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Porn and Prose

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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 ...

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...would have been unacceptable as an essay topic anyway. Be it obscene, or art, Internet pornography has paved its way into a genre of writing with a cult-like following.

Works Cited

Birkerts, Sven. "Into the Electronic Millennium." Tribble and Trubek. 63 & 71.
Gopnick, Adam. “The Return of the Word.” Tribble and Trubek. 180 & 181.

Kessler, Merle. “Porn: For the rest of us.” 2001. Online. Internet. 27 Mar. 2004.


Noxon, Christopher. “When Harry Met Smutty.” 2003. Online. Internet. 27 Mar. 2004.


Tribble, Evelyn B., and Anne Trubek, eds. Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age. Addison Wesley Longman, 2003. 338 & 340.

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