Beacon Press: The Porning of America
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The Porning of America

The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here

Authors: Carmine Sarracino, Kevin M. Scott

From Bratz dolls to Abu Ghraib, this urgent book reveals that porn has become the mainstream and the mainstream has become porn

From the popular Bratz dolls to the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib, The Porning of America reveals that porn has become the mainstream-and the mainstream has become porn. Carmine Sarracino and Kevin Scott argue that porn has seeped into and been absorbed by every defining aspect of our culture: language, entertainment, fashion, advertising, sexual behavior, even politics. Cultural absorption is so complete that we no longer have to purchase pornography to get porn because we increasingly live porn on a daily basis.

In tracing porn’s transformation-from the Civil War to the golden age of comic books in the 1940s and 1950s to the adult film industry’s golden decade of the 1970s and up to today-the authors illustrate that what began in the dark alleys of American life has now emerged as an unapologetic multibillion-dollar industry. In this astonishingly comprehensive book, Sarracino and Scott profile such “porn exemplars“-those who have been pivotal to the mainstreaming of porn-as Russ Meyer, Snoop Dogg, Jenna Jameson, and Paris Hilton; they document how mainstream advertising uses porn culture to sell commercial goods now to an even younger, “tween” audience; and they pose crucial questions: How has porn shaped the way we view our own and others’ bodies? Sarracino and Scott examine porned advertising of everything from Clinique to Orbit gum to Old Spice. How has porn influenced our relationships and how do current sexual behaviors, such as the “hookup,” mimic porn? The authors look to MySpace and Craigslist for answers. And how does porn shape our identity, as individuals and as a nation? Sarracino and Scott argue that the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib exposed our porned sensibilities.

Not an anti-porn diatribe, The Porning of America is resolutely pro-sex. Sarracino and Scott contend that, to make the most of our hard-won sexual freedom, we must thoughtfully-and honestly-evaluate what might be liberating about porn as well as what might be damaging. Nuanced, timely, and urgent, The Porning of America will change how you see the world around you.
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“This fascinating, provocative book had me glued and makes a great crack at unraveling the mysteries of today’s pornography. If you’re questioning how to think through the vast array of porn that is now available, The Porning of America has great information and fresh insights that will enhance any debate. I’ve been involved in the sex industry for over three decades, and yet I learned a great deal from Sarracino and Scott’s current research.” —Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D., porn star turned sexologist

“Whether it’s the sexualization of girls, a pimp lifestyle, or Abu Ghraib, there’s no dismissing the influence of pornography . . . In this smart, provocative book Sarracino and Scott tease apart the dark, debasing forms of pornography-that ‘cultural toxic waste’ polluting the social body-from the sensual, pleasurable part of us that yearns for expression. This brave, nuanced book tells a story we don’t want to know but can’t, for the life of us, ignore.” —Lyn Mikel Brown, founder of Hardy Girls Healthy Women and coauthor of Packaging Girlhood

“As someone whose business has been pornography for decades, I’m thrilled with The Porning of America. Sarracino and Scott show a real understanding of the development of porn, and make a convincing argument that porn has become mainstream-and that the mainstream has become porn. Comprehensive and thought-provoking, this is a must read if you want to understand porn and our culture.” —Al Goldstein, founder and former publisher of Screw magazine and Midnight Blue

“Sarracino and Scott-dads first, professors second-open our eyes to the porning of America. Readers are given the history, the politics, and the psychology of porn today. With straight-talk but nuanced arguments, the authors take us on a fascinating and sometimes alarming ride through comic books, pop culture, the Internet, soft-core porn, and on beyond XXX. This is simply required reading for anyone interested in girls’ and boys’ development and for all of us who care about promoting a sexual ethic of mutuality and care.” —Sharon Lamb, professor, psychologist, and coauthor of The APA Task Force Report on the Sexualization of Girls

“This bold book is both pro-sex and pro-feminist. A critical and comprehensive examination of the misogyny and racism that are alive and well in porn and mainstream society, it nevertheless manages to celebrate sexuality.” —Jessica Valenti, author of Full-Frontal Feminism


Review: The Tyee - January 21, 2009
"Authors Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott, an academic duet from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, have overwhelming evidence that the most dehumanizing style of porn has infected every aspect of life, and they trace the history of just how this came to be. . . . The book is subtitled The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go from Here . . . the authors are brilliant at mapping out the former. In short: we have 'normalized the marginal.'"
Review: Sacramento News Review - November 26, 2008
"What makes [the book] so powerful is the insightful analysis. Choosing to explore the multiple viewpoints that make up this subject, The Porning of America is a discussion, not a diatribe, about wicked ways or sexual salvation."
Review: Lancaster Sunday News - November 9, 2008
“A tough book, but not a puritan diatribe, the book traces the influence of pornography on our sensibilities.”
Review: PopMatters - October 29, 2008
“Approaching the material with a particularly clearheaded sociological gaze, the authors map out the ways in which porn’s rise and eventual cultural dominance serves as a microcosm for our sexual liberation, while at the same time indulging in and making literal what are frequently our most shameful desires.”
Review: XBIZ - October 15, 2008
"They have names like Bratz Dolls, Carl's Jr., Clinique and Johnson & Johnson. NBC Universal, Comcast and AOL are the new adult producers and webmasters. They are the companies we see every day. In The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go From Here, Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott introduce a cast of porn stars with names that normally would illicit brand awareness, if not warmth, security and affluence."
Review: - October 7, 2008
"It's too early to know exactly how kids who grow up in this hypersexualized environment will be affected in the long term. But Scott and his coauthor say it's not too soon—or too prudish—to sound the alarm, and to look critically at the sexualized culture we're exposed to every day."
Review: Metro Spirit - October 2, 2008
“Written with an expansive grasp of the highlights of pornographic history and a mastery of narrative argument, The Porning of America is a fascinating view of the changing popular culture surrounding American life, which offers a new vision of the days to come and a multitude of debates to be had concerning the sexual reality of the contemporary world.”
Review: Lancaster New Era - September 12, 2008
"Sarracino and Scott leave it up to readers to form their own opinions on the proliferation of porn. They hope their engaging, thought-provoking book jump-starts a national discussion—because porn isn't going anywhere."
Read an interview in Salon's Broadsheet blog with Carmine Sarracino

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The Porning of America

ISBN: 978-080706153-4
Publication Date: 9/1/2008
Pages: 272
Size: x Inches (US)
Price:  $24.95
Format: Cloth
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