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Porn of the Times

It's hard to believe.  But right there on page A24, in the National Report in today's New York Times, is none other than a story on, get this...the Oscars of porn.

The Great Gray Lady herself not only has a good-sized piece on the AVN Awards , it is accompanied by two good-sized photos (one emphasizing cleavage), and the story dominates that page of America's paper of record, literally crowding out a piece about an important legal challenge by a Yemeni detainee in Guantanamo Bay.

Now of course, coverage of the video version of the world's oldest profession has to be justified in the pages of the Times so get ready for the world's most self-conscious "nut graph." 

The program highlighted that pornography is, at least in a sense, at a crossroads. The sex-film industry shows signs of gaining some mainstream acceptance - spurred in part by its leading diva and business success, Jenna Jameson - and it is reporting record sales. According to AVN Publications, which organizes the awards, it generated $4.3 billion in sales and rentals last year. That amounted to about half the size of Hollywood's box-office receipts of nearly $9 billion last year.

At the same time, prospects for the industry have been tempered by fears that the Justice Department is poised to add to a handful of obscenity prosecutions recently brought against makers of hardcore films.

Oh, that explains it.  

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