Obscenity: Would You Know It if You Saw It?

Last week I posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article discussing the “decline of cursing” in our society. Across the pond, Britain is noting the 50th anniversary of the court case that declared D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover not to be obscene because it had “literary merit.”

The Telegraph has published an interesting analysis of the trial arguing that there are direct links from the trial to the 21st-century culture of pornography. Its argument is similar to the Journal‘s in that it says today’s culture recognizes hardly anything as obscene. From the article: “Few of us, I suspect, would wish that the verdict in the Chatterley case had gone differently. Yet will future generations judge that we used our new freedom wisely? I doubt it. As the frescoes at Pompeii remind us, erotica and pornography have been elements of almost every society since the dawn of civilisation. But you do not have to be Mary Whitehouse to question the way pornography has filtered into our cultural mainstream, or to feel uneasy about the way very young girls are portrayed as willing and available sex objects.”

About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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