February 11, 2005

As real as it may seem


One of the tricks to being a successful freelancer is repurposing your material so that a single batch of research can be spun into two or three articles for different publications. I've never been very good at this, but I am on a bit of a roll right now, and in fact have probably taken it too far, since I've kind of gone full circle.

It started while I was working on my dispatch from the national abstinence education convention, which appeared in the February issue of Playboy. Shortly after that, I wrote a briefing for The Week about Alfred Kinsey, and realized that there was crossover between the abstinence movement and the anti-Kinsey movement. Starting wtih material I wasn't using for Playboy, I wrote a piece about Kinsey hater Judith Reisman for The New Yorker.

Here's something telling about the power of writing for The New Yorker. I've been writing for Playboy for more than ten years now, and have never once heard that Hef has had anything to say about my work (even though I usually write for a section he apparently likes to meddle with a bit). Now, however, my editor calls to tell me that Hef saw the New Yorker piece (not recognizing my name) and said, We should run something about these nutjobs! To which my editor replied, I know just the writer. Which is how I came to write the article in the new issue of Playboy about Reisman and Robert Knight, who caused a bit of a furor when he compared Kinsey to Josef Mengele.

It's just a short piece, which you won't even find mentioned in the TOC (you can find it on p. 55 if you must), so I won't recommend that you pick up the magazine unless you're dying to know what's become of Debbie Gibson. On the bright side, the pictures are just slightly less lame than the new single. Trust me, you'll be happier with the bad fakes.

I just went looking for old pics of Debbie, back when she was cute, and I have to confess that she really wasn't as cute as I'd remembered. For every charming girl next door shot there are five I'm such a dorks. Even for the 80s, that's bad. At least the early singles are still undeniably great. And at least Deb's Playboy shots aren't as full-on horrific as Tiffany's, with that ridiculous boob job. Hell, even Tiff's early singles weren't as good.

As for the Paris Hilton question, I've been telling the folks at Playboy for years that they have to get past this rule of only giving the cover to women who pose nude inside. OK, Paris wouldn't have been my first choice, but you know what I mean. Every other magazine has sexy celeb photos on the cover, while Playboy has busty nobodies and has-been b-listers. I hope the supposed reader outrage doesn't stop this bold departure, which probably took quite a lot of pleading with Hef to get through.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Keep up the creative repurposing! I will definitely check out this article on my next trip to the barbershop.

Hey, I bought the last issue of Playboy as much for Radosh's article as for the nekkid pictures of Teri Polo. however, nekkid pictures of Debbie Gibson? Eww.

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