Friday, 8 August 2008

Prudish Nudity

Moral policing in this country can really provide some rib-tickling moments.

Just recently, I saw this show on 8TV with a Malaysian host (I think it was Hannah Tan, but I’m really not so sure) in Australia at some open space event whereby the participants went semi clothes-free (for lack of a better word).

Cue the typical local prudishness with blurred views on the appropriate portions of the bodies captured by the film crew. All good and proper except for the small fact that all of them had their underwear on – men, women, everyone!

The host even went to interview a Brazilian couple; the event's a first for her, third time for him. She was fully clothed, he - conveniently blurred from navel to neck or thereabouts - shows of some (substantial despite blurred) chest hair. :)


The thing is, there was no nudity. Not a single female participant shown during the show had gone topless. The men? Who cares if the men went topless? My conclusion was therefore that the digital censorship was more on the sarcasm factor than a genuine effort to “protect” the local viewers prudish senses.

Even our newspapers have this nasty habit of digital censorship, especially in some cases where there is substantial cleavage being exposed. Why chose the picture in the first place if you are so intent of not showing it in its entirety?

Of course, there are images so crass and vulgar in nature that they ought to be restricted to the domains of private viewing, but with the cable network on 24-7 and showing ample amount of exposed skin, the country’s moral police surely has a tough job on their hands.

Once upon a time, they were armed with felt tip black marker pens. Copies of suspect magazines (ironically, those on photography are always in the top five or ten) would be perused and the appropriate “hiding” of exposed bosom/breasts done. Never mind the magazines come plastic wrapped; so long as there’s nudity inside, the black markers would go to work.

How far should those in authority go in the name of prudishness? Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi received quite some flak on his “black marker” job of a classic painting. Berlusconi would surely find himself some fans should he ever want to take up our Second Home programme and reside here.

He could sit around with them and reminisce on past glories of “black marking”. “How good it felt, eh? Ahh.. The joy, the elation.” “I was meticulous. Not a single exposed nipple, a single breast, got past me.”

Nudity might be objectionable, but not all of them, crass. Some are simply too beautiful to be judged so harshly.

Beauty can be distracting, but distraction alone is not a crime.

PS: The image above is by Edward Steichen, a Luxembourg-born American artist.


Roxanne said...

Wow, that's how I want my fat to be distributed when I'm fattened up!

Anonymous said...

You say: "Nudity might be objectionable, but not all of them, crass. Some are simply too beautiful to be judged so harshly."

I wholly agree.

And your "black marker" anecdote is very true; many years ago I found a beautiful nude image blotted out (with black marker, of course) in a copy of TIME magazine that I bought from a news stand in KL.

The lengths to which the censorship folks go amazed me.

Best regards.