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January 26, 2011 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Playboy (nsfw) has recently revamped their online Interview archive. Even though most are available through the website, a full index is still not available. However, there are now specific category pages devoted to Interviews with Women, Comedians and Sports Figures. There's also a Best Of roundup.

Note: interviews on the site are text and in some cases video. The videos and text are most likely safe for work, however the ads on the site may not be. And of course, the Playboy URL may be flagged as inappropriate in some corporate settings.

The most recent interviews are with Frank Gehry, Chloe Sevigny, Lamar Odom and Aziz Ansari.

Some archived interviews that might be of interest: (In alphabetical order by last name)

* Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali
* Halle Berry
* Jimmy Carter
* Arthur C. Clarke
* Howard Cosell
* Bob Dylan
* Al Franken
* Betty Friedan
* George Foreman
* Allen Ginsberg
* Ralph Ginzburg
* Jackie Gleason
* The Google Guys
* Alex Haley
* Abbie Hoffman
* Steve Jobs
* Garry Kasparov
* Martin Luther King, Jr.
* Timothy Leary
* Spike Lee
* John Lennon and Yoko Ono
* Norman Mailer
* Gabriel Garcia Marquez
* John Mayer
* Marshall McLuhan
* Metallica
* Jawaharlal Nehru
* Bill O'Reilly
* Peter O'Toole
* Keith Olbermann
* Chuck Palahniuk
* Dr. Drew Pinsky
* Ayn Rand
* James Earl Ray
* Paul Reubens
* Pete Rose
* Salman Rushdie
* Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
* George Steinbrenner
* Hunter S. Thompson
* Gore Vidal
* Christopher Walken
* Denzel Washington
* John Wayne
* Dr. Cornel West
* Dr. Ruth Westheimer
* Robin Williams
* Malcolm X
* Fareed Zakaria


Here are two text lists of every Playboy Interview subject and the person who interviewed them.
posted by zarq (29 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's great! Since I only read it for the interviews, this is very convenient.
posted by mister-o at 8:40 AM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Totally wonderful to have this post. I didn't even know some of these people had been interviewed. Thank you!
posted by bearwife at 8:41 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I compiled the list of interviews, I was surprised that I wasn't seeing any Asian names. The closest one I found was Indian Prime Minister Nehru.

Searching for "Asian Playboy Interview" (or "Chinese" or "Thai" or "Japanese" or "Korean") turns up rather predictable results.
posted by zarq at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I compiled the list of interviews, I was surprised that I wasn't seeing any Asian names. The closest one I found was Indian Prime Minister Nehru.

Nehru, Fareed Zakaria, and Salman Rushdie are certainly Asian. Nothing "close" about it. You're right though that East Asians aren't represented at all other than Yoko Ono.
posted by kmz at 8:55 AM on January 26, 2011


All jokes about only reading Playboy for the articles aside, it really did have terrific interviews (and articles!). I own a book of Playboy interviews, and it's completely fantastic.

Sidenote: there was an article in The Atlantic a few years ago about how Playboy, for all of its flaws, was plainly superior in all respects to the then-fashionable "lad mags" like Maxim, FHM, etc. Playboy had naked ladies and dirty joke cartoons, sure, but it also had articles about the world around you and, occasionally, some surprisingly non-horrible advice about how to be a gentleman. However, since there were naked ladies, it was sold on the high shelf in plastic wrap, and most adults wouldn't leave it in plain sight. Playboy was considered to be basically pornography.

On the other hand, there are the lad mags, which feature clothed women, to be sure, but posed in situations every bit as sexual as the Playboy centerfolds. Most pointedly, though, was how the articles in the lad mags barely ever had any challenging content whatosever - it was all drinking and video games and herp derp how to get laid. Nonetheless, since there weren't any naked ladies in Maxim and the like, there was never any shame in buying it at the newsstand. It's considered the young male equivalent of Cosmo.

Playboy wasn't necessarily a high-water mark of culture, but we did lose something between Hefner's conception of a magazine for adult men and the lad mags' more adolescent mission, the latter being more socially acceptable merely because it didn't have naked ladies.

On the other hand, men (and women!) who want to read smart articles and snappy interviews can read other magazines, like The Atlantic and The Believer and whatever else. It's also unclear if anyone who was buying Playboy merely for the centerfolds was all that swayed into reading the articles. It is also the case that Cosmo is not typically any "better for you" than Maxim.

Still. It's a nice thought, the idea of a magazine that unashamedly satisfied the id of its reader, while also going beyond that. I guess market forces have determined that the lowest common denominator is a wiser investment than Hef's quixotic, almost paternalistic original vision of Playboy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:57 AM on January 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


bearwife: " I didn't even know some of these people had been interviewed. Thank you!"

You're welcome! The list above was getting way too long, but I strongly suggest doing some footwork on their site using the last link in the post. :)
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on January 26, 2011


kmz: " Nehru, Fareed Zakaria, and Salman Rushdie are certainly Asian. Nothing "close" about it. You're right though that East Asians aren't represented at all other than Yoko Ono."

Yah. I meant East Asian.

I looked a little more thoroughly. Akio Morita, Shintaro Ishahara and Tommy Chong (with Cheech Marin) were interviewed for the magazine, but they're not online.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on January 26, 2011


Playboy (nsfw)

WHAT!?
posted by IvoShandor at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whenever someone makes the "I read Playboy for the articles" joke I always respond with, "What, are you gay?"

I used to work for Borders. We carried the German edition of Playboy for some reason. I had aspiration of learning that language, so I thought what better way to learn than how I learned English? So I'd buy them every month, try to struggle through the cartoons, the joke page, etc. It didn't work. I can't even say guten Tag in German.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:13 AM on January 26, 2011


I read the first part of this post as "there are now specific category pages devoted to Interviews with Women, Canadians and Sports Figures" and was amused that Canadians had their own section of interviews. As expected, there is some overlap between Canadians and Comedians, which is also amusing.

Playboy also had/has fiction, which was brought up (to much teenage glee) in a high school English class by our teacher Mary Jane something-something (really, her name was Mary Jane, and she was an awesome high school teacher). She prefaced a short story we read by saying she found it in Playboy years ago, and how her former husband liked the pictures, and she liked the writing.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 AM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll be in my bunk

absorbing the thoughts and ambitions of some of our planet's most creative and important figures
posted by Think_Long at 9:18 AM on January 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


I find the categories a little strange. After all, there are "women" who are also "comedians" and "sport figures." These are not mutually exclusive categories. (Though the only female sports figure I see is Danica Patrick, predictably enough.)

I assume they interview the sports figures about their sports, and the comedians about their acts or their TV shows or films, so, uh, what do they interview the "women" about?

I guess I'll have to read some later and find out...
posted by duvatney at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2011


Well, there went my morning. Some truly marvelous stuff to be unearthed. Like this, from Hunter S. Thompson:

Washington is a horrible town, a cross between Rome, Georgia, and Toledo, Ohio—that kind of mentality. It's basically a town full of vicious, powerful rubes.

And this from Bob Dylan, on the sound he's chasing in his music:

That ethereal twilight light, you know. It's the sound of the street with the sunrays, the sun shining down at a particular time, on a particular type of building. A particular type of people walking on a particular type of street. It's an outdoor sound that drifts even into open windows that you can hear. The sound of bells and distant railroad trains and arguments in apartments and the clinking of silverware and knives and forks and beating with leather straps. It's all—it's all there. Just lack of a jackhammer, you know.

Can't imagine what kind of a pain in the ass it must be to interview Dylan, but it's worth it for this alone.
posted by gompa at 9:48 AM on January 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


That must be the famous "lusted in my heart" Jimmy Carter interview!
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:13 AM on January 26, 2011


These are not mutually exclusive categories.

Nor do they appear that way on the site. Several interviews are linked from multiple pages (to your point, for example, Tina Fey is linked from both Women and Comedians, appropriately).
posted by wildcrdj at 10:14 AM on January 26, 2011


No "big boobs, medium boobs, perky boobs, enormous boobs, real boobs, fake boobs" sort capabilities?

Shitty usability.
posted by stormpooper at 10:48 AM on January 26, 2011


I used to work for Borders. We carried the German edition of Playboy for some reason.

On a side note, if you want to read look at Playboy for beautiful women rather than the articles, I recommend the non-English versions, which tend towards naturally beautiful women, rather than the fake-breasted, tranny-looking, Pam Anderson types.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:16 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Playboy also had/has fiction

Back in the day (late 70s, early 80s) the only place you could find many of Thomas Pynchon's short stories was in Playboy, which originally published many of them. Great fun/dread to be had in asking the librarian to pull them out from the archives.
posted by rtimmel at 12:07 PM on January 26, 2011


From Gore Vidal's interview form 1987.

PLAYBOY: Aren't you jumping the gun? No one high in this Government has conceded that the Commies aren't coming.

VIDAL: Well, they're desperate. They'll reach out for anything. Watch out! Nicaraguan imperialism may yet destroy us! They will cross over at San Antonio in their Greyhound buses and rape and loot and pillage unless Gold Star mothers unite and the National Rifle Association members get their guns out and we shoot their cojones off at the border.


Huh.
posted by The Whelk at 12:17 PM on January 26, 2011


"I only read Playboy for the articles", always strikes me as the middle-class version of, "I only go to Hooters for the great wings."
posted by Decani at 12:26 PM on January 26, 2011


rather than the fake-breasted, tranny-looking, Pam Anderson types

Can we not do this on MetaFilter, please?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:51 PM on January 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


That John Wayne interview is really something. "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility." Ghah!
posted by Superfrankenstein at 1:29 PM on January 26, 2011


Oh, the Chuck Palahniuk interview is fascinating.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:00 PM on January 26, 2011


rather than the fake-breasted, tranny-looking, Pam Anderson types

I get what you're trying to say, but your choice of adjective is vexingly offensive. Next time try the using a word like "plastic" as an adjective instead of insulting and stereotyping an entire class of people who are all different from one another even within their own circle on the Venn diagram of gender identity.
posted by loquacious at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Playboy has some great writing and articles over the years. I distinctly remember being distracted by the articles when I first found saw a Playboy as a kid. "Oh, hey. Boobies. Ok, those pictures are rather improbable, and boring and fake. Unsexy. Where'd I put that Sears catalog? Wait a second, Vonnegut? Pynchon? WTF!?" *reads intently for hours*

Now that I think about it, it seems like Playboy missed an opportunity to become (much more of) a literary institution. There was never really that much nude photography in a given issue of Playboy, and Hefner could have pulled a fast one on the world by slowly, stealthily becoming more and more highbrow and literary with less unrealistic, unexciting pictures. It could have easily become the Atlantic or New Yorker, but with better comics and ads.

Granted in some senses Hefner did just that and introduced a generation of American men (and women) to writers that they wouldn't normally read. But it's like he felt like he had to hide his intellectualism between the covers and centerfolds. "No, no! It's just nudie pics! No deep thinking going on here! Look, boobies!"
posted by loquacious at 2:16 PM on January 26, 2011


Superfrankenstein: "That John Wayne interview is really something. "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility." Ghah!"

A lot of these interviews were controversial or in some way culturally symbolic when they were printed. John Wayne's interview caused a big uproar when it was printed, prompting him to distance himself slightly from the comments he'd made. John Mayer caused an uproar by using the n-word and speaking graphically about his sex life and then had to apologize for it to the public. Malcolm X's interview helped introduce him to a wider American audience. Lennon and Oko's interview was the longest they'd ever given and the magazine was on the newsstands when he was killed. In his interview, then-Governor Jesse Ventura said ""Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers." IIRC, he also said the Navy's Tailhook scandal was "overblown." He took a lot of heat for both comments. During the third Presidential debate in 1976, Jimmy Carter was asked about comments he'd made during his Playboy interview about adultery and his Christian faith. It became a campaign topic for a while.

After his interview was printed, Michael Savage attacked the magazine's interviewer as biased, and for implying he was sexually confused (a closeted gay basher). (Savage had been photographed swimming nude with Allen Ginsburg when he was younger, and the interviewer mentioned it.)
posted by zarq at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2011


I remember the article comparing Playboy and the lad magazines that was mentioned above. And it's true -- I recently ran into a 1970s issue of Playboy, and in between the cheezy articles for hi-fi systems and convertibles were some great articles, written for a very literate and cosmopolitan readership. Probably rather few people actually read the articles, but the writing was genuinely top-notch.
posted by Forktine at 5:29 PM on January 26, 2011


Probably rather few people actually read the articles, but the writing was genuinely top-notch.

I don't have too long a history, but Playboy interviews have always been influential as far as I remember and know history.
posted by gjc at 7:06 PM on January 26, 2011


I read National Review for the boobs.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:51 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


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