Pornified by Pamela Paul
If size really matters, pornography now ranks as one of America’s most prominent industries. Estimated to rake in as much as $14 billion a year, it is the nation’s most lucrative spectator sport, outperforming professional baseball, basketball, and football combined. As befits its success, porn (as it is familiarly known) has moved from the red-light district to the boardroom. It has its own lawyers, lobbyists, marketers, accountants, analysts, and trade publications. Hotel chains depend on it, the movie business grows fat on it, the Internet teems with it, and the universities give it high-brow respectability, with student magazines like Harvard’s H-Bomb or Boston University’s Boink and a growing cadre of professors of “porn studies.”
In Pornified, the journalist Pamela Paul forgoes most of what usually passes for serious discussion of pornography—its history, its relation to the free-speech debate, its implications for right-thinking feminists. Instead, through interviews, mostly with youngish heterosexual men, and her own privately commissioned polling, she tries to describe something more concrete: how our “pornified” culture has affected the everyday lives of actual Americans.
About the Author
Kay S. Hymowitz, a contributing editor of City Journal, writes frequently for COMMENTARY on social and cultural issues.