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Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange-- How a Generation of…

by Robert Hofler

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Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to Clockwork Orange-- How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke all theTaboos by Robert Hofler is a 2014 IT Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Over a six year period of time, movies, stage, books, music, art, and in some ways television began to bring subject matter that was previously buried way underground out into the open. From 1968 to 1973 stage productions like Hair and movies like Midnight Cowboy placed nudity, including male frontal nudity before the public eye as well as openly homosexual characters in film. Laws still prevented a lot of experimentation in stage and film from going mainstream, but not for a lack of trying.
Sexual games such as wife swapping and group sex hit it big at the box office with superstar cast such as Natalie Wood. Many risque and taboo busting stage shows and movies began to use language previously unuttered on the big screen and dropped the dreaded F bomb more and more often as well as other slang terms.
On television All in the Family also explored unchartered territory on many scales also addressing homosexuality with Archie's friend being gay. Apparently this even got a comment out of President Nixon who was not amused.
While in books, Philip Roth broke barriers and did so successfully, and The Happy Hooker became mainstream reading material.
Many laws in this period were quirky. No alchohol to be served to gays in New York City was one odd fact, nudity was allowed on stage as long as the nude person was standing still and not dancing or moving about, which made it illegal.
Just because the topics were now addressed in pop culture didn't necessarily make them tasteful. Some people went for shock value in films, or art or whatever and weren't really good, just controversial.
The author has a couple of films he used as standard setting and refered to them a bit too frequently . Mrya Breckenridge and Midnight Cowboy were two that seemed to be points of reference perhaps a bit too often.
While this was interesting, some subject matter was more than taboo and I for one found it disturbing and I think it would remain shocking even today. I do agree with the author that this six year period did pave a path for risk takers for years to come. Most of the actors, and film makers etc. made names for themselves during this time either because they managed to come up with an X rating or for stirring up some controversy. People flocked to stage and film to see for themselves what all the fuss was about. While MOST of the subject matter was nothing new it just wasn't ever talked about and it certainly never appeared on the silver screen.
Sometimes I miss the old glamour of Hollywood. I often wish we could recapture the magic of the days before movies became all about shock value and less about writing a good screenplay. I do applaud the risk takers who did bring subjects out of hiding . Just because you don't talk about it doesn't mean it's not there. So, there were some good things that happened and some I could have done without.
The book wasn't entirely what I expected as I had no idea the author would delve into certain subject matter, although I should have known better judging by the title. Still I did find some of the information revealing and the book was certainly an eye opener and I did get quite an education.
Organizing material for this type of book is not easy, but I must say the topics at times became repetitive and could have been organized a little better.
Overall this one gets a B-/C+ ( )
  gpangel | Feb 28, 2014 |
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An exploration of the origins of sexual expression in popular culture from 1968 to 1973 places the writers, producers, and actors responsible for creating these controversial works within their cultural and social frameworks.

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