Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right [NOOK Book]

Overview

While America is not alone in its ambivalence toward sex, its preferences swing sharply between toleration and censure. This pattern has grown even more pronounced since the 1960s, with the emergence of the New Right and its attack on the "floodtide of filth" supposedly sweeping the nation. Antipornography campaigns became the New Right's political capital in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for the "family values" agenda that shifted the country to the right. Perversion of Profit traces the anatomy of this ...

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Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right

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Overview

While America is not alone in its ambivalence toward sex, its preferences swing sharply between toleration and censure. This pattern has grown even more pronounced since the 1960s, with the emergence of the New Right and its attack on the "floodtide of filth" supposedly sweeping the nation. Antipornography campaigns became the New Right's political capital in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for the "family values" agenda that shifted the country to the right. Perversion of Profit traces the anatomy of this trend, conducting archival research in twenty-four states and recounting the debates over obscenity that consumed members of the ACLU in the 1950s, the deployment of obscenity charges against gay media during the cold war, and the rise of the influential Citizens for Decent Literature during the 1960s.

Whitney Strub illustrates the crucial function of pornography in constructing the New Right agenda, which emphasized social issues over racial and economic inequality. He situates the fight over obscenity within the politics of 1950s pop culture and the pivotal events that followed: the sexual revolution, feminist activism, the "porno chic" moment of the early 1970s, and resurgent Christian conservatism, which now shapes public policy far beyond the issue of sexual decency. Following these battles to the early months of the Obama administration, Strub isolates the undercurrents of anti-Communist rhetoric that once powered the antipornography movement and continues to permeate political discourse. Connecting the lowest forms of entertainment to the highest levels of government, he revolutionizes our understanding of sex and American politics.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American History - David T. Courtwright

Perversion for Profit situates the pornography battles within the tricky ideological crosscurrents of the culture war.

American Historical Review - David K. Johnson

Strub does a masterful job of making the complicated postwar legal history of the shifting definitions of obscenity clear in a nuanced analysis that is always attentive to issues of gender and sexuality.

H-Histsex

[Strub] conveys how pornography comes into contact with greater narratives of obscenity, permissiveness, sexuality, and gender. It is apparent from [his] accounts how pornography is a vital and rich subject for analyzing a range of social pressures and competing narratives.

Journal of American History
Perversion for Profit situates the pornography battles within the tricky ideological crosscurrents of the culture war.

— David T. Courtwright

Journal of the History of Sexuality - Gillian Frank

Well-researched and wide-ranging.... [ Perversion for Profit] deserves accolades for charting conservatism's ongoing affair with pornography and convincingly demonstrating the centrality of sexuality to an understanding of modern political history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231520157
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Whitney Strub is an assistant professor of History at Rutgers University, Newark. His writing has appeared in American Quarterly, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Journal of Social History, PopMatters, and Bad Subjects.

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