While I was at a book shop, flicking through the five volume set of
History of Men's Magazines, the first thing I wondered was, would anyone find these images erotic today? Fifties and sixties porn is amazingly unerotic because it is so artificial, coy and staged, and seventies porn is just, well, too hairy for today's tastes. But I did enjoy thinking about the discussions that the editors must have had to create these covers:
Editor 1: "So we have this intern, I think she's called Martha Stewart."
Editor 2: "Is she well built? Can we use her?"
Editor 1: "She is a fox, but I don't think she's up for it. But the thing is, she has this amazing way of folding napkins."
Editor 2: "You've been smoking too much weed mate. What's that got to do with this month's cover?"
Passes joint to Editor 1: "No listen man, listen, we get her to fold these napkins, except they are maybe like dollar bills, we fold them! A protest against capitalism man, you know? Ya dig?"
Editor 2: "I do dig. Send in this Martha girl and let's see her make some underpants out of dollar bills."
Editor 1: "I am totally like out of ideas for this month's cover."
Editor 2: "I've got it! You seen the Wicker Man?"
Editor 1: "No I haven't. What's it about?"
Editor 2: "Mainly Britt Ekland writhing naked against a wall but basically it's a flick about this Hebridean island where the entire population follows a neo-pagan cult under the island's owner Lord Summerisle, believing in re-incarnation, worshipping the sun and engaging in fertility rituals and sexual magic in order to appease immanent natural forces."
Editor 1: "That sounds like something I can dig. You're a genius Clive!"
Editor 1: "I am so hung over. What the heck are we going to put on the cover of Mermaid, or for that matter 711?"
Editor 2: "For Mermaid, I was like thinking ....I have like this huge shark that I caught on the weekend. It's stinking out the trunk of my car."
Editor 1: "Do you really think I care about the fact that you caught a shark? I've got Pansy in a very revealing bathing suit all ready to go but we need ideas man, you know?"
Editor 2: "I just meant, you know, have Pansy hugging the shark."
Editor 1: "Hugging the shark? What in the name of God?"
Editor 2: "It would get the fishermen going."
Editor 1: "Yeah, what the heck. I'm desperate. Okay. And what about Sally riding on a domino horse for the cover of 711?"
Editor 2: "Yeah, that's far out. Got any ludes?"
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Terrorism then and now
3 hours ago