Smut: A Sex Industry Insider (and Concerned Father) Says Enough is Enough

Overview

Smut has become the new secondhand smoke: It confronts you against your will whereyou least want to encounter it, and it’s impossible to protect your children from it. Nothing made this clearer than the Janet Jackson episode during the Super Bowl when millions of kids were exposed to an image that used to be restricted to consenting adults. But that’s nothing compared with the sexuality that now saturates morning radio shows, prime-time sitcoms, pop music lyrics, billboards, and store windows. “Just change the ...
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Overview

Smut has become the new secondhand smoke: It confronts you against your will whereyou least want to encounter it, and it’s impossible to protect your children from it. Nothing made this clearer than the Janet Jackson episode during the Super Bowl when millions of kids were exposed to an image that used to be restricted to consenting adults. But that’s nothing compared with the sexuality that now saturates morning radio shows, prime-time sitcoms, pop music lyrics, billboards, and store windows. “Just change the channel” doesn’t work anymore.

Enough, says Penthouse and Maxim writer Gil Reavill, the concerned father of a middle school daughter. As a liberal, Reavill always believed that Americans have a First Amendment right to read and view sexually explicit material, and he saw nothing wrong with contributing to publications like Screw. But he now argues that unlike magazines and videos—viewed in private and by consent—smut in the public square has simply gone too far.

Reavill takes the reader inside the sex entertainment industry, recalling his own experiences as a young man from the Midwest seduced by a job at an X-rated magazine in New York City. With witty and fascinating stories, he shows how his colleagues rebelled against a stifling culture by pushing the envelope. Little did they realize that words and images considered porn in the 1980s are now on the public airwaves around the clock.

Many Americans instinctively defend smut because censorship strikes them as unacceptable. But Reavill argues that we have to balance the rights of those who want to buy smut with the rights of those who want to avoid it. His book will spark a long- overdue debate about where we draw the lines in pop culture.

Author Bio: Gil Reavill is the coauthor of Raising Our Athletic Daughters: How Sports Can Build Self-Esteem and Save Girls’ Lives. He writes about true crime for Maxim and has a cultural review column in Penthouse.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The author waves a yellow flag of warning at smut's bullying ubiquity in American popular culture, from the compromised position of being a cog in its wheel. Porn is as it ever was, writes Reavill, the hellspawn of men in their 20s, "such tortured and bizarre anti-exemplars of the human race almost to deserve their own subspecies." The problem is, he suggests, that while smut was once patrolled ground, these days it is the unavoidable secondhand smoke blown in our faces by television, radio and advertising. The writer knows whereof he speaks: He cut his writing teeth at Screw magazine and continues to contribute to Maxim and Penthouse. He is not calling for any abridgement of the First Amendment, but rather yearning for a sense of neighborliness, decorum and decency. Some freedom from free expression, as it were-as Groucho Marx once said to a woman with nine children, Reavill recalls, "I like my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth every once and a while." The author makes some valid points regarding advertising, pop-ups on the Internet, and magazine covers, where hypersexualization is truly unavoidable. He stumbles, though, when it comes to TV, phone sex, books and fashion, areas in which his concern as a parent has more sway than he admits. Who is to say that he can't offer alternatives: games, sports, movies of his choosing, music that isn't laced with sex (though the alternative is usually invectives), reading a book out loud? If Reavill leaves his daughter's recreational options up to the mainstream, he shouldn't complain. And when he tenders correctives such as "insist on voluntary G-rated display policies," all his good civil liberties intentions come unglued. Inventiveness ofpersonal responsibility is not Reavill's strong suit, but his concern for our visual and aural everyday has merit. Sex, as he states, should be the glittering sand on the beach, not the stuff kicked in our faces by thugs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595230126
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/21/2005
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Gil Reavill is the coauthor of Raising Our Athletic Daughters: How Sports Can Build Self-Esteem and Save Girls’ Lives. He writes about true crime for Maxim and has a cultural review column in Penthouse.
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Table of Contents

1 The oldest story in the book 3
2 What I'm doing here 7
3 The unchangeable channel 11
4 Culture-whipped 21
5 The clown prince 27
6 Wasting away in Pottersville 34
7 The boob tube : prime-time TV 43
8 "The id on the grid" : basic cable 52
9 True lies : reality TV 57
10 I don't want my MTV : music videos 63
11 Tangled in the Web : Internet sex 68
12 Virtual worlds : child pornography on the Internet 79
13 Ad Nauseam : public signage 86
14 The jean pool : fashion 95
15 The savage breast : pop music 101
16 Silent thrill : video games 110
17 Dropping dime : phone sex 115
18 The return of porn chic : books 119
19 Maximization : magazines 128
20 A case of the creeps : movies 134
21 The curse of the chattering class 141
22 The male animal 148
23 Chilling slopes and slippery effects 154
24 Censor sensibility 166
25 Why obscenity prosecution doesn't work 172
26 Television 181
27 The Internet 187
28 The public commons 194
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2006

    Valuable Read

    This book should be required reading along with Ben Shapiro's book, Porn Generation! Fantastic looks (both books) at the relentless sexualization of ALL THINGS MEDIA these days. Insightful and especially interesting perspective of an adult industry insider and now DAD.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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