Some time ago my brother was working a job where he found vintage issues from 1971 of Playboy. Reading through these magazines I couldn’t help but see evidence of the dumbing down of America. I’m certain there were as many centerfolds eligible for Mensa back then as there are now, but what was different between Playboy then and now was found in the pages not dedicated to what they once called, “pictorials”.
The Playboy of 1971 was so text heavy some sections of it could be confused with today’s New Yorker. With so many articles in a magazine famous for nude pics you could see how it was possible to make a living as a writer back in the twentieth century.
They had short stories by authors like Arthur C. Clarke and Nabakov. The interviews were lengthy and featured people more likely to be described as intellectual heavyweights than brain dead actors. Most of the cartoons were weak and involved some variation of a guy making out with an undressed married woman whose husband was absent, but there was occasionally an amusing one (like the cartoon where David slingshots a rock at Goliath and a Philistine saying, “What a cheap shot. No wonder I’m anti-semitic.” ).
Were the articles included becuase of censorship laws back then? Did a magazine need a certain percentage of text per smut to be sold on newsstands? Or were readers more demanding and wanted metaphors with their tits and ass?
One thing’s for certain from yesteryear’s Playboy, women were much more fond of their pubic hair in 1971 then they are today.