Essay: THE NEW PORNOGRAPHY

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Sex has, of course, infinite variants and imposes many compulsions. There will always be cheap pornography, and in a permissive age it will flourish openly and, perhaps, eventually fade; in a restrictive age, it will live clandestinely and, probably, remain a hardy growth. The purpose of sex in serious literature is to help convey the feeling and meaning of life as it is. Thus literature neither denies the existence of the wildest aberrations nor the use of the most clinical or bawdy language—but does not celebrate them as norms.

In the long run a sense of humor may be far more effective against the new pornography than censorship ever could be. "A return to ribaldry would be a very good thing," says Methodist Minister Tom Driver. "People ought to laugh in bed, and at some of the current writing about bed." There are signs that some are indeed laughing—and laughing at the authors of pornography. For sex is far too important a matter to be left merely to writers.

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