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Related: the Miller test - censorship - desire - lascivious - lust - sex
DefinitionInordinately interested in matters of sex; lascivious. --AHD
To be prurient is to be characterized by inordinate and unhealthy sexual interest or desire. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prurient [Apr 2005]
Amos Vogel on prurience
"Prurience" -- the perennial itch of mankind -- is the bete noir of all censors. The arousal of lust is considered evil; no justification for its prohibition is therefore even considered necessary in law; it appears as God-given.
An American court's decision banning Louis Malle's Les Amants outlined its reasons (and, unconsciously, its own reactions) quite specifically: "In a tantalizing and increasing tempo, the sex appetite is whetted and lascivious thoughts and lustful desires are intensely stimulated." (Richard S. Randall, Censorship of the Movies, 1970 ) It is a testimony to the staying power of an atavistic taboo that what is perhaps the most sought-after emotion -- the arousal of sexual desire --is universally proscribed as evil.
Yet prurience -- even if it were admitted to be evil -- seems particularly ill-suited to legislation. For it appears that what actually constitutes prurience differs for churchgoers, sado-masochists, college graduates, different age groups, sexes, and classes. In fact, it would seem to differ even wth the same person, depending on his state of mind. According to the ruling of one American judge:If he reads an obscene book while his sensuality is low, he will yawn over it. If he reads the Mechanics Lien Act while his sensuality is high, things will stand between him and the page that have no business there. (Richard S. Randall, Censorship of the Movies, 1970 )--Amos Vogel via Film As a Subversive Art (1974)
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