December 20, 2013

Cultural Comment: The Legacy of a Pornographer

Al Goldstein, the pioneer publisher of hardcore pornographic magazine, Screw, died on December 19, 2013 in Brooklyn, NY. Goldstein’s life was very much like pornography – crude, exploitive, and ultimately unsatisfying. He led a sad life filled with upheaval that ended in brokenness and loneliness, as seen in his NY Times obituary.

His brand of porn prefigured Internet pornography and gives us a clue as to where Internet porn is leading us. “There is a pattern to American life that what is avant-garde becomes commonplace,” Mr. Goldstein said in 1981. “The mass market eventually assimilates that which is innovative or revolutionary.”  Debasing, caustic, hardcore porn now dominates the Internet – it has become commonplace.

Pornography can no longer be thought of as a victimless crime between two consenting adults.  Sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, and addiction are just a few of the harms this industry creates. This is Mr. Goldstein’s legacy.

Further Reading