In short, the new Playboy, which will appear on newsstands as early as this weekend, has ditched its jauntily illicit aura and become a slightly saucier version of a lot of other magazines, like Esquire and GQ. But the March issue retains elements of the original DNA, including a lengthy interview (with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow) and a long essay by a famous writer (the Norwegian memoirist and awkward-moment connoisseur Karl Ove Knausgaard).
Whether this will appeal to younger readers without alienating regulars is unclear. The problem is that many of these ingredients can be acquired separately by anyone with time and a web browser. And with a web browser, these ingredients can be acquired in no time at all.
The print version of Playboy, in other words, is struggling with the conundrum of the Internet, just like every other legacy media enterprise. But say this for the redesign: Even if it fails to increase subscriptions, it makes that deathless dodge “I read it for the articles” a little easier to utter with a straight face.
Exactly. Now we can truly admit it was always for the articles. I will miss the cartoons but who the hell am I to say. I haven't seen a Playboy magazine since my college dorm room days and back then, Maxim was the "better" magazines for pictures. Just saying.