It goes without saying that in this era, Playboy practically has to resort to such cheap marketing tactics. The internets, with their numberless gigabytes of free porn, have rendered skin mags practically obsolete. Even a complete moron can go on LimeWire or whatever, download the real deal, and have hours of monkey-spanking adventure in a matter of minutes. So-called "laddie" mags such as Maxim and Stuff, with their oh-so-close pictorials of this week's starlet shoving her muff in your face (like you mind, pal), co-opt the youth market, who weren't exactly going to show up for the next short fiction piece from T. Coraghessan Boyle in Playboy in the first place.
So Playboy, while still an American institution, is sort of caught in a niche these days. I always liked that they never went down the skankier roads of Penthouse or (gack) Hustler. The latter magazine in particular didn't even put up the pretense of class, with its endless parade of spread pudenda and sullen faces. What I'm saying is that at least Playboy tried, and as off-putting as some of Hef's bathrobe extravaganzas and bimbo collections may be, at least he was never a creepy cum-soaked goon like Bob Guccione or Larry Flynt.
Having said all that, this thing with Alba is still a cheap stunt, especially if she's not getting a piece of the action. If you're going to use her ass to push paper, at least share a little of the proceeds. That's how showbiz is supposed to work.
And, you know, maybe Jessica Alba might keep it all in perspective as well, and remember that no one's waiting to see her in the next indie character study. I'm not saying that she can't or can act; I'm saying that her fans don't give a shit. They just want to see her in a bikini. So spare us the innocent Amish girl story.