Soft-core pornography (antedating to May 1964) – response the Gareth Branwyn

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 29 17:55:32 UTC 2009

On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 12:01 AM, Gareth Branwyn
<garethbranwyn at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Gareth Branwyn <garethbranwyn at COMCAST.NET>
> Subject:      Origins of "soft core," "Yippies," "Twinkie defense"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I am currently editing an article by Paul Krassner (of "The Realist"
> fame) in which he claims to have coined the terms "soft core
> porn" (1958), "Yippies" (1967) and "the Twinkie defense" (which he
> says he made up in 1979 during the trial of Dan White for the double
> execution of SF Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk).
> Does anyone here know more about the origins of these terms? I assume
> he made up Yippies, or was at least involved in the coinage, since he
> was a co-founder of the Youth International Party. His telling of it
> in this article makes it sound like he came up with both Youth
> International Party and Yippies (in that order), but I've read other
> accounts that say Anita Hoffman came up with Youth International Party
> after Yippies was coined, so that the group would have a more formal
> name for mainstream press purposes.
> Any other information folks here might have would be greatly
> appreciated.
> Gareth

Gareth Branwyn,
   Hi. Thanks for your interesting questions. I claim no expertise but
I am willing to perform some searches for you if you wish.

The Oxford English Dictionary does have some etymological information
about the term soft-core pornography. The earliest citation currently
is in the year 1966.

(OED SECOND EDITION 1989) soft-core attrib. [after hard-core
(pornography): see hard core (b) s.v. HARD a. 23b], (of pornography)
less obscene than hard-core pornography;

1966 N.Y. Times 25 Sept. D 15/4 The *soft-core pornography of
advertisements like ‘Have you had any lately?’

The online archive of The Realist contains an earlier instance of the
term in an issue dated May 1964.

"Soft-Core Pornography of the Month" (comic strip title), Page 13, The
Realist editor Paul Krassner, Num. 50, May 1964.

There are also matches to the collection of issues of The Realist that
have been scanned for the Google Books Archive, but this collection is
incomplete and the issues appear to be dated 1968 and after.

Can Paul Krassner supply you with a citation to a written document for
his claim of the 1958 origination of the term "soft-core porn" or
"soft-core pornography"? If the citation is to a 1958 issue of the
Realist then it should be checkable because the issues are available
at the archive.

When did Krassner first claim to have originated each of these terms?
Is there a citation to an interview where he claimed that he created
these terms?


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