The internet was invented to help us get by in peace – Quartz


I was still a fairly young man, 38, when I got a job with Larry Flynt’s infamous Hustler magazine. Starting out in a junior editorial commercial, I eventually became an executive editor, working directly with Larry and his now deceased wife Althea.

It was a largely unspoken doctrine at Larry Flynt Publications that the glossy images and stories wedged between so-called “girl photo sets” were meant to arouse our male “readers”. I remember the associate editor refused a collection of photographs of a nude model by shouting at the art director, while throwing the photos at the offending employee:

“Nobody’s gonna stop what he’s doing, drop his pants and start banging his cock when he sees this shit! Bring me some things that will give him an erection! “

For those Hustler buyers who have actually read the articles, we brought exposure journalism, much of which was touted on the cover as “shocking”, as in “Shocking Exposé!” I think Larry may have been the only member of Hustler’s staff who really believed people were spending a few dollars on the magazine so they could actually read the investigative reports.

But Larry also gave me the same advice that many thousands of editors of thousands of publications have known over the course of over a century of magazine publishing: “Lee,” once drawled in his backcountry Kentucky twang, “Always put a beautiful woman on the cover of your magazine ”.

He meant whatever magazine.

“Sure,” I replied.

Today internet pornography, so popular and so cheap, is killing men’s magazines like Hustler and even the venerable Playboy.

Five years ago, in a move designed to cut costs, reduce staff and increase profits, Playboy announced that it would outsource most of its operations to American Media Inc. Larry Flynt himself predicted the demise of Hustler Magazine, with her glossy photos of glamorous blonde girls on brass beds and cheeky tanned brunettes on hot beaches.

Alexander Graham Bell, we once speculated in an old Hustler joke, invented the telephone just to be able to make obscene calls.

In a January 2014 interview with CBS’s Erin Moriarty, Flynt announced that she didn’t expect Hustler, the heart of her porn empire, to last more than two or three years. He added that the magazine’s monthly circulation had dropped by up to 3 million readers to about 100,000. But the truth is, even Flynt’s maximum of 3 million monthly readers can’t be compared to 32 million visitors now registered monthly on the adult site LiveJasmin.com.

Our appetite for Internet pornography seems to be growing. While the overall estimates of the size of the digital porn industry range from 30% of global web data at a not insignificant 4%, other metrics indicate a thriving business. According to Guardian science writer Martin Robbins, in 2005, the leading commercial porn site Clips4Sale offered 100 fetish categories. Today, the same site offers beyond 946 different categories pornography. Consumers of pornography also spend more time with the product: over the same period, Robbins notes, the average length of pornographic clips has increased from eight minutes to nine and a half minutes.

Why can’t all that desire keep Hustler alive? The internet revolution means a lot, but its main advantage over print is that it offers masturbation sessions with no risk of human interaction in the market or at home.

Husbands and children will no longer have to hide their dirt under their mattresses or their X-rated videos on a high closet shelf. Now they just have to remember to erase the traces of their horny wanderings from the stories of their computers or smartphones, or other digital devices.

Gone are the old dirty giggles or, as the stereotype claims, drools, as she browses the shelves in the corner of the convenience store. He has a phone now.

But the biggest change from the heyday of porn before the internet is the complete absence of face-to-face transactions between customer and supplier, in dirty book stores, in adult cinemas, in liquor stores. Now obsolete is the itch-minded salesperson who once consciously, salaciously peered at nervously horny men, young and old, when they asked, “Put it in a bag. Please.”

The Internet’s invisibility cloak eliminates teen boys’ fear of a bookstore clerk knowing what they’re doing.

Our appetite for Internet pornography seems to be growing.

Eliminate the fear that you will run into your boss or neighbor, and that they will look at your selection and consciously comment: “You like them with big butts, huh?”

The absence of a salesperson or judging bystander is probably comforting to the men out there who aren’t comfortable enough with their weird, unusual, or unsavory little fantasies. But I also fear that the ease and freedom with which a tumescent teen can now connect with a seemingly available digital sex goddess makes him all too easy –the risk is to completely renounce the physical and human connection through real sexual intercourse!

Alexander Graham Bell, we once speculated in an old Hustler joke, invented the telephone just to be able to make obscene calls. As a man who bought, produced, and wrote more than his share of what we have called women’s magazines, I now suspect that the wizards of Silicon Valley may have done the same; develop the internet so that we could not only find good things, but masturbate in peace.

The memoir by former Hustler editor Lee Quarnstrom, “WHEN I WAS A DYNAMITER, or How a Nice Catholic Boy Became a Merry Prankster, a Porngrapher and a Bridegroom Seven Times”, published by Punk Hostage Press, is available at Street address: Amazon.


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