Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dispel: DURHS!

When I started secondary school, there was vague mention of this thing called "porno". According to the people who furtively whispered about it in the corridors and behind the bike sheds, and then according to our parents (for those of us who were savvy enough to mention it to our parents), "porno" was a genre of filmed entertainment in which people were shown having sex, that most heinous and dirty of acts imaginable. For those of us who later saw some of the actual stuff, some of it was a surprise... and some wasn't.

I'd assume that we all know what porno is right now. We probably all have our definitions of what it is - and what counts. We all have the stuff that we like, in various ways and for various purposes. And, of course, it's not just films. There are pictures. There's writing. Porno is expanding, and for that, I applaud it.

But it's lost something.

Treguard: "Let... ter... O...!"
I don't know at which point everyone (myself included) started to refer to it as "porn", but upon reflection, it seems like a very smooth transition. Obviously, I didn't need to ask anyone what "porn" was, but in case you were wondering (I was wondering, anyway), my first exposure to the word "porn" was on Net Nanny's website (my mother, bastion of censorship as she was, decided she wanted to protect her children from the less desirable side of the Internet... it didn't work). Net Nanny claimed that their "safe for kids" banner was copyright controlled, and therefore you shouldn't be using it "if you own a porn site".

I knew what "porno" meant, but I'd never encountered this word "porn" before. I had a very shrewd idea of what it was, but just to be sure I opened AltaVista and put it into the search box... which, upon reflection, wasn't the best of ideas. But, since then, I've always (with one not-very-notable exception) have seen it referred to as "porn". "Porno" appears to have vanished into the ether... or, at least, its ending O has.

I wonder why this is? Laziness? Making it sound less like an abbreviation? Or just text speak gone wrong? I'll certainly admit that "porn" - as a one-syllable word with a hard P at the start - has more of an immediacy to it, but I'd assume that the content porn by itself packs enough of a punch not to necessitate a large amount of impact in its noun. I'll admit it sounds better than "porno"... but why?

And, more importantly... how?

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