If It’s Nude, It’s News!

See? See what they did there? Hunh, hunh, pretty funny, right?
Stuff comes from strange places. We talked earlier about how modern literacy in Western culture came from porn. People may not want to think about that but that doesn’t make it any less true. Modern computers are the direct descendants of looms. The punch card system that was designed to ensure each pattern came out identical is the same system that was used for data storage and sorting until micro-chips were invented. The water wheel led to the industrial revolution. Until then all mill work had to be done by hand. With that hurdle cleared new and better uses were developed. Including self powered looms. I could go on and on, and often will when left unchecked, but I think you get the point. The thing you know may have come from a very unlikely source.

For example, at one time a woman’s body was merely something men let her inhabit. They owned it, she just got to use it. But then women decided they wanted to own their bodies and to do with them what they will and, if what they will happened to be “Walk around naked” then so be it. And in 1968 a man’s voice rose from the wilderness to support them. To shout down the conservative morass of repression and to truly celebrate the liberal joys of femininity unfettered.

Bra burning? Go for it he cried!

Artistic nudes in print? Hell yeah he bellowed!


And who was this champion of freedom?

Newt Gingrich.

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich attacks President Barack Obama as a “radical” and “community organizer,” but as a Tulane University graduate student in 1968, he helped lead an anti-censorship protest in defense of sexually explicit photographs.

While Republican foe Mitt Romney steered clear of the college campus tumult that year by doing Mormon missionary work in France, Gingrich warned Tulane’s president of an impending “clash of wills” over the university administrator’s decision to ban publication of explicit photographs in “Sophia,” a literary supplement for the student newspaper “The Tulane Hullabaloo.”

The episode illustrates some of the same pugnaciousness that Gingrich now displays as a candidate for the Republican nomination.

It also underscores a sharp evolution in his views on civil protest, an issue that has played out during the campaign because of the growing strength of the Occupy Wall Street movement. During a forum last November, Gingrich suggested that participants in the Wall Street protests, “Go get a job, right after you take a bath.”

And Gingrich has repeatedly made comparisons between Obama and Saul Alinsky, a forebear of 1960s campus activism and a powerful community organizer in Chicago in the 1960s — the city where the president began his career in public service after graduating from Columbia University in the 1980s.

During the Tulane demonstrations, Gingrich emerged as a leader of one of the student protest factions. His politics, according to fellow students on the New Orleans campus, were those of a liberal Republican.

“In a sense, Gingrich has been very consistent. He utilizes free speech more than almost any other American,” said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, who said he found the candidate’s student activism “very amusing.”

Sabato puts those days in the same category as Obama’s community organizing in Chicago.

“We should be less interested in where the candidates have been many years ago, and more concerned about where they are now,” he added. “However, it would be interesting to hear how Newt (like Obama) got from there to here. Does he still think his actions at Tulane were correct?”

A spokesman for Gingrich’s presidential campaign did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Accounts published by the Hullabaloo, retrieved from university archives, describe the standoff over two artistic images the literary magazine sought to publish.


One photo showed a Baton Rouge sculptor posing beside what was described as a “mechanized box” carrying “symbolic descriptions” of human body parts, including sex organs. The second image showed a naked sculptor posing with a statue that depicted what Hullabaloo described as “male and female figures with enlarged sexual organs.”

A proposed caption described one photograph as “an ironical statement on the fad for nudism.”

Tulane authorities at the time, including President Herbert Longenecker, banned publication, argued that the images “are considered to be obscene” and could expose the university to “criminal prosecution.”

Demonstrations erupted, including a picket of Longenecker’s residence. Within days, the movement split into factions. Gingrich’s group called itself Mobilization of Responsible Tulane Students, otherwise known as MORTS.

The same day that MORTS announced its formation, student picket lines spread to the New Orleans offices of Merrill Lynch, a local bank, a department store and a local TV station.

On March 11, 1968, MORTS leaders, including Gingrich, met with Longenecker and other college officials. Typewritten minutes held in college archives show that Gingrich was one of the more outspoken leaders at the meeting, employing the kind of bombastic rhetoric that has been a trademark of his national political career.

“It is now a question of power and if the student body wants to demonstrate until May – we are down to a clash of wills,” Gingrich told Longenecker, according to the minutes, which were obtained by Reuters.

As the meeting concluded, Gingrich warned: “There will be increasing attempts of the student body … to test the guide-lines and test the administration. As long as the student body is aroused it will meet.”

Eventually, the protests waned and the university held firm on the photograph ban. Some members of Gingrich’s protest group later went on to form the Tulane Liberation Front, which occupied a student center and demanded that the swimming pool be opened to the general public.

Though college campuses were hotbeds for political dissent into the 1970s, Gingrich’s student activism waned. University records show that by the summer of 1969, his protest days were behind him. He had persuaded Tulane to allow him to teach a non-credit course in futurology called “When You are 49; The Year 2000.”

Ah yes, only a future serial adulterer could come up with the line “As long as the student body is aroused it will meet” for a protest about nudity.

But, it had a lasting effect. The years rolled on and nudity became a tried and true means of getting your message across. Just recently the nice people at PETA staged a protest in Montgomery Alabama to protest people wearing furs.

Because in the deep South everyone’s really trying to stay warm and wearing furs.

Wait? They’re not? Oh well then, never mind.

It was a stupid protest anyway. A couple of rubes made up to look like naked corpses with signs reading “We Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead in Animal Skins.”


The nice people at Sodahead started a poll about the effectiveness of nude protesting which has devolved into a comments war about the value of PETA.

There are some nice naked pics accompanying the poll though if you’re bored.

On the other hand, properly staged and in the right setting a nude protest can garner needed attention to a cause. For example, in front of the president’s house while screaming about tapioca works every time.

In front of the Government House, Pitsanulok road, Bangkok, Ms. Patcharida Keeratinoppadol age 40, owner of a tapioca field named “Baan Rai Chaiyapan” in Amphur Dankhoonthod, Nakornratchasima province proteted againsts the governments pledging of 10 million tons of tapioca by taking off her clothes of leaving only her bra and g-string underwear and holding a poster and blaming the government’s policy.

The police try to stop her but they couldn’t. Ms. Patcharida didn’t want to submit the opposing document to the officer of the Prime Minister but she wanted to give it to the reporters only. When one reporter received her documents she put on her clothes and went home.

However, Ms. Patcharida said that she had filed a suit to the Administrative court on January 23, 2012 because she was disgruntled by the goverments approval of pledging tapioca for 10 million tons and limited pledging to 250 ton per person in the price of 2.75 THB per kg at a meeting in Chiang Mai.

This project will start from February 1 until May 31, 2012 with a totally amount of 33,000 million THB. She said that this project cannot solve the problem of the decreasing price of tapioca. The program will prompt buyers to offer even cheaper prices in order to pressure farmers into entering the program.

I bet you never knew there was such a thing as a tapioca farm until just this instant. So, her nudity served a useful purpose.

Another good cause, although slightly more risky, is stripping down to point out that your government is run by the Mafia.

Three topless Ukrainian protesters were detained Saturday while trying to break into an invitation-only gathering of international CEOs and political leaders to call attention to the needs of the world’s poor. Separately, demonstrators from the Occupy movement marched to the edge of the gathering.

After a complicated journey to reach the heavily guarded Swiss resort town of Davos, the Ukrainians arrived at the entrance to the complex where the World Economic Forum takes place every year.

With temperatures around freezing in the snow-filled town, they took off their tops and tried to climb a fence before being detained. “Crisis! Made in Davos,” read one message painted across a protester’s torso, while others held banners that said “Poor, because of you” and “Gangsters party in Davos.”

Davos police spokesman Thomas Hobi said the three women were taken to the police station and told that they weren’t allowed to demonstrate. He said they would be released later Saturday.

The activists are from the group Femen, which has become popular in Ukraine for staging small, half-naked protests to highlight a range of issues including oppression of political opposition. They have also conducted protests in some other countries.

“We came here to Switzerland to Davos to explain the position of all poor people of the world, to explain that we are poor because of these rich people who now sit in the building,” said Inna Schewcenko.

Good call holding that particular demonstration in a country where their government couldn’t just have them killed and lose the bodies.

I’ve written about Femen before. Their protests are effective because they live in a country that makes the middle east look like the Playboy mansion when it comes to equal rights for women. A radio station in the Ukraine was actually offering women as door prizes for a contest.

No, I am not kidding. Click the link to read all about it.

You can also click here to read all about Femen and what they’re trying to accomplish.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/16987415 w=400&h=225]

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Friday morning around 9:10!

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