Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Pornonomy Book Review: I, Goldstein

I, Goldstein: My Screwed Life (2007)

Written by:
Al Goldstein & Josh Alan Friedman

Al Goldstein is, by his own design, a disgusting man. He's unapologetically crass, sloppy, and obsessed with sex. From all indications, the seminal (pun partially intended) magazine he founded, Screw, was exactly the same.

His autobiography is told on three levels: a chronological look at his life, the "current" moment of Goldstein on the Staten Island Ferry discussing his then present day life as a homeless man, and through excerpts from Screw.

The first and third perspectives prove to be the most interesting, a life story being the reason most people pick up an autobiography to begin with, and the excerpts from his magazine demonstrating how Screw is simultaneously priceless and worthless in the annals of porn. While it was one of, if not the only, periodical to catalogue the goings on of the porn and sex world throughout its run and has interviews with the majority of the important figures throughout the industry, at least from what's provided in the book, Goldstein's interview technique and interests seem to leave a little to be desired. (It seemed like questions to men regarded the size of their dicks, and to women about the level of their enjoyment for fellatio and anal sex.)

His "present day" story is relatively interesting, but there is a pity party aspect - especially when he talks about his estrangement with his son - that seems at odds with the "give a fuck" persona that Goldstein spent so much time cultivating.

Still, the book is extremely readable - the vitriol with which he speaks of Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon demonstrates both his lack of decency and his way with (dirty) words - and covers basically the entire span of porn in America. There's not much in the way of thought-provoking analysis, but there sure are a bunch of fascinating anecdotes. B+

Yeah, this might be a book review, but I'm still going to count it towards my 2011 review count because fuck it, that's why.


  1. Why shouldn't it count? I was thinking of starting book reviews too. I enjoy reading about books -- please continue!

    I have been wanting to read Goldstein's book for ages -- I really enjoy watching the old Midnight Blue dvds (possibly because the way they've been edited is highly entertaining -- I recommend the Porn Stars From the 70s dvd if you haven't seen any).

  2. Thanks for the tip on the Midnight Blue dvds, I'll have to check those out.