Off the shelf              Pete Creighton


We're pornified, she says


Pamela Paul, Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. Times Books, 2005, $25.


Many of us may believe that pornography is just a harmless pastime, part of our liberated culture. That's what they want you to believe, says author Pamela Paul, known for her social study reports. "They" are the purveyors of porn who are making a lot of money from it, she tells.

From the book's cover: "Drawing from the results of more than 100 interviews (of porn addictive users) and an exclusive nationwide poll, author Paul exposes how porn has infiltrated and unsettled our lives … as intimacy is replaced by fantasy, distrust, dissatisfaction, and emotional isolation. "

Her chapter on kids in a pornified culture may be the most damning of all. "The effects on children can be disturbing and devastating." The porn on the internet "affects developing sexuality; the younger the age of exposure, and the more hard-core the material, the more intense the effects."

This mini-report just skims the  surface of the book's findings. It does not give the book justice. Porn is a complicated issue, obfuscated by other sexual deviances to convince us it is harmless. "The majority of Americans may shrug off the issue … but the costs are great and will mount…. We need to find new ways to approach the problem," says the author.

Powerful porn business interests need to sell their product as acceptable, even natural, normal. There is so much money involved. "The porn industry likes to portray and position itself as just another all-American industry. Indeed, porn may be the ultimate capitalistic enterprise: Low costs, large profit margins, a cheap labor force … and it's out to protect its interests."

Porn is not protected by the First Amendment, the author states. Don't let them tell you otherwise.

She clearly shows the insidious harm it can do and is doing.

The book's subhead makes the clear charge: "How pornography is transforming our lives, our relationships, and our families."

Freely available porn of all degrees on the internet is surely the greatest danger of fostering serious addictions, to adult men mostly. Children may suffer even greater psychological harm.

The book is a recent addition to the non-fiction shelf of the Galesburg Public Library.