No nudie mags for soldiers

Military stores are tossing Playboy, but not because the moral crusaders have won. The magazines just don't sell

By Tracy Clark-Flory
Published July 31, 2013 6:45PM (EDT)

The Pentagon has been looking at nudie mags. Not just looking at them, but analyzing them.

You can thank Morality in Media for this prudent use of your tax dollars. The organization sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging the prohibition of  sexually explicit magazines on military bases. In response, they reportedly received a letter announcing that a Pentagon review board had considered the magazines in question -- Penthouse, Playboy and Nude Magazine -- and decided that they were not "sexually explicit" under military law. That is pretty funny, considering that the relevant code defines "sexually explicit material" as "visual depictions, produced in any medium, the dominant theme of which depicts or describes nudity ... in a lascivious way." Yeah, sure, you read it for the articles, but that pretty much is the definition of Playboy, right?

This story gets even better (read: more ridiculous). Army Times reports that Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores will stop carrying the magazines at issue. Not because of Morality in Media's campaign, but because they don't sell. "The Internet has led to a massive decrease in the demand for print publications," reports Army Times, and sales of "adult sophisticate titles" at these stores have "plummeted 86 percent since 1998." That might have something to do with the proliferation of free online porn. However, nudie mags aren't the only publications being pulled from shelves -- these stores are bidding farewell to 891 titles, including sophisticated publications like SpongeBob Comic. 

There is a beautiful poetry here. Nudie mags have been undone not by prudery and moral crusading, but by the demand for free, explicit and just plain more porn. Sorry, Morality in Media, the sinners are winning.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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