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When I was a young lad growing up on the sweeping plains of the Great White North, my pre-adult life was spent in eager anticipation of a single day every year that eclipsed all others. A day so special that the rest of the year passed almost without notice, serving merely as a prelude to the main event – the arrival of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. It was like god (through his/her/its North American-based media proxy, Sports Illustrated) decided to combine all the excitement of Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and Kwanzaa into a single day of glory for young adolescent males. The months of suffering through weekly journalistic offerings on the ins and outs of the NCAA baskteball programs or the strengths and weaknesses of the Norris Division suddenly seemed almost a worthwhile endeavour when one finally gazed upon the captivating Elle Macpherson or her non-unionized European equivalent, Paulina Porizkova. And who can forget the unbridled excitement (among other emotions) generated by the release of the coveted 25th Anniversary Edition, with a young Ms. Kathy Ireland staring back from the cover of a veritable novella of glorious swimsuit-themed images… Life simply didn’t get any better.

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Sadly, the youth of today will never experience this same joy. For theirs is a life of internet media, marked by instantaneous access to every imaginable fetish and sexual imagery that would make poor Kathy Ireland roll in her grave (were she dead and not cremated…). Whereas I spent the vast majority of my youth strategizing with my friends in the hopes of purchasing our first Playboy (which typically involved brainstorming about what permissible product purchases would make us seem “of age” to the store clerk – cans of mixed vegetables and feminine hygiene products were generally considered to be the frontrunners), today’s youth can view detailed video footage of women dressed as clowns pleasuring Shetland ponies to the score of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s lastest musical with the click of but a few buttons (or so I have been told…).

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Now don’t get me wrong – I am not “anti-internet”. Far from it! I believe that you can learn all that you will ever need to know from the interwebs (specifically thanks to the tireless efforts of sites like foodcourtlunch.com, which offer unbiased, informed, insightful, brilliant, eloquent, concise, pithy, sexy reporting on all matters of importance to today’s world). Nevertheless, I cannot help but feel sorry for a generation that will never know the thrill of the hunt (for paper media devoted to objectifying women). Admittedly, Sports Illustrated‘s once glorious annual issue is still available (and still tremendous), but it cannot possibly engender the same emotions among the u-porn generation that it did in bygone years. Presenting today’s adolescent male with this once unparalleled masterpiece is akin to offering Bill Gates a free copy of Windows 95 – it’s outdated, wholly unexciting, and hardly worth masturbating to.

It is thus in the spirit of this lost “art” that I close with an ode to my misspent youth. Paulina, Kathy, Elle, Vendela – take it away…

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POST SCRIPT

Since penning this homage to the women of my youth, I have been advised by Mr. Gourmet Spud that someone named Bill Simmons (or Phil Simms. Or perhaps Richard Simmons. Or Gene Simmons. Or possibly Richard Gere… I wasn’t really paying attention) has previously shared similar views with his readers…

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Although I am not familiar with the work of this Simmons character (as I am sure neither are most of you), I felt obliged to defend myself with the following pre-emptive riposte:

  • Gourmet Spud is Irish and, therefore, a liar. It’s genetic. He was probably thinking of an article he read in Potato Weekly, and is just confused (which is also genetic). Once he sobers up, I’ll confirm his story.

  • If this Simmons fellow did in fact express similar sentiments, he undoubtedly stole them from me. I will be commencing litigation forthwith.

  • The name “Simmons” apparently has both French and German origins… Can we really trust the Germans? If the 1940s taught us anything, it’s that the answer to this question is unequivocally “no” (and that Big Band music is the cat’s pyjamas). As for the French, let’s just say they’re not called Freedom Fries for nothing…

  • If you’re still not convinced then you can just enjoy the pretty pictures, jerkstore!