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Do Not Click on this Pornographic Website

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You may not recover. You have been warned.

“Porn” is a term we reserve for the depiction of erotic behavior designed to cause sexual excitement.

Everyone knows this.

But does the depiction of erotic behavior ever extend beyond sexual? I say “Yes” and note that it routinely presents as normal life. Lots of advertising aims for this lustful, must-own tone. Bathtubs, kitchens, lake homes. Cars. Bicycles. Camera lenses. Ice cream sandwiches. Apple is the pre-eminent, undisputed master of desire-manipulation designed to cause ownership lust, as witnessed in yesterday’s watch announcement. It’s a winning persuasion technique that bypasses reason as it reduces the unaware to a quivering mass of…longing.


you sexy thing

Really anything can be pornographic—even book ownership. More and more I see piles of books in Tumblrs along with a statement about how reading changes you. Which is true. But so does conversation. So does work. So does life. And so does experience. It’s curious because books seem to be moving to the level of a totem, where we hold them up as having a kind of magic power for wisdom. And all this as more and more of us read less and less. When I teach writing classes, I routinely say that even a paragraph is too much copy (too many words) for many of us.

I’m all for books. And I’m especially fond of reading them. But I’d like to see ads for owning the contents of books. I’d like to see ads that move people toward the deep reading Mortimer Adler defended in How to read a book. Ads that make it sexy to know something and to engage in a conversation about it.

But there’s no money to be made in that.

Maybe book lust is one of the OK-lusts. But I would hope we could grow up to the kind of deep knowing that brings book contents into our daily conversations.


Image credit: Loome Theological Booksellers: “Largest secondhand dealer of theological books in the world.”

Written by kirkistan

September 10, 2014 at 10:29 am

Books Smell

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Musty was part of the charm08012013-1613 Bible Rear

Computers rarely smell. Keyboards can get grimy, of course. And the screen on a tablet gets all sweaty if you read while running on a treadmill. Part of the charm of old used bookstores is the smell of the books.

Early on in life I worked as a printer running small presses as a way to pay for college. Fresh reams of paper and rollers and tins of ink and the oiled mechanical bits of the press all have an odor peculiar to the printing industry.

Same with book stores. Paul’s Book Store in Madison, Wisconsin (a haunt of mine in college) had a similar smell, adjusted up for dust and volumes of old paper. Midway Books in Saint Paul is always worth stopping by—and not just for the smell of the books. All sorts of treasures reside there.

Loome Theological Booksellers moved from their old, cold church building in downtown Stillwater to a (considerably expanded) barn out in the country. I’ve not visited since their move. The bookish folks at Loome are offering a 1613 King James Bible for sale (only $3900) with a well-known printing error (the “He” version).

I’m not in the market for such a book, but I may go just for the smell it.


Written by kirkistan

August 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

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