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Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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About the Author
Catharine Lumby is the editor of Remote Control and the head of the media studies program at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is the coauthor of Why TV is Good for Kids and is the author of Bad Girls: The Media, Sex and Feminism in the 1990s and Gotcha: Life in a Tabloid World. Katherine Albury is the author of Yes Means Yes: Getting Explicit about Heterosex. She teaches media studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. Alan McKee is the author of Australian Television, The Public Sphere, and Textual Analysis. He teaches in television at Queensland University of Technology.
A subject as important as the pervasive influence of pornography in our culture deserves serious consideration. This book takes a rational and empirical approach to many rarely-questioned assumptions about pornography, often with surprising and challenging conclusions. Sober and thoughtful. A brave and important contribution.
This extensive (but not quite exhaustive) body of research takes a look at the other side of porn, the side that totalitarian censors would have you believe does not exist. Unafraid to ask confronting and as-yet unexplored questions (such as whether porn has produced any benefits for its consumers), TPR gazes through the looking glass, into bedrooms and analyses the users and consequences of pornography.
The first chapter alone is worth the cost of the tome. Living as we are in progressive 21st-century democracies, most of us are innocently naive of the sheer volume of books and films banned in the past for nebulous justifications as "obscenity" and indecent. This included information on birth control in the United States as recently as 1873. Even simple nudity was considered pornographic back in the days of ancient Greece and Rome, since they precipitated excessive libidinousness in healthy young males.
For those who are curious, this is a brief list of fictional novels that were illegal in Australia in recent decades.
William Adlington (trans.), The golden ass of Lucius Apuleius (banned 1933-1936)
Richard Aldington, All men are enemies (banned 1933-1953)
Richard Aldington, The colonel's daughter (banned 1931)
Nelson Algren, Never come morning (banned 1951)
C.E. Allen, Homosexuality (banned 1958)
C.E. Allen, The sexual perversions and abnormalities (restricted 1946-1969)
Stuart Anderson, The how and why of birth control (banned 1937)
Anon., Hash cookery (banned 1970)
Anon., The hippie papers (banned 1968)
Anon., The mad, mad world of Aubrey Beardsley (banned 1969)
Possibly the most rigourous study on the uses of porn ever conducted, presented with plenty of interest, humour, and common sense. If there's one book the anti-porn branch of feminism never wants you to read it's this one - because it's right and they can't successfully argue against it.