January 2023

From The Archives





Les Marcott

The late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's oft quoted ambiguous remark on obscenity "I know it when I see it", is just as relevant today as when he uttered it. That quote had to do with a 1964 case (Jacobellis v. Ohio) involving what was deemed a hard core pornographic film. Of course, those of Stewart's generation wrestled with the appropriateness of sexual deviancy, lewdness, and debauchery in the public square. We still wrestle with those same issues today but less so. Primarily due to the shifting definition of obscenity and what constitutes "community standards", we as a country have removed the obscene from sexuality and have attached it to other things. But the word itself has seemed to lose its punch. It is probably used too much to too little effect. A string of profanities just doesn't have the same shock value it used to have. Writers incorporate them into their writing more because society utters them more, although I recently reviewed a book, Welcome To Fred, that contained nary a profanity within its covers. 51lzbQwmJbL-cr The author's wonderful storytelling did not suffer a bit without the inclusion of such. But "obscenity" is a word that needs to be reclaimed. There are still things in this life I read or hear about and encounter that are emotionally and physically nauseating, repugnant, and despicable. Added to my working definition of "obscene" are the words "morally objectionable", "highly distasteful", and "repulsive". I find my definition of obscene works as well as anyone else's. What I deem obscene in 2012 includes but is not limited to these topics:
Money in politics:

Money in Sports:

Donald Trump:

Award Shows:

Reality Shows:

Big Dogs In Sweaters:


Originally published in the December 2012 issue
of Scene4 Magazine. Read the complete article,
along with the magazine's entire 22-year archives,
 in The Archives



January 2023

  Sections~Cover · This Issue · inFocus · inView · inSight · Perspectives · Special Issues
  Columns~Adler · Alenier · Bettencourt · Jones · Luce · Marcott · Walsh 
  Information~Masthead · Your Support · Prior Issues · Submissions · Archives · Books
  Connections~Contact Us · Comments · Subscribe · Advertising · Privacy · Terms · Letters

|  Search Issue | Search Archives | Share Page |

Scene4 (ISSN 1932-3603), published monthly by Scene4 Magazine
of Arts and Culture. Copyright © 2000-2023 Aviar-Dka Ltd – Aviar Media Llc.

sc4cover-archives-picSubscribe to our mail list for news and a monthly update of each new issue. It's Free!


 Email Address

        Please see our Privacy Policy regarding the security of your information.

Thai Airways at Scene4 Magazine