Obscenity in Art and Media

These answers are from a Q&A session from a panel of scholars whom I will keep anonymous.

Scholar 1: In film, the amount of images out there desensitize us, even Muslims, to sex and violence. Sometimes I see in my news feed people talking about the latest Game of Thrones episode and they’re enamored with it. And I understand there’s things in it, that if they were real life, you cannot be looking at that.

They say entertainment is art. I think art is a plastic word now, because what does it mean? That anyone who does any sort of “self expression” can call it art. It’s now more about expression of the self rather than expressing awe and celebrating the beauty of the Divine Order, the Cosmic Order, God’s Order. If you look to Islamic Art, it was celebrating Allah, Glory to Him Most High. Look at the art in some parts of New York and they celebrate, man, chaos, war, destruction, and blood. That’s what their images show. Look at our art, and it celebrates beauty, Allah (Glory to Him Most High), and the cosmic order.

Scholar 2: Beauty is the splendor of truth. The images you present should be truthful and beautiful. If we look at some of the great photos of the last 125 years or so, they may be about horrible things like the Great Depression, but they were beautiful photographs, even if they showed people who were suffering, or were patient, or were at the end of the road. It should be truthful, but also beautiful. And it shouldn’t be distorting reality as such. Another thing worth mentioning is the Greek concept of obscenity. The Greeks, like us, were people who believed in balance and harmony and the middle way. Their whole culture was based around that. They didn’t like extremes. The obscene were those things, usually extreme emotions and happenings, which should never be on stage. They should be off stage. This could be things like humiliation of people, or sexual obscenity, or many other things. Images have such a powerful effect on us. Inside of us we have these inner senses. Among them are senses which are able to process image, and understand image and symbol. And I think a lot of the worst products of modern art are ones that actually break that natural sensation that we have, not to mention things which are just obscene. If you look at South Park for example, there are things shown on there which children are going to look at that a human being should never thing of, much less see in their whole life. And what is the effect of seeing that?

May you use your images brilliantly and in a way to make people human and lift them up and give them access to the truth.


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