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Title: The Creative Destruction of Nudity in Playboy Magazine
Source: The Freeman
URL Source: http://fee.org/freeman/the-creative ... of-nudity-in-playboy-magazine/
Published: Oct 16, 2015
Author: Sarah Skwire
Post Date: 2015-10-16 10:33:00 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 541
Comments: 8

Playboy has finally found a new way to shock and titillate America.

The magazine has announced that it will no longer feature full nudity. Instead, it will be moving toward a partially clad, cheesecake pin-up style.

The desire for pictures of fresh-faced girls next door — filled by Playboy in ersatz and airbrushed fashion — is, presumably, easily filled by the actual girls next door on Snapchat and Tinder.

When I heard the news, I immediately wondered what the great economist Joseph Schumpeter would have made of it. Schumpeter, who famously sought to become the world’s greatest economist, lover, and horseman — and admitted to failure only when it came to horses — would surely have followed the news from Playboy with interest.

But Schumpeter’s interest would have been as professional as it was prurient. As Michael Miller reports in the Washington Post,

By routinizing provocative images of naked women, Playboy inevitably created a market for its own rivals. In the 1970s, the magazine went head to head with newcomer Penthouse, whose more graphic female nudity pushed Playboy to become more extreme as well…. Playboy eventually toned down its photos in an attempt to re-establish its “girl next door” reputation, but the company would face even stiffer competition with the rise of the Internet. Suddenly, graphic porn wasn’t just available online. It was free. Playboy’s circulation, which had peaked at 5.6 million in 1975, plummeted to its present tally of 800,000.

The disappearance of full nudity from Playboy magazine is, in other words, a perfect example of Schumpeter’s concept of creative destruction. Schumpeter wrote that the “essential fact about capitalism” is creative destruction — the process “that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structurefrom within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”

Just as buggy-whip makers were driven out of business by the rise of the automobile and manufacturers of wall phones were driven out by the rise of the cell phone, traditional purveyors of pornography can be driven out by new technology. In fact, pornography may be a business that is particularly sensitive to technological progress. Though it’s a disputed claim, many technology magazines have claimed that the superior availability of naughty movies on VHS lead to the demise of BetaMax. The legal scholar Peter Johnson argued in 1996 that

Throughout the history of new media, from vernacular speech to movable type, to photography, to paperback books, to videotape, to cable and pay-TV, to “900” phone lines, to the French Minitel, to the Internet, to CD-ROMs and laser discs, pornography has shown technology the way.

The two decades since Johnson’s article have only proven him more correct. With an ever increasing amount of free nudity available online in ways that allow users to precisely calibrate the images they find in order to satisfy their individual desires, the images in Playboy began to seem increasingly quaint and out of date. The desire for pictures of fresh-faced girls next door — filled by Playboy in ersatz and airbrushed fashion — is, presumably, easily filled by the actual girls next door on Snapchat and Tinder. Playboy needed to get creative and change, or be destroyed by its competitors’ creativity.

But while pornography’s critics have long argued that the proliferation of electronic porn is producing a race to be the most hardcore and the most shocking, Playboy has chosen to innovate by going in the opposite direction. This strikes me as a brilliant marketing move.

Playboy may manage to rebrand itself into something as desirable as a pair of vintage horn-rims or a fixed-wheel bicycle.

While the move may well have been done with an eye to skirting China’s laws about pornography, with today’s hipster fascination on reviving the old ways of doing just about everything — from canning food, to home sewing, to vintage dances, fashions, hairstyles, and so on — Playboy’s nod to its status as the 1950s source for cheeky photos is a smart one. Rather than smelling faintly of mothballs, the magazine may manage to rebrand itself into something as desirable as a pair of vintage horn-rims or a fixed-wheel bicycle.

People who worry about innovation and excessive technology and the loss of the good old days should take heart, in other words. The relentless drive of the market, the need to satisfy new customers with different preferences and constraints, the constant push for new technology, and the desire for competitors to stand out in the marketplace, has produced — as its latest innovation — good old-fashioned cheesecake.

Schumpeter would be proud.

 Sarah Skwire is a senior fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbook Writing with a Thesis.

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#1. To: Deckard (#0) (Edited)

The Creative Destruction of Nudity in Playboy Magazine

Playboy and Cosmopolitan magazines have done more to degrade the morality of this country into a embittering cheap pathological clusterdiddle than anything else.

rlk  posted on  2015-10-16   10:44:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: rlk (#1)

Playboy and Cosmopolitan magazines have done more to degrade the morality of this country into a embittering clusterdiddle than anything else.

Gee Robert, I thought marijuana did that.

Personally, I blame the psychiatric profession.

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

In a Cop Culture, the Bill of Rights Doesn’t Amount to Much

Americans who have no experience with, or knowledge of, tyranny believe that only terrorists will experience the unchecked power of the state. They will believe this until it happens to them, or their children, or their friends.
Paul Craig Roberts

Deckard  posted on  2015-10-16   10:48:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#2)

Playboy and Cosmopolitan magazines have done more to degrade the morality of this country into a embittering clusterdiddle than anything else.

Gee Robert, I thought marijuana did that.

Marijuana helps fill the emptyness of the resulting lives.

rlk  posted on  2015-10-16   10:56:09 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: rlk (#1)

"Playboy and Cosmopolitan magazines have done more to degrade the morality of this country into a embittering cheap pathological clusterdiddle than anything else."

I blame the television and movie rating systems which gave producers a green light to air anything they wanted and hide behind the rating. "Don't be shocked. We told you it was rated R".

Before that, producers had to be careful what they made.

misterwhite  posted on  2015-10-16   10:57:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Deckard (#0) (Edited)

Humanity has always wanted to head into the gutter, but was constrained by fear. When the alpha fear was removed, people headed right into the gutter.

The alpha fear was removed by the birth control pill. The Pill did not destroy the Western World. It set the Western World free. It was freedom that destroyed the world, for when men and women are free to do as they please, what they please to do is fuck as often as they can without consequences.

But there are always consequences. With the Pill, the consequences were deferred. The immediate pregnancies ended. But then came abortion and herpes, followed by AIDS, and then a demographic hole that was, is being, and will continue to be filled up with Latinos and Muslims.

The ultimate victory over the entire world of a single religion may have been ushered in by the Pill. And that religion is most likely to be Islam.

Vicomte13  posted on  2015-10-16   11:47:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: rlk (#3)

Marijuana helps fill the emptyness of the resulting lives.

Say WHAT????

Who the hell do those people think they are that they have the right to fill any emptiness in their lives? They should be severely punished for this thought and act,and the torture of eternal boredom will give them something to fill the empty time!

The monsters who help them in this unholy quest to please themselves MUST be tracked down and shot!

Why,the very nerve of these people!!!!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

sneakypete  posted on  2015-10-16   12:27:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: rlk (#3)

Well, you're no fun.

Playboy's got to do something if it wants to survive as a print publication.
I doubt this will do it, but it's good to see them have the balls to try.
Maybe pretty cheesecake and quality writing will work - we'll see.

Or maybe it'll just revert to a nightclub brand and leave it at that.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2015-10-17   17:57:36 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Deckard (#2)

I blame the moral degradation of this nation and the rest of this planet. Satan knows how to use the weakness of mankind for his purposes.

Psalm 37

Don  posted on  2015-10-17   22:27:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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