"As a woman, you can be smart and naked at the same time."
- Miss March 2017 Elizabeth Elam
So, I picked up the latest issue of Playboy - the one which celebrates the magazine's return to nudity - and I can safely say...it has earned my badge of approval. It's rare for me to find people out there in the public eye who hold similar ideological stances to my own (which, sadly, explains why I'm used to disappointment), but it's almost as if Chief Creative Officer Cooper Hefner took the advice I laid out last week (that is, if the issue hadn't almost certainly already been published by that time).
The pictorials are artistic - both tasteful and erotic, with more of an emphasis on natural beauty than what I've seen from the magazine in recent decades. What's more - as alluded to in Cooper's introduction to Playboy's new philosophy - the magazine takes what I would call a libertarian approach (as demonstrated in its articles and interviews), recognizing the flaws inherent in both the modern liberal and conservative platforms, while emphasizing the importance of civil liberties and freedom of expression.
"We need to identify who our allies are at a time when, on the liberal side, a culture of political correctness discourages debate that may hurt people's feelings and, on the conservative side, politicians seem comfortable jeopardizing the rights of specific groups in the belief that it will 'make America great again.'"
- Cooper Hefner
I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised. Rather than a tacky and outdated relic from a bygone era, this issue feels relevant and interesting. Features include an interview with Scarlett Johansson, an article on porn's contribution to the continuing development of virtual reality, and a survey of various up-scale recreational marijuana-based products, among other things. I'd be proud to display this magazine on my bookshelf or coffee table - that is, if we didn't live in such an uptight society.
Every freedom we are granted is undermined by the insidious shadow that it casts in the form of its potential to "corrupt" the young and innocent. You see, it's one thing to support these "lifestyle choices" as an independent adult, but there's still the risk of being charged with "contributing to the delinquency of minors" if any children are unduly exposed to these alternative viewpoints (not coincidentally making it harder to cultivate public awareness and thereby erode established values), despite the hypocritical fact that exposing kids to harmful things like bigotry and second hand smoke is perfectly acceptable.
Anyway, I obviously can't guarantee that Playboy will maintain this level of quality in the months to come, but I can say this: my hopes have been raised, and my curiosity has been piqued. I'll be paying attention.
"Sex is figuratively the big bang behind...all of conscious existence and civilization itself."
- Cooper Hefner
On that note, it's not just nudity that's normal. Sexual arousal is normal, too. But I suppose we'd better take these things one step at a time...