April 5, 2004
Dear Mr. Hefner,
It is my great privilege to present to you the final report of the Playboy50 project: the 50th Anniversary PLAYBOY Roundtable.
This project is the culmination of 25 years of reading, collecting, and talking about PLAYBOY and is for me a highly personal endeavor. PLAYBOY has been my lifelong passion, and my participation in many discussions about it on the PLAYBOY Mailing List, in person with many other readers, and most recently in the Cyber Club Message Boards has left no doubt in my mind of the vitality and relevance of PLAYBOY in today's world. PLAYBOY may have wildly succeeded at its beginning because of the particular timeliness of the idea behind it, but I believe that idea to be timeless; and the time for the revitalization of PLAYBOY is—right now.
I would like to be clear up front that my motivations in carrying out the Playboy50 project and in presenting these written results are both presumptuous and selfish. My ultimate goal is and always has been to facilitate my own personal enjoyment of PLAYBOY: I want it to be a magazine that above all pleases ME. That I have this desire at all is a testament to how well PLAYBOY has already pleased me, so much so that I have a strong desire for it to continue doing that. I happen to believe as well, though, that if PLAYBOY pleases me, it will also please many others. And so I will deign to tell you how to think about and change PLAYBOY, and so how to please me. You will find my most strongly felt points presented in Part I of the report, as well as expressed along with everyone else's comments in Part III which presents edited excerpts from the entire project discussion.
I would also like to be clear that while the participants of Playboy50 are united in a common interest, it was not my intention that we reach any consensus about PLAYBOY. My inclusion of specific comments of others in this report does not imply that I necessarily agree with all their statements, nor does their participation in the Playboy50 project necessarily imply that they each agree with my personal assessments. My own opinions have changed over time so even my own older comments may not represent my current thinking. My intention in presenting this assemblage of comments is to provide you with some fresh perspectives and serious thinking about PLAYBOY that may inform your own thinking, and to give you a sense of what issues readers find important. Of course my selections are influenced by my own prejudices, but I have tried to present a fair selection.
Part II presents complete essays written by participants. I thought these were both well written and of special interest in addressing relevant issues.
As an appendix, I have included one thread from a recent discussion on the Cyber Club Message Board. I think this thread provides interesting reading on a variety of issues relevant to PLAYBOY. (Note that this section is printed duplex.)
I have also included a selection of media articles about PLAYBOY that we found of particular interest in our project discussions.
I suspect that you may have some initial negative reactions in reading some of these viewpoints. For instance, you might think that the assumptions motivating the points of view are incorrect, and therefore the conclusions should be disregarded. I encourage you to persist and try to find the truth that motivates the comments. Much of the writing comes from people who care deeply about PLAYBOY and who therefore speak passionately and emotionally, and some express a significant degree of cynicism. I hope you will understand that the manner of expression is a reflection of the very personal reactions each of us has. There is much love behind this.
This is my labor of love. I hope you will find something of value in it.
My special thanks are due to all the participants in this project. You should be proud that PLAYBOY has inspired such a loyal and caring readership.
Sincerely and with much hope for the future,
Peggy L. Wilkins