Wednesday, June 02, 2004


“So,” Raven dunks a piece of stale bread in his coffee. “How would you define obscenity?”

Gee, Rave, that’s a big question for so early in the morning. I have an easier one for you: How can you stand to eat that stale bread?

“That’s easy. It holds up in the coffee. The fresh rolls get all soggy and fall apart.”

Guess that told me. Very W.B. Yeats. I didn’t realize Ravens were such connoisseurs.

“Gourmets of garbage would be a more apt description, probably.”

Thanks a lot! I don’t see you cooking around here.

“Point well taken. But you didn’t answer my question. How do you know when something is obscene? Does it have to have been intended as obscene?”

Intentional fallacy, guy. Intentions have nothing to do with something once it enters the public domain. I think something is obscene when it violates cultural norms of acceptability.

“That’s pretty slippery. That means that, because cultural norms are not the same everywhere, something could be considered obscene in one part of the world and not obscene in others.”

I suppose so. I’m not sure where you’re heading with this.

“More or less to Lower Slobovia—as the Crow flies. Don’t you think it’s obscene for George W. Bush to complain that Iraqis are not seeing the 'real heart of Americans' because of a few renegade bad apples?”

Yes, I do. Because he is negating and trivializing the pain, suffering, death and humiliation that he has inflicted on innocent people. I also consider the spokesman for the military who dismissed the massacre at a wedding out in the desert by saying “bad people have weddings, too” to be obscene as well.

“You know what else is obscene? The New York Times—the editors made a “light” apology, buried in the middle of the paper, for having been shills for the Bush Gang’s invasion of Iraq. We don’t know how many Iraqis have been killed to date—as the forces of invasion don’t bother to count Arab bodies—but we do know that at least 800 US soldiers have been killed—and who knows how many mercenaries with them—and The Times thinks if they say, ‘Gee, we’re sorry we didn’t do a better job’—that everything’s hunky dory.”

If they didn’t have the courage to do the right thing in the first place, why do you think they would have the courage to admit that they did the wrong thing now?

“Yeah, you’re right. Yesterday’s newspapers are just…yesterday’s newspapers for those guys. Like this bread—they’re only good for dunking in coffee and throwing in the garbage.”

Raven drops his scrap of stale soggy bread in the garbage can.

So that’s it? You’re washing your hands of this whole obscenity thing?

“Anthropomorphizing will get you nowhere. I don’t have hands. Besides, everybody else is so busy washing his that mine will not be an issue. Obscenity is, after all, unique to your species. We feathered fellows are free of all that. And this feathered fellow is off to pursue the pristine here in—what’s this place called?”

Don’t ask, Rave.