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2014: Year of the Religious Pinup Calendar Battle

When playful kittens just aren't enough, a series of religion-oriented wall calendars—including one featuring "naughty Jewish boys"—spark controversy

The pinup calendar—once reserved for showcasing bare-chested women and pimped-out cars painted with lightening bolts (with bare-chested women on them)—is getting a series of controversial religious face-lifts this year, angering more traditional and (sometimes) wholesome calendar-makers across the country.

The New York Post reports that two rival calendar creators are in a heated legal battle regarding the highly coveted (yes, you read that right) market of Jewish male pinups. Television producer Adam Cohen, the wunderkind entrepreneur and JDate co-conspirator behind the calendar “Nice Jewish Guys,” has sent a cease-and-desist letter to playwright Duncan Plfaster for his “Naughty Jewish Boys” calendar, which Cohen says infringes on his trademark spread.

Pflaster (who’s not Jewish) first advertised for his scandalous pinup on Craigslist, where he marketed his calendar as one that would rival Cohen’s “emasculating” product, which has featured fully clothed, “average” and “trustworthy” Jewish men with cute animals since 2011. The playwright plans to produce his calendar, lawsuit permitting, this summer and fill it with “tefillin mohawk guy[s]” like musician Isaac Scranton, who graciously volunteered to model for Pflaster’s shoot. “The ‘nice Jewish boy’ is a boring stereotype,” said Scranton, who goes by his Hebrew name, Bar Yehuda, in the calendar. “It’s flavorless.”

Laughably, Cohen and Pfalster’s skirmish isn’t the first this year in the sphere of controversial, religious-oriented pinups. The editors of new book Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex and Intimacy, published a list in late December of the “Hot Muslim Men” they would like to see in a 2014 calendar, only to face backlash from members of the Muslim community, who criticized the editors for their objectification.

Mr. January: Rehan Jalali

And in January, members of the Romanian Orthodox church published a satirical pinup shoot of sexy Orthodox “priests” (they were, in fact, just gay-friendly members of the church) to promote gay rights. Reactions to the calendar were “mixed,” according to its creators; some church leaders called the men “terrorists,” while others simply stated they did not “approve.”

Of course, there are plenty of traditional, bust-centric calendars for religious groups to slam. In advance of this year’s calendar-buying season, a group of so-called “Christian anarchists” stole $2,000 worth of spreads showcasing nearly-nude Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, clad in barely-there crop tops, from the shelves of a Georgia mall kiosk. The anarchists left in their wake signs reading “Sorry, misogyny is out of stock” and “The female body is not a commodity.”

So it seems that no calendar is safe from offending someone these days. Except, of course, these spreads of hot guys and baby animals and hot men and cats, which should probably grace newsstands everywhere in the coming year. L’chaim.

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