What's in a name? Shell is playing a game with words as it creates a semantic loop-hole to protect the sale of Playboy and Penthouse at its stations. How nice to hear that Florida Family Association has an ongoing policy to keep such pornographic magazines out of the convenience stores. Their site marks a record of 148,000 retails stores who comply (!), but now Shell has created a new moniker for lad mags.
Shell Oil Co. has determined "Playboy" and "Penthouse" no longer are pornography, but instead are "adult sophisticates," according to a company statement.
One cannot take seriously the proposition that "sophistication" drives men to look at naked women. Neither the puerile boys nor the morally-dead adult men who consume these and similar products are associated with that profile, and to attribute them with sophistication requires a rewrite of all relevant dictionary entries.
The story is not completely straight-forward, because it seems that the was a bulk purchase of Shell stations by Circle-K convenience stores, which has led to the shift in policy. Neither Shell nor Circle-K inhabit any moral high ground in the decision -- rather it was a combination of factors. All-in-all, whether you write to them or boycott either one, we should be heartened that chivalrous men have undertaken such a stellar campaign for purity. Kudos!