because they don’t exist. It’s because you haven’t found them. (Netflix and Hulu are great for this, by the way.)

    Simply being white affords some privilege in the US.

    Does it? What privileges do I enjoy for simply being white? Please tell me so that I can avail myself of them.

    I mean, I get what you’re saying. Racism is alive and well in the United States. Sexism is alive and well, too. This doesn’t mean that white males are “privileged.” That idea comes from a framework which I don’t really buy into. Is it a privilege not to be oppressed? Or is that just, like, the way it should be?

    Many, if not most, SJWs are sex positive.

    I hate to sound daft, but I don’t even know what that means. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I do understand the concept. And it sounds good. I mean, who doesn’t like sex, and positive? Great powerful word.

    But it only makes sense in a certain context, and as I’ve stated multiple times, I don’t fully buy into that context.

  48. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    You know what pisses people off? Nipples. That’s right, parents, socons, and SJWs are all pissed off by nipples, for very different reasons.

    They definitely bother socons. They bother some parents, though the parents I know here couldn’t care less about visible nipples. Most of the men and women in our circle of toddler parents are people you would consider SJWs. Not a one of them is concerned about nipples on face book or anywhere else including on the street, on beaches and in malls. They are all in fact rather vocally upset about puritanical attitudes towards breasts. Those attitudes have meant that a good few of the mothers have been asked to feed their babies in the toilet so other customers won’t have to see their breast. It is NOT SJWs that oppose women’s breasts in public or on Facebook.

    Trust me, if you don’t see movies with non-white actors, it’s not because they don’t exist. It’s because you haven’t found them.

    Trust me, if you don’t think the default casting position is white you haven’t been paying attention. Netflix and some other smaller producers and distributors have been doing a much better job of race neutral and even gender neutral casting*, but that hasn’t broken through to major Hollywood productions. Look at the big budget films out on any given year or look at Oscar nominations and it is obvious what the default casting postion still is.

    Does it? What privileges do I enjoy for simply being white? Please tell me so that I can avail myself of them.

    To name a few, you are more likely to be employed, more likely to be offered credit and at better terms, and less likely to be shot by a cop than if you are black. Those may not seem like privileges to you, but if you lost them you would feel it. Ask any African American.

    Is it a privilege not to be oppressed? Or is that just, like, the way it should be?

    Yes, it is the way it should be, but that is not the way it is. When you are competing for work, education, housing, etc with people that are oppressed then hell yes it is a privilege not to be oppressed. That is the root of what privilege is and that is why I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding about what people mean when they say privilege.

    I hate to sound daft, but I don’t even know what that means.

    The wiki on the sex positive movement and on sex positive feminism are ok. Dan Savage is an advocate and generally give a pretty good explanation as to what it means.
    I think you are mistaking an objection to certain types of objectification for puritanism. I can think certain types of porn or even most porn show unhealthy sexual relations and still love having sex or even watching people have sex. That isn’t puritanism, it is an aversion to the promotion of unhealthy sexuality. BTW, I equally object to the view of romance and love portrayed in almost all popular media as it also promotes unrealistic and unhealthy choices. I don’t think it should be banned, but I’ll damn sure teach my daughter better than to believe any of that crap.

    But it only makes sense in a certain context, and as I’ve stated multiple times, I don’t fully buy into that context.

    What context are you talking about in regards to being sex positive?

    * Sense8 on Netflix was great