The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is not some sort of purist literature product, but it is a sacred institution in the American magazine industry. Not only do its covers help us predict economic trends, they're also the traditional measuring stick for the evolving standards of mainstream white-bread attractiveness. So while we can forgive the cheesy Will Ferrell tie-ins this year as a ploy to bump circulation (SI was up less than 1% in the latest numbers; Playboy plunged 10%, though, which should tell them something), what has us worried is the fact that SI is now just recycling the exact same cover shot it had eight years ago. Here's how short men's memories are when it comes to the "topless model whose supple breasts are barely covered with strings of beads" dynamic:
Daniela Pestova, 2000, on the left; Marisa Miller, 2008, on the right.