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Porn And Prose Essay

1794 words - 7 pages

Porn and Prose

Pornography has the ability to stay current with each technological breakthrough while pushing the borders of what we deem as “acceptable” in reading and writing. In, Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age by Tribble and Trubek, an article by Gopnick notes the death of the “word” before its technological resurgence. “Each new medium was more visually and sensually rich that the last: movies gave way to talking movies, which gave way to color talking movies, which gave way to round-the-clock talking color television. In that context, words just hung around looking glum, with hardly enough energy left to compose themselves into sentences”(180). Gopnick then discuses the “revolution” of the Internet and even though it’s written language can be regarded as a backward move, it is the return of the word.

Sven Birkerts, as noted in Tribble and Trubek, speaks about the downfall of printed text. "This shift [from printed word] is happening throughout our culture, away from the patterns and habits of the printed page and toward a new world distinguished by its reliance on electronic communucatuins"(63). Pornography has not been left in the dark regarding this phenomenon, and is blazing its own trail as it goes. Internet porn is breaking ground for a “sexual liberation” of sorts as well as becoming a full-fledged addiction for some and a means for artistic expression for others.

What is pornography? It is something that lacks concrete definition. It is for the most part subjective in nature. As Supreme Court Justice Stewart said, “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.” A Cosmopolitan magazine cover may be acceptable and exposed in one grocery store, then concealed in the next. As for erotic literature, the range goes from Kama Sutra (as a sexual guide), to pulp fiction (candy for the imagination), to Playboy (nothing left to the imagination). The availability and widespread usage of Internet porn has made these mediums more accepted than in the past. While Playboy was once considered a novelty in the risqué, it is now considered tame compared to the material found on the World Wide Web. Playboy is also known for its articles and political satire. The common joke is that men only subscribe to Playboy “for the articles”, but more often than not, men are reading those articles. You can’t say that for most of the porn found on the web.

Reading has a history of association with sensuality. In “On Women and Reading”, from Tribble and Trubek, there is a painting of an elegant woman reading in a chair. The painting is whimsical in nature and depicts an enjoyment of the literature. She is fully clothed and without an erotic pose, but the softness of the painting coupled with the casual lounging with her book is somehow sensual. “Novels were regarded with considerable suspicion by the respectable, especially the ‘godly’, who feared that female novel readers would become...

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