Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Nudist Blogosphere


On a public forum, Debbie Jungwirth, the Network Coordinator for The Naturist Society, had this to say about me: "I find the lack of naturist credentials and/or background information about the administrator of this blog a little disturbing."

Now "disturbing" is a word freely thrown around by the talking heads of the 24 hour news cycle in order to catch people's attention, and I want to assume that Debbie didn't mean that I'm causing her stress, worry or anxiety. Perhaps what she meant is that by remaining anonymous, my words here carry little or no credibility as far as she's concerned.

Either way, this is problematic. To so offhandedly dismiss the words of someone who has been blogging since 2005 in support of The Naturist Society and naturist principles shows a certain lack of understanding of the power of the blogosphere, and the sincerity of my efforts.

What are "naturist credentials"? In order to be taken seriously by the naturist elite, what sort of background does one need? I am a member of TNS, a donor to the NAC, I also belong to AANR, was a member of a local naturist club, and attend naturist resorts with my wife, all of which have been written about here over the past few years.

Remaining publicly anonymous is a personal choice by me on this blog, but I have published several nude photos of myself, another one appears at the top of this article. I can tell you that a couple of NAC board members know my identity, as do several other bloggers, and naturally the people I encounter at social events.

In her dismissal of me, Debbie Jungwirth also dismisses all other anonymous nudist and naturist bloggers. This is tragic, because it's the nudist bloggers who are writing the most erudite, timely, interesting and important articles on naturism today. Take for example The Academic Naturist, whose "Future Resort" series is unsurpassed for research and content. It should be must reading for all naturists.

The Emerging Nudist is the new kid on the block, but so far has put out some of the most impressive content I've read. His "Shock and Awe" series is ongoing and encourages activism as the means to achieve more successes in the naturist movement, specifically recommending following NAC alerts and actions.

I also like to think that this blog is an important link in the Internet chain of naturist and nudists.

The Naturist Society and the NAC do great work, and N Magazine is a first-class publication, but the organizations are behind the times when it comes to getting the word out on the Internet. The NAC blog is updated only when an alert is issued, and often too late. When I made a donation to the NAC, I never received an acknowledgement, or a promised newsletter subscription. TNS does not maintain any email newsletter or mailing list for members to keep them informed about upcoming events. The TNS MySpace blog was last updated on November 28, 2008, when Lee Baxandall passed away. Their Facebook page is better, but with only 319 members as of today, it's ineffective as a means to attract new people.

So, for what it's worth, I encourage The Naturist Society and the Naturist Action Committee to embrace, not dismiss, the blogosphere. We are your best friends, we work for free, and we are at it every day. Our only reward is from the thousands of people who read our posts and appreciate what we write. My blog has over 1700 pages, more content than the web sites for NAC, TNS and AANR combined.

Just yesterday I received the following email from a reader:
Seeing your personal nude photos over the years is amazing. We are close to the same age and like you, I often wonder where that boyish body I once had went! I remember as a teenager, all 150 pounds of me, going out into my backyard at night and removing my clothes just so I could feel free. I have had a naturist's heart ever since, and I can now be nude 24/7 at my home and in my yard, jacuzzi, and pool. I love it. Thanks for having such a wonderful blog! You are a very courageous man!
To say the least, this made my day, and gave me enough fuel for several weeks of blogging. To call bloggers disturbing, irrelevant or worse is not only myopic, it's unwise.

9 comments:

rickromig said...

I have to wonder if she has actually read your blog. If she has, then she should realize that it establishes your "credentials." I would think that anyone who follows the the nudist blogs would realize that most authors publish with some degree on anomynity. Their reasons are unimportant.

As you and others have noted, the web presences of our national organizations is lacking. When I first began exploring the naturist lifestyle, I found the most reliable and credible information on nudist blogs and I still do.

At the grassroots level in naturism there are still social stigma and public misconceptions to deal with. We still have to live and work in our local communities who may not approve of our chosen lifestyle. We try to educate and inform them the best we can. Things are a bit different out here in the trenches where write from.

Naturist creditials? To me, one's credentials are determined by attitude, behavior, and how they represent the naturist lifestyle.

Tom Mulhall, Terra Cotta Inn said...

Don't worry about what that woman wrote about you. You have one of the best nudist blogs around. You should be proud of the work that you do.

I write from the point of view of a nudist resort owner. I have been a nudist for over 30 years. I am a past president of the Palm Springs Chamber of commerce. So I like to think I have some "credentials" to back up what I say about you.

I find that sometimes with some naturists there is a condescending attitude of "I know best so you better do what I say."

So take what she wrote as a compliment. You do a great service to nudism and you should be very proud of what you write.

Tom

Brian said...

Credentials? I didn't realize that people needed badges and certificates to take their clothes off. I don't care if you want to keep your name private, because you're legitimacy and intent shows quite clearly through your writing.

I rarely comment, but I am here every other day to read your opinions and check out your news-links. I can't say that about the bland, repetitious info on the sites of "professional" organizations. You're doing a lot of good with this blog. Keep it up.

Newd Okies said...

Due to Ms Jungwirth's comment I don't feel as bad now about dropping my TNS membership.

Mike
AANR
AANR/SW

rickromig said...

"I didn't realize that people needed badges and certificates to take their clothes off"

Badges? We don't need no steenking badges.

I couldn't resist. Where would we pin them anyway?

But seriously, we establish our credidentials through our attitudes, our words, and our behavior, not our pedigree.

Peter Stokes said...

The others have said it for me, but count me in anyway. What "credentials"? Does she mean that only an "official" organisation is allowed to say anything, have an opinion? And if so what makes the organisation official? She makes the whole thing sound like yet another attempt at domination by a self-selected group who try to whip everyone else into line by staking out what they think is the high ground.

Well, to heck with her. Nudiarist is one of the best, if not the best blog on nudism, long may it continue.

peter

Peter Stokes said...

The others have said it for me, but count me in anyway. What "credentials"? Does she mean that only an "official" organisation is allowed to say anything, have an opinion? And if so what makes the organisation official? She makes the whole thing sound like yet another attempt at domination by a self-selected group who try to whip everyone else into line by staking out what they think is the high ground.

Well, to heck with her. Nudiarist is one of the best, if not the best blog on nudism, long may it continue.

peter

Debbie Jungwirth said...

I posted my comment in January of this year and now all of a sudden it has been resurrected? As I explained to the author, part of my job is to be protective of TNS members and naturists in general. I didn't realize that the use of the word"disturbing" would be so misconstrued as to be compared to a 24-hour news network! Or that use of the word "credentials" would be interpreted so literally.

To assume that I meant that naturists should carry badges,etc. as credentials is not only ludicrous but missing the point as well.

We are always wary of naturists that refuse to use their real names in dealing with the outside world. (See N magazine issue 28.2, pages 23-26). Although everyone has the right to their privacy, what kind of message is that sending the outside world about naturism? It was for THAT reason that I questioned the blog.

After reading more of the subsequent posts, I came to agree that this is indeed a good naturist forum, and I have told the blogmaster just that. And I, for one, have always chosen to be safe rather than sorry when dealing with the naturist public. And although some people have chosen to be offended by this, I will remain ever-vigilant on the behalf of TNS members.

Nudiarist said...

Debbie, thanks for your comment. Your remark about this blog was only discovered recently when I joined Facebook.

One of the funny things about the Internet is that comments have a strange habit of sticking around for a long, long, time.

Also, when words like "disturbing" and "credentials" are used, it is logical to assume that they will be taken literally since they are very specific terms. Unless one elaborates on a statement, one can expect readers to accept the content as written.

On this blog I pride myself with consistency. I've never had to withdraw or rewrite a post except for corrections of grammar or spelling errors. I think that this is one of the reasons people come back day after day to read, they know where I stand.

If you read back on my blog, you will see that I have written many, many times about nudists and naturists "coming out of the closet", so to speak, with their lifestyles; however, it is both unreasonable and unrealistic to expect everybody to be comfortable with announcing to the world that they like to get naked with mixed company.

For many, jobs, relationships and reputations are on the line. Imagine any elementary school teacher "coming out" as a nudist, complete with online photos, and then imagine how long he or she would retain employment as an educator.

As you espouse, it's better to be safe than sorry, and making it a requirement to drop anonymity in order to have legitimacy smacks of elitism. Better to have understanding than condemnation, especially when dealing with a lifestyle which is essentially taboo in American society. You cannot say that everyone has a right to privacy, and at the same time criticize them for exercising that right.

When you use phrases like "my job is to be...protective of naturists in general", "I questioned the blog" and "I will remain ever vigilant", you send a message that you stand in judgement of all naturists. Yes, you have a position of authority in a naturist organization, but that does not make you the ultimate spokesperson for everyone. If one's opinion is to be respected, one must have respect for the opinions of others.

One other thing. I represent no person or organization other than myself, When and if the time comes that I do something on behalf of TNS or NAC specifically, certainly I will have no qualms or hesitations about doing so in the full light of day.