Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Apparently nobody else does.
If nothing else, the news that Playboy will no longer publish pictures of nude women will provide cover for men who boldly announce they read the magazine for the interviews. 

That number, however, has been shrinking faster than that for network television, with only 800,000 regular "readers" -- or one-third the population of Brooklyn. Or, to be more arcane, an average of 16,000 per state. Heck, let's take it one step further, and compare it to the population of Rhode Island, which is 1,052,057. When your readership is smaller than the population of a state that measures 37 x 48 miles, it's time to take down your bunny ears and go home.

Every sophisticated man aspires
to look like Popeye.
Aside from being the end of an era, the elimination of Playboy's photo spreads poses important problems. Where will young women named Tiffany, Amber or Jade get their first job? Where will washed-up female celebrities go for one last, desperate attempt at relevance? And who will hire the blockhead who writes those stupid jokes?

The answer to all these important questions is also the cause of Playboy's demise: the internet. Scott Flanders, the magazine's CEO, is claiming victory of sorts. "The battle has been fought and won," Flanders told the New York Times, referring to the ability to find sexually-related imagery free and easy on your computer of choice. That's the way an over-the-hill boxer tries bowing out on a high note. I got the shit kicked out of me by other fighters who copied my style. I win! 

The internet took Playboy's "girl next door" routine, however, to another level -- that is, if you lived next door to a brothel. It's so ubiquitous that you can enter almost any phrase or name on a Google image search and, if you scroll down long enough, find a naked man or woman in the most fascinating positions. Sometimes you don't have to scroll at all.

Charley was as shocked as me.
I found that out a few years ago. I had software to make labels for DVDs, which I used for old movies I recorded off TV. I'd download the appropriate movie posters or images of the actors, and stick them on the discs. One afternoon, I was preparing a disc featuring Charley Chase, a comic actor who worked at the Hal Roach studio until 1936. 

However, an innocent Google image search brought up another performer named Charley Chase -- a woman whose movies won't be screened at the next TCM celebrity cruise. Only by re-entering his name as Charlie Chase (he went by both spellings over the years) was I able to find the one I wanted. If you'd like to try this at home, make sure you hit "delete history" before your spouse uses the computer afterwards.

Does anyone over the age
of  19 use this crap?
I have no idea who exactly will buy the new and improved Playboy. If you want a magazine for the "sophisticated male," there's Esquire, whose circulation is lower by 80,000.  Perhaps it's time for Playboy to either go online exclusively or, like its chain of clubs, go out of business. (One remains inside a Los Angeles casino.) Like Sinatra's Rat Pack, there's something sadly old-fashioned about its whole ethos. Would you want your wife or girlfriend to dab herself with Playboy perfume as you put on your Playboy cufflinks? Do women in general go for guys with Playboy bedding and robes? 

No, the Playboy bunny is officially grilled, never to shake its cottontail again.

But where will Bill Cosby find his dates now?


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