NEWSWATCH by Thomas Griffith: Merchants of Raunchiness

The sharpest division in American popular culture is between those who like a lot of sex in what they read and see and those who don't. Those who don't have a hard time ignoring the subject: four of the top ten bestselling magazines on the newsstands are skin books. In this highly successful and sleazy field, the big news is that Playboy, once the undisputed leader, no longer rules the roost.

Faced with returns of thousands of unsold newsstand copies, Playboy has now cut back its circulation guarantee from 5.4 million copies a month,...

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