Kevin W. Saunders


On his book Degradation: What the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech

Cover Interview of March 28, 2011

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Is racism obscene? How about sexism and homophobia?”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“A monotheistic God is not a sexual creature.  Depictions of human sexuality show how far we are from the divine and emphasize our animal nature.  This could explain the relative similarity in this area in Christian, Judaic and Islamic cultures.”

On the second:

“While hate speech differs from what has been considered obscene, the two are conceptually akin.  Hate speech degrades.  Rather than degrading all of humanity to a level lower than the divine, it selects a target and degrades that target to a level lower than the rest of humanity.”