Review: Jeff Sparrow – Money Shot: a journey into porn and censorship

Money Shot: a journey into porn and censorship
Jeff Sparrow
I must admit I felt some trepidation when this book arrived at my doorstep to be reviewed. The lurid pink cover, even the title, didn’t see very appealing to me – despite this being a book I ordered. A book about porn…

15781784I got stuck into the novel just as I promised myself I would though – and it turned out to be an enlightening and interesting journey. I couldn’t say I enjoyed it, but it was interesting.

It’s difficult for me to pick out bits of this novel, because this is a non-fiction book, a genre which I rarely attempt to read and review. Something in this book’s favour is that I did stick with it, and it wasn’t unpleasant like some other non-fiction book I have come across. Sparrow was an engaging writer, and his sense of humour carried the book. The conversational tone, and the individual episodes of speaking to each of the interest groups, worked.
I’ve never really thought about the XXX-stores, other than a passing ‘ew, I could never be caught going in there’, but this book is quite an eyeopener. Chances are, some of the DVDs in there are ones that were never permitted by the Australian registration board.
I had to feel a little sorry for the old men who are described by Sparrow – it seems a little cruel to be picking on them when they are being open about their desires. I agree there is something a little sleazy about the whole idea – but isn’t that what porn is? It’s easy enough to imagine people in cinemas getting off on a screen reel, but I’m sure most people at some point have watched porn in the privacy of their homes.

Zombies, Poppers and Pork is a particularly witty and well written chapter. Sparrow effectively manipulates his reader into feeling negative about Wolstencroft from the beginning, so you aren’t all that shocked to here that he is somehow a libertarian fascist!

Perhaps the most important thing is that there should be a mid-line between porn and complete puritanism. The points Sparrow makes about the Bible Planetshakers, and the natural curiosity of teens are very relevant and somewhat worrying. There is such a thing as good porn!

From nannying the net (internet filters) to predation on children, almost everything about porn in Australia is covered in this book. There are things that some people wouldn’t be interested in reading about, and I did find myself skimming a couple of chapters towards the end (racial porn for example). Do you have an interest in the future of porn, and the worrying ideas of Tony Abbott and completely censoring the net (with filters that also chop out useful sites)? An open mind is a must.

If you are interested into insights about censorship of porn in Australia and learning more about the guidelines that govern its import, this is the book for you. Due to the content, I would recommend it only for adult readers. It would likely be a useful read for people in the porn industry of Australia.

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