Dana Goldstein on the Playboy issue:
The essay is entertaining reading, but I think it’s obvious why it’s especially appealing to sensitive young men. Zobenica makes them feel like it’s not only okay to read Playboy, but that it’s mature and heck, even feminist. Fundamentally, this is just a rehashing of the infamous male excuse — “Hey, I was reading it for the articles!” I’m not an anti-porn feminist by any stretch of the imagination. But when I pick up Playboy, it’s hard for me to take seriously the “Advisor” column’s advice about sexually respecting your real-life girl when the centerfolds, month after month, have obviously fake gigantic boobs, identically hairless and child-like vaginas (Playboy seems to have a policy to never show women with visible vaginal lips), and completely flat stomachs.
This seems like a good point. In reality, though, the only issue of Playboy I’ve picked up since 1996 or so had an article proclaiming this site the best liberal blog. I only it read it for the egomania! By contrast, back in college I traded some frequent flier miles in for a Maxim subscription. I didn’t renew when I would have had to pay actual money for it, but I won’t deny that I read the issues. So Zobenica’s article was, if anything, shitting all over me (not that I don’t deserve it); I really just thought it was funny. I think that to form a real political opinion about Playboy I would need to read some issues of the magazine, but it seems to me that Dana’s critique doesn’t really undermine Zobenica’s comparative defense of Playboy vis-à-vis the rising tide of laddism.