X porn

From the annals of snowclonelet composites, on non-subsective X porn, as in food porn, book porn, house porn, and real estate porn, none of which refer to actual pornography. From my 2009 posting on snowclonelet composites:

Since it just came up on ADS-L with reference to “X porn” (in examples like “food porn”): English has a number of N1 + N2 composite patterns, most of them non-subsective (the denotation of the composite is not within the denotation of N2), but all of them exhibiting some semantic oddities, and all of them formulaic to some degree, hence snowclone-like. In other words, “snowclonelet composites”. My current collection — which I’m sure is far from complete — has instances of

X fag, X porn, X queen, X rage, X virgin, X whore

The details are different for different cases.

In the case of porn, OED3 (Dec. 2006) has the subentry:

As the second element in compounds: denoting written or visual material that emphasizes the sensuous or sensational aspects of a non-sexual subject, appealing to its audience in a manner likened to the titillating effect of pornography

(with cites from 1973 on, including food porn, disaster porn, gastro-porn, weather porn, and more).

In 2010 I posted about house porn (from Terry Castle), referring to magazines with sumptuous depictions of interiors. I have long referred to the Levenger catalogues (offering bookcases, reading desks, etc.) as library porn, and photographs of attractive libraries are available on-line under this heading (as here). Then there’s book porn and its relatives:

In lieu of book porn, here’s magazine/journal porn for you voyeurs (link)

And real estate porn:

But Steele’s flagship remains New York Curbed, which, with its mix of original reporting, smart repackaging of links and tips from readers, has become a prime purveyor of New York real estate porn: closing prices, zoning scuttlebutt, developers; delays, digital pictures taken at open houses. (“The Optimist’s Blogger” by Mark Oppenheimer, NYT Magazine 3/21/10 (about Lockhart Steele and his website Curbed),p. 54)

At first, though, all is luxury and light, a blur of what has come to be known as real estate porn, with examples of perfect pools in idyllic settings, some laid out plainly “like great clusters of turquoise stones,” to quote a House & Garden writer cited here, some carefully composed and featuring lacquered socialites … (“Pool Party” by Alexandra Jacobs, review of Daniell Cornell, Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982, in NYT Book Review, 6/3/12, p. 9)

And war porn ‘a war film that emphasizes violence or heroism for an uncritical audience’ (from Jon Lighter on ADS-L, 11/16/11):

Simple war porn with impressive choreography, vast sets and careful set design. Worth one viewing. (from a 2011 amateur review of The Longest Day (1962) at IMDb)

And from Victor Steinbok (e-mail of 5/18/12) on handbag porn:

Handbag Porn: White Edition by Jessica Pauline Ogilvie (link)

(This one’s on white handbags; there are other handbag porn postings on pink handbags, shiny handbags, and crossbody handbags.)

Other cites were collected in an ADS-L discussion in 2009, in particular from James Harbeck on torture porn and then from a Google search on {“it’s just * porn”}: food porn (again), journo-porn, hurricane porn, lifestyle porn, automotive porn, veg growers porn, car porn, disaster porn.

So far this has been about X porn as a resembloid compound with ‘sensuous appeal’ semantics. Of course, there are are also instances of subsective X porn, with the semantics ‘porn depicting X, porn with Xs in it, porn depicting X sex’: kid porn, kiddie porn, gay porn, lesbian porn, leather porn, etc. A still more distant relationship between the two elements of the (subsective) compound is found in revenge porn ‘homemade porn uploaded by an ex-girlfriend or (usually) ex-boyfriend after particularly vicious breakup as a means of humiliating the ex’ (Urban Dictionary, cited in a 2008 story in Details magazine).

In addition, Benjamin Barrett on ADS-L, 3/14/10, found another type of resembloid ‘sensuous appeal’ compound:

The movie “Inglourious Basterds” is being called X porn in the sense that the person watching is the X.

citing kosher porn, Jew revenge porn, and Jew porn. I quickly found another instance:

BIBLIOPHILE PORN: A BOOK LOVER’S TOOL FOR GETTING OFF ON STACKS (link)

(with photos of stacks that would appeal to bibliophiles).

So much for X porn, in various senses. Now a few words on snowclonelet composites. My 2009 posting on them listed six templates, most of which have now been posted on:

X fag (link)

X porn (in this posting)

X queen (link)

X virgin (link, link)

X whore (link)

The coverage of X queen (and X king) above is incomplete, and I don’t seem to have posted on X rage.

Comments on the 2009 posting added X hag and X fairy. In other postings:

X czar (Ben Zimmer, here and here)

X drag (link)

X jock (link)

X magnate (link)

X magnet (link)

X meister (link)

X Nazi/nazi (link, link, among others) [X fascist etc. here]

X slut (link)

I have files on X guru, X wizard, and X nerd in my files, but haven’t posted on them yet.

5 Responses to “X porn”

  1. Greg Lee Says:

    I think “-porn” means “appealing to one’s baser instincts”.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Charlie Doyle on ADS-L 6/6/12:

    And, related to “X porn in the sense that the person watching is the X,” we now have Fifty Shades of Grey as “mommy porn.”

  3. Julia Constantz Says:

    Got a good chuckle on your last comment. Thanks a lot.

  4. The Grammar Police « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] Police is an instance of the X police snowclonelet (which I haven’t posted on before), and a very popular one at that. But if you look at some [...]

  5. Three headlines « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] that is, stand-outs, for potential sales), modified by real-estate porn (with an instance of the snowclonelet composite X porn). But you need context to discard the reading ‘porn stars in real estate’, which is so [...]

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