June 3rd, 2009

Normally I enjoy reading view copies of recently released books with tantalizing covers. They make for excellent airplane and bathroom reading, and they always keep the apartment guests who gather around my coffee table on their toes.

I can’t, however, say I enjoyed The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go From Here, a curmudgeon of a text bent on wagging its finger at the sexualization of everything from Bratz dolls to Sean Connery movies to the Olsen Twins. Despite its flesh- and strawberry-toned dust jacket (oh no, it too is sexy!), this book read more like a middle-aged rant against “kids these days” and their shirt skirts than a well-constructed analysis of pop culture. Authors, professors, and fathers Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott start out with the claim that everyday life is getting more and more like porn. It’s an interesting idea, and maybe it’s true, but backing it up with anecdotal evidence for 200+ pages… it’s enough to drive a girl to watching actual smut.

Call me a phallus hater (man hater just sounds so harsh — and normal), but I can’t help but think The Porning of America could have benefited from collaboration with a female author. After all, it has potential — somebody really should be doing an in-depth look at the public childhood and sexualization of Mary Kate and Ashley — but ends in a cycle of “You know what else is too sexy these days?” ramblings. Sorry, grandpas, Bratz are going to wear itsy bitsy skirts whether you like it or not.

Tags: books, reviews, sex

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