Pornography: Film and Culture

Front Cover
Peter Lehman
Rutgers University Press, 2006 - Performing Arts - 272 pages
Porn is big business. By some estimates, it grosses more revenue per year than the entire "legitimate" film and entertainment industry. Most large hotel chains offer pay-for-view adult movies, many video stores have adult movie rental sections, and Internet porn sites have proliferated by the thousands. With porn so ubiquitous in mainstream American culture, why is it that when "respectable" people talk about this phenomenon, they act puzzled, as if they cannot imagine who would watch such worthless and meaningless smut?

In this collection of path-breaking essays, thirteen respected scholars bring critical insights to the reality of porn and what it can tell us about ourselves sexually, culturally, and economically. Moving beyond simplistic feminist and religious positions that cast these films as categorical evils-a collective preserve of sexual perversion, misogyny, pedophilia, and racism-the contributors to this volume raise the bar of the debate and push porn studies into intriguing new territory.

The essays are divided into two sections. The first reprints important debates on the topic and traces the evolution of pornographic film, including comparing its development to that of Hollywood cinema. The second part presents new essays that consider current trends in the field, including pornography's expansion into new technologies.

This book separates this compelling genre from the sensation and shame that have long surrounded and obscured it. It will be of interest to general readers and film scholars alike.
 

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Contents

On Pornography
25
Letter to John
48
Number and Narrative
60
Revelations about Pornography
87
The White Trashing of Porn
99
How to Look at Pornography
118
MaleMale Desire in Penthouse Letters
133
Implications for Analysis
154
A Tale of Shifting Boundaries
168
The Affective Dynamics of Comedy and Porn
189
Reading Asian Pornography
206
Pornographys Web of Racist Attractions
220
What Men See When They Watch
244
Contributors
259
Index
261
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Peter Lehman is the director of the Film and Media Studies Program and the Center for Film and Media Research at Arizona State University, Tempe. He is author, coauthor, and editor of twelve books, including Roy Orbison: The Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity.

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