I hesitated just a moment before including Miss June 1975 in my piece about Hugh Hefner. I wondered if some readers would find the nude photograph objectionable. Then I smiled at myself. Here I was, writing an article in praise of Hefner’s healthy influence on American society, and I didn’t know if I should show a Playmate of the Month. Wasn’t I being a hypocrite? I waited to see what the reaction would be.
So he waited, and this is what he got:
At first no one at all objected to the photo, even though the entry was getting thousands of hits. It went online early on Sunday afternoon. But Monday was a workday, and a reader asked if it had occurred to me to label it NSFW (“not suitable for work”). The thought may have crossed my mind, but come on, would anybody be surprised to find a nude somewhere during a 2,200-word piece on Hef?
This thought crosses my mind: does it make any sense to optimize one’s Web postings for someone surfing when he should be working? “Oh, right, you’re on your lunch break. Carry on.”
But things ended up about where you’d think they would:
I went in and resized the photo, reducing it by 2/3, so that it was postage-stamp 100 pixel size and no passer-by was likely to notice it. This created a stylistic abomination on the page, but no matter. I had acted prudently. Then I realized: I’d still left it possible for the photo to be enlarged by clicking! An unsuspecting reader might suddenly find Miss June 1975 regarding him from his entire monitor! I jumped in again and disabled that command.
Roger Ebert, of course, is no prude; you can’t very well be a prude and work with Russ Meyer. But if you insist upon wrapping a towel around Miss June, well, Ebert has already thrown it in for you:
In the future I will avoid NSFW content in general, and label it when appropriate. What a long way around I’ve taken to say I apologize.
Interestingly, he’s titled this piece “To NSFW or not to NSFW? (NSFW)”, which pretty much says it all.