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

Gareth Branwyn garethbranwyn at COMCAST.NET
Sun Nov 29 23:49:57 UTC 2009

In the piece, he makes mention of the May 1964 usage you cite, a
monthly cartoon "Soft-Core Pornography of the Month," but says he
coined the term in '58. Since he doesn't give a specific print
citation, I assume that's because he didn't use it in the Realist
before '64, but I could be wrong. I don't have direct access to him,
but I'll see if I can get the editor who assigned the piece to ask him.


On Nov 29, 2009, at 12:55 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:

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> Subject:      =?windows-1252?Q?
> Soft=2Dcore_pornography_=28antedating_to_May_196
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> On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 12:01 AM, Gareth Branwyn
> <garethbranwyn at> wrote:
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>> 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.
> core#search_anchor
> 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?
> Garson
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