Monday, July 30, 2007

The Daily Newds 7/30/07

  • Picture Imperfect: A photographer in the UK is encouraging ladies with "less than perfect figures" to embrace their bodies by posing for a naked photo shoot.
  • Forever Young: A South Florida newspaper reports on local nudist resorts and the struggle to recruit younger members.
    "We'd like to see some younger blood in here, but it won't stop the park or jump it into the next century," (Sunspot Gardens resident Bob) Fekete said. "There will always be people who find this lifestyle and they'll experiment with it the way we did."
  • Bare Ass Beach: Paradise Beach near Saskatoon is a place where nude sunbathers are left alone by park police.
    "It's a great place to just relax and be uninhibited," says Vic, 67. "You can come down here, take your clothes off, eat your dinner and have a coffee. Just watch out for those horseflies. They bite."
  • Sunday Best: A couple in the UK who run a nude website have not been kicked out of their church after a parishioner discovered their secret.
    "The Nelsons are very welcome in church. I presume that for them to be together for that length of time in an age when divorce is so common must mean they are a happily married couple. They are consenting adults and what they do in private is up to them."
  • Their 15 Minutes: A group of elderly Pennsylvania women who posed nude for a fundraising calendar are being celebrated on television, radio, and even in parades.
    Asked why she thought the calendar was generating so much heat, the 84-year-old retired college professor grinned. "Maybe it's the lightness of it, that it's not negative," she offered. Then, lighting up with another grin, she reconsiders. "And the fact that these older women have the nerve to do this."
  • Malice in the Palace: Security measures in Denmark are under review as photographs of a nude woman sitting in the royal thrones have been published.
  • No Lederhosen: A performance of a Wagner opera which featured nudity was met with disapproval by the audience at a German festival.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Weekend Newds 7/27/07

  • Less Gas More Ass: Organizers are expecting 800 naked bike riders in Vancouver this weekend to promote awareness of non-fossil fuel transportation.
    "You can be as bare as you dare, the important thing is promoting bike culture," says Ren Levy, a recent political science grad from UBC. "It's an opportunity to say down with cars, up with pedal power and save the environment. And people take notice because we're naked."
  • Double, Double Toil and Trouble: There will be drumming, chanting, healing, and even a Kidwitch Academy for the young Harry Potters at the September 22 Pagan Pride festival in Rhode Island.
    But something in the organization’s rules gave City Councilor Henry S. Kinch Jr. pause.

    It was the statement that there would be “no nudity or inappropriate exhibitionism” during the festival.

    If a rule like that is necessary, then nudity or inappropriate exhibitionism must be a problem, Kinch said.

    Before he voted with other City Council members to grant Rhode Island Pagan Pride an entertainment license, Kinch wanted an assurance that no one at the festival would take off his clothes.
  • Skinny-Dip Arrest: Two sisters are claiming they were wrongfully arrested and hauled off half-naked to jail after being caught skinny-dipping in Vancouver. Police say the girls were drunk and disorderly.
  • Nudist Club Tragedy: A 23 year-old mother of three perished in a fire along with her dog at the Riverboat Nudist Club in Florida.
  • The Belles of St. Mary's: Tricia Stewart, the inspiration for the movie "Calendar Girls", is hoping to inspire the Choir of St. Mary's Church Nether Aderley to pose for their own fundraising project wearing only strategically placed hymn sheets.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Daily Newds 7/26/07

  • Full Bodied: Avondale Wines is using nude models in its "Wines au Naturel" ad campaign.
  • You know where you've been: The Mr. Skin web site is seeing a boost in traffic since being featured in the movie "Knocked Up".
    “We don’t care about cinematography or great acting or anything like that,” Jim McBride, who favors the title chief sexecutive officer, said on the phone from his company’s Chicago offices. “We’re concerned about the nudity — who’s naked, and what they show.”
  • Victory Lap: A club in the UK has been given approval for full nude lap dancing despite opposition from the some local people and the police.
  • On your mark, get set, SUCK!: An international breastfeeding marathon kicks off August 8 in New Zealand, and then on around the world.
  • Sin City: The proliferation of topless pools and scantily clad cocktail waitresses in Las Vegas is raising questions regarding public decency and decorum.
  • Virgin Birth: Actress Anne Hathaway is reported to have turned down the role in "Knocked Up" because a close-up of a vagina (not hers) was going to be used during the birth scene.
  • The Body of Art: Turtle Lake Nudist Resort in Michigan is hosting a clothing-optional art exhibit that is free and open to the public.
  • Domino Effect: Disturbed by the presence of some skinny-dippers at a local swimming hole, Clarendon resident Joan Bixby is urging a ban on nudity in their Vermont town based upon the recent ordinance passed in Brattleboro.
  • Little Annie Granny: A group of Washington, Pennsylvania, septuagenarians and octogenarians have posed nude for a fundraising calendar, which is already sold out.
  • Global Nuding: Laborers in Dubai have taken to walking around naked because of the intense heat.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Daily Newds 7/24/07

  • Northeast Naturist Festival: 300 nudists are expected at Empire Haven Nudist Park in Monrovia, New York, for the annual event which takes place between August 7-12. Over 190 activities are planned.
  • Would you like a Squishee with that?: A woman wearing only stilettos and a gold bracelet walked into a German convenience store to buy cigarettes.
  • Cafe au Lait: Members of the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition are opening the 2nd annual Breastfeeding Cafe inside Salt Lake City's main library.
  • Thirty-Love: Serena Williams is proud of her athletic body and shows it off in Jane's Magazine.
  • Pantsed!: A Louisiana Parish has passed an ordinance banning saggy pants that show underwear. Lawsuits are expected over the almost certainly unconstitutional edict.
  • The Eyes Have It: Miss Manners instructs a reader to look people in the eye if encountering nudity in the locker room.
  • Nautical Nudity: A nudist dinner cruise sailed out of Sheepshead Bay in New York.
    “We are bombarded with images of perfect people, and we’re taught that if we don’t have bodies that look like that, we don’t deserve to be seen naked,” said Mr. Ordover, a tall, tomato-shaped man who on this night was wearing only eyeglasses and a thick brown beard.
  • Arrests at Pirate's Cove: A Catholic priest was among three people arrested and charged with sex crimes near the clothing-optional beach.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Seattle Paper Comes Out Against Nudity

An editorial today in the Seattle Times exclaimed "Eeew!" in reaction to the recent "spate of nudity news".
Maybe we're still mired in Victorian prudishness, but clothing remains the norm and modesty the standard in many cultures...if you want to be naked in a crowd, do it in your dreams.
The editorial also suggests "a sea of Dick Cheney masks" would be more effective instead of riding bicycles in the nude to protest our dependence on foreign oil, and, naturally, expresses concerns about "the children" who are exposed to the exposed.

With the arrest of three people in Seattle during last week's World Naked Bike Ride, and now this editorial, it seems that public attitudes are changing in a city that was once known for being tolerant of public nudity.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Tomorrow the World: Brattleboro is banning public nudity in certain areas of the town, but if Selectboard member Dick DeGray has his way there will be more areas added to the ordinance in the future.
    "I'm not looking for a townwide ban in every nook and cranny," said DeGray. "We thought we would start in a smaller region. This is the primary area of concern."

    If the ordinance makes it into permanent status, he said, the area of coverage could be expanded if residents ask for it.

    "I have no problem covering the whole town," said DeGray.
  • Naked Under Your Clothes: If you think you are safe from ant-nudity ordinances if you are covered with a blanket or a towel, think again. During the meeting in which Huntington Beach went forward with their anti-nudity ordinance, a strange debate took place over another law which prohibits people from taking off their swimsuits in public.
    This led to an exchange between Mayor Gil Coerper and Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Cook that was perhaps a signal of disputes to come over disrobing in Huntington Beach.

    Cook: "You can't see someone changing under a towel. They're not publicly nude."

    Coerper: "They're nude under the towel."

    Cook: "Under our clothes, we're all nude."
  • Pregnant and Proud: Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View" proclaimed on the air that she loves her pregnant body.
    "You don't get naked when you're not pregnant. You're pregnant all of a sudden and you're nude walking around, showing the belly. I definitely feel different. I feel like I'm more comfortable with my body when I'm pregnant. I see my body as a vessel of someone else. I feel more comfortable in my own skin."

    She warned, though, jiggling her breasts,

    "Be careful, these may come out next, Barbara."
  • Nude Geezers: Photographer Doug Wesley is shooting a bunch of elderly men in New Mexico for a calendar.
    “There is some question in my mind if someone is going to want to buy a picture of a geezer,” Wesley said Wednesday afternoon as he relaxed in the shade next to a barbecue hut run by one of his subjects. “But there is no question in my mind people will want to buy a picture of nude geezers.”
  • Chilly Willy: Greenpeace and artist Spencer Tunick are seeking hundreds of volunteers to pose nude on a shrinking Swiss glacier.
  • Every Inch a King: Actor Ian McKellan has been asked by officials in Singapore to cover up during his nude scene in Shakespeare's "King Lear".
    "But what would happen, I wonder, if I did take all my clothes off and instead of my genitalia, I was wearing a pair of false genitalia. Would that be thought inappropriate?

    "Call it censorship, call it advice, it gets in the way a little bit. I think it's a little bit silly," he said.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What It All Means for Nudists

The decisions this week in California and Vermont to define and criminalize public nudity are devastatingly bad news for nudists and naturists.

It's not because any nudist or naturist would want to walk down Main Street in Huntington Beach or Brattleboro. In fact, it's quite the opposite. People who live in the nude lifestyle are not looking for confrontations, they prefer to avoid them.

Brattleboro was content with having no nudity ordinance until some teenagers decided to hang around a downtown parking lot in the buff. No harm was done, and the town decided to let the issue pass with the advent of the colder weather. But this spring a man was arrested for lewd behavior, and then an elderly man from Arizona decided to walk around in the nude at a public event.

These examples are NOT indicative of nudist behavior. I would go so far as to say that the behavior of the man from Arizona was downright creepy. The Selectboard appeared to have little choice but to start placing some restrictions on where public nudity will and will not be tolerated.

Ultimately, from a legal point of view, the Brattleboro decision, if made permanent, will have no immediate effect on anyone practicing the nudist lifestyle, because it recognizes the right of people to be nude at the local swimming hole, or in their own yards, just not in certain areas of the city itself. The Huntington Beach decision is far more serious because it is directed specifically at naturists - not at strip clubs or exhibitionists. The Huntington Beach law is an overreaction to one local man who was often seen nude on his own property, and does not even live there anymore.

But the real damage done to nudists with all this publicity is exactly that - bad public relations. The people who forced these issues to the table are not nudists. They might be predators, they might just be jerks, and they might be exhibitionists, but they are not naturists or nudists.

All of the articles that I have read about these incidents specifically mention nudism or naturism as being at the core of the matters, and that is a fallacy. While the Naturist Action Committee reacted to the Huntington Beach situation in what it perceived to be an appropriate and necessary manner, it perhaps unwittingly did more harm than good by sustaining an all-too-public loss defending the actions of a man who really was not a naturist. Yes, it was important to try and set the record straight by trying to explain to the City Council and the Chief of Police that targeting naturists was the wrong approach to the problem, but in the end the Council voted 7-0 to let the ordinance go forward. Big loss for naturists all around.

It's been a terrible year so far for nudism, and the Associated Press has run with a couple of stories that have been nothing but negative. The fiasco with the Solair College Day only perpetuated the image that nudism was only for the old and wrinkly, and columnists all over the world seemed to have an opinion on that issue. After all, it was amusing, wasn't it?

On the other hand, it's been a banner year for celebrity nudity. Just about everyone has seen Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and now Lindsay Lohan naked or semi-naked. Nick Lachey was seen having sex in a hot tub and the photos were all over the Internet. I don't see anyone trying to pass any laws to reel in these "nudists".

Nudism needs some good PR. Some damn good PR. It needs a spokesperson with some real credibility to come forward and embrace the lifestyle. The nudism industry has been so preoccupied with the aging issue that it has virtually missed the most important issue of all, that the battle for hearts and minds is rapidly being lost, that the Christianists are winning all the little battles to criminalize the human body. Swimming holes are disappearing, nude beaches are few and far between, traditional nudist "camps" are closing and being sold for other uses, regulations defining nudity targeting strip clubs are affecting even non-sexual nudity, and at the same time the sexualization of the human body in advertising, entertainment and pornography is growing by leaps and bounds.

In America, an elderly man who walks naked down the street is a criminal, but a celebrity who flashes her shaved genital area to photographers makes the cover of People magazine.

In America, women who bare their breasts on the beach are breaking the law, but women who bare all and have graphic sex on camera are rich and famous.

In America, a man who bares his genitals to go skinny dipping can be arrested for indecent exposure, but a man who uses his genitals to degrade women in pornographic films is a media darling.

We're losing this battle, my friends. The answer will come only with solidarity and organization, with a lot of hard work and smart thinking. It's time to really get together - all you closet nudists out there need to join a local club and start making a difference. Make your numbers known and stand together. We are only given one body in this life, and we must not let anyone tell us that we should be ashamed in any way of what we have been given.

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In Brattleboro, It's About the Children

After an emotional debate, during which a 10 year old girl broke down in tears, the Brattleboro Selectboard approved a temorary ordinance against public nudity by a 3-2 margin.

The full report can be read here.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brattleboro Passes Anti-Nudity Ordinance

The vote is reported to have been 3-2 in favor of the ordinance. More later as news comes in.

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The Daily Newds

  • Dark Days: First public nudity is banned in Huntington Beach, then Brattleboro is on the verge of doing the same, and now even nudism-tolerant Seattle is criminalizing clothes-free people.
    Three of the 57 participants in the Seattle Naked Bike Ride -- including one stripped, stripy Oak Harbor woman -- were arrested Saturday as they streaked into Seward Park.

    The bare bicyclists were released from Seattle police custody hours later after being cited for indecent exposure, a misdemeanor. But festival organizers say the arrests may mark a change in the city's usual tolerance of bipedal nakedness.
  • Words, Words, Words: Local theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has undergone some changes in the past twenty years, and audiences are more tolerant of gays, nudity, and moral issues. But when it comes to words, things are going in reverse.
    Several audience members were upset with a scene in "Peter Pan," which is running now at the Dutch Apple, in which Peter calls Tinkerbell a silly ass."That's the way it was originally written (in the 1950s) and it comes from a time when people thought ass was another name for a donkey, not a bad word," (General Manager Denise) Trupe says. "But because we've marketed it as a family show, some people are upset."Tinkerbell is now a silly goose.
  • If You Ban It, They Will Come: French authorities decided to prohibit nudity on a public beach to drive away the naturists, but the publicity has actually drawn more sun worshippers to the beach and driven away those who prefer swimsuits.
    “This beach, we have practically created it ourselves,” said one longtime habituĂ©. “For our part we do not find it inconvenient to co-habit with non-naturists, completely to the contrary. In the (philosophy of) naturism, the notion of respect for others is an important element. They reproach us for depriving families and children of using this beach. Why are they not using this
    bigger one, located just opposite?”
  • Bada-Bing: Four dancers and a bar owner were charged with violating a Florida ordinance which states: "No female person shall expose to public view any portion of her breast below the top of the areola or any simulation thereof in an establishment dealing in alcoholic beverages." Two undercover deputies were responding to complaints when they witnessed the crime.
  • I Sing the Body Eclectic: Almost all of the world's cultures practice some form of body painting.
    Traditional body painting ventured into the world of fine art in 1960 when artist Yves Klein painted nude female models blue and had them toss themselves unto blank canvases, a famous conceptual art moment parodied for cheap laughs in the recent movie Art School Confidential.

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Huntington Beach Approves Nudity Ban

"I just find it unusual that some of the naturists that are here would oppose what we are trying to do – protect our city and our kids," said Councilman Joe Carchio.
Once again, in an emotional and irrational effort to "protect the children", another little slice of freedom was taken away last night when the Huntington Beach City Council voted unanimously to ban all public nudity.

The ordinance was approved even though most of the 13 speakers at the meeting opposed the ban, and 66 letters from around the world also urged the Council to uphold the concept of personal freedom.
"I have read the e-mails you (the council) have received and listened closely to the public comments tonight," said Police Chief Kenneth Small. "It is my guess that the overwhelming majority of those people have absolutely no idea what the facts or circumstances were."
Apparently some of the wording was deleted after the debate, limiting the law to banning nudity only when visible from a public area, and striking parts that limited public breastfeeding to children under two years of age, and tried to outlaw people wearing costumes that simulated nudity.

Another meeting will be held on August 6 with the ordinance scheduled to become law 30 days later. Tonight the Brattleboro Selectboard in Vermont will debate their proposed ordinance, and hopefully they will not follow California's example of ignoring public opinion and passing laws for problems that really do not exist.

The full update from the Naturist Action Committee can be read here.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Sunday Newds

  • Gymnophobic Monk: Tony Shalhoub returns in the sixth season of "Monk" and his obsessive-compulsive character has to face his prejudice against nudists while investigating a murder on a nude beach.
  • Hostage Crisis: The Iranian government is doubling the number of police to enforce Islamic dress codes, thus holding all women hostage to their own clothing.
    Women in Iran are obliged to cover all bodily contours and their heads, but in recent years, many have pushed the boundaries by showing off naked ankles and fashionably-styled hair beneath their headscarves.
  • Another Nude Beach in Danger: Australians are lobbying to save the clothes-free Miner's Beach after a coastal walk opened and passers by will be able to see the naturists. A poll shows that 80% of the people support an official nude beach in the area.
    Meanwhile, co-founder Alex Giles said nudists across Australia and indeed around the world were dismayed at the imminent closure of Port Macquarie's Miners Beach to nude beachgoers.

    "It is a terribly disappointing decision and one that highlights just how regressive some communities are when it comes to breaking down stale, out-dated taboos," he said.
  • Droopy Drawers: A Louisiana town is considering an ordinance banning saggy pants, similar to one passed recently by another town.
    The Delcambre ordinance targets indecent exposure, including sagging. The ordinance states, "It shall be unlawful for any person in any public place or view of the public, to be found in a state of nudity, or partial nudity, or in dress not becoming to his or her sex, or in any indecent exposure of his or her person or undergarments, or be guilty of any indecent or lewd behavior."
  • No More Steely Dan: Christal's lingerie and adult novelty store has come to an agreement with the city of Kennedale, Texas.
    The Christal's settlement ends the city's legal threats but requires the store to close by Feb. 28, 2012. It allows the store to display videos, magazines and other adult materials on 18 percent of its floor area until then. The store will not be allowed to sell certain items, including "anatomically correct" novelties, City Attorney Wayne Olson said.
  • Run for Your Life: A 49 year-old Detroit man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for jogging in the nude.
    (Russell) Rotta told police he didn't indulge his habit to disturb anyone or receive sexual gratification and generally confined his running to open fields and wooded areas away from roads.

    He wore reflective tape around his arms, ankles, waist and thighs to avoid being hit when he crossed roads, the police report said.

    Rotta reported running in the nude six miles a day every day, weather permitting.

    "That is the one wild, crazy thing that I do that makes me feel alive," police quoted him as saying.

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Brattleboro Drafts Anti-Nudity Ordinance

On Tuesday, The Brattleboro Selectboard will decide whether or not to enact a 30 day emergency nudity ban, followed immediately by a public hearing on the issue. Another hearing will take place August 7 before the board decides upon final approval of the ordinance.
(Acting Town Manager Brabara) Sondag said Friday she has received an overwhelming number of phone calls complaining about nudity in Brattleboro since a 68-year-old Arizona man wearing only a fanny pack and sandals took a stroll around town during the monthly Gallery Walk July 6.

Most of those who have contacted her office, she said, have indicated they would like to see the Selectboard pass a local ordinance banning nudity in town.
I don't know who is making all these phone calls, and neither does Ms. Sondag, apparently. They could be from the Christianist activist group Vermont Renewal who has lobbied against the Brattleboro nudity in the past. Last year the Selectboard decided that there was no nudist movement in Brattleboro and that passing any ordinance would be short-sighted, but something has changed since last September and the board has now decided to take action.

The town is now seeking to define nudity as the baring of genitalia, buttocks, or the female breast, and will be prohibited in "any location likely to be observed by members of the public and where the public is present or likely to be present, including streets, sidewalks, parks, parking lots and business and commercial establishments.". A mother breastfeeding a child would be an exception.

The proposed ordinance is also convoluted, banning nudity in specific areas, and within 250 feet of any school or church. An allowance has been made for people who want to get naked in the "privacy" of their own yards. This is all such a slippery slope. For example, what is "privacy"? If you are naked in your own yard but someone can see you from the street, are you legally private?
"Out of the sight of the public, you are free to do that," he (Selectboard Vice Chairman Dick DeGray) said. "This is being driven by a minority of people," added DeGray, who said even though the Selectboard has more important things to take care of, the public nudity issue was interfering with downtown business and bringing unwanted attention to Brattleboro.
"Out of the sight of the public". That says it all, apparently. So, in spite of the fact that the issue has been driven by a minority, and the board has more important business, they have decided to go forward with the ordinance anyway. As I've said many times before, politicians tend to always err on the side of the moralists, who argue not from a position of reason and facts, but from one of emotion and religion. No politician wants to be labeled as anti-church, anti-family, or anti-children.

An article by the Associated Press has more on the issue.
“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” said select board member Dick DeGray. “You can’t go into a store and buy an adult magazine until you’re 18, and yet you can walk down the street in Vermont and see naked people. There’s something wrong with that picture.”
This is what is known as a non-argument argument and it makes no sense. "Just because you can doesn't mean you should" sounds like something Mike Brady said to his kids in "The Brady Bunch" - it sounds profound but it's just gibberish. And equating simple nudity with pornography magazines is downright ignorant.
Public nudity is far from an everyday occurrence, but many here want it regulated.

“It’s time they did something about it,” said Sherwood Smith, manager of Baskets Bookstore, which is in the Harmony parking lot, where naked teens gathered last summer. “I don’t care how they robe or disrobe at swimming holes, but in a downtown area like this, it’s wrong.”“It hurts a store like this.

People who are likely to buy used books are often conservative middle-aged people or older. I couldn’t be happier to see them putting in an ordinance,” Smith said.
With so many problems needing solutions, it is disturbing to see our elected officials spending so much time on issues that are inflated by a few vocal people in the minority. It doesn't help that the national press tends to pick up stories like this because anything with the mention of naked people tends to be somewhat of a sensation. Whether it's nudist bowlers in Maine or aging naturists in Connecticut looking for younger members, the titillation factor is too great to pass up.

On Tuesday night I hope that cooler heads prevail and the Selectboard decides to pass on the ordinance once again, but something tells me that the die is already cast and the hearings are only formalities before nudity becomes a crime in Brattleboro.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Calling all Naturists/Nudists

As noted on this blog yesterday, the police chief of the City of Huntington Beach in California is requesting that the City Council adopt an ordinance against non-sexual nudity, targeting a local naturist.

The Naturist Action Committee is requesting that ALL NATURISTS contact the Huntington Beach City Council - full information can be found here.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • Tableau Vivant: Actors will stage a life depiction of Manet's painting "Le Dejeuner Sur L’herbe", including the nudity, reviving a French art form that was popular in the 1880s.
  • Naked TV: Lifetime is bringing "How to Look Good Naked" to cable this January, based on the British show.
  • Sex Sells: Using sex in advertising goes back over 100 years, but today's "exhibitionism" in ad media is influencing lifestyles.
  • Try It, You'll Like It: Gerry Johnson has some advice for budding naturists. "It feels goods," Johnston stresses. "You have to try it. You won't believe how easy it is until you try it." (link includes video of blurry naked people)
  • Paper or plastic?: Employees at a UK cosmetics store stripped down to their aprons to urge people to buy products that do not require packaging.
  • Wreck Beach Day: On Saturday Vancouverites will be stripping down to celebrate the annual event, with activities that include body painting, kite flying, a nude art show, sandcastle building, and a nude group photo.
  • Nudity Ban: The Huntington Beach police chief will ask City Council members to ban all nudity because one naturist has been observed naked at his home.
    It all began when Michael Ferreira moved about two years ago into a home two blocks from Main Street. Neighbors started calling police complaining that they had seen Ferreira standing naked in his front yard and inside his Walnut Street home with the windows and doors open.

    "My son went to get Jamba Juice one morning, and there was this man naked," said neighbor Dawn Melton.
  • Geek Streak: A Group of students who made a naked dash at the "Geek Prom" in Minnesota were pepper sprayed and arrested by an overzealous officer. (hat tip to ReasonOnline)
    Prom founder Paul Lundgren says, "I'm giving him [the cop] the benefit of the doubt and hoping he committed a Barney Fife-like blunder, because I'd hate to think he calmly decided to pepper-spray a half-dozen defenseless, naked nerds."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Good Advice: If you are a Sagittarius, your horoscope for the week of July 12 advises you to get naked. would be wise to wander around town with no particular goal, responding with innocent enthusiasm and hungry curiosity to whatever scenarios you happen to stumble upon, pleased to be educated by the random flow of stimuli that come your way. If you don't have the courage or leisure to pull that off, here's the second-best strategy: go someplace you've never been and do things you've never done. Third-best: spend an entire day being naked.
  • Brattleboro Prattle: Vermonters respond to the latest public nudity crisis with letters to the editor.
    I personally don't want to see your aged naked body walking down the street. As for that matter, I wouldn't want to see a nicely sculpted body walking naked down the street either. That is the social contract; wear clothes when out in public. ~ Mary Blumberg

    There are so many other things to fear, why does this scare us so much? If we are so afraid of our children seeing a naked body, then what message does passing a law against it send them about shame and not liking one's self. ~ Ricky Davidson
  • Zanzibar Film Festival?: Yes, Zanzibar, but there was a problem in showing a film that contained some nudity.
    The censors objected to two scenes of nudity; the festival lobbied hard for the picture to be shown. In the end a compromise was reached: the film was screened, but the projectionist’s thumb blocked the offending bits.
  • Penis de Milo: A German author has pulled the plug on an American book deal because of unacceptable censorship.
    What could possibly have got the suits at Boyds Mills so hot under the overly starched collar? A painting depicting a gratuitous Roman orgy being viewed by
    wide-eyed 5-year olds? A massive bronze phallus gawped at by an awestruck group of pre-teens? Hardly. Apart from a tasteful nude reclining in a slightly blurred watercolor in the background, the main offending artifact was a tiny male statue and its microscopic penis.
  • Breastfeeding Bill Lacking: Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed a law that makes breastfeeding legal in all public places, but falls short by not adding language that would permit women to sue anyone who harassed or intimidated them.
  • Running of the Nudes Photo Gallery: A Croatian website has lots of uncensored images of the protest event.
  • Your Tax Dollars at Work: Lake County officials in Illinois have spent nearly a half million dollars establishing an adult entertainment ordinance. The county is seeking to collect over two million dollars in imposed fines from three businesses that were forced to close - good luck with that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mything the Point

Columnist David Harsanyi has written a column about Nude Recreation week in the Denver Post, and completely misses the point.
There are two inarguable truths about nudity. One: I am ashamed of my body. Two: Adults who seem most inclined to take their clothing off in public should be ashamed of theirs.
Ask a non-nudist why the human body is something to be ashamed of, the answer is always just "because". Even a child is smart enough to retort with "because why?" Harsanyi doesn't know why, he just knows. His ignorance then turns to ridicule.
As you probably suspect, like most hobbyists, nudists come from "all walks of life." And having met silly people from all walks of life, I'm not surprised.
Silly? Silly how? Silly like we're clowns, we amuse you? We make you laugh? What do you mean silly? Harsanyi doesn't know how, he just knows. Then it all becomes "about the children" when he interviews the manager of Mountain Air Ranch.
I have to ask a couple awkward questions at this point: Are there children present at these au natural recreational activities? (Please say no.)

Regrettably, there are ... somewhere between 45-60 of these unfortunate, impressionable young souls are exposed to the horrors of the hairy, cellulite-ridden naked adult body.
Ah, the human body as "horror" argument. What could be worse than the human body, that vile creation of a vengeful God, who is reported to have made us in his own image just to torture us every time we step out of the shower and look in a mirror.

And for his final myth, Harsanyi pulls out the nudity is only for sex argument.
In all probability, "nude recreation" has a very specific meaning to you. And that activity, in my opinion, is more natural than the sterile nudity these hobbyists engage in.
Sorry, David, you cannot have both sides of this argument. On one hand you find nudism shameful and horrifying, and then you find it "sterile".

The surest sign of ignorance when it comes to nudism is when someone makes empty arguments. Harsanyi is free to offer his opinion, certainly, but his views about nudism are not based upon any real knowledge or experience, but merely on his own misconceptions and notions. He makes no effort to understand, only to condemn.

Whenever someone is totally clueless, I always recommend that they read the 205 Arguments and Observations in Support of Naturism (.pdf file), and then come back and discuss the issue. David Harsanyi owes at least that much to the millions of Naturists worldwide that he offended in his glib and clueless column.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Trouble in Tranquility

A 68 year-old man's decision to vacation in Brattleboro, Vermont, which included a nude appearance at the town's July 6 Gallery Walk, might be the catalyst for the Selectboard to begin to consider an ordinance against certain types of nudity in public.

All the misconceptions about nudism are likely to come into play during this process. Already, Selectboard Vice Chairman Dick DeGray is assuming the naked man was up to no good.
"I couldn't believe this was happening in my community," said DeGray, calling the man's nudity "exhibitionism."

He asked the Selectboard to enact an emergency ordinance while it takes time to draft an anti-nudity law for the town.

Selectboard member Rich Garant asked DeGray what the man did to cause him to call it exhibitionism.

"I certainly thought it was exhibitionism," said DeGray. "This person wasn't doing anything other than trying to be a spectacle." Why else would the man come to town during the one time in the month when the streets are packed with gallery strollers, he asked.

According to Wikipedia, "exhibitionism" generally involves a sexual thrill. There is no evidence that the man did anything more than walk down the street nude - there are no reports that the man was aroused or that his intent was to arouse others. What he did cannot be labeled as flashing or streaking, although he did appear to be alone in his nakedness, so that does make his behavior outside the collective norm, so it is bound to raise suspicion; however, it is patently unfair to label the man as an exhibitionist without some hard evidence that his intent was anything more than to exercise his nude freedom under the existing laws.

But even if the man was an "exhibitionist", he cannot be arrested because that specific behavior is not defined as being "lewd and lascivious". At least one Selectboard member is reluctant to begin to legally define nudity.
"I've never been in favor of an (anti-nudity) ordinance," said Selectboard member Dora Bouboulis. "It goes against some of the things that Brattleboro is known for."

She said being nude can be considered a form of freedom of expression, adding the comments she has received tended toward "others love it that we have naked people in Brattleboro."

"I don't like an ordinance that restricts freedoms," she said.

Town Manager Barbara Sondag says that she has received "30 comments" on the issue, presumably not all complaints, and certainly a minority number in a town of 8289 (2000 census).
"I see it as trying to balance people's rights," said Sondag. "Does the nudity begin to infringe on other people's rights?" If it is infringement, she said, "then it is upsetting the tranquility of the community."

Perhaps the 68 year-old man read the essay "The Right Not to be Offended" and he assumed that his right to be nude trumped the rights of others. To assume that any "in your face" behavior is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment is downright foolish - local governments pass ordinances against offensive behavior all the time. Where I live you cannot run loud yard machinery (including lawnmowers) on Sundays due to noise restrictions, you cannot smoke in restaurants and bars, you must scoop your dog's poop, and you cannot walk down the street without pants. The majority rules, like it or not.

Brattleboro has to decide if a few minor incidents and a handful of noisemakers is sufficient to warrant a change in the laws. As I've stated many times before, politicians tend to err on the side of caution - there is more political danger in condoning nudity than prohibiting it. Since the arrest of a man for lewd behavior in Brattleboro a couple of months ago, people have stopped appearing nude in public, and the gallery walker is the only other reported incident. It looks like the town is one incident away from enacting an anti-nudity ordinance.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Dreading the Locker Room: A woman who had a double mastectomy avoided the locker room at her local gym but eventually faced up to her fears.
    My gym, like most gyms, doesn't have private changing rooms. Everyone is changing out there in the open. That was hard enough for modest-me before, but now? Sure, I could claim my right to be naked like everyone else and if other people can't deal with it then that's their problem. The thing is, I'm more socially sensitive to other people's feelings than that, and I really don't want to deal with the surprised/shocked/freaked looks that I'll get...Chances are half of the other women were walking around the locker room freaking out in their own heads about what everyone else was thinking about them. We women tend to do that. You don't have to have a double-mastectomy to have body image issues.
  • Get Thee Behind Me, Satan: The Rev. Neil Rhodes, pastor of a Times Square nondenominational church, opposes the proposed bidet ads which will show naked human posteriors.
    'You walk into a church building, you have naked bodies before your eyes, how are you going to close your eyes and seek God?'' Rhodes said.
  • Triangle Area Naturists: The Chapel Hill group is holding a pancake brunch and swim to celebrate the beginning of Nude Recreation Week.
    TAN hosts events all year, including clothed parties. But summers are the best for nudists, Zeman said. Last year for nude rec week, the group went canoeing (or "canuding," as TAN calls it) down the Catawba River with the Travelites, a nudist club from South Carolina. This summer, in addition to the brunch, they will host their annual "Splash Party."

    "That's where we run around like 6-year-olds with squirt guns," Zeman said. They'll eat lunch, too.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Sunday Newds

  • Fighting Irish: Ireland is the only coastal country in Europe without clothing-optional beaches, and that is not likely to change in the near future.
    There are more than 1.2m naturists in the UK and Ireland, but Free resbyterian minister David McIlveen said he would be horrified at any attempt to introduce naturist zones on beaches here.

    The Rev McIlveen, who led protests over a lap-dancing club in Belfast, said last night: "I think the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland and indeed the Republic would be opposed to any attempt to advance naturist activity.

    "There would be very strong opposition and I would be part of that opposition."
  • The Naked and the Read: Author Jim C. Cunningham will be signing copies of his new book "Nudity and Christianity" this Thursday in Vermont, and the public is invited to strip down at the event.
    "The reason for this is to 'put our bodies where our mouths are,' living what we preach," Cunningham said. "The public are invited to express their solidarity with our message by also donning their birthday suits upon entering the book store."
  • Show Your Bum: 90 photos of people baring their bums have been collected for a Facebook group which will eventually be used for a poster to raise funds for research into colorectal cancer.
    Two men in another photo are standing proudly at the top of a mountain with their arms stretched in the air and their pants hanging around their ankles. This snapshot perfectly captures the project’s message and is a personal favourite, Ms. Nickerson said.

    "They just look so proud to be there and to be naked," she said. "They’re happy to be who they are in all their glory and with all their flaws."
  • Houston, We Have a Problem: Houston Mayor Bill White wants to see all topless entertainment establishments closed.
    "It's at odds with public attitudes, in fact," said Rice University sociology professor Stephen Klineberg, who has tracked local opinions in his annual Houston Area Survey for 25 years. "When you ask people about individual freedoms, they are very strongly in favor of allowing people to do things that they would not necessarily do themselves. That's what makes it a modern and progressive city instead of a traditionalist city."
  • Religious Police: Malaysian authorities have detained a Muslim singer and her band for baring too much flesh.
    Siti Noor Idayu Abd Moin's sleeveless white top exposed a triangle of skin on her back, prompting officials to charge her with "revealing her body" and "promoting vice".
  • Defining Nude: The Scottsdale Arizona City Council has held six months worth of meetings in order to define strip club terminology such as "areola" and "cleft of the buttocks".
    Councilman Tony Nelssen, for instance, learned that "nude" does not necessarily mean that one is without clothes..."It borders on the ridiculous," Nelssen said. "But I guess distinctions have to be made."
  • Heart's Desire: A writer visits the clothing-optional Desire Resort and Spa in Mexico.
    Guests can take part in (naked) water aerobics and beach volleyball, but it was "Desire Time" at about 3 p.m. each day that got everyone laughing. Desire time was when the entertainment staff would get volunteers from the pool, usually newcomers, to take part in sexy activities like body painting competitions or naked twister. "Left foot on blue" takes on a whole new meaning when the participants are starkers. Hats off to the entertainment staff Sylvia, Russell and Rocio, who do a great job, while ignoring the fact everyone around them is buck-naked.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Great Naked Debate, Round Three

For this round, The Great Naked Debate asked the question "What can be done to attract younger people to the nudist lifestyle?"

This is perhaps the number one issue facing traditional nudist resorts that rely on membership fees. The responses from five participants (including this writer) don't necessarily add anything new to the debate - it seems to be a dilemma without a clear solution.

Nudist Day offers the idea of promoting more sports activities, such as hiking, and waiving grounds fees for younger people.
Reaching-out to young people is half the job, thus it’s critical that more be done to promote the lifestyle where the younger generation congregates. For instance, the internet via Youtube and Myspace, among others, and positive ads in the magazines they read. There’s an investment to make, obviously, but if you don’t make it, the lifestyle risks dying-out with its rapidly aging practitioners!

The Naturist Journal believes it's a matter of selling.
We have to look at issues of Marketing, culture, economics, and probably more. Are we advertising in the right places? Are we doing enough public services to raise general awareness (beach cleanups, charity work, “Nudists shed clothes for the homeless”)? If nudity wasn’t an issue, would young people join our clubs in the first place? Is the vibe not quite right for them? For some local clubs may not be affordable. We simply can’t be complacent, we need to be looking at all of these areas and making continual improvements.
And Gymnophiliac takes the fantasy approach.
...if I were to build a commercial venue and wanted to cater to younger people, here’s how I’d do it. I’d build it as close as I could to a population center, so as to make it as convenient to get to as possible. I’d keep the entrance costs minimal. I would look at what younger people are doing with their clothes on, and then provide opportunity to do it with their clothes off. I’d keep a fully stocked bar and try to create the typical “bar scene” on Friday and Saturday nights. I’d make sure that if someone wanted a “Skim milk double shot Latte” I could fill the order. I’d host Wii Sports tournaments and poker tournaments. I’d get live music and real DJ’s. The challenge, simply, is to create a place that the target audience would go to if it wasn’t nudist. The nudity would be a bonus, not the selling point, and certainly not the *only* selling point.

There’d be two keys to success in attracting young people to my venue. Attracting single girls and limiting it to 18ish-35ish only. The former is the most challenging, but also the most important. The lack of single, 20-something girls is the most often cited reason why my friends don’t accompany me to the nude beach - they’re rather go one where there are girls present. By a similar token, they don’t want to hang around people their parents age or young kids. The presence of such significantly changes the atmosphere and makes it less appealing.
In short, he wants low admission fees, alcohol, video games, gambling, more nude single girls, and get rid of anyone over 35, all in an urban setting. Sorry, but I can't take Gymnophiliac seriously anymore.

Tom Mulhall offers the perspective of an actual resort owner.
Nudist clubs need to change with the times. First, stop charging annual memberships. Charge per visit. Young people don’t want to join clubs. Next, stop putting out negative pr’s from clubs that are dying out. Recently, the AP wire service carried an article about a nudist club where members were over 55 and they had a picture of their membership chairman in his 70’s. That just destroyed all the hard work that resorts like us and other clubs do to get younger members.
The common theme in most of the replies was marketing. Resorts are just not keeping up with the times. Just surf the web for nudist resorts - while most have some sort of web presence, many of the sites are crude with broken links and other technical issues. Tom Mulhall is one of the very few owners that works every day in promoting his resort with his blog, and he boasts very high occupancy rates. He is right when he refers to the disastrous-yet-well-intentioned "college day" at the Solair resort in Connecticut which backfired and spawned an AP article that accentuated the geriatric aspect of the club.

With Haulover Beach attracting over a million people a year, and nude vacations at upscale resorts and on cruise ships growing by leaps and bounds, it does appear to be a matter of venue and not a matter of a lack of willingness.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

The Academic Approach

The Academic Naturist is a promising new blog that approaches issues related to nudism in a fact-based manner, with references.

Unlike Eric at Gymnophiliac, TAN approaches his arguments carefully and backs them up with actual research. A recent post about Children and Naturism manages to hit the nail on the head with a refreshing economy of words.
It's interesting to note that textilers, both children and adults, often dislike their genitals. Nudists, on the other hand, like all body parts somewhat evenly, including the genitals. This supports the evidence that family nudism has a higher correlation to body self-concept than does sex, race, or location. Also, nudist children have much higher body acceptance and self-image than do non-nudist children. Non-nudist US children somewhat strongly believe that clothing is required, even in hot climates, but are unable to explain why.

I have omitted TAN's notations, you should read his post for yourself and see what he has done to support his statements.

TAN also quotes non-nudist professor and researcher Lawrence Cansler, who interviewed a number of older nudist children.
"Many of them recognized that nudism was giving them a more ‘realistic’ outlook towards sex than their non-nudist friends possessed. When with these friends, or out on dates, they could only feel sorry for people whose attitude towards the human body was not as healthy as their own. Unlike the responses of some adult camp members, these seemed completely genuine and spontaneous. Furthermore, the impression was inescapable that these children, taken as a group, were extraordinarily well-adjusted, happy, and thoughtful."
No straw man arguments, no pointing fingers, no demonizing. While certainly not the final or definitive word on the issue, the article by The Academic Naturist furthers the discussion in a constructive and convincing manner, something that is desperately needed by those who believe in the nudist lifestyle.

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Laundry Lists

I'm not a fan of "laundry lists". Eric over at Gymnophiliac has another ambitious but flawed post, this time dealing with children and nudity.

Unfortunately, Eric spends most of his post listing things that pose dangers to children (and adults, for that matter), such as automobiles, obesity, violence in media, global warming, child molesting, pornography, etc. Eric claims that these are "real dangers facing children that parents don't know about, downplay, or outright ignore". This is a total leap of faith - to assume that parents are unaware of any of these dangers is downright ridiculous. If anything, parents and society in general are OVERPROTECTIVE when it comes to any one of these issues.

But then Eric goes on to attack sports, religion and even homework as being dangers to children.
Contrary to the message of every sports movie ever made, there's very little redeeming quality to be found in organized sports, and what value there is decreases exponentially with levels of competitiveness...Despite the conventional wisdom, homework has a lot of negatives and no positives to speak of.

There is no point to be made here, it's just random demonizing. Sure, there has to be somebody out there making these arguments, but it's way out of the mainstream and has no bearing on reality.

Eric eventually concludes that simple nudity is not harmful to children and that society's rejection of nudism is not based on any rational thinking or scientific study. I agree. Most fear of the nude human body originates in religious indoctrination which fosters shame and irrational modesty.

The fundamental flaw in Eric's laundry list is that none of the dangers he mentions (except for religion) have any direct or even indirect effect on societal attitudes toward nudity. Merely pointing and saying "A-ha!" is not a sound basis for debate or making a point- it's just making straw man arguments.

Sorry, Eric, while I appreciate your efforts in attempting to construct what you feel is an important series of arguments, you completely undermine yourself when you say "We live in a society that all but assumes that all men are pedophiles." Even in context this is a foolish and paranoid statement. If you said "we live in a society that all but assumes that all men exposing their genitals in the presence of a child are pedophiles", you might have a point.

Children are the most natural nudists. They love to run around naked and have not yet developed the shame and modesty that society imposes. Nudism and how it can relate to children in a safe and meaningful way is an important issue and needs to be addressed in a responsible manner. Pointing fingers and making laundry lists does not do anything to shed light on how we can cure the disease in our society that has made God's most wonderful creation, the human body, into an object of shame.

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