This is intended to be a participatory post. Comments and opinions are not only invited, but strongly encouraged…
Please tell me. WHAT IS THE POINT?
The above clip is an excerpt from a plethora of “nudist movies” that came out during the 50s and 60s as Hollywood was testing the waters as to how much they could get away with in terms of nudity on the big screen. I get that. It was a business venture – disguised as an effort to normalize nudism, but in the last place, I suspect it ridiculed, or at least sexualized nudism in the eyes of the common, church going citizen.
Then there are literally hundreds of DVDs still being made and sold in naturist magazines, (some with very high standards for promoting holistic naturist values,) where you can watch 25 teenage girls swim and play volleyball in a celebration of naturism. No plot – just beautiful, naked young women. I have to assume that’s how those videos play out, as I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy one, but again, this seems more like a business venture that flirts with pornographic values than an earnest effort to normalize the naturist experience.
Yesterday, having just finished Mark Haskell Smith’s Naked at Lunch, I went looking through the Kindle store for a similar read. There are a couple older publications dating from the 30s about the pioneers of naturism, as well as a couple books that come at it from a more historical or sociological perspective, like Ruth Barcan’s Nudity, or Philip Carr-Gomm’s A Brief History of Nakedness, but I’ve read both of those.
Kindle has made it possible for a whole new genre – the self-published “this is how I became a nudist” book, typically about 50 pages and with varying commitments to grammar, logic, and cohesion. I get this. I grow weary reading another account about the fear of erections, but I suspect these are particularly useful to those considering a first visit to a naturist beach.
Then there are loads and loads of books with titles like (and these are fictitious, to the best of my knowledge – but you get my point) “Naked Murder on the Orient Express” or “Desperate Housewives in the Nudist Colony.” At present, I’m trying to make it through a “true story” account of three teenage girls who are running around the woods of New Jersey in the middle of the night trying not to get caught by the park ranger or charged by a wild boar. The whole premise is so surreal that I can’t help but wonder, what parent would let their adolescent daughters do such a thing, and the farther I read, the more it feels like a bizarre fantasy conjured up by a guy my age. Maybe it’ll deliver a punch at the end, but at the moment, I’m not sure I’ll get that far.
So to the question. Could SOMEBODY please explain to me what this is all about? There are SO many great books coming out every day, crafted by talented authors who lead you two-hundred pages into a labyrinth of suspense before turning your world upside down. I’m an arts and literature guy, and have great admiration for those who write well. But I’ve yet to find such a book of that caliber that carries a title like “Mr Nude Goes to Washington.”
Am I missing something? Do these publications seek to normalize nudity, or just make us all look a bit more peculiar? Is it just another version of titles like “The Man with One Red Shoe” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”?
Please explain this to me. I’m all ears.