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Hard-Core Culture

THE IMAGE ON the July 3, 1995, cover of Time magazine struck a chord with the public as few do: a boy stares, wide-eyed, at the blue-green triple-X glow of a computer monitor. The accompanying article—and resulting furor over its accuracy—trumpeted cyberporn as Public Leviathan No. 1. For some time the pornography issue has been a Gordian knot in which free speech, feminism, free enterprise, violence against women, child sexuality, and gay rights are knitted into a tightly balled mess. Add in the accessibility of the Internet—with its promise of porn dumped right into the home—and it becomes clear why many find the issue so compelling.

As New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani is preparing to rid Times Square of its legendary smut spots and Congress has charged into the on-line fray with the Exon amendment, which would criminalize the computer transmission of “obscene” material, there has

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