Now, a variety of screens—long and wide and square, large and
small, composed of grains, composed of pixels, lit by projected
light, cathode-ray tube, plasma, LCD—compete for our atten-
tion without any convincing arguments about hegemony.
—Anne Friedberg,
The Virtual Window from Alberti to Microsoft
Now Playing on a Small Screen
near You!
We have seen that sex can be blatantly revealed (as in well-
lit hard-core pornography) or more subtly concealed (as in
the simulated sex acts of mainstream American cinema that
arose in the late 1960s). We have also seen that the history
of sexual representation in American culture since the in-
vention of moving-image technology has been a process by
which acts once considered ob/scene (literally, off scene)
have come on/scene. We saw the encroachment of on/scen-
ity in our discussion of Deep Throat and Boys in the Sand in
chapter 3. Yet as the previous chapter indicated, hard-core
pornography did not long remain on the big screen and did
not, at least in the United States, develop into a thriving
form of hard-core art. The peculiar “long adolescence” of
American cinema has meant that first, the Hollywood Pro-
duction Code, then later the byzantine rules of the MPAA,
remained in force. Today most Americans, even those quite
young, are very familiar with pornography. But since it is
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