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Obscene Is Neither Vulgar or Profane

Updated on January 4, 2009

Obscene is offensive to the accepted standards of decency.

 Obscene is described as indecent, immoral and smutty. Obscene is viewed as "off color." Many that have stood up for their rights, such as Lenny Bruce, and even Larry Flynt, have been brought up on obscenity charges, and put to trial. Though maybe by definition it really isn't obsenity. A modern example of challenging what is viewed as obscene is Marilyn Manson. He has tried through the years to push to "decncy envelope" once or twice. But is it just me who kind of seen through all that attention schlock shock (face it Alice Cooper did most of it before, and better than Marilyn) or is it that I have become desensitized? Could it be that the whole farce is becoming just old news? So now we don't notice or just don't care?

Think about how many people we celebrate for having the guts to stand up for their rights and have "blazed the trail" for so many to follow. We now call these people, "legends," "the great ones," or even "geniuses of their own times." Most of these people that are saluted now were at on time or another put on trial or viewed as obscene.

Somehow obscene gets confused or is thought to be interchangable with being vulgar or profane.

Commonly, vulgar ranges by design as rude, or considered common. Vulgar is also defined as hateful and/or harassing. I don't recall people who influenced a generation or pioneered the way of the entertainment field, writers, or what have you; ever get to go on trial for vulgarity. Though I could probably think of a few vulgar folks who really should be pinned for something.

Profane is raw, repulsive. Profane is a word used synomoniously with defile and desecrate. Raw is raw, and maybe profane by terms is a much bigger offense when viewed in religious avenues. But profanity in layman terms isn't really more than "cuss words," a comedy "bit"  or a strong insult. At times we find profanity even humorous, and not really as hurtful or an issue.

Then there are those who have challenged the "status quo," thumbed their noses at authority, or pushed the limitations of society, and then were slapped in the face with the moral compass of the obscenity, because the old guard fear. Still others may view profane or vulgar as morally shocking. But obscene seems to be the winning ticket, when your challenging the standards of the "norm."

I don't know...I feel more or less desensitized by many things that at one time were considered "shocking" or inappropiate...remember the term "in mixed company?" Now I don't think there is much out there anyone could throw at me that would really stun me. Come on, now it seems everyone is so open about everything and anything. Believe me, I am the furtherest thing from a prude. Despite the moniker I am definitely not a saint, and for sure no angel. But WOW...less and less seems to be off limits these days. When did all this happen? And what will be the next thing to be considered crossing the line that challenges the "decency of society"? What next will swoop down into the listings of obscene, vulgar, and profane; then later be considered  a trail blazing moment?

"The Day We Scorched the Sky" by Profane


Submit a Comment

  • Lgali profile image


    10 years ago

    good and bold topic

  • anjalichugh profile image


    10 years ago from New York

    Who cares these days! I think people have seen enough. Obsenity is only a perception and perception changes with time. A bold topic to write on. Thumbs up.

  • goldentoad profile image


    10 years ago from Free and running....

    I hope I qualify as obscene, vulgar, and profane. All kidding aside, I think the desensitized aspect is true, we are much more vulgar nowadays and back when Alice Cooper came out, he was new, and hit a nerve, but Marylin Manson is trying to ride the same bike around the same block, its old news now.

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 

    10 years ago from South Africa

    Thanks for sharing your insights on a touchy subject! Great Hub!

    Love and peace,



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