Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Partial Nudity: The Continuing Thesis on America and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

I was sent to the Harold Washington Library about an hour or so ago to track down a recent issue of Sports Illustrated…specifically, the September 23rd, 2002 issue, which memorializes the late Baltimore Colts QB Johnny Unitas, considered by many to have been the greatest quarterback of all time. Unitas died on September 11th of last year, of a heart attack, to the great surprise of many. My company president asked me to make photocopies of a few photographs from this issue, which we no longer have in the office.

The magazine stacks, by the by, are woefully disorganized. It took me a good ten minutes to locate the bound copy of “Sep-Oct 2002”, and when I found it, it was stacked on top of a few other improperly shelved volumes.

So while I’m there, in the back of the stacks, I admit I was curious to see if the public library, which does not, by the by, archive such publications as Playboy would actually archive the SI swimsuit issues.

The answer: yes and no. Although the issues were archived, the few that I looked up had had all swimsuit photography torn from them. In fact, it appeared that this swimsuit photography had been torn out haphazardly, after the book had been bound, leading one to wonder if this had been done by prim, conservative librarians, or by high school students looking for free swimsuit photos. Two-page spreads were ripped in half, so that you’d often have a pair of legs stretched out on a white fence or somesuch, leading one to wonder if the legs are not considered as erotic as the upper torso and the anatomy it includes, by either librarian or high school student.

Further analysis produced the interesting observation that all swimsuit photography included in advertising in these issues–was not torn out. So is swimsuit photography considered less titillating if accompanied by the Budweiser logo? Is the beer the only thing that benefits from the association? Insidious. All this time, I thought that sex and marketing enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, and now it appears that it may instead be considered parasitic.

Furthermore, there was a swimsuit issue from 1989, in which several past cover models were showcased and caught up with (“Hey, what is Carol Alt up to these days?”). The covers for these models were included in the issue, in front of their articles, and had not been removed. It presented a fascinating argument on the evolution of what we find arousing, or what we believe is arousing.

A perplexing thing, the swimsuit issue. It’s like training porn…not as dangerous as the real thing, but nonetheless as close to the real thing as possible.

Current music: MP3 list, PJ Harvey, “Down by the Water”

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2003 by in Books, Sports, Work.
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