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Porn Panic!: Sex and Censorship in the UK Paperback – August 26, 2016
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About the Author
Jerry Barnett is a technologist, political activist, photographer and writer. His long experience in anti-fascist politics led him to become a dedicated campaigner for free speech and sexual freedom, and he founded the Sex & Censorship campaign in 2013. He is a regular speaker and writer on sex, free expression, race and other issues, and has made regular media appearances over the past several years.
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Top customer reviews
While Jerry Barnett's political worldview may differ from yours [I'm a strong libertarian, he's somewhat left-wing], he has a strong and principled stance on free speech and documents the threats free expression, particularly in the sexual sphere, without favor to one side of the political map or the other.
He doesn't really offer many practical solutions - the problems we face, this is clear from the book, are not as such political, they're philosophical problems and are the result of the spread of certain ideas. They can't really be solved by voting for a certain party or candidate, but only by confronting the ideas and rhetoric that are causing the backlash against free speech. Mr. Barnett's book is a fair and detailed exposition of those ideas and the groups that espouse them.
Barnett, however, still is in the Blairite mode. He does not believe in a world outside of regulated capitalism, and while he believes in regulation and believes himself to be on the social-cultural left, he doesn't really see anyway out of capitalist relations and the exploitation inherent in parts of it. Furthermore, his "marketplace of ideas" logic assumes that there is an equality of power between all players, and there simply is not.
Barnett's use of evolutionary psychology is laughable as it is a just-so story for a lot current gender relations that are VERY historically situated. Evolutionary psychology has an immediate appeal because as primates that involved some of its core claims must be true, but as anyone who studies anthropology or comparative biology will tell you, most practical conclusions for mating habits of contemporary people based on speculations about the African savannah before agriculture are generally crap. There is no evidence for a lot of them and contrary evidence among both primates and hunter-gather drives for some of them. In short, Barnett is normalizing a lot of gender relations in a strange way.
Now, as a bit of disclosure, I am one of the people on the editorial staff at Zero that accepted this book and my honest opinion is that it's primary argument is hugely flawed because of the three caveats I mentioned above, the polemic is overreaching, and some of the book is far more conservative than the author realizes himself. However, the effects of a lot of sexual expression laws in both US and particularly the UK need to be discussed openly and honestly as even many people who are more consistently anti-pornography and sex work MUST grabble with in their advocacy. There have been perverse incentives and unintended consequences from a lot of these laws that disproportionately effect the poor but have strong support from the middle class. So I view this as a deeply flaw argument but one that is absolutely worth considering, particularly when Barnett is talking about the results of legislation.
i admit i got the book from netgalley based solely on the cover but i so do not regret it...learned some....laughed a lot and will be recommending this one to friends for sure! (at least to some of my friends...lol...).