October 19, 2015
‘The Playboy pitch was for the gamma male who fancies himself an alpha…’
John Robson writes:
Its first editor’s letter said “We enjoy mixing up cocktails, and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” It would be Nietzsche and Picasso, even though Hefner actually assembled early Playboys on an apartment card table wearing white socks with black shoes and washing down fried chicken with Pepsi.
As I’ve written before, the “gauche, twitchy” Hefner was only able to pull off his “Most Interesting Man in the World” pose because we collectively, for whatever reason, went along — a sort of Emperor’s New Smoking Jacket or Sexual Stockholm Syndrome.
“Society” “need” a Hefner right that very second, and he’d have to do.
Watch his excruciating TV appearances and anyone can see that he’s a ridiculous poseur, a little boy playing at being a grownup playing at being another grownup.
Colby Cosh adds:
That is the funny thing nobody notices about the decline of Playboy. It lost its cultural pre-eminence long before it lost its place as a venue for photography of the nude. A cultural archeologist seeking to document the history of the interview as an art form, or to account for the march to respectability of science fiction, cannot possibly avoid rummaging through mid-century back numbers of the magazine.