Requiem for a Centerfold

By Richard Horgan Comment

PlayboyNovember1981CoverIf Financial Times U.S. national editor Gary Silverman were to ever  list his “turn-ons” and “turn-offs,” a mention of one of today’s most dominant digital media trends would almost certainly appear in the latter category.

In a brief but discerning take on this week’s momentous decision by Playboy to phase out female nudity from the U.S. print edition, Silverman mourns the passing of a primary newspaper and magazine consumption pattern of old. The joys of unexpected content juxtaposition, he argues, have been hijacked by the juggernaut of narrower specialization:

The newspaper reader’s eye would jump from an article about politics to one about gardening. Playboy would dangle big breasts in front of one-track minds and then give them a Margaret Atwood or a James Baldwin, too.

The serendipitous streak of the magazine was laid bare all the way back in Playboy’s inaugural 1953 issue, in which no less a threesome than Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso and Friedrich Nietzsche came together as never before.

Indeed. We’ll add just one personal memory of the commingling celebrated by Silverman. The November 1981 U.S. edition of Playboy had Shannon Tweed on the cover, Oriana Fallaci interviewed by Robert Scheer and David Halberstam assessing the state of the NBA.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
The Playboy Playmate Reaction Story

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