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“Almost exactly 56 years ago, Gloria Steinem published an investigative tell-all in Show magazine titled “A Bunny’s Tale.” She had applied for a job as a Playboy Bunny under the name Marie Catherine Ochs, chosen because it was “too square to be phony.” Whether it was the name that did it, or the fact that Gloria Steinem was hot as hell, she breezed through her job interview. Bunny Marie discovered the working conditions to be tedious, uncomfortable, insulting, and at times dangerous. Steinem’s article later went into her essay collection, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983), which sold half a million copies and canonized “A Bunny’s Tale” as a historic event—the day a Bunny spoke back.
I’m no Bunny. But there’s a lot of good advice in “A Bunny’s Tale” about how to conduct an investigation. When I learned late last year that the Playboy Club was reopening (the original New York outpost closed in 1986), it seemed a delicious opportunity to assess, by way of juxtaposition, the world we live in now. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died in 2017—may he rest in a heaven of baby oil and Viagra—and the version of femininity he espoused to such success (body meeting certain specifications, character docile) has taken a tumble down the stock market of cultural capital. The Playmate was this strange man’s invention, a girl, he said, with “no lace, no underwear, she is naked, well-washed with soap and water, and she is happy.”
Playboy still merchandises its iconic rabbit logo to clothing companies and other branding outlets, but the larger Playboy culture machine has ground to a halt. The mansion in Los Angeles has been sold off; the bunnies’ leporine reign is over. The company has switched direction, and the revamped print magazine—a thick, glossy dossier with tasteful nudity, an inclusive ethos, and no advertising—is no longer Playboy Enterprise’s best-known product.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."
"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."
"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."
"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."
"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."
"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."
"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."
"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."
"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."
"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."
"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"
"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."