We live on a wonderful planet. It spins around the sun on a relatively regular basis and manages not to throw us off into the void. And, as long as we’re stuck here it provides us with many wonderful sights. From sweeping vistas to towering waterfalls to epic plains to breathtaking oceans, they are all there for us to enjoy and revere. So it seems only fair that we return the favor. Some build monuments that inspire generations. Others create arts that touch souls and allow us to garner a different view of the world around us. But there are those who feel that nature should be met with nature. These hardy souls take the path of least resistance to share the gifts nature has bestowed upon them; they simply strip naked and frolic across the lands.
God I love those people.
And today we have news that these people are no longer content to dance with the occasional tree or swim in the random ocean. Nay and verily, I say upon you, they’ve done got naked AND politicized.
Fred Weir, from the unlikely location of the Christian Science Monitor, reports that women all over Russia are demanding that other Russian women strip naked in support of Vladimir Putin.
It calls itself “Putin’s Army,” already has more than 1,200 followers on Russia’s main social networking site Vkontakte, and is urging young women to “tear” their clothes off as a message to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to step up and run for president in elections that are now barely eight months off.
Neither Mr. Putin nor President Dmitry Medvedev will openly state their intentions for the upcoming polls, and some very odd things have lately been rushing into the vacuum where normal political competition might otherwise be.
No one knows who is behind “Putin’s Army,” but its professionally-made video of a young woman praising Putin and preparing to rip off her T-shirt has gone viral since being posted last week on the blog of Kirill Schitov, a young pro-Putin deputy of the Moscow city Duma.
“Hi, my name is Diana. I’m a student. I’m mad about a man who has changed the life of our country,” says the video’s narrator, presumably the leggy blonde walking purposefully through central Moscow. “He’s a first-rate politician and a chic guy. He’s Vladimir Putin…. There are millions who adore him, who trust him.
“But there are a few who hurl dirt at him. Maybe they’re scared? Or maybe they’re just weak? Because they’ll never be in his place.”
The main point is to announce a contest for the best video of a woman “tearing” something for Putin, to be posted on the Vkontakte page. The winner, it says, will get an iPad 2.
I know a few people who would do darn near anything for an iPad 2 so I imagine this promotion will be a success and worth watching. Just FYI, Vkontakte is the Russian version of Facebook and is wildly popular there.
With contests like this you can see why.
But nudists aren’t limited to silly promotional stunts. Huffpost Canada reports that one nudist is suing to have the right to be naked in public.
A man who is challenging the constitutionality of Canada’s nudity laws received a boost Tuesday from a handful of naturists who descended on the small town in Ontario’s cottage country where his lawyers were making arguments.
Lawyers for Brian Coldin spent the day trying to convince an Ontario court judge that it should no longer be a criminal offence to be naked in public. About six self-described naturists were in the courtroom to support him.
“I don’t really have a nudist area that I go to so I pick areas around where I live that I can go naked,” said Tom Balint, who travelled three hours from Ontario’s Niagara region to attend the court proceedings.
“There’s always that possibility that I could get caught one day and have to face the same kind of thing.”
Balint said he risks having a criminal record if he’s found nude, which can make it difficult to travel or find a job.
Coldin is facing five charges in connection with incidents at a Tim Hortons and A&W restaurant near the naturist resort he operates.
The Crown alleges Coldin went through a drive-thru without any clothes and pretended to reach into his non-existent back pocket and grab a wallet. Some witnesses who served him wept during the trial while testifying about seeing his genitals.
Of course not all Canadian nudist news provides humor. Nudists in Quebec are reporting that several of their cars have been fire bombed over a dispute about their beach.
(Suzanne) Blanchet believes the fires were sparked by a legal dispute over land development.
A recreation centre, bought by a man who wants to tear it down and build hundreds of new homes, is at the centre of the disagreement.
Legally, the nudists have access to the land and the recreation centre’s services.
The developer is currently serving time for drug trafficking but the mayor of Saint-Lin-Laurentides said that’s not an issue for him.
André Auger is defending the plan to develop hundreds of new homes.
“What’s better…a good 200-home project or a dysfunctional nudist camp?” said Auger.
Despite all the trouble, Blanchet said residents of Eden will continue to fight for their rights.
Let’s see, the developer’s in jail, the mayor thinks that’s fine and they’re both trying to get the nudists to leave. Golly, who would be your first suspects? If you guessed “random acts of violence” you’d win, but only because you think like crooked cops and not real people.
But these people are clearly not aware of the positive economic impact nudists bring to the community. Queensland, Australia has made nude activities illegal so people are flocking to nearby Byron and are spending millions of dollars a year there. And in Virginia, not exactly the hot bed of liberalism, they’re holding a rally to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest skinny dip which is expected to raise several million dollars for local businesses.
However, all is not sunshine and happiness in the world of naturists. Erik Kirschbaum, at MSNBC, is reporting that the number of German nudists is dwindling due to the fact that people are getting fewer and fatter.
The naked sunbathers who once crowded Germany’s Baltic beaches and city parks are becoming an endangered species due to shifting demographics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, growing prosperity and widening girths.
Much to the chagrin of Free Body Culture (FKK) enthusiasts who have been stripping off their clothing on beaches and parks since the early 1900s, a cold wind has been blowing across Germany for nudists and their numbers are steadily dwindling.
“German society is changing and it’s not easy to be a naturist anymore,” said Kurt Fischer, president of the German FKK association (DFK). There are some 500,000 registered nudists and a total of seven million Germans sunbathe naked regularly.
“But the numbers are unfortunately falling by about two percent each year,” Fischer told a group of reporters in the Foreign Press Association (VAP) while sitting, fully clothed, at a beach bar in Berlin’s government quarter. “Times are tough.”
The main problem is the shrinking population, Fischer said.
The number of Germans fell by more than 3.2 million over the last three decades even though the country’s total population has managed to remain more or less steady at about 82 million thanks to immigration — often from countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans as well as Turkey and Arabic countries.
“Our problems are demographic changes and the fact that immigrants aren’t interested in social nudity,” said Fischer, 70, whose association has such honored standing in Germany that it is even part of the Olympic Sport Federation (DOSB).
“Germany is relying more and more on immigrants to keep the population steady. But many come from countries with strong religious beliefs. They just aren’t into FKK.” Immigrants who arrive from cultures where headscarves are common will not usually be interested in becoming naturists in Germany, he said.
Fortunately no tax dollars were spent to arrive at that stunning conclusion. Nevertheless I’m not willing to throw in the towel on FKK just yet. They’ve survived the Kaisers, the Nazis and the Cold War. I truly believe they’ll survive this.
After all, deep down, who doesn’t want to be a nudist?
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!