In a recent interview with the New York Times, Playboy’s CEO announced that the magazine is going to stop publishing nude photos. For more than 60 years, Playboy has been the most recognizable brand for “pornography.” So the decision to stop publishing nude photographs is newsworthy.
The reason for their change was not a religious experience, a prick of conscience, or a shift in philosophy, but purely a maneuver to survive. According to the New York Times article, Playboy’s subscription has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to 800,000 today. Playboy’s CEO cited the reason for their decision was due to the fact that every sex act imaginable is just a click away, and free. Nudity, in his judgment, has become passé. In short, Playboy can no longer compete in our “porn-saturated” culture. It is being consumed by the very industry it created.
This news caused me to reflect on a couple of points that I will leave you with for your consideration.
- Pornography can never satisfy. There is a desensitization that takes place over time. And when that desensitization takes place, the envelope needs to be pushed. Who would have dreamed the day would come when the CEO of Playboy Magazine would say that “nudity is passé? But that day has come. Let me also forewarn you: this desensitization will eventually result in the “mainstreaming” of degenerate acts that today are considered taboo. Yesterday’s fringe has become today’s center, and today’s fringe will become tomorrow’s center.
- I am reminded of the old adage – “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; keep you longer than you want to stay; and cost you more than you want to pay.” I find it ironic that Playboy is being destroyed by the very industry it created. I’m certain they never imagined that happening. Likewise, consider what sin does to people. Whether we’re talking about drugs, alcohol, inappropriate relationships, etc. – these things that seem so harmless and enjoyable in the beginning have the power to eventually destroy us.
- Not every step in the right direction is praiseworthy. Motive must be considered. The decision to no longer publish nude photos sounds like good news until one examines the reason for their decision – Money. Paul stated that if we give all our goods to the poor, but don’t have love, it profits us nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). This truth is easy to see when we use Playboy Magazine as the illustration, but it’s much more difficult to perceive when we consider our own motives for why we worship, why we attend church services, and why we sacrifice and serve in the ways we do.
While current culture should never be allowed to set our agenda, we can learn from it and use what we learn to keep us focused on our agenda.