Monday, April 30, 2012

Insist on This If you Wish to Resist Clothes

TIME SHARE sales and pitchmen aren’t as big these days as they once were. In their heyday we knew of a nudist with a great way of dealing with these high pressure salespeople.  Whenever our acquaintance received a letter or postcard in the mail offering some prize just for touring the latest facility he would visit and display genuine interest.  He would even listen to the extended talk about the investment potential of the condo in question and listen to the financing options available.  He rarely interrupted salespeople going through their spiel. 


Only when asked, “What do you think?” did our fellow nudist deliver the kicker: “Your place looks great, but I didn’t see any facilities for nude swimming and sunbathing.  If you have them, I would love to see them.  If not, I’m afraid this won’t do.”  This man noted that he never received a “yes, we have that” response, though he did get a lot of bewildered looks as he collected his door prizes.  “Had they ever had something for a nudist, I probably would have bought,” he confided.

As nudists who want to see more accommodations for nudists, there are some things that we can do to put the issue out to travel providers.  It doesn’t have to cost any money to put a thought into their heads:

  • When you stop at state welcome centers on interstate highways, ASK about the availability of nudist parks in the state you’re visiting.  Believe it or not, Bare Platypus team members have provided lists of nudist clubs to welcome center staff who have received inquiries in the past and want to be prepared.  Asking sends a message that nude tourism is important;

  • When you stay in a hotel or motel adjacent to a town with a nudist club, let the front desk know that the availability of the nudist club brought you to the area during check out.  Doing this creates allies for the nudist club within the local Chamber of Commerce;

  • Subscribe to some travel and tourism feeds on TWITTER.  At opportune times, answer questions such as “what would get you to plan travel here?” with a note about the importance of nude venues to you;

  • When you visit a nudist beach or park, make a point of letting the gas station where you fill your tank, and the restaurant where you fill your plate, know what brought them your business. 

Just think.  The folks you speak with will not know your name or "out" you as a nudist for bringing these subjects up.  But it will make a difference. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nude Attitudes Reveal Raw Racism

WE HAVE neglected to write on this specific subject until now, but it is long overdue.  Stated plainly, a person’s attitudes towards nudity often reveal an underlying racism that ticks us off.  We’re not up to completing coherent paragraphs this Sunday afternoon, so we’ll give you a bulleted list that we hope expresses what we’re talking about:

  • As kids we could all ogle the naked bodies of the natives in National Geographic magazine, but naturist magazines can’t be sold on the newsstand (unless they’re in the XXX adult section) because they have naked CAUCASIAN people.  Nudity is, apparently, only fitting for people of ethnicity whom we expect to be naked “savages.”
  • Pictures of breast feeding infants are okay if the infants are “tribal” but Facebook bans North American moms from posting breast feeding photos?
  • Kids raised in the Amazon jungle who romp and swim naked? A protected (expected) “culture.”  Kids raised in Arizona running around or swimming naked? “In deepest danger."
  • Aborigines naked in the Australian Outback may be filmed, studied, interviewed.  They’re on “Walkabout.”  Nudists on a beach in Queensland, Australia may need to be locked up.  They’re “perverted.” 


  • Take a picture of a naked child in the jungles of South America and you’re an anthropologist.  Take a picture of a naked child in North America and you’re a child pornographer.


  • A Soviet dissident who has physically harmed no person and done nothing other than writing about the gulags gets sent to a gulag and we demand his freedom from the oppressive communist regime. A British Royal Marine retires from service and decides to walk rural roads of the UK naked (physically harming no person) and the UK locks him up for 4+ years going on indefinitely.  That’s not deemed oppressive or excessive by authorities.


  • Men go hunting buck naked in the African bush and velds, throwing spears or shooting arrows at a bloody animal soon-to-be carcass. That’s filmed in vivid detail for the Learning channel.  The Learning channel visits a nudist park and everyone is carefully pixilated to avoid causing "offense" to the viewer.


In the opinion of the Bare Platypus, these examples demonstrate a kind of thinking that is more degrading than anything we can imagine.  It’s the thinking that says, “When the people of a given race stay in the category and clothes that are expected of them (savage red man or black woman versus enlightened civilized white family) then no harm, no foul.  But when people don’t stay “in their place” we’ll cry obscene!
Shouldn’t one person with no clothes and another person with no clothes be the ultimate example of equality?

 
05/08/12 Update: Bare Platypus is not the first to raise this issue.  Click HERE for an online discussion from 2005 with similar themes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

No Butts About It. We Like Them Bare!

BUMS, BOTTOMS, butts, buttocks, derrieres, culs, tushes, tails, and traseros.  However you say it, in any language, we like them.  And we like them bare when possible.

Lest you think there’s something illicit in all this, we’ll be straight about saying that we like naked heineys.  Including those of cute little babies crawling bare on the bearskin rugs… complete with all their dimples and creases.  We’ve also written before that we smiled every time we saw the original Coppertone advertisement with the little girl in pigtails blushing while a terrier’s tug on her bikini bottoms showed us her pale cheeks.

We’re an equal opportunity admirer. Male or female, younger or older, we don’t care: they look better bare!  What about those of us who “sag” or show cellulite?  We may not be in our prime, but do our nalgas look any better crammed into a lycra swimsuit or in pants hitched too high with whales printed on them?  Didn’t think so.
Some will dismiss this as mere fetish but they don’t understand.  Your Platypusses’ admiration comes from that place in the heart and mind that inspires awe when looking at a prairie sky, a Frank Lloyd Wright building, an Ansel Adams photograph of Yosemite, or a classic Duisenberg automobile.

One of our Bare Platypus staff has remarked that if he makes it to heaven, he’s going to be sure to compliment Almighty God on the form, functionality, and fittingness of the human posterior and he genuinely, sincerely, means that with no suggestion of sacrilege.

Regrettably, most of society’s customs mean that our bums are usually covered, not bare.  But many within the naturist community are of kindred mind with the Platypus.  We have seen your twitter icons, your avatars, and your profiles.

We know you understand.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Motoring Naked: Tales from the Road

SOMEHOW THIS week the Bare Platypus team started talking about driving naked on roadways.  We think the many Twitter tweets from fellow nudists and naturists on the subject may have triggered the discussion. In any event, the members of the team started sharing stories of whether, and when, they’ve tried it. 

We even talked to the lawyer on our team for some guidance.  Predictably, just like a lawyer he hedged a bit on his answers.  His first disclaimer: traveling interstates often means crossing different states and he’s not admitted to the bar in every one so his words shouldn’t be construed as “advice.” 

He also reminded us that we live in an age where everyone has a cell phone so if even one person sees you and is offended, they may report it to highway patrol. An anonymous call may not stand up in court for lack of a complaining witness on a disorderly conduct charge, but it will get you pulled over. You probably don’t want to explain being naked to the Georgia State patrolman. 

Finally, all things being equal, it’s probably better to be motoring starkers down the highway (especially, say, at night) than coasting by an elementary school.  It’s more difficult to establish you were trying to offend someone or get your jollies by exposing yourself.

Okay, there’s some light legal treatment of the subject.  But what about fun stories from people who admit to this guilty pleasure?  Everyone on the Platypus Team confessed to doing it at least once, usually to break up the boredom on long trips.  Here are a few highlights:

Platypus 1:  “We were traveling across the country and hit some long stretches of road in Texas where there is virtually nothing until you get to El Paso.  Everyone in the car shucked off their clothes and we drove for 100’s of miles rarely seeing anyone else.  When we came to more “civilization” we were happy to be in the land of good restaurants and gas stations again but getting dressed was a downer.”

Platypus 2:  “Our family drove a big Ford van for a while, which was great because it sat high enough on the road that only big trucks could’ve seen into it.  I often put half of a long towel on the driver’s seat and let the other half drape down.  When coming upon toll booths or passing a tall truck it was easy to pull the draped end over my lap to be discreet.”

Platypus 3:  “Usually my wife is a bit more cautious when it comes to baring all on the highway, but one day the weather was so perfect that we rolled down the windows, opened the sun roof, and actually kept the speedometer at 55 mph.  The call of sun and sky must have been too strong because she adjusted the seat to lay nearly flat and let the sunbeams fall on her naked chest and torso.  Truthfully it was kinda difficult to focus all my attention on the road!”

Platypus 4:  “Our then three-year old son had been riding with us on an extended trip.  For the better part of a day he was good but, understandably, got cranky as the hours and miles wore on.  We stopped at a rest area to get a drink and stretch our legs, but when it came time to get back in the car, the kid adamantly refused.  He was doing that “keep his legs straight thing” that makes it impossible to get a three-year old into a car seat.  Finally my husband lighted on an idea and offered to take all the boy’s clothes off and let him ride naked if he would cooperate.  We went through another two states with no trouble and he fell asleep before we reached our destination!”

We have one more entry, not from the Platypus Team, but from a mom with an autistic son who hates wearing clothes.  It has led to some humorous episodes in the family car that we’ll let you read for yourself at: Considering Move to a Nudist Colony .

How about it readers?  Got a naked motoring experience you’d like to share?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Google Drive and Nudists: Our Heads in the Cloud?


THESE DAYS it seems that whenever the Bare Platypus team wonders what the topic of the day should be, some news story from the online community hits and… Voila’! 
Today is no exception, as we learned that Google is launching Google Drive , an all new cloud app that lets users store 1 terabyte or more of documents, photos, music, etc. up on Google’s “cloud servers,” then pull it down and use it at virtually any time, anywhere there’s internet access. 

An extremely useful aspect of this cloud computing is the ability to send a link to someone on your work team who can click it and download an item without worrying about sending large files as attachments to emails, etc.

As with every great piece of technology being launched and offered free or cheap these days, nudists would do well to consider the drawbacks of putting too much of their lives “in the clouds.”  Yesterday we received a stark reminder when Facebook froze the account of AllNudist with no warning.  The reason? Someone or something flagged a post as obscene.

Admittedly, the Bare Platypus relies on the neat freebies that Google offers to deliver content to our blog followers.  We get free hosting space for text and illustrations that appear here, free html editing tools (remember the old days when everything had to be hand coded with <TAGS>?), and even free statistics on web traffic and sources. 

No nudist should ever forget that it could all change with a corporate policy decision that wipes out years of relationship-building, content development, and a subscriber base. That’s because nudists have always been in danger of offending government and corporate sensibilities. 

How?

  • The essence of nudism is—or should be—that you don’t have to buy anything to enjoy it.  That doesn’t sit well with the people who want to sell you swimwear and other products; 
  • Nudists like to publish and peruse materials that depict the human body in its natural state.  That offends prudes on one end of the spectrum.  But pornographers on the other end don’t want people to have a natural view of the body either. People who do are less likely to whip out their credit card and pay to see silicone-enhanced models contorting in unnatural ways;
  • Nudists like the Bare Platypus believe that nudism is suitable and beneficial for people of ALL ages.  That really hits a hot button with a public and government ready to inflict draconian measures on anyone who would suggest that tykes be allowed to enjoy their birthday suits.
By all means, embrace technology our fellow nudists. Just never forget that what is in the cloud can be easily scanned and purged when it’s no longer considered politically correct.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Corporate Nudity Bans More Harmful Than Laws?

MORE THAN fifty years ago, nudist leaders had to take US Postal authorities all the way to the Supreme Court to establish the right to send nudist magazines through the mail.  Sunshine Press v. Summerfield was a landmark ruling that photographs of nude humans in things like picnics and volleyball games were not obscene.

In 2012 nudists still tackle the problem of bans against their material, but they are much more likely to come from the private sector.  Today, for example, we learned that ALL NUDIST had their account suspended by Facebook over a posting that the site’s “autobots” deemed offensive.  As AllNudist laments, there is no way to reach a live person to resolve the problem.  All that can be done is to wait out the suspension and wonder what does and doesn’t cross Facebook’s ever moving line of propriety.

Facebook recently bought Instagram, and it already seems that company has Stepped Up Enforcement of no-nudity policies. These may have been included in Terms of Service for some time, but have been taken to a new level. Photographers and artists have decried these moves, while the company claims they are necessary to comply with yet another company’s nudity policies: The iPhone app rules from Apple.

Bare Platypus also read this week that PayPal sent an EDICT out to eBook publishing companies warning that it would terminate credit-card processing privileges for any company carrying objectionable material.  One clever poster on a message board noted that if every offensive topic on the PayPal list got a book banned, then our Holy Bible would be first to go. 

Bare Platypus team members once approached some of the highest level employees of Pay Pal (e.g. the General Counsel and  the Director of Government Affairs) after meeting them at a legislative conference.  Despite laying out a case that had those individuals nodding their heads and following up with us in emails, there was nothing we could do to get policies--- like Pay Pal’s refusal to process funds for the Federation of Canadian Naturists’ subscriptions to Going Natural---reversed.

We agree with those who state that corporate policies are not, in the classic sense of the term, “censorship.”  They do not involve government action and violators of corporate policies do not face prison sentences.   However, the impact of “no nudity” and strict topic restrictions is no less pronounced when it comes to advancing the message of nudism.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Clothes FREE Recreation

THIS WEEK the New York Times ran an article about the escalating costs of youth sports called Big Price Tags Attached to Even Littlest Leagues .  The story quoted figures as steep as $200 and up for baseball bats and $11,000+ yearly travel budgets for even pint sized players! The writer later hints at having nostalgia for the simpler days of cheap stick ball and sandlot games.

While we’re on the subject of longing for the days of less expensive sportswear, can we suggest a return to skinny-dipping?  There are no expensive swimsuits to buy.  Just as importantly, birthday suits are always ready to put on wherever we go.  We’ve all got one too!

Somewhere along the way towards convincing us that we “need” $200 bats and expensive cleats to win Little League games, the apparel companies also convinced us that the only “decent” way to swim is in long baggy shorts. Or wearing things that look like the wetsuits Jacques Cousteau used to wear to scuba at hundreds of meters deep!  These leave only ankles and forearms “exposed” to sun and water.

Fight back!  Get a cheap kiddie pool at Wal-Mart and go swimming in it completely naked in your own backyard.  Let your kids do the same.

After all, you’re going to need the money you’ll save on swimwear to buy that Louisville Slugger from Louis Vitton.







Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our Birthday Suits Not Made in China

GOOD NEWS at a time when gasoline tops $4.00 a gallon and the National Debt tops $13 trillion.  There’s one thing we own that probably wasn’t made in Hong Kong, Indonesia, or Sri Lanka.  It’s our birthday suits!

Trouble is, we’re not exporting many birthday suits to other countries, so our supply is unlikely to lessen any trade imbalance.  In fact, we’re exporting something else: prude notions about nakedness and the human body.

The best example we can give you came a couple of years ago when some members of the Bare Platypus team got an urgent communique’ from the President of the Naturist Federation of Croatia, within former Yugoslavia.  Now, before we go further we should explain that nude beaches and naturist resorts are as big in Croatia as cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.  They’re synonymous with the culture and a thriving part of the economy---like banking in Switzerland.

At least they used to be.  But now the glow from all-over tanning may have lost some of its golden hue.  For the first time in decades the Croatian ministry of tourism has considered dropping naturism from the activities it enthusiastically promotes within the international travel market.  Officials have already started moving naturist brochures from atop the tables at trade expos and will sheepishly reach under the tablecloth to retrieve such brochures only upon request.

What’s more, the Croatians have greatly pulled back from depicting even bare bum shots of kids walking  the Istrian Peninsula beaches that have served more than four generations of nudist families.

Want to know the reason for all this change?  Croatia is hoping to attract more Anglo-American tourists from certain “developed” countries who view the whole birthday-suit thing---especially among kids---as creepy.  Clergy abuse scandals plaguing Eastern Europe have played a role too.

Thus, the President of the naturist association in Croatia contacted nudist advisors in the US like the Bare Platypus to ask for guidance on a problem they’ve never faced before.  "How do we persuade nudity foes in government to change their minds?"

Platypus wishes we were back in the days when America exported blue jeans and steel.



Friday, April 20, 2012

We Raised 4 Kids as Nudists

THERE HAS been a lot of discussion over the past several weeks about child admission policies at resorts.  We have also been monitoring lots of tweets by fellow nudists and naturists on Twitter.  Most of our fellow tweeters do not identify themselves as part of a “nudist family” (usually it’s couples).  Some have posted articles about nudity and children, including  a mother’s New York Times post about casual nudity around the home after showering, etc.

What about a true “nudist” family? One that practices more than occasional nudity around the home. One that actually makes it a point to visit nude beaches and clubs on its vacation itinerary.  Do such families exist and, if so, how do things work out for them?
As it so happens, some members of the Bare Platypus team ARE parents to a nudist family with four “puggles,” who have grown into healthy well-adjusted adults and young adults.  In this blog post we interview them to get answers to some of those questions that others have.


Q.  When did you decide to raise a family of nudists?
A.  For us the decision first came as a young married couple before we had kids.  We began visiting nudist parks about one year into our marriage and never wore clothes around home much.  When our oldest daughter came along, we simply continued in what was then our family’s way of life.  That continued with a second daughter and two sons!


Q.   Did your kids ever embarrass you by being naked at an inappropriate time?
A.  We’ve been asked that question before and the answer is, “no.”  Not once.  From an early age our children grasped the concept of context easily.  They understood that we put on dressier clothes to go to church, that we got dressed to go outside for shopping, etc.  Appropriate nudity comes down to time and place.  If you have kids who understand when they can go about in their underwear and when they shouldn’t, they will grasp when it’s okay to be au naturel.


Q.  So there were no humorous episodes…
A.  We didn’t say that!  One time we had the luxury of moving into a community only about 5 minutes from a well-known nudist resort that we started visiting almost every weekend after the move.  We also started looking for a church in the community and going to one that proved a good fit.  One particularly sultry day at church our second daughter (about 3 years old) blurted out “It’s HOT. Can we go to _[nudist place]_ afterwards?”  We got smiles from some people who knew what that was, but little else.


Q.  What about when friends and relatives came to visit?
A.  When it came to other people's kids, we exercised an abundance of caution.  We were always fully dressed in their presence.  If friends or cousins came over with their parents and our kids wanted to swim in their birthday suits, we would ask said parents if that would be okay.  We paid close attention to body language and non-verbal cues.  If it was okay, our kids went bare.  Sometimes our visitors would follow “suit.”  Always with their parents’ permission and direct supervision.


Q.  Were those parents usually okay with it?
A.  Often they were okay.  In a few cases it led to conversations where their whole family visited a nudist park with us sometimes.


Q.  Now that your kids have grown, how do you think they’ve turned out?
A.  We joke to each other that we can’t believe how ultra-normal and ultra-responsible all four have become.  They’re wiser with money than we were at their age, for example.  And they do not seem to suffer from the materialism that many youth do.  They certainly don’t judge people by the clothes they wear.  But they also place less importance on things. 

Q.  Did your “puggles” ever go through the “I don’t want to be naked” phase?
A.  Not ours.  As parents we made a conscious decision that we would never force the issue of nudity.  Maybe our relaxed “they make the decision about clothes” attitude helped avoid any backlash.  Or maybe our apples don’t fall far from the tree. 

Q.  Now that they’re grown, are they still nudists? 
A.  Yes. Our oldest daughter took her boyfriend from college to visit the local nudist club.  (Editor’s note: a report of their trip can be read by clicking here:  A College Student's First-Time Experience.  )


Q.  There are reports about some nudist clubs being off limits to families with kids.  What are your thoughts on that subject?
A.  First, we’ll say that there were times when the two of us enjoyed getaways to nudist clubs or bed & breakfasts without the kids.  We took a couple of nude cruises while the kids stayed with grandparents too. 

For us, the issue of whether kids are allowed---or welcomed---at some nudist clubs is less significant than rhetoric being raised about whether kids belong in  any nudist club.  On that subject we vehemently believe that our kids enjoyed our family’s bare outings and that they enhanced our family experience.  We always had our kids in direct line of sight supervision too for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was water safety.

One thing that bothers us is the mentioning of family nudism less and less. We are NOT suggesting that there should be kids in every club or  8 x 10 pics of little ones splashed across websites.  We do think they could take more steps to let families know they’re welcome… maybe with a tasteful cartoon graphic or something to make the point.

As for clubs, it’s hard to feel welcome as a family if the other guests glare at you when you enter the pool area.  For those clubs who prefer a quiet adult-retirement feel, just say so in your brochures and online.  We’ll know where to avoid bringing the grandkids when they come along in the future.


Q.  That’s a lot of info for now.  Can we visit you with questions at a later time?
A.  Sure.  We think nudism added a positive dimension to our family, along with our Christian faith and keeping close ties to grandparents.  We’re always happy to talk about the subject.



04/25/12 Update: For a different perspective, click The Gloss to read an article written by a woman who grew up with nudist parents.

05/03/12  Update: For yet another perspective, click ABC News 20/20 , a story about a nudist family living in Sunsport Gardens that will air this week. 

06/01/12 Update: Our college age nudist couple are "revisited" with another story: Return Visit


01/12/13 Update: College nudists attend family birthday party celebration in birthday suits.

[Updated Regularly]

Bare Platypus now offers products with Platypus artwork at the Bare Platypus Souvenir Shop .  You can get a tote bag or a coffee mug, a t-shirt, or all three!  Plus there's more to come.

These designs are one-of-a-kinds that you won't find elsewhere.  Tasteful enough that you can show or serve them to all guests, but unusual enough (and always bare) that they can help you get a conversation going.

You're invited to visit!





Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Want Transparency? Go Bare!

The other day one of the Platypus team noticed his fur was getting long.  So he went to a franchised hair salon.  He thought they would give him a haircut.  They really sat him in the barber’s chair for a twenty minute sales pitch for a bunch of products.  They pitched constantly, interrupted only by brief episodes of clicking scissors. “Platypuses may experience total fur loss unless they use our Franchise Shampoo, Franchise Conditioner, and Franchise Gel… available for purchase at the front counter.”

Our platypus paid for his trim but didn’t buy anything from the soap store masquerading as a cuttery.
“Transparency” is one of those corporate buzzwords in vogue. It’s supposed to be a quality of successful businesses, but most of the companies touting “transparency” demonstrate exactly the opposite in practice. There’s the “transparent” cell phone maker who would rather we not know about their exploited workers in another country.  There’s the “transparent” consumer electronics store that claims it sells cell phones, but makes its profit selling worthless extended warranties.
If people crave “transparency” they should go bare!  You can’t get more transparent than when you’re stripped of all clothing and all pretenses.  There are no padded Wonderbras and no flashy threads to convey status. Nothing but what God gave us all at birth, save for those with some silicone under their skin, perhaps.
The transparency goes beyond the obvious stripping away of our outer coverings, too.  It gets to what makes being naked fun. And that’s… well… getting to be naked in and of itself!  Take your clothes off in the privacy of your own home.  If it isn’t fun for you after giving bare a try for a while, just put your clothes back on.  No receipt required.

As far as the Bare Platypus goes, we really are all about getting you and your family to enjoy more naked in your day. That’s true even if you never leave home to enjoy your nakedness.  Our “hidden” agenda is simple. If you like naked, and your neighbor likes naked, maybe someday we can all hit the beaches and not have to wear uncomfortable fabrics to swim.

In future months we will be offering some eBooks for sale with some great ideas. But if you send us an email and tell us, “I wouldn’t buy an eBook, but my family and I are enjoying Bare Time more often after visiting your blog” we’ll be pleased with that. Really.
No. Really.

Monday, April 16, 2012

At the Video Game Store: Demonic Rule but NO Simple Nudity

Get ready for a Platypus diatribe that’s a cliché,’ but oh-so-true, argument about what’s wrong with society.

Tonight one of the Bare Platypuses took his puggles to the local video game store.   While waiting for the kids to trade in some games (Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones if you’re wondering), your Platypus browsed the miles of aisles of flashy box covers.  A couple titles caught his eye.

The first is, from what a bit of internet research tells us, a game that’s been out since 2007 called Overlord. 

[Cue Dana Carvey of Saturday Night Live’s “Church Chat” lady voice…] Let us quote exactly from the back jacket of the game, shall we?
Think Evil. Breed Evil. Control All!
Get in the action and become the Overlord, the all-powerful dark lord with a horde of minions to command and a land to conquer.
Control a horde of minions.
Slavish and loyal they’ll smash, destroy, kill, and steal anything for you. Your word is law.
Become the Overlord.
Do you want fear, respect, gold and power?  Become the most powerful being in the world by any means necessary.
Conquer a twisted fantasy world.
Show the Seven Heroes, demonic Halflings, and Rabid Unicorns who’s boss.

You can read the jacket to Overlord by clicking Disturbing Game 
That game was rated “T” for Teens – The same rating enjoyed by the other game we’ll review: The Sims.  The Sims is a lot like playing with a virtual dollhouse.  Players control the homes, jobs, accessories, and---admittedly---relationships of their characters.  When the simulated cartoon avatars use the shower or hot tub, their “naughty bits” and bums are pixilated lest we see ordinary figures bathing and swimming in cartoon nakedness.

If you search online but "off the grid" there are patches that users can download from third-party providers. These replace the pixilation with faux buttocks and pubic mounds. But you won’t find any ordinary nudity in the retail version of the game. And you won’t find any nudist camps in the Sims Vacation expansion pack either---a special module for the game that lets players control icons in destinations like campgrounds and the beach.  Apparently EA Games is too concerned about its brand to openly offer The Sims with a nudist option.  Or they fear having their game slapped with an “M” Mature rating.

Now the Platypus doesn’t believe in censorship or banning games.  So we’ll just ask a question.  If you were a parent, which would you rather have your teenager play?  A game that’s advertised with the line “Do you want fear, respect, gold and power?  Become the most powerful being in the world by any means necessary."  Or a game that would allow Ken and Barbie Sim and little Skipper Sim to frolic in the buff at a virtual nudist club while playing volleyball and shuffleboard?
Don’t hold your breath waiting for option two.  If you do download the computer “hacker’s nudity patch” for your Sims, better scan it for viruses first.




Sunday, April 15, 2012

Would You Put a Swimsuit on a Platypus? (With Pic)

Somewhere between fact, folklore, and urban legend we heard this: Walt Disney’s cartoon character Donald Duck was once banned in Finland because he didn’t wear pants.

That seems a bit much coming from a country where mixed genders, young and old, sit buck naked in the sauna.  But, hey, if we have to choose between a country with naked saunas or Donald Duck, pass the pickled herring and get us jobs in the Nokia factory.
Anyway, can we all agree that putting pants on a cartoon duck, or a real duck, just doesn’t make any sense?  Can we agree that a bathing suit on a swimming Platypus would be Goofy too? ( Uh oh. We just mentioned Donald Duck and Goofy in the same post.  Maybe Disney trademark police will flag this. )

Is it such a stretch, then, to ask why anyone thinks Lycra or Nylon trunks are an improvement over our bare skin when we go swimming?  Maybe even Walt Disney didn’t think so.  He started the movie Pollyanna with a bare bum shot of a kid holding a rope who then swings out and drops into the ole’ swimming hole.

So maybe there’s hope.  Walt Disney wouldn’t clothe a duck or a skinny dipper.  Now if we can just release him from that cryogenic chamber he’s frozen in and thaw him out, Walt can help us!  Oh yeah. We’re back to urban legend again…



04/24/12 Update:  Here is the story behind the (erroneous) rumor that Finland banned Donald over his lack of trousers.  Turns out the city of Helsinki simply stopped buying the Duck's comics for its library system as a budgetary measure.   According to Snopes.com .

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Star Wars Fans: Think Amydala Skinny-Dipped?

Star Wars.  Episode 2. Queen Amydala returns to her home planet of Naboo.  She’s accompanied by a much older Anakin Skywalker, who serves as her security escort. They hide out from an assassination plot by staying at the Queen’s palatial country estate.

Dreamily looking out over open waters from her balcony, Amydala talks about swimming out to an island just offshore every day as a young girl.  And she mentions lying out in the sun on the sand with her friends.
Our Platypus question:  Do you think Amydala skinny-dipped in those days she so fondly recalls during that scene?

We say “yes.”  It’s the most logical explanation for why she had so much fun and why it was so special for her. Of course, we can’t prove it.
Unless George Lucas starts reading the Bare Platypus blog.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Ramblings on the Naked Rambler

Anyone familiar with the Civil Rights movement knows about that famous day in December, 1955 when Rosa Parks stepped onto a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  Later told to give up her seat to a white passenger, Parks refused and was promptly arrested. That, in turn, touched off the Montgomery Bus Boycott---one of the more significant chapters in the story of black efforts to achieve equality in the United States.

But what if no one had noticed Rosa's act of Civil Disobedience, or worse, didn’t care?  What if she was arrested and forced to pay a fine or serve jail time and nothing changed in Alabama?  What if she boarded yet another Montgomery bus a month later and the same refusal—arrest---jail--release cycle repeated itself?  Then repeated again.  What if each time angrier and angrier judges ratcheted up the penalties until Rosa Parks was facing three years’ imprisonment or more by the time she captured public attention?  And still nothing changed.

Bare Platypus asks these questions as we turn to the subject of Mr. Steven Gough, also known as the Naked Rambler in the United Kingdom where he resides.  Perhaps we should state, more precisely, where he does jail time for repeatedly violating indecency laws by walking the roads of the UK countryside bare bum naked.  Each time Mr. Gough is released from the hoosegow he gets only mere feet down the road before he drops trou and begins walking nude again.  Each time the magistrates before whom he appears get a bit angrier and angrier and punish him with longer sentences.  Each time his plea is the same:  There’s nothing wrong with the human body.
You can read a Wikipedia entry about him by clicking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Gough
When Bare Platypus first learned about the Naked Rambler years ago we may have judged him too harshly.  We then thought he was a publicity hound, or worse, an exhibitionist who got enjoyment from shocking people.  But as we read more, and as Mr. Gough is arrested again and again, we’re not so sure. … In fact, Mr. Gough starts looking a bit heroic to us.

For one thing, many of the Naked Rambler’s ramblings have taken place on rural country roads where there aren’t all that many people present.  For another, he does not appear to have targeted any person(s) (e.g. kids waiting at school bus stops) with his nudity.  He is also willing to serve lengthy stints behind bars out of deeply held convictions.  Finally, he served his country as a Royal Marine and, presumably, has a priority claim on freedom given that he was prepared to defend it with his life.   (There are some things we’re not so sure about, including the fact he has children who don’t have dad at home through all of this.)

For now Steven Gough’s chief problem seems to be that there aren’t many others prepared to “get on the bus” with his nude walking venture, or to express outrage over his perpetual imprisonment for something as simple as living bare.  But perhaps history will remember the Naked Rambler as a champion for bodily rights.

As NURBA recently wrote on Twitter, “History LOVES envelope pushers.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Naked History: Sanitized for Your Protection

In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 the “futuristic” book opens with the main character working in a branch of government whose job is to delete all references to any persons no longer favored by said government.  He carefully arranges to airbrush these disfavored people from pictures in newspaper archives and cuts out their names too.

In reality, the most controversial aspects of history often don’t make it into the textbooks in the first place.  And it seems you can’t get much more “controversial” than the naked human body. 
Take the ancient Olympic Games, for example.  Spend more than a cursory amount of time researching the Games and you will learn that they were played in the nude for hundreds of years.  Many Greek athletes trained in the nude also.  Yet if you picked up most children’s books about the Games in a school library, you would likely find those ancient Greeks running around in toga-like apparel.  We can’t have little Johnny or Suzie seeing illustrations of naked people---even if it’s the truth. Books with naked people might not sell well.

In literature the censorship goes even further at times, deleting mere words about nakedness.  Not many years ago the New York Board of Regents’ exam given to high school students included a reading comprehension passage from Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi.  In typical Twain fashion, the original passage described the experience of a boy traveling down the river on a raft, including the statement that he and his traveling companion were usually naked, “whenever the flies” would let them be.  But in the Regents’ passage all references to the word “naked” were removed… without so much as a …. Or [edited] marking!

In his best-selling book Lies My Teacher Told Me   Professor James Loewen notes that history is often censored and he argues that this censorship makes it more boring for students to study, as well as removing powerful life lessons.  Loewen’s book doesn’t dwell on the subject of nudity, but does note that nudity is usually a big no-no in any study. 

He presents the famous Vietnam War photograph of a young girl running down the street naked after her body and clothing had been burned when her village was napalmed.  Interesting that this powerful image helped stir feelings against the war and helped change the direction of US policy, yet would have virtually no chance of making it into a high school curriculum because of the girl’s nudity.

Sanitized for our protection, of course.

04/30/13 Update: The nation of Qatar preferred to return two statutes with male nudity back to Greece (from which they were on loan), rather than display them without coverings and risk offending female visitors to an archaeological exhibit about the ancient Olympic games.  Read details HERE 

4/30/12 Update:  Another example -"The Dirty Cowboy," a picture book about a cowboy who takes a bath and then can't get his dog to give back his clothes because it doesn't recognize his scent, was removed from a Pennsylvania school library by an 8-0 vote.  Officials said the cowboy's nudity would "groom" kids to accept pornography: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2012/04/30/Dirty-Cowboy-book-pulled-from-schools/UPI-11071335806194/

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case – Bare Platypus Shares Personal Insight

Since late February news media have dispatched story upon story and commentary upon commentary about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin following an altercation between the 17 year old black youth and an armed neighborhood watch citizen named George Zimmerman.  The case has sparked discussions about race, justice, various interpretations of Florida’s “stand your ground” law, self-defense, the actions of police personnel, investigation procedures, and what happened that night.
 
Bare Platypus has NOTHING to say to those issues, either way, because… you know what?  We weren’t there. 

But Bare Platypus HAS been to Sanford, Florida in Seminole County. Home to the neighborhood so thoroughly “watched” by Mr. Zimmerman where the incident took place.  Our experience shows that Seminole County residents have a history of sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong…with predictable results.

Over ten years ago the Platypus team drove to Sanford on a rainy night for a hearing about an anti-nudity proposal.  The county commission’s meeting chambers were filled with residents prodding the commission to put the measure on the ballot for referendum in the next election.  That didn’t bother your Platypus team at the time because we were simply looking to have some wording revisions made to the proposal.

What had started as a measure to deal with gaudy strip clubs of the flashing neon-sign variety, had morphed into one of the most all-encompassing exercises of prying into persons’ private lives that we had ever seen---or have seen since.  As written, Seminole County’s proposal prohibited nudity:

  • Whether it could be seen by the public or not seen by the pulic;
  • Whether on public or private property;
  • Whether among members of a for-profit or not-for-profit venture;
  • Whether on grounds open to the public at large, or in a private club where entry was strictly limited to a membership requirement; and
  • Applied regardless of the size of any group of naked persons.

In other words, the County proposal not only banned the existence of private nudist clubs behind a thoroughly-built fence, but also prohibited any social group (no matter how small) from being naked too.  Have the softball team over to celebrate your game win in the amateur league?  Better not skinny dip!  Find a secluded swimming hole? Better not skinny dip either – or face fines big enough to curb big-league adult entertainment over a single incident.

When we politely explained these scenarios, do you know what the residents in Seminole County / Sanford took the podium to say?  We want to be able to know what is going on in someone else’s back yard behind their fence... and put a stop to it if it’s something we don’t think is proper.  Even if that’s just some skinny-dipping.”

The county anti-nudity measure went on to pass, without any amendment, by an overwhelming margin.

Call us sore losers. But Bare Platypus could have predicted you would have trouble from a neighborhood watch association formed from the ranks of people who think that it’s their business when somebody else skinny-dips in the privacy of their own back yard.  

Instagram: Instant Caution for Nudists? (with pic)

Before we start today’s blog post, Bare Platypus has a quick question for ya.  Somewhere within your parents’ family photo albums is there a picture of you naked as a tyke splashing in the tub or bare on a bearskin rug?  Hold that answer.

Now let’s talk about Instagram.  Bare Platypus must be slow on the technology beat because we had not heard of this San Francisco-based company until today.  When Facebook announced that it is paying One Billion Dollars in stock and cash to acquire this small collective of about a dozen employees who offer a unique internet / android app.  Instagram lets people take pictures they have snapped with camera phones and edit them before storing them in Instagram’s “cloud vault” of photography.  Instagram’s piece de resistance is an app that turns camera phone pics into something resembling a 1970’s era Polaroid snapshot .

Let’s return to that picture of you in the tub or on the rug.  The only people who know about that photo are likely to be you, your parents, and the prom date you had who your folks took it upon themselves to show.  It probably remains in the plastic sleeve of some photo album stored on some shelf.  But what if the whole world could see your bare tush? 

That, of course, is precisely what happens with “cloud computing” sites that store photos.  Instagram is the latest in a long line that includes FLICKR, Photobucket, and the albums users create on Facebook.

Bare Platypus doesn’t see anything inherently wrong with this, but there IS a hidden issue for nudists.  What happens when pictures that we take, edit, and store on such sites--- believing them to be perfectly natural---are tried in the court of public opinion under standards that are constantly changing?

Back to you and your picture in the family album.  At the peak of concerns about “child pornography” that image your folks took of you (heaven forbid they took more than one) could have landed them in jail… or at least a trip to the police station to answer some questions.  Indeed, that’s what started to happen when parents took film in for photo developing at the height of the hysteria.  Lifetime Networks even made a television movie about one mom who had her children taken away.

Platypi don’t subscribe to Lifetime so we didn’t see it. But we HAVE fielded calls from concerned parents (some nudists, some not) who learned the hard way that a picture or two they thought was cute and innocent didn’t look that way in the eyes of a different beholder.  When the “beholder” was a clerk at the 1 hour photo store it was an occasional issue.  Now thousands, nay tens of thousands, may be the beholder.  Any one of them could be offended, concerned, report it, or request that your photo be deleted. (We have also assisted one family with some extreme difficulty they encountered over photos posted on Flickr for which they were ultimately cleared of any charges.  But not before being burdened with a job loss and considerable legal expense.  Their experience is just one of the reasons you will not find any nudity on Bare Platypus except for the illustrations of our Platypi.)

Don’t think that will happen?  Maybe not.  But consider this:  Some time ago the very same Facebook that just bought Instagram for $1 billion made the controversial decision to block, remove, even terminate the accounts of some breastfeeding mothers who wanted to preserve and celebrate a time in their infants’ lives.

4/23/12 Update:  As so happens, Instagram does, in fact, promptly delete photos and entire accounts if fellow users flag an account for posts with nudity.  Read Instagram Removed My Account .  No word on whether they also report users to authorities.

Monday, April 9, 2012

IRS Tax the Shirt off Your Back? Go Nude!

Benjamin Franklin said that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes.  Perhaps it’s fitting that Franklin’s picture appears on the $100 bill when it takes so many of them to pay government.  So what can you do when taxes leave you bare?  Stay that way!

In fact, Mr. Franklin would probably agree.  He wrote in his diary that he usually would sit in his bedroom each morning completely nude for an hour or more, depending on the season.

There are several advantages of exercising your right to bare arms, legs, and everything else:

  • It will help you beat stress;
  •  
  • It doesn’t cost anything;
  • They don’t tax sunshine.

Nude beaches were especially popular in former communist bloc countries like East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the former Yugoslavia.  In addition to eliminating the expense of bathing suits---something that citizens of said countries could ill afford---nude bathing was one form of expressing the desire to be free from government dictates.

So express yourself a little. Trade your 1040 for some SPF 40 and enjoy the sunshine of your back yard.