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On being obscene

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We the obscene

I am, it seems, obscene.  All the evidence is there.  One needs to look no further than the cover of my book, Bad Way Out, to be thoroughly offended.  A shirtless woman from the rear carrying a whiskey bottle wearing a miniature pair of daisy dukes is not exactly the ideal feminist image.  The book itself contains violence and homespun depictions of sex organs, both male and female.  There’s clear evidence of arousal throughout.  People get stabbed and shot and beaten.

And that only scratches the surface.  The humor is not sophisticated, not purposely anyway.  With zero restraint, I manage to make fun of southerners, females, males, religion, authority figures, the obese, the skinny, the young, the old… Let’s just say everybody to save some time.  In short, if a group finds something sacred, I probably make fun of it.

Here’s the thing.  I find horrible things and people interesting and worth writing about.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like heroes just as much as the next guy.  I just like my heroes to be as flawed as the villain.  Obscenity is simply my tool to illustrate the beautiful horribleness in us all.  Perfection is a virus that wipes out any semblance of character.  Obscenity, in its natural, unforced form, gives depth to character.  We don’t care about someone who’s always trying to do the right thing.  We care about someone who’s trying to do the noble thing, and nobility, more often than not, is ugly and obscene. 

Murder is obscene.  I don’t think anyone would argue with that.  Yet some may call my character E.R. Percy a hero even though he commits murder.  Why?  Because he murders for noble reasons.  And, he has the added benefit of being a fictional character.  We afford fictional characters a lot more room to behave badly and still be forgiven than we do real people as we should.

So I don’t mind being labeled obscene when it comes to my writing.  I am.  Never gratuitously, but I certainly won’t miss an opportunity to write something obscene if the situation calls for it.  It’s not only my way of illustrating nobility, it’s pretty damn fun. 

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