13 December, 2011

Humbug To Krumpets, And Other Nudie Nonsense

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Humbug To Krumpets, And Other Nudie Nonsense

Christmas is coming, in case you didn’t notice. It’ll be here pretty soon, and you should have probably started shopping for the people for whom you’re going to buy crap. And just so you know, if you’d like to send me some wishes for the season, say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Because it’s Christmas Day not Holidayday. Whether you believe in Christ or not, just say Merry Christmas and don’t be a dick about it. Or if you’d like to be a dick about it, don’t celebrate SAINT Valentine’s Day or SAINT Patrick’s Day. This is me being a dick, by the way. Just say Merry Christmas. Santa will be happy that you did. And you don’t want to piss of Santa, do you. Do you? You do? Lunatic.

Speaking of Christmas (A. Robert Basile; King of All Segues), twenty five years ago in July we were all given a gift. A nationwide present that would give us endless joy and a perception of hope and gladness. Yes, we were all gifted with an extra Christmas Day on July 2nd, 1986. A great day indeed. What was the gift that we received? The summertime Christmas gift? The blessing of all blessings? Lindsey Lohan.
Why would I ever want to talk about Lindsey Lohan? I ask myself that same question nearly everyday. Well, the days that I forget to take my pills, anyway. She’s a blessing to the world, and I’m not just talking about my love for “Machete,” the third greatest movie of all time. Ms. Lohan is a wonderful example of the American Dream. Except not very much at all. With the prison and shitty movies and the drugs… Well, maybe she is the American Dream. See also; [huge list of celebrities] But she is truly a grand Christmas gift to us.
And soonly, she’ll be unwrapped for us all. (And the segues keep coming) That’s right, as you’ve probably heard, she’s in this popular men’s magazine called Playboy Magazine. Have you heard of this periodical? Apparently, and don’t quote me on this, ladies (often of ill repute) remove their clothing and allow individuals with photo taking machines to commit to chemical science the women’s nudity for printing in the pages of this particular nationally circulated printed micro book. Wild stuff, man. They also have a sports section and a fiction section that’s actually really good. So our American sweetheart Lindsey is participating in this photo nudity thing that’s happening. That in itself isn’t interesting because honestly; who didn’t see that coming? I’m actually surprised it wasn’t Swank, and if you read Swank, you’re a dirty, dirty, dirty child. Shame on you. I’m looking at you, Dan and Matt.
Right, so this isn’t news. What is news is that her photos have been leaked. Well, that in itself isn’t news either, but the relevance is this: Playboy has airbrushed our her modifications. Took me five hundred words to get there, but that’s the point. Let’s talk about this.
I feel as if I mentioned this in another blog, which I know I have, but I forget about whom and my laziness and addiction to video games prevents me from taking the two seconds to look it up. But I can remember that it has happened, so that tells me that Playboy has a history of doing this. Is this a smart thing to do? Is it disingenuous? Or is it selling appropriately to their demographic? Also, is this blog fluff? That answer, a clear yes.
Everyone who has ever hid a Playboy between his mattress and box spring knows that Playboy likes the airbrush. It doesn’t take a cat with 20/20 vision (which, if the joke is right, he doesn’t have) to notice the inhuman textures and touchups. That’s fine, in a way. It’s OK because Playboy sells a certain product that its readers expect. Unrealistically beautiful women with tiny waists, breast sizes that defy the physics of said waist size, strange settings that occasionally feature horses, and answers to interview questions like, ‘I aspire to be a comparative dental morphologist or maybe a Coyote Ugly girl; whichever! [smiley face or heart].’ It’s Playboy. We know what we’re getting. Yet, there is an odd hypocrisy, or rather a counter-intuition that speaks through the no mod airbrushing.
Playboy has been an interesting American enterprise since December of 1953 when the greatest baseball wife of all time (that’s Marilyn Monroe), with a grand and playful smile and whimsical gesture of her left hand, graced the cover of the first issue. There has always been an interesting argument of whether the magazine is true pornography, or a celebration of contemporary women’s beauty. It seems as if there has never been an agenda by the publication to push a certain style or aesthetic of women, rather, the magazine has (literally) taken snapshots of contemporary women’s perception of aesthetic. Compare the 1974 Playmate of the Year’s pictorial of Cyndi Wood to that of 2008’s Playmate of the Year Jayde Nicole. The only thing they have in common is a stupid first name. The photos seem to capture the timber of contemporary beauty of that year, or that era of style and aesthetic. Playboy is an interesting chronicle of the evolution of women’s aesthetic and concepts of beauty.
Which is why there is a certain, oddly shaped hypocrisy in their airbrushing of tattoos. One could argue that  body modification has become part of that feminine beauty evolution. Shit, find me a stripper without a navel ring and I will give you my stupid and incontinent dog. What a bargain there. With that contemporary evolution of the feminine aesthetic comes tattoo modification. We all know the history of women and modification, I’ve written about it. We all know the fifties perception of women and mods, into the sixties through the eighties and now today. Tattoo modification for many women have become another tool with which to display their own beauty. It’s a wonderful thing to see, the embracing of our mod culture in a distinct and clear personification of its own beauty. Mods on women is still a contemporary thing in terms of social acceptance, especially in celebrity. If you search tattoo on the internet, you’ll get many aghast gossip rag articles about a woman celebrity getting her nth tattoo, as if it were big news. But if my assumption is correct that Playboy Magazine commits to its pages the contemporary view of the beauty of women as it is today, at this moment, then would they not benefit from photographing the modified woman as part of its anthropological study of what we in 2011 or 1983 or 1954 find to be the archetype of nude beauty? Does that make any sense at all? I just reread that sentence six times.
The point is this: The tattooed woman is this generation’s Venus de Milo. With arms. That are tattooed. Contemporary media that aims to provide an accurate view of what we in this generation and social timber believe is the accurate representation of beauty ought to strive to produce photographic art that encapsulates this flavor of beauty. Playboy Magazine ought to recognize this as well. If it is supposed to be the magazine that pushes the edge of contemporary beauty and acceptance of the nude beauty of women, then proudly displaying the modifications of women seems to be very much congruent to that goal. I mean, shit; look at the vagina forests that are happening in some of those seventies and eighties back issues. That’s far from what is contemporary now, I think. Or maybe it’s coming back. Or maybe that’s a point that I thought I could make that fell flat on its muff. (This cheap joke brought to you by…)
I think women are the most perfect creation on earth, and I’m not just saying that because the majority of my readers are women. But that may have something to do with it. I also think that the accurate representation of what women are ought to be displayed proudly and without reservation. Playboy, albeit a magazine targeted at men yet still including a 17.3% women’s readership, ought to take this as an opportunity to proudly share with all of its readers the variety of beauty that we accept in our society. Modification is definitely one of those beauty elements that oughtn’t be ignored. As a photographic anthropology of women in our culture, Playboy may have (dare I say it) a responsibility to accurately represent the aesthetic of the time in their printings. Still, at the end of the day, the magazine is going to sell because crazy ol’ jailbird Lindsey Lohan is showing her chooch in print; I’m not entirely sure if the magazine’s subscribers care that her mods are painted out. I just hope she’s ready to go for “Machete Kills,” and “Machete Kills Again.” And if she isn’t? Humbug to that krumpet. Stay beautiful, kids. 

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1 comment:

  1. I think it's more disgraceful to airbrush freckles and moles. I also think, at times, those tattoos aren't properly thought out and they don't always make a body beautiful - ie the bold Respect on Jayde was distasteful but then again, she's a disgusting person so maybe that's the connection. Maybe they had to reflect that in print.
    It does capture women of the time but it's graceful and almost in a cookie cutter fashion. I'm all about the attraction of mods but do I think it has a place in Playboy? Maybe for a special month or a key article but I wouldn't want to see it all the time. Would it boost sales? Maybe for a second but I think it would make them look like they were selling out and it would go against the core make up of Playboy. Just my opinion. Not that anyone would care.