Member Rara Avis
I think we might be talking apples and oranges, because I'm talking about the offensiveness of ideas
In your previous post, hush, you said, "I agree that certain curse words tend to lose meaning when they are used constantly, but often when someone uses language like that, it's intended to make a point that couldn't be made in as forceful a manner with a more gentle word." My post, immediately following that comment, was also directed specifically at language.
Still, your basic point is valid. What offends one reader may not offend another, whether it be language or ideas. But the good writer recognizes that, too, while the not-so-good writer may not. The use of words like "rose" and "soul" require consummate skill, else they will trivialize the art. In my opinion, the same danger lurks for those who would shock us with profanity, and for much the same reasons. Rose and soul, over the course of many generations, have become cliches. Curse words, pretty much without exception, start out as cliché. They are usually twisted from their literal meaning into something without ANY meaning.
Here's a simple example (since anything other than simple would get us moved a Mature Content forum). I just did a search in the Discussion forums for the word "damn." As a legitimate word, this means to consign someone to hell. The majority of incidents I found, however, apply the word to everything except people. Does it really make sense to send your school assignment to hell? In this context, the word has no real meaning and is simply being used to tell others of our displeasure because it's too much work to show. Profanity, in most instances, is just a handy cliché for the lazy writer.
Art gives you something you didn't have before.
So does unprotected sex, Brad.
The problem I have with that statement is that it implies art stops being art at some point. Once I have absorbed that "something," after all, the art can no longer give me it again. If you are suggesting that art must be a bottomless well of giving, one that can never be wholly drained, I think the definition is far too demanding. That may be true of great art, but that's a different definition.
I don't think art has to necessarily give us something we didn't have. I think it can also reinforce. Indeed, I think that's what most art does.