PLAYBOY DECIDES TO COVER UP: But Their Poison Has Already Infected Society

So, Playboy is taking a stab at standard-issue decency? At least a vague stab?

It was just announced that, starting in March 2017, Hugh Hefner’s pioneering porno, which first bowed with a Marilyn Monroe cover sixty-two years ago, will no longer feature “fully nude” beauties, opting instead for women offering mere “provocative poses”. 

Perhaps, more Victoria Secret than venereal?  Less in the Penthouse mold and more the PG-13? 

Well — Hef’s rag minus the show-it-all shots. The obvious question can’t be scanted: What’s the point? And what’s next? McDonald’s limiting their menu to  veggie burgers? Planned Parenthood’s scrapping the baby-killing and marketing only chastity belts?

Point is, maybe it’s best to just put Playboy out of it’s soft-core misery altogether.  Dialing back the prurient photos won’t confer a dignity it never had.

Seriously, the magazine’s purpose always has been primarily, nearly singularly, to empower men to eyeball the bodies of women sans clothing. All its other pretensions are nothing more than,  pardon the pun, window-dressing.

Playboy‘s empire is the life’s-work of a now-eighty-nine-year old, former Methodist Midwesterner who is increasingly known for ridiculously pattering around his mansion in his bathrobe (a trenchcoat might be more fitting) surrounded by a rotating succession of fame-desperate, peroxide- and silicone-enhanced bimbos; somebody’s daughters, by the way. Other regular Hef-hangers-on include fellow degenerates who regard the tumescent male phallus the end-all/be-all of a fulfilled existence; and who are devoted, along with their nearly-nonagenarian mentor, to spreading the gospel of unrestrained coitus. Playboy magazine? Their un-sacred text. 

Bluntly: Hefner’s abomination never was, and likely never will be, any kind of respectable product. It, bottom line, never was anything more than a monthly masturbation aid for men; a glossy, four-color assault on decency.  For six decades, this jerk-off journal has been injecting the poison of perversion into society’s marrow  — particularly male society’s; mainstreaming the basest kind of self-gratifying exploitation of women. 

All the Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr, Gore Vidal,  William F. Buckley, Jr., Bill Gates interviews it landed, the manifold investigative journalism projects it undertook, the sheafs of tony fictional stories it premiered,  can’t change that. 

The release of 1953’s inaugural issue was nothing less than the lighting of a fornicative fuse, eventually igniting a sex-saturation bomb that has, indeed, swamped Western Culture. Lewdness everywhere, all the time! “[F]rom furtive to ubiquitous,” as the New York Times Ravi Somaiyaoct phrased it. Gone was any need to crouch in the neighbor’s shrubbery and peek through the curtains for a glimpse of  the nekkid girl-next-door. Now you could plunk down a few bucks and ogle away in the comfort of your home courtesy of what has, bewilderingly, become a semi-acceptable publication. 

University of Missouri history professor Steven Watts writes, “Newsday would describe the magazine as ‘the unofficial publication of the sexual revolution’.” London’s Times Magazine has deemed it one of the  chief “influences … that most shaped the changing sexual standards of post-war America.” Hefner himself even pompously boasts his greatest pride is “the part [he’s] played in changing the social sexual values of our time.” 

Yes, Hugh Hefner and his mainstay carried out their feculent mission well. 

Particularly disappointing — and disgusting —  were male callers to prominent female talker Laura Ingraham’s program who responded to tidings of Playboy‘s remake by waxing misty-eyed over the days of yore when sampling the publication was a young man’s “rite of passage”. One even snickered about youthful “dumpster diving”, rooting around for cast-off issues. (A probably unintentionally apt and potent image, since the trash heap is exactly the place Playboy and it’s copy-cats have deserved from the jump.) 

Fortunately, the hour wrapped with plaintive testimony which introduced a dose of reality to the discussion: a middle-aged man lamenting the putrefying consequences early exposure to pornography exerted on him (an elder brother did him the disservice). Morphing from a taste for what could be considered comparatively “tame” shots of unclad females into a debilitating, full-blown addiction to harder and grosser salacious fare, the caller conceded his attitudes toward women, sex, his wife — his life! — has never recovered. It’s a mournful tale that can be retailed by millions of others — men and women — today.

Ahh, for those halcyon Playboy days-of-old! 

I’m quite grateful when I was a boy my father made it explicit to me: honorable men don’t partake of dreck like Playboy. True, his firmly professed standards didn’t hermetically shield me from any and all contact with the lewd stuff. I was always titillated on those relatively rare occasions when friends and I were able to surreptitiously access their father’s smut stash — under the parents’ bed, hidden in a drawer somewhere, tucked away next to the recliner among more innocent reading material. Candidly, I was also mildly dumbfounded — because that kind of thing simply never turned up around my homestead. As a now middle-aged fellow myself, I’m thankful Pauwels père never played a role sowing those sordid, Hefneresque seeds into his son’s heart. 

To me, it was emphasized early on : Playboy magazine and its ilk are no good; to be assiduously avoided. 

Cut from thoroughgoingly heterosexual stock, I marvel at the beauty of all God’s creation, yet have to wonder: has He managed to come up with any temporal masterpiece more glorious than the female form? I’m thinking: Not in my book! Still, He admonishes (and experience continually confirms this wisdom): that’s a glory to be indulged and enjoyed exuberantly by a husband loving his wife; and only in that context  (See: Proverbs 5).

Plainly, one place God never intended feminine magnificence to be showcased? A sleazy slick called Playboy that’s been defiling the culture for over half a century. It’s a scabby legacy, and one Cory Jones, the publication’s top hand, seems to sheepishly acknowledge. He’s the driving force behind this woefully tardy effort to clean up Heffner’s mess; and he admits, “Don’t get me wrong …twelve-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.” 

An even better thing, Cory, would have been if your creepy, old boss had chosen to privately and constructively work out whatever issues were bedeviling him; instead of corrupting the entire planet with glamorized excrement that’s been befouling twelve-year-olds – and those younger and older — since mid-last century.

Don’t spruce up Playboy, fellas. Rather, as an earth-shaking demonstration of penitence, shut it down.

Image:; © Glenn Francis,

Share if you think, at this point, Playboy just needs to close its doors.

About the author: Steve Pauwels

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and an editor of He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

View all articles by Steve Pauwels

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