I'm not sure when the thought first occurred to me, maybe it was as I was perusing the latest set of topless Jennifer Aniston photos, or perhaps the umpteenth PG-13 pictorial featuring another Z=level celebrity (almost) getting her goodies out, but I finally reached my saturation point. The ubiquity of celebrity cheesecake, to say nothing of the sheer tonnage of online pornography catering to every possible deviant (and hilarious) fetish, has jaded me to the point where I'm frankly no longer interested.
Now (uh, hang on a second, let me close these browser tabs) I'm not saying Aniston can't take her shirt off whenever she wants to prove -- once again -- that her self-esteem is 100% recovered from her marriage to Brad Pitt, or that anybody isn't free to flash their implants to boost ratings for their reality show. It's a free country, and I expect that to remain the case until President Obama installs his sinister Muslim caliphate, I'm just asking those up-and-coming Kardashians and Montags to consider taking a different route. One involving more clothes.
The idea first came to me after I read Patton Oswalt's cultural landmark essay, "Leave Playboy Magazines in the Woods:"
You know why I know how to delay gratification? Or how I know how to hunt for, track down, and uncover the truly twisted porn sites that tickle my fancy? It's because of the older kids, the adults, back in my Virginia suburb, discarding their old Playboys in the wooded area behind our development. Or leaving them in abandoned forts when the summer ended, for us younger kids to find, and hide, and treasure.
I started making a documentary about a similar subject (namely, the manner in which we become acclimated to pornography) many years ago. The project fell apart due to lack of funding (and talent). The point is, men of...a certain vintage (born before, say, 1985) are intimately familiar with the phenomenon Oswalt describes.
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SHOW ME HOW
My own first glimpses of naked femininity were a direct result of "found filth." The first: a Oui magazine left under the bed at a Ramada Inn my family stayed at in 1978 (quickly snatched from this ten-year old's querulous hands by my mother), the second: the August, 1980 issue of, yes, Playboy. It was one of a few dozen of Hef's finest strewn for blocks in front of our house on Dominik Drive in College Station. Surely this could be nothing other than the result of someone deliberately spreading pornography for the younger generation to appreciate. I mean, not even in Aggieland would someone accidentally leave a stack of skin mags in the back of an uncovered pickup.
The point is, Kids These Days (TM) don't even pause to savor the clumsily airbrushed Playmate anymore, much less read her Likes and Dislikes. Instead, most 15-year olds have no trouble accessing the most explicit examples of perversion and degradation found outside the U.S. Senate. Exposure to the wonders of depravity should be a journey of tentative discovery, not a total immersion before the kid gets his learner's permit. Teens should at least have to endure the boot camp of the brassiere section of the Sears catalog, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and the library's collected volumes of Papua, New Guinea National Geographics before moving on to 2 Girls, 1 Cup.
This is all of society's fault, and we all need to do our part to rectify (heh) the situation. For the nascent starlets out there; is it too much to ask that you wait a few microseconds before agreeing to that Maxim/FHM/Stuff photoshoot? How about some tasteful yet understated pictorials in turn-of-the-century bathing suits? Or a sartorial tribute to Queen Victoria? Make 'em work for it, at least. For it is only by planting the seeds of sexual frustration early can we help turn the youth of today into the sexually frustrated, erectile dysfunctional adults of tomorrow.
This entry is dedicated to Playboy Playmate of the Month for August, 1980: Victoria Cooke (NSFW). Thank you, for everything.