UNITED KINGDOM -- As the political climate came to a boil this last year, readers' letter submissions to Penthouse magazine were soon to follow. Straying from the usual descriptions of fantastical sexual adventures, the reader's forum became dominated by political rants and policy opinion pieces.
Penthouse Media Group, Inc, which owns the magazine, recently acknowledged the concerns of investors, industry critics, and their readership that increased levels of political rhetoric as encountered on today's news pundit shows, town-halls, and on internet message boards have unfortunately spilled over onto Penthouse's Forum pages.
"It sort of crept up on us", said Sarah Trufant, Penthouse's communications director. "Last June we started to get a letter here and there about tea-bagging and we thought nothing of it.”
Trufant was shocked to learn that the term actually had alternative political overtones rather than when a guy....well, puts...well...you know. By then it was too late and the men's magazine was soon overrun with opinionated vitriol.
Now, political commentaries are typically drowning out the more familiar stories readers have grown accustomed to over the last 40 years. In depth stories describing home-from-college encounters with hot neighbors, European backpacking threesomes, and broken-down elevator trysts with complete strangers are being replaced with heated ideological rants.
Reading a forum letter from the May issue of Penthouse Magazine, Trufant made clear the disturbing trend.
Dear Penthouse Forum,
I never thought this would happen to me. I attend a small midwestern college and after I pulled my groin playing ultimate frisbee, I found myself alone with this hot triage nurse in the emergency room.
Boy, was I in for a surprise when she closed the privacy drapes, approached me slowly, and then told me that I had lost my health insurance coverage and I'd have to pay for my treatment out of pocket.
There was no way I had that kind of cash and I asked her with a wink if there was another way I could pay for treatment. She pulled closer and whispered that in fact the hospital had a Sisters of St Mary’s charity care program and I'd need to fill out some forms she could provide me....
A submission from a reader named Troy was similarly policy-focused:
Dear Penthouse Forum,
I don't normally write into men's magazines, but after reading Tricia from Maine's letter in the September issue, I got so hot and bothered with rage I could barely contain myself. The way she described the TARP bailout made me want to get her alone in a room and really give it to her in a way so she'd understand that the taxpayer should not have to foot the bill to save the 'too big to fail' banking industry...
The letter continued with how important it is to realize that the size of financial regulation shouldn't matter so much as how it is used.
Trufant hopes that once the mid-term elections are over in November, readers will begin to see the letters-to-the-editor section return to the fantasies of real people with real lives and away from lurid conspiracies of Nazi/Communist/Kenyan takeover and elicit descriptions of privatized Social Security.