FOOD PORN: WHY WE LOVE PIZZA
THE INTERVIEW: JEFF GOLDBLUM
BRENDAN O’NEILL: THE SOUND OF CENSORSHIP
TRUMP & PUTIN: A ROGUE IN THE WHITE HOUSE
PC HEALTH: PAGING DR HACKER
I’M chuffed to be guest-editing Penthouse. When he founded it in 1965, Bob Guccione envisioned it as the libertine spirit made paper, a mag likely to rattle priests and prudes. And it did. Many pearls were clutched when this magazine featuring political commentary and pubic hair — a shocking sight in the 1960s — hit the stands. The UK Parliament — Britain being the place Guccione launched his experiment in provocation — flirted with the idea of expelling Guccione from the kingdom for crimes against decency. Penthouse riled the sexless and stuck-up. And in the process it did something wonderful: expanded the realm of the sayable. It insisted adults had the capacity, and cojones, to be able to see saucy images and hear dangerous ideas without having a mental breakdown. Guccione wanted a world where “the ordinary citizen has the right to express his or her views publicly”. We don’t live in that world yet. For there’s a new priestly set in town: the PC. These new censors aren’t nuns or blue-rinsed ladies; they’re feminists, student agitators, right-on politicos, all seeking to crush “offensive” material. Today it wouldn’t be square MPs suggesting Guccione be blocked from Britain — it would be blue-haired feminists. Where Guccione and other Sixties provocateurs saw adults as adults, deserving freedom, the new prudes see us as children, requiring protection. The parameters of public debate, expanded by Guccione and other kickers against the pricks throughout history, are shrinking again. We need more magazines like this one, prepared to go offmessage, to revive the ideal that nothing should be unsayable.
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