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Friday, December 20, 2013

Death of Porn Pioneer Al Goldstein

Al Goldstein, founder of Screw magazine, has passed away at age 77 in a Brooklyn nursing home after a long illness. His name was perhaps as synonymous with pornography in the 1970s as was Larry Flynt's.

The New York Times' obit dubbed him the "Publisher Who Took the Romance Out of Sex" in its title.

Mr. Goldstein, who lived to shock and offend and was arrested more than a dozen times on obscenity charges, stuck around long enough for social mores and technology to overtake him. By the time his company went bankrupt in 2003, he was no longer a force in the $10-billion-a-year industry he pioneered. But for better or worse, his influence was undeniable, wrote The Times. “He clearly coarsened American sensibilities,” Alan M. Dershowitz, the civil liberties advocate and Mr. Goldstein’s sometime lawyer, said in 2004. “Hefner did it with taste,” Mr. Dershowitz added, referring to Hugh Hefner, the founder and publisher of Playboy, which predated Screw by 15 years. “Goldstein’s contribution is to be utterly tasteless.” 

"What's Love Got to Do with It?" was Goldstein's message, well before Tina Turner warbled those words. To be fair, Playboy was a gentleman's magazine operating in a 1950s/60s ethos of cheesecake eroticism. Screw, as its name might suggest, was a slob's rag operating in the 1970s with the ethos of a mainstream porn-film market (think Deep Throat, Devil in Miss Jones, Beyond the Green Door), a Times Square gone sleazy and perhaps to seed and the Sexual Revolution.

Huffington Post wrote: Of all the would-be successors to Hugh Hefner's sexual throne, no one was as out there as Goldstein. Whether publishing nude photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy, or placing an 11-foot-tall sculpture of an extended middle finger outside his Florida home, Goldstein was a one-man, uncensored army of boiling humor, manic attire, numerous divorces and X-rated visions of peace and love.

They also explained: Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, his childhood branded by a dirty world. He was a stutterer, a bed wetter and a chronic masturbator, and a target for bullies. 

So there's all the Freudian profile we need! The New York Times, however, added: A lifelong habituĂ© of psychoanalysts’ couches, he blamed a meek father and an adulterous, insensitive mother for his complexes in his 2006 autobiography, "I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life"....

Screw made Goldstein a millionaire living in a lavish townhouse on the upper east side in Manhattan. However, Al Goldstein died in poverty, sadly. The cause of death was renal failure and he left this mortal coil where he was born: Brooklyn, NYC.



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