Book Review: Porn Nation

Porn Nation: Conquering America’s #1 Addiction
Written by Michael Leahy
Published by Northfield Publishers
ISBN10: 0802481256
ISBN13: 9780802481252

Review by Chad Denton

As with my review of a left-wing anti-pornography book, Getting Off, I am somewhat conflicted about what I should write in this review. However, it’s not because of the difficulties of critiquing a heartfelt screed, but the fact that this book, “Porn Nation”, which offers an approach to pornography from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from “Getting Off”, carries the sincere testimony of a recovering porn addict, its author Michael Leahy. It’s not quite as in-depth or devestating as the film Auto Focus (or as it was known to me for a while, “that film about that ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ guy”), which could very well be the most disturbing and realistic exploration of sex addiction out there in American cinema, if not the entire Englsh-speaking world. While Auto Focus was, true to its title, unflinching and unapologetic, “Porn Nation” is very much written in a distinctly conservative fashion, attempting to achieve a friendly intimacy with the reader but avoiding any truly salacious details, which, maybe appropriately enough, sets a tone for the entire book.
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Book review: Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masulinity

Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masulinity
By Robert Jensen
Published by South End Press
ISDN-10: 089608-776-x
ISDN-13: 978-0-89608-776-7

Review by Chad Denton

It is difficult being a person with strong political and social convictions and reviewing a book like this, which an impassioned treatise that isn’t so much directed toward one topic but exists as an open letter pleading every case they ever cared about. Either you agree and your critique is blinded by the joy of finding a fellow traveler, or you disagree and the author slowly turns into the Worst Most Ignorant Person Ever. Of course, even when you firmly disagree, the least one can do is appreciate the passion the activist author has stirred into the prose. And Robert Jensen has indeed spent a great deal of time thinking and arguing about pornography and its possible connections to the mistreatment of women in modern society, which I must respect. In fact, Jensen and I probably, if someone reduced our positions to pie charts, agree more than we disagree, especially when it comes to traditional gender roles (who needs ’em?) and misogyny (it’s very bad).
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