Memo to Hugh Hefner: IT'S OVER.
One of the running themes of this column has been Relics That Have Outlived Their Usefulness. Creatures of an earlier era, before the Information Age, back when there were three networks and cigarettes were good for you and if you had a fetish, you damn well kept it to yourself like that nice Bob Crane boy down the street. Political conventions. State fairs. Playboy.
I don't think it's too much to ask for Hugh Hefner to quietly step off-stage and take his magazine and his eight fake girlfriends and his fucking smoking jacket with him. Just quietly fade off into the sunset and let your body turn into oil like the rest of the dinosaurs. People ARE reading Playboy for the articles. It's not a joke anymore.
Playboy is about as relevant to today's society as "Love, American Style", World War I slang, and hair pomade. The airbrushed teat is so fucking precious and quaint, I'm surprised they don't have them stacked on the shelves of Cracker Barrel. Orville Redenbacher should start using Playboy centerfolds in his popcorn commercials. I half-expect to hear Pepperidge Farm remembering nipples, for fucksake. Yet Playboy lumbers on based on its new reputation as Respectable Porn. A nation of grateful wives are glad their husbands are looking at Yet Another Blonde Bimbo's Bare Ass, and not surfing the websites of chicks with dicks. The paragon of daring has become the vanguard of dull.
Of what POSSIBLE use is Playboy in today's world? When it started up, everybody was repressed. Even the people who thought they weren't repressed were still pretty fucking repressed. Now, you almost wish some people were more repressed. Today, if you feel the need to fuck Sonic The Hedgehog, you rent a hotel for a weekend, go on the Internet, and Sonic-fuckers from all over the country will show up with blue fur and hard-ons. You're not gonna get busted or thrown in jail. At most, you're gonna get made fun of by Internet columnists for wanting to get your "inner wolf-soul"'s rocks off.
Playboy opened the door, but all the pervs ran through it and didn't stop running, and Playboy was left standing there with a knob in each hand. Its only option was to move into areas of media culture still incrementally less puritanical than itself in order to seem hip and edgy. There aren't a lot of those left. Pretty much just cartoons and videogames*.
This fall, you'll get your chance to play "Playboy: The Mansion" on PC and consoles. The game is a sort of "Sims With Tits", where you get to run the mansion and the magazine and take nudie pictures of silicon models of silicone models. The target audience appears to be 12-year-old boys, 50-year-olds who've never heard of The Sims, and game reviewers who like to make "hands-on" puns.
And then there's Superbunnies. Having seen the "Land Before Time" movies on many a lazy afternoon in the Mansion, Hef knows that a single dinosaur cannot survive the end-times alone. He must hook up with OTHER dinosaurs in order to last as long as he can. To that purpose, he found Stan Lee. Lee, capitalizing on the phenomenal worldwide success of "Stripperella", is teaming up with Hef to produce a cartoon about Playboy models with superpowers who fight crime.
This is different from Stripperella, in which Pam Anderson plays a stripper who has superpowers and fights crime, in ways that would require me to watch either "Stripperella" or "Superbunnies" to figure out, and that ain't gonna happen. To make up for it, I've had my technicians have worked up a pretty good Dinosaur to English translator, so for the first time, it's ACTUAL BILINGUAL QUOTE TIME!
"Stan and I go back a long ways, and he simply felt it was time for me to reveal my secret identity. You all know me as the editor in chief and publisher of Playboy. But late at night when everyone assumes I'm in the grotto living the good life, I'm out there with the Superbunnies fighting evildoers."- Hugh Hefner
"God, I'm tired. I just want to go home and watch MASH reruns. All the Viagra in the world isn't going to keep this house of cards standing, though, so I better shill this thing like my lifestyle depends on it. Which I hope to God it doesn't." - Hugh Hefner
Stan Lee was not quoted about the show, but through the magic of authorial interpolation, it can be determined that he alliterated a lot, said "True Believer" at least once, made very little sense, and the Dinosaur-English translation software wouldn't have changed a single word.
*I'm aware of both BMX XXX and hentai, but my point still stands.