HUSTLER PUBLISHED A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO PORN ANNUALLY IN THE ’70S AND ’80S. ITS PREMIERE APPEARANCE, BACK IN 1976, FEATURED 11 MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE ADULT PUBLISHING GAME. TODAY WE HAVE THREE…NO, WAIT, TWO…WELL, ACTUALLY JUST ONE.
PLAYBOY ($7.99, 9346 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210)
Do you love male models? Advertisements for stupid, ugly shit that you can’t afford and don’t need? Pretension backed by zero substance? Then smoke up, Johnny, this is the magazine for you! Technically peddled under the name Playboy, a brand unsuspecting consumers might reasonably associate with mainstream porn, the publication no longer contains pictures of nekkid ladies. Assuming that young folk these days still find beautiful, naked females appealing, Playboy’s decision to ban nudity is not, as it claims, an attempt to appeal to millennials. Rather it’s a cowardly cave to the no-adult policies held by media conglomerates like Instagram and Apple. Selfcensorship is still censorship; when you have to cut off your nuts to play ball, you don’t bring much to the game.
Playboy does look better designwise. Graphic clutter has been replaced by clean lines and more white space, a style that probably seemed modern 20 years ago. Fussy, overblown sets have been replaced by the kind of amateur “Oops—did I leave the flash on?” photography made mainstream by Terry Richardson about, again, 20 years ago. The more-plastic, more-cosmetics-is more-look Playboy favored for decades has been replaced by candids. There are some good articles, most notably Javier Valadez’s first-person account of his deportation, and Afghanistan combat vet Matt Farwell’s piece on a new medical procedure to treat PTSD.