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Obscenity Quotes

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"Obscenity comes from grime." - Christopher Hitchens

"What is obscenity? And to whom?" - Allen Ginsberg

"Sex and obscenity are not synonymous." - Lenny Bruce

"Obscenity, who really cares. Propaganda, all is phony." - Bob Dylan

"Western people often see obscenity where there is only symbolism." - Sir John Woodroffe

"(The National Cancer Program is) a bunch of (obscenity)." - James D Watson

"Obscenity is whatever gives the Judge an erection." - Anonymous

"What good is an obscenity trial except to popularize literature?" - Rex Stout

"It showed a kind of obscenity you see only in nature, an obscenity so extreme that it dissolves imperceptibly into beauty." - Richard Preston

"Parents, just keep in mind that kids will always round off to the nearest obscenity.." - Ray Romano

"History proves there is no better advertisement for a book than to condemn it for obscenity." - Holbrook Jackson

"Obscenity is a notable enhancer of life and is suppressed at grave peril to the arts." - Brendan Gill

"The definition of obscenity on the newsstands should be extended to many hunting magazines." - Wayne Pacelle

"If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth." - Tim O'Brien

"Without love for my fellow man and respect for nature, to me, life is an obscenity." - Ernest Gaines

"I do have a cause, though. It is obscenity. I'm for it." - Tom Lehrer

"Obscenity is a cleansing process, whereas pornography only adds to the murk." - Henry Miller

"The invariable sign of doctrines invented by men is confusion, contradiction, absurdity, and obscenity" - Mark Rosenfelder

"Obscenity is such a tiny kingdom that a single tour covers it completely." - Heywood Broun

"Money doesn't talk, it swears. Obscenity, who really cares? Propaganda all is phony." - Bob Dylan

"Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war." - Henry Miller

"Obscenity can be found in every book except the telephone directory." - George Bernard Shaw

"Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate." - Bertrand Russell

"It's true that obscenity is a matter of taste and in the eye of the beholder." - Christopher Hitchens

"That which attempts to elevate the ugly to the level of beauty becomes neither; but an obscenity." - John Donne

"This [fundamentalism] is not religion. It is obscenity. These are lies, the criminal use of religious power to misguide people." - Anwar Sadat

"The justices have constitutionally protected obscenity in libraries, filth over cable television, and now unlimited internet pornography." - Phyllis Schlafly

"I am passionately opposed to the death penalty for anyone . . . I think, myself, that it is an obscenity . . ." - Desmond Tutu

"Slavery is an obscenity. It is not just stealing someone's labor; it is the theft of an entire life." - Kevin Bales

"profanity and obscenity entitle people who don't want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you." - Kurt Vonnegut

"Obscenity only comes in when the mind despises and fears the body, and the body hates and resists the mind." - D H Lawrence

"[Y]ou can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil." - Tim O'Brien

"Commercial speech is like obscenity... we can't seem to define it, but we know it when we see it." - Jef I Richards

"The ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic." - Rod Serling

"Justice precedes beauty. Without justice, beauty is impossible, an obscenity. And when beauty has gone, what does a cameraman do with his eye?" - Tony Kushner

"The greatest issue is to raise the question of birth control out of the gutter of obscenity ... into the light of intelligence and human understanding." - Margaret Sanger

"Since obscenity is the truth of our passion today, it is the only stuff of art - or almost the only stuff." - David Herbert Lawrence

"Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred." - Lev Grossman

"There follows a little obscenity here, a dash of philosophy there, considerable whining overall, and a modern satirical novel is born." - Renata Adler

"I start at the beginning, mentally screaming every obscenity I can in alphabetical order. Then I start setting them to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" - Kiersten White

"I had woven a tapestry of obscenity that as far as I know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan." - Jean Shepherd

"Since obscenity is the truth of our passion today, it is the only stuff of art - or almost the only stuff." - D H Lawrence

"The violence and obscenity are left unadulterated, as manifestation of the mystery and pain which ever accompanies the act of creation." - Anais Nin

"The problem is that censors create the concept of obscenity. By supposedly trying to protect us they form an absurd concept of what is obscene." - Catherine Breillat

"Obscenity is our name for the uneasiness which upsets the physical state associated with self-possession, with the possession of a recognized and stable individuality." - Georges Bataille

"In other words, [ H.P. Lovecraft] was areligious, asexual, neurasthenic, he just didn't want to react to the world. Like Virginia Woolf, who considered religion the ultimate obscenity." - Paul Laffoley

"It is obvious that 'obscenity' is not a term capable of exact legal definition; in the practice of the Courts, it means 'anything that shocks the magistrate." - Bertrand Russell

"The Bible has noble poetry in it... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies." - Mark Twain

"I don't know how one actually would define obscenity. I'm sure the definition is different according to the age one is living in." - Jane Alexander

"Sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest." - William J. Brennan

"You have to show violence the way it is. If you don't show it realistically, then that's immoral and harmful. If you don't upset people, then that's obscenity." - Roman Polanski

"Since obscenity is the truth of our passion today, it is the only stuff of art - or almost the only stuff." - D H Lawrence

"Sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest." - William J Brennan Jr

"A: There is no grand scheme of things. B: If there were a grand scheme of things, the fact - the fact - that we are not equipped to perceive it, either by natural or supernatural means, is a nightmarish obscenity. C: The very notion of a grand scheme of things is a nightmarish obscenity." - Thomas Ligotti

"The concept of 'obscenity' is tested when one dares to look at something that he has an unbearable desire to see but has forbidden himself to look at. When one feels that everything that one had wanted to see has been revealed, 'obscenity' disappears, the taboo disappears as well, and there is a certain liberation." - Nagisa Oshima

"All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance-unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion-have the full protection of the guaranties.... But implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance.... We hold that obscenity is not within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press." - William J Brennan Jr

"The daily lesson of slum life, visualised, reiterated, of low standards, vile living, obscenity, profanity, impurity, is bound tobe dwarfing and debasing to the children who are in the midst of it." - Albion Fellows Bacon

"Where no paths exist, a man strays only when he misses his destination. There is no crime, no transgression, no sin save foolishness or incompetence, and no obscenity save the tyranny of custom." - R. Scott Bakker

"Of all the strange 'crimes' that human beings have legislated out of nothing, 'blasphemy' is the most amazing - with 'obscenity' and 'indecent exposure' fighting it out for second and third place." - Robert A Heinlein

"Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity - these are strictly confined to man; he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing. They are not ashamed." - Mark Twain

"I don't want a moratorium on the death penalty. I want the abolition of it. I can't understand why a country [USA] that's so committed to human rights doesn't find the death penalty an obscenity." - Desmond Tutu

"Obscenity is not a quality inherent in a book or picture, but is solely and exclusively a contribution of the reading mind, and hence cannot be defined in terms of the qualities of a book or picture." - Theodore Schroeder

"Lovers who are free to go when they are restless always come back; lovers who are free to change remain interesting. The bitter animosity and obscenity of divorce is unknown where individuals have not become Siamese twins." - Germaine Greer

"We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph." - Ron Kovic

"The function of the West is to turn bodies and minds into products. It cannot understand that the rest of the world holds this to be an obscenity, a corruption of our nirvanic nature." - John Burdett

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things - bad language and whatever - it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition." - George Carlin

"[The Bible] is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies." - Mark Twain

"When the imagination sleeps, words are emptied of their meaning: a deaf population absent-mindedly registers the condemnation of a man.... there is no other solution but to speak out and show the obscenity hidden under the verbal cloak." - Albert Camus

"Of all the strange crimes that human beings have legislated out of nothing, blasphemyis the most amazing - with obscenity and indecent exposure fighting it out for second and third place." - Robert A Heinlein

"His eye a ring inside a ring inside a ring That leers up, joyless, vile, in meek obscenity - This is the devil. Flesh to flesh, he bleats The herd back to the pit of being." - Randall Jarrell

"Pornography and obscenity...work by specialism and fragmentation. They deal with a figure without a ground - situations in which the human factor is suppressed in favor of sensations and kicks." - Marshall Mcluhan

"... Corellian curses being a synergistic blend of vulgarity, obscenity, and outright blasphemy that were the only things really worth saying when one was in the middle of being blown to monatomic dust." - Matthew Woodring Stover

"In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that individual communities should set obscenity standards. Whenever a case is tried, it will be based on a community standard for that particular place." - Larry Flynt

"The world today is so full of violence, obscenity, war, the failure of political systems. I try to make movies that make people a bit more confident. But that doesn't mean being sugary." - Rouben Mamoulian

"Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another." - Herbert Marcuse

"And I think there's something about conservatives frankly - and the Left, when it comes to their channels of persuasion, are unpersuasive. They are, most of them are hate-filled, obscenity-clogged rants of anger and hatred." - Karl Rove

"Obscenity, which is ever blasphemy against the divine beauty in life, is a monster for which the corruption of society forever brings forth new food, which it devours in secret." - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Politicians must set their aims for the high ground and according to our various leanings, Democratic, Republican, Independent, we will follow. Politicians must be told if they continue to sink into the mud of obscenity, they will proceed alone." - Maya Angelou

"When the imagination sleeps, words are emptied of their meaning: a deaf population absent-mindedly registers the condemnation of a man. ... there is no other solution but to speak out and show the obscenity hidden under the verbal cloak." - Albert Camus

"When silence or tricks of language contribute to maintaining an abuse that must be reformed or a suffering that can be relieved, then there is no other solution but to speak out and show the obscenity hidden under the verbal cloak." - Albert Camus

"It is not the idea as such which the censor attacks, whether it be heresy or radicalism or obscenity. He attacks the circulation of the idea among the classes which in his judgment are not to be trusted with the idea." - Walter Lippmann

"The obscurity, incredibility and obscenity, so conspicuous in many parts of it, would justly condemn the works of a modern writer. It contains a mixture of inconsistency and contradiction; to call which the word of God, is the highest pitch of extravagance: it is to attribute to the deity that which any person of common sense would blush to confess himself the author of." - Elihu Palmer

"The nowadays ruling that no word is unprintable has, I think, done nothing whatever for beautiful letters. ... Obscenity is too valuable a commodity to chuck around all over the place; it should be taken out of the safe on special occasions only." - Dorothy Parker

"In families there are frequently matters of which no one speaks, nor even alludes. There are no words for these matters. As the binding skeleton beneath the flesh is never acknowledged by us and, when at last it defines itself, is after all an obscenity." - Joyce Carol Oates

"Remember that the Tarot is a great and sacred arcanum - its abuse is an obscenity in the inner and a folly in the outer. It is intended for quite other purposes than to determine when the tall dark man will meet the fair rich widow." - Jack Parsons

"Photographs have always been the tar baby of censors and obscenity laws. Literature can certainly (if it's any good) conjure up the most pornographic imagination. But photographs dare to be real. No matter how contrived or constructed they are, there's that damn body staring you in the face." - Susie Bright

"It's deeply rooted in the American psyche. Black men have always been viewed as the other, which leads to a different application of the laws. The current laws are an obscenity. More black men are locked up for using pot than white folk are for far more serious crimes." - Marian Wright Edelman

"I was a kid and it was kind of scabrous, and it wasn't the sacrilege that bothered me so much as the obscenity that challenged a 14-year-old American. But over the years, I came to have a keen appreciation of Charlie Hebdo and what it did." - Scott Simon

"Please meet GG Allin. GG has been arrested more then 52 times in over 12 states for the nudity, obscenity and violence that are part of his music performances. He says the fans love the thrill of coming to his show knowing that their lives are in danger." - Jerry Springer

"The war is simply an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men, including all of us who have allowed it to go on and on with endless fury and destruction - all of us who would have remained silent had stability and order been secured." - Noam Chomsky

"Two missiles from an American jet killed them all - by my estimate, more than 20 Iraqi civilians, torn to pieces before they could be 'liberated' by the nation that destroyed their lives. Who dares, I ask myself, to call this 'collateral damage'? 'It was an outrage, an obscenity', March 27, 2003" - Robert Fisk

"you can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don't care for obscenity, you don't care for the truth; if you don't care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty." - Tim O'Brien

"War over water would be an ultimate obscenity. And yet, unfortunately it is conceivable... Water has been a source over so many years of erosion of confidence, of tension, of human rights abuses, really, of so many in areas whose traditional water supplies have been controlled and depleted by occupational authorities. That must stop if we're going to be able to develop a climate for peace." - Queen Noor of Jordan

"just as violence is the last refuge of the inarticulate, so it is also the first resort of the incompetent, the easy out for the man who is capable of expressing himself only in the most primitive and vulgar of dramatic terms. He leaves us with only the obscenity of violence per se - and the pornographer thereof will always be with us, in film as in any other medium. And so will his audience." - Judith Crist

"A sociosphere of contact, control, persuasion and dissuasion, of exhibitions of inhibitions in massive or homeopathic doses...: this is obscenity. All structures turned inside out and exhibited, all operations rendered visible. In America this goes all the way from the bewildering network of aerial telephone and electric wiresto the concrete multiplication of all the bodily functions in the home, the litany of ingredients on the tiniest can of food, the exhibition of income or IQ." - Jean Baudrillard

"When science shall have effectually demonstrated to us the origin of matter, and proved the fallacy of the occultists and old philosophers who held (as their descendants now hold) that matter is but one of the correlations of spirit, then will the world of skeptics have a right to reject the old Wisdom, or throw the charge of obscenity in the teeth of the old religions." - H. P. Blavatsky

"The writer has a grudge against society, which he documents with accounts of unsatisfying sex, unrealized ambition, unmitigated loneliness, and a sense of local and global distress. The square, overpopulation, the bourgeois, the bomb and the cocktail party are variously identified as sources of the grudge. There follows a little obscenity here, a dash of philosophy there, considerable whining overall, and a modern satirical novel is born." - Renata Adler

"Nothing can describe the withering horror of this. You feel lost, sick at heart before such unmasked hatred, not so much because it threatens you as because it shows humans in such an inhuman light. You see a kind of insanity, something so obscene the very obscenity of it (rather than its threat) terrifies you. It was so new I could not take my eyes from the man's face. I felt like saying: "What in God's name are you doing to yourself?" - John Howard Griffin

"All I can say on the Guilford story - and this comes more from my perspective as a father than an artist - is for parents and administrators to give so little value to the career of a public-school teacher - to allow him to be cast aside without exhausting every avenue to resolve the issue - is an obscenity worse than anything I've ever drawn in my comics." - Daniel Clowes

"I have reached the conclusion... that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area [obscenity] are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of materials I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it; and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." - Potter Stewart

"Whether my acting was obscene, or whether it was distasteful, well, Judge Rehnquist, who just recently passed away couldn't define pornography. His comment on pornography was, "I may not be able to define it but I know it when I see it." That's not law. That's definitely not law. Really, this trial should have been an organized crime trial. About murder and tax evasion and brutalizing people. Not about obscenity." - Harry Reems

"I'm the first artist of any kind, good or bad, that was ever prosecuted by the Federal Government. Thirdly, they used the law retroactively. The obscenity statutes had changed in the early '70s, and they tried me under a 1969 statute. It was a railroad job. I was with a judge that was a Nixon appointee. A District Attorney who was a Nixon appointee. The only reason I never went to prison is because the Democrats took the White House." - Harry Reems

"Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the Establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another. Pbscene is not the picture of a naked woman who exposes her pubic hair but that of a fully clad general who exposes his medals rewarded in a war of aggression; obscene is not the ritual of the Hippies but the declaration of a high dignitary of the Church that war is necessary for peace." - Herbert Marcuse

"The Bible is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies. This Bible is built mainly out of fragments of older Bibles that had their day and crumbled to ruin. So it noticeably lacks in originality, necessarily. Its three or four most imposing and impressive events all happened in earlier Bibles; there are only two new things in it: hell, for one, and that singular heaven I have told you about." - Mark Twain

"The obscenities of this country are not girls like you. It is the poverty which is obscene, and the criminal irresponsibility of the leaders who make this poverty a deadening reality. The obscenities in this country are the places of the rich, the new hotels made at the expense of the people, the hospitals where the poor die when they get sick because they don't have the money either for medicines or services. It is only in this light that the real definition of obscenity should be made." - F Sionil Jose

"Although every organized religion works overtime to contribute its own brand of misogyny to the myth of woman-hate, woman-fear, and woman-evil, the Roman Catholic church also carries the immense power of very directly affecting women's lives everywhere by its stand against birth control and abortion, and by its use of skillful and wealthy lobbies to prevent legislative change. It is an obscenity-an all-male hierarchy, celibate or not, that presumes to rule on the lives and bodies of millions of women." - Robin Morgan

"I don't see [the jungle] so much erotic. I see it more full of obscenity. It's just - Nature here is vile and base. I wouldn't see anything erotical here. I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and growing and just rotting away. Of course, there's a lot of misery. But it is the same misery that is all around us. The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don't think they sing. They just screech in pain." - Werner Herzog

"...What is at stake is civilization and humanity, nothing less. The idea that everything is permitted, as Nietzsche put it, rests on the premise of nihilism and has nihilistic implications. I will not pretend that the case against nihilism and for civilization is an easy one to make. We are here confronting the most fundamental of philosophical questions, on the deepest levels. In short, the matter of pornography and obscenity is not a trivial one, and only superficial minds can take a bland and untroubled view of it." - Irving Kristol



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