Ever since I had my giggle over the dick pic I found on the internet a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about nudity. Yeah, welcome to my brain. Sorry about that.
Due to the mysterious workings of the universe, last week I coincidentally discovered another instance of nudity that made me laugh myself silly(er).
I’m a Dr. Hook fan from away back. ‘Waaaaay back in the 1970s. Back when they were Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, doing raunch ‘n’ roll that bore no resemblance whatsoever to their later mainstream hits.
So I was tremendously amused to find an old video of the Hook boys shit-faced, stark naked, and performing some “blues”. *Warning for those who missed the words “stark naked” in the previous sentence: Although the nether regions of the video are (mostly) blanked out, this link is NOT SAFE FOR WORK… or any other place where someone might be offended by the sight of drunk naked guys improvising scatological lyrics.
Which, admittedly, may prove rather limiting.
After I picked myself up off the floor and dried my tears of laughter, I started thinking. Is it funnier because they’re naked? Hell, yeah. Imagine the same video with clothes. Funny, but not as over-the-top hilarious.
Why do we humans arbitrarily designate certain areas of our bodies as “Not To Be Revealed”? Why are those areas considered so offensive that you can get arrested for showing them? And why do some of us laugh when the naughty bits get accidentally exposed, while others are horrified? (Unless the bits in question are exposed in Art, in which case we all stand around nodding seriously and looking constipated.)
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the practical advantages to covering up. Those probably became agonizingly apparent the first time primitive man tried to step over a thorn bush.
But how did ‘Ow! I’m gonna wrap some mastodon hide around that’ become ‘Don’t show that or you’re going to jail’?
Who decided nudity was “obscene”? After all, as Sam the Eagle points out in one of my favourite Muppets skits, we’re all naked. And aside from minor variations in size, shape, and colour, it’s pretty much a case of ‘If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all’.
Maybe it’s because we humans are such perverse creatures. Tell us we can’t have something, and we’ll immediately devote huge amounts of time and energy to obtaining it.
So maybe the simple fact that we usually keep our goodies covered makes it that much more fun (or shocking, depending on your attitude) to sneak a peek. Though by logical extension, that would mean most Canadians should faint at the sight of any exposed skin, since we’re pretty much bundled up eight months out of the year.
I dunno. I guess, like some grown-up version of the “telephone” game we used to play as kids, somehow the message got garbled from ‘You don’t usually see that’ to ‘You shouldn’t see that’. It would be interesting to see how long it would take for our taboos to melt away if nudity was more widespread.
So you folks down in the tropics give it a try and let me know how it goes, okay? ‘Cause it’s still winter here, and it’ll be at least three months before I get my first forbidden glimpse of naked arms.
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Why does our society make such a big deal of nudity? Why are naked marble sculptures considered “art” but naked magazine photos are considered “pornography”?
Or, if you’re not so much into the philosophical discussion: Have you been to a place where nudity is acceptable/expected?