ERIC Number: ED099920
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1973
Reference Count: N/A
Obscenity: Its Use and Abuse.
McGuire, Sharon M.
The Communicator, v4 n2 p6-13 Spring 1973
Obscenity and profanity may be defined synonymously as making public that which is private through the use of words which society considers taboo. Obscenity can be classified in three general ways: religious profanity, excretory profanity, and sexual profanity (i.e., copulative terms, genitalia terms, and sexual irregularities). The purposes of obscenity are to create attention, discredit existing institutions and leadership, provoke response, identify and assert oneself, and provide catharsis. Three general principles determine the effects of these uses of obscenity: (1) who--the degree of shock is determined by the rhetorical agent (e.g., the longshoreman who is expected to use colorful language and the priest who is not); (2) where--the setting (e.g., the church or the locker room); and (3) how--the tone of voice and the text in which the word is used. Verbal obscenity is a significant rhetorical device, and it is time to help discover appropriate responses to it. (TS)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Montana Speech Communication Association.