Particularly since the Web came of age—so, for perhaps the past 15 or 16 years as I type—Playboy’s pictorials are really rather quaint. I mean, if you’re crackin’ a Playboy to see naked women, you’re leading a very, very sheltered life. (You’re also going to get a warped, and dreadfully sterile, idea of what beauty is.)
And that’s pretty much why they’re saying they’re getting rid of nudity in the magazine. There’s no mystery of any kind when it comes to “adult content” on the information superhighway (remember when we called it that?). Also, there’s some speculation that they’re dropping nudity to raise the brand’s respectability in China and India.
I thought the paper magazine’s days were probably numbered, but I didn’t anticipate it turning into Maxim before it winked out of existence.
When I was about nine, my friend Edwin and I sat on his living room couch with one of his dad’s Playboys, with a People or something on the outside, with our babysitter sitting right in the room with us. We thought we were really pulling one over on her. I think that’s the last time I looked at a Playboy and found it genuinely, significantly entertaining.
Also quoting myself, this time from nearly eight years ago:
…this intended demographic seems awfully muddled. Here is Paris Hilton on one page, and Fred Thompson on the next. Here’s an ad for an Xbox 360 game; here’s another for a $75,000 car. There are liquor ads throughout.
Ah, I’ve got it! Playboy‘s readership is composed primarily of college kids and middle-aged men who each wish they were the other.
I think I still like that assessment.