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LA Daily News: Porn Industry Raises “Serious Moral, Health, Social and Economical Issues”

Porn Valley- [LA Daily News]- FOR decades, pornography has been the elephant in the middle of the room in polite San Fernando Valley conversation.

We all know it’s there. But we take a see-no-evil, speak-no-evil attitude, as if what we don’t know won’t hurt us. Ignorance has not worked. The pornography industry has flourished in all parts of the Valley as the Internet has opened up vast markets around the world and many in society’s mainstream have embraced porn in one form or another as part of ordinary life.

A great philosopher once said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And that applies to the Valley’s porn industry, which has gone unexamined despite raising serious moral, health, social and economic issues.

Without delving into the prurient details, which are all too readily available, the Daily News has taken a close look at a vast industry that makes its home right in our own backyard.

For the most part, the porn industry is, mercifully, discreet. It operates in unmarked warehouses and private homes. But that doesn’t mean it’s invisible. Its tentacles reach into all aspects of our life.

We cannot open our e-mail without being besieged by ads for it. Its stars routinely appear in mainstream media. Its titles flood the shelves
at video retailers and convenience stores alike.

Then there are porn’s more insidious influences.

It affects men’s attitudes toward women, and teenager’s attitudes toward sex and commitment. It can be addictive, and wreak havoc on marriages and families. It’s often a precursor to sexual abuse. And it can exploit those involved, while fueling the spread of devastating STDs like HIV.

But decades of determined silence have done nothing to slow the spread of porn, to rein in its ever-increasing debasement, or to mitigate its social costs. Nor have they kept porn’s influence out of youth culture.

And our silence has been rooted in denial.

The men and women in the porn industry are not foreigners or freaks; they are our neighbors, our Little League coaches, the friendly face at the supermarket.

Nor is porn going away. With the explosion of new media – iPods, video phones, Web-based films – its presence is only going to become more pervasive.

Perhaps, then, it’s time to take a serious look at the culture of porn, its players and its repercussions. What, exactly, is going on in our very midst? What does it say about us?

These are important questions worth asking and thinking about, based on good information that the series of articles starting today tries to provide.

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