Saturday, October 10, 2009

Free Book? Rejected!

While visiting TNS HQ earlier this year, I decided to buy 6 copies of their latest book: "The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts" The plan was to keep a copy for myself, and give the rest away. Two were given away at the Nude Olympics. The rest are still in my apartment.

I liked TNS's suggestion to donate them to libraries, so I did just that with our small local library. My girlfriend dropped it off a few months ago, and has checked back periodically. She was told that they would put it in the "adult section".

They never had an "adult section". Even if they did, this book belongs in the travel section since it talks about beaches all around the world. It's clearly a travel book.

We got a call recently that they decided not to accept the book. As we picked it up, we were told that "it's a really good informative book, but we don't have a place for it." In other words, they don't want to put it in the travel section and don't want to make an adult section.

Why was it rejected? Nudity! Lots and lots of nudity!

Follow along with my analogy... Alice is a firm believer in the National Rifle Association (NRA). She believes that she should be able to carry a gun with her anytime she wants, and does so as much as she can. She also wants to attend the annual NRA meeting that is many states away. By going, she can contribute a lot to advancing the rights of gun lovers everywhere. She doesn't have the vacation time to drive, so therefore she must either not go at all or fly there. By not going, she can't do anything to promote the right to carry guns. By going, she must leave her gun at home in order to be allowed on an airplane. What should she do? The obvious answer is bite the bullet and leave the gun at home, despite her belief that she should be able to take the gun with. She'll have a much bigger impact on the future rights to carry a gun if she goes without it.

Bob is a firm believer in naturism. He believes that he should be able to go naked anytime he wants, and does so as much as he can. He also wants to promote naturism. Can you see where I'm going with this?

Where the stories differ is that naturists put naked (and exposed) people on EVERYTHING. This is akin to Alice wearing her gun to the airport anyway, and then promptly getting stopped (arrested?) by TSA. Naturist stuff gets promptly classified as "adult" by most of society and then ushered off to places where nobody will see it. Naturists will all agree that this shouldn't be the case -- but it is and we must deal with it anyway. Sorry, I don't make the rules.

How can I promote naturism if no libraries will accept my books? I can't just remove the nudity like Alice can remove her gun and leave it at home.

I have the same problem with TNS's latest tri-fold information pamphlet. I'd love to slip these into tourist information centers guerrilla naturism style, but the cover shows a naked woman with a naked child. If certain things were covered, everything would be OK. Since they aren't, it could lead to a police investigation and a sting operation to catch me for "distributing child pornography" or something stupid like that.

TNS's DVD, Chasing the Sun, is absolutely great for introducing naturism to political leaders and anyone else. However it's scene after scene of naked people with all bits exposed. Those who are seriously offended by nudity, perhaps the very people that SHOULD watch the video, won't because of all the nudity. The nudity prevents it from being shown in a lot of places. I believe they should put a censored version on YouTube for everyone to see.

The answer is that we need to bite the bullet and censor ourselves to get past the firewall of society. It's fine to have uncensored books and DVD's for naturist consumers, but it's also a good idea to have censored versions as well just in case they are required by non-naturist consumers. When the choice is to have a censored video or no video at all, I believe the answer is clear. People can use their imagination to fill in the blank spots, like they do with expletives. We should be educating people before we offend them, because if they are educated they probably won't be offended by the nudity. (My hiking signs are a good example of this.) Currently, we offend them with nudity first and then expect them to hear what we have to say. It doesn't work.

I seem to be the only person advocating for naturists to cover up sometimes. I suggested that naturists should wear clothing to save money during the winter. I suggested to put clothes on and do road cleanups, as we have done several times. We put clothes on and covered nipples to protest. I suggested to do clothed fundraisers at places other than resorts. I suggested a lot of things that require clothes! I also don't post nude photos on this blog, which is why it doesn't have Blogger-induced warning messages. By self-censoring, my words can reach a bigger audience. By getting dressed on occasion, we can have a bigger positive impact on the future of naturism.

I intend to ask the local library if they will accept the book for the travel section if I go through and marker out all of the normally censored bits. I know this action might tick off a lot of naturist purists, but it's the ONLY way that the book will end up available for public browsing at that library.

UPDATE: Wow! It's not the coarse I planned to take, but under NAC's direction we're going to pressure the library to accept it! Apparently NAC won a case a while back that deals with this issue. My fear is that they will accept it, then keep it behind the desk instead of on the shelves. We'll see where this goes... I have a letter to draft!

UPDATE 3-2010: Still working on this one...

38 comments:

Nudiarist said...

Censoring the book is not the answer. Your public library's rejection of the book could be a denial of residents' right to free expression. Contact the NAC, or the ACLU for advice on this matter.

Academic Naturist said...

Yeah, OK. I sent an email to my local ACLU rep, NAC, and TNS seeking advice.

I know I could probably force them to accept it legally, but I doubt it would survive very long on the shelf.

Nudiarist said...

“Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.” ~ Clarence Darrow

CGHill said...

Perhaps TNS should consider an edited or stripped-down (sorry) version of the book for distribution to libraries and schools and such.

I certainly wouldn't want to go through a copy marking stuff out with a Sharpie. It's a lot of work and it might run afoul of intellectual-property laws.

Academic Naturist said...

@Nudiarist -- See my update to the post. Bob wrote a wonderful and motivational response to my request for advice.

I wish you'd stop being right all the time...

Regin said...

Makes perfect sense. I understand that the book's creators may feel that it should not have to be "censored" to be available to the general public, and in a perfect world that's true.

But this isn't a perfect world. This is a world in which a Newbery-award-winning children's book, “The Higher Power of Lucky,” is withheld from the shelves because one character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog on the scrotum.

The point of the book is information, right? Travel and destination information. Not nekkid pictures. The book can be just as informative without the pictures. And without the added expense of reproducing the additional pictures, it may even cost less.

Part of selling a book is to know the market. Putting nekkid people on the cover is not going to help you sell to public libraries.

Every librarian I know takes their obligations to organize and provide information to the public seriously. They consider themselves on the front lines of defense of the First Amendment. Don't give them a battle they can't possibly win.

Naturally Nude said...

I see the points made by the "Academic Naturist" and the "Nude Diarist." I'm kind in the middle. On the one hand, how do we get our message out without offending anyone, (and YES they have a right to be offended as we have a right to be nude). But also censoring our lifestyle is also wrong and mere nudity is not offensive. If we were in Europe there would be nude artwork in public places and no one would mind, but I digress. Maybe TNS should handout education material that tells the read to go to the TNS website to see an uncensored version, or maybe TNS should post "Chasing the Sun" or some other video on their website. There is no clear answer to this problem but we must keep trying.

Nudiarist said...

AD, I don't see this as a matter of right and wrong, but rather as an example of the nudist community exchanging ideas and coming up with a solution to a problem. Good luck with getting the book accepted!

Academic Naturist said...

Thanks everyone for all the feedback thus far. I should link to Nudiarist's posts: old blog, new blog. There are some great comments on his posts as well.

The first step for me is to get things in writing. Either they will keep the book, or write an official rejection letter. If they keep the book, will they display it? I'm thinking not, but we'll see.

If I manage to get TNS's book on the shelf (without censorship), I'm buying a whole box from TNS and sending them to every library I can find!

Academic Naturist said...

More buzz on the blogs from Naturally Nude and MojoNude. It seems I opened a whole can of worms this time...

One thing I should reiterate is that order matters. Consider these scenarios from what other people might be thinking:

1. Nudity=Sex; here's a book full of naked people; they say nudity doesn't equal sex.

2. Nudity=Sex; but society is wrong in saying that and naturists can prove it; here's a book with naked people if you'd like to look.

It's fair to say that scenario 1 could result in a call to the police. Scenario 2 probably won't.

Freehikers know that when they meet a random person on the trail, they may not be OK with their nudity and will act upon it. In creating signs for the trailheads, I explain that nudity is nothing to fret about, and then let them proceed on their own accord. I educate before I expose.

If we offend them right away, they are in defense mode and unwilling to listen. If we educate them first, they may change their attitudes on nudity.

Freehiker221 said...

I liked your analogy of the NRA supporter and her delima stay or go to the convention. I have to point out though that there is a difference. She had to decide whether or not to attend based on her inability to cary her gun with her. The corresponding analogy to that would have been if the nudist had wanted to go to the airport nude. I feel if it is appropriate to show images of gusn why not the human body? I am glad you have decided to fight this I think that we must resist censorship whenever we can. In the case of a public library this is a definate case of censorship that should be winnable. I wish you luck I think this is the right thing to do however it is not the only thing we can do. We should look for other opportunities and perhpas there is room for some well written articles that can be sent to travel and outdoor magazines to spark an interest.

Nudiarist said...

I did some more searching and found copies of Lee Baxandall's Guide to Nude Beaches and Recreation in the New York public library system, and in the Library of Congress...just FYI...

Academic Naturist said...

@Nudiarist -- I noticed that too. The Library of Congress has quite a few good books! Didn't see the latest Guide though.

More importantly, the Southwest Wisconsin Library System (swls.org) has NOTHING about naturism. I politely brought this to their attention in the short cover letter. (Which, by the way, will be mailed out tomorrow along with the book.)

John A said...

Good points from all. For a good example of reaching a broader audience while conforming to the guidelines I'm sure you've seen the work done by Vita Nuda. For those who haven't hop on over to You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/NudeRevolutionTV

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John A said...

Anonymous - I've followed your exchanges with the Academic Naturist with interest and I would encourage you to start a blog as you've hinted at. Clearly you're not short on opinions and have no trouble expounding on them. It would also be helpful to come up with a consistent "handle" to distinguish you from the host of other "anonymous" folks - I got you confused with someone else from your style and that person swears up and down that he/she did not pen your words.

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Academic Naturist said...

Mr. Anonymous and I held a long conversation here. In the end, he strongly believes that I should not bring naturism to the public in any way. You know, exactly the opposite of what blacks, women, and gays have done. He doesn't want naturists to speak publicly about ideals in order to become accepted, out of fear that we might offend someone.

Don't say that nudity makes all the difference -- 100 years ago interracial couples, women in industry, and gay couples have offended people much more strongly than simple nudity. All of those have become more accepted because of people promoting it.

Since Mr. Anonymous wants naturism removed from public spaces, I have granted his wish and removed our entire conversation from this public space.

Censorship kinda sucks doesn't it?

John A said...

Yes it does suck - his opinions may differ but may well mirror more public opinion than we'd like to admit

Academic Naturist said...

John, I agree. Most naturists do hide it from friends, family, and coworkers. Gays are the same way, but less so recently.

I'm sure most blacks at the time initially condemned Rosa Parks for causing trouble. Most naturists see Liz Book as a nut, but she legalized top-free protests in Florida and has been doing them every year. The Raelians are seen as nuts, but they organize top-equality protests across the country more so than any other organization. Some see me as a nut, too, and I have a lot of years ahead of me.

I admit that I do often speak of ideals, like Anon said, but I tend to focus on the future more than the present. Anyone can point out that naturism has problems, but few take action to address them and work toward future goals.

I agree that the majority opinion is to stay quiet and not 'rock the boat'. It's a good strategy sometimes, but not when society is getting more and more sexualized and against us.

Anyway, this is completely out of scope... All I'm doing is putting books in libraries. In terms of activism, it's pretty boring.

Anonymous said...

Good -- the anonymous option is back on the table. I knew patience would prove to be a virtue. I could discuss the utter hypocrisy of you deleting my posts, but your latest comments give me much bigger fish to fry. I'll get right to it. First of all,

"Since Mr. Anonymous wants naturism removed from public spaces, I have granted his wish and removed our entire conversation from this public space."

An unfair cheap shot. Multiple times I voiced my support for the San Onofre situation. I stated that I myself go to nude beaches. As you know, therefore, I have no problem at all with naturism in public spaces, as long as those public spaces are designated for naturism. A nude beach is such a place, and similarly, a naturism website is a great place to discuss naturist issues. All I'm saying is that there's a time and place for everything.

"It's a good strategy sometimes, but not when society is getting more and more sexualized and against us."

Wait a second. You assert that people are against naturism because they think it's about sex, but now say that society is getting more and more sexualized. If that's the case, shouldn't society be moving more in favor of us?

"All I'm doing is putting books in libraries. In terms of activism, it's pretty boring."

Any time you use the legal system to force an outcome, it's pretty serious.

"100 years ago interracial couples, women in industry, and gay couples have offended people much more strongly than simple nudity."

and

"I'm sure most blacks at the time initially condemned Rosa Parks for causing trouble."

Are you seriously making that comparison? If so, then I think I've uncovered one huge flaw in your thinking on all this and maybe the root of our differences. First of all, while you are born, and therefore can't help, your race, gender, and (probably) sexual orientation, I think it's a stretch to say that anyone is born a naturist (no, being born nude does not qualify as being born a naturist!). More importantly, though, all of these groups sought something that the majority already had -- that is, they sought EQUALITY. Women sought the right to vote that men already had. Blacks sought the right to be educated in the same schools as whites, use the same restrooms as whites, sit in the same part of a bus as whites, etc. Gays seek the same marriage rights as straight couples. What you are seeking is not equality, as no one (in this country, at least) has the right to be nude anywhere they want. Think of it this way -- what is the WORST that would happen if naturism completely disappeared? You'd have to wear a swimsuit on the beach. No, not a desirable outcome, I know, but you want to compare THAT to what those other groups went through/go through? Get some perspective, please. That is about the ultimate apples to oranges comparison. Bottom line, to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen in the 1988 Vice Presidential debate, Academic Naturist, you're no Rosa Parks. It's not even your fault -- you're just not fighting that kind of fight.

Anonymous said...

Part 2



I'll leave you with this. These are quotes from a post I came across on another site, a naturist forum. This was written by a young woman, a law student in her 20s (THIS WAS NOT FROM ME, and was written over three years ago). I think they articulate my point beautifully:



"This really is somewhat of a specious topic. If we (as nudists) want people to respect our rights (CO beaches, nude areas in public parks and such), we have to respect the views of others. I simply want to be free to go nude at home or outdoors in certain areas with like-minded people. I have no desire to go the mall or the supermarket nude. I have no desire to have a "naked city." Those board members who seem to ruminate about this are folks that I would strongly suggest that they find an outlet for social nudity--a REAL outlet.

I think Rhonda is right about nudism being seen as a legitimate lifestyle or pastime but we come off as ridiculous when we go on about being nude all the time in public or forcing our choice where others don't share those values.

I love being nude. I can't tell you the last time I wore clothes at home for more than 5 minutes (after coming in from a Dr. appt., for example). I love the fact that my husband feels the same way and that he is nude as often as I am. I love CO beaches. I love being nude in our yard. I love going to the homes of nudist friends. And, honestly, that's enough for me."



______________________



And one more:



"I agree there too. Any legacy I leave is going to have little to do with being nude. It might be one thing people remember ABOUT me but it is not who I am. And, no, nudism won't usher in world peace, lead to better wages, better schools, racial harmony. It won't wrest the Messiah from the chains of history or portend the Second Coming (for my theistically-oriented friends).

Come on, folks, find some people who might like to be nude and just, well, go nude. It's fun. It's healthy. But don't make it more than it is."



_______________________



Neither she nor I are in any way against naturism -- she, in fact, goes much further than me, rarely wearing clothes for more than five minutes at home. But we both understand its place in the grand scheme of things. Do you?


Here's hoping you have the guts to respond and defend your positions this time.

Academic Naturist said...

Hypocrisy? The library is rejecting my literature, and you cheer them on. But when I delete yours, it's an "unfair cheap shot"?

You're (I'm?) right that a sexualized society is moving in favor of us, well, sort-of. They are moving in favor of sexed up clubs. They want CO beaches banned because of "the sex", and they want naturist resorts to be 18+. Hopefully you see where the problem is with all that...

You're really bad at staying on topic. I was talking about society being offended. But if you want to switch over to an equality discussion... Naturists ARE fighting for acceptance, which is a step below true equality. This is parallel to what gays are fighting for. (And they haven't been quiet about it over the last 20 years.) They want civil unions, and no more discrimination against them. We want public space, no discrimination, and laws that don't lump us in with sex offenders or make it adult-oriented.

How much do you know about Haulover? The SFFB initially went nude there in 1991. A court case (which charged 5 people with indecent exposure) proved the beach was legal in 1992 when the charges were dismissed. The Corps of Engineers were pigeonholed by SFFB into opening the tunnel to the parking lot. The Parks Dept. initially refused to provide lifeguards, until the SFFB proved that it was a safety risk. (14 persons per lifeguard on the textile side, 880 persons with no lifeguard on the naturist side!) Signs were posted in 1993 to warn textile visitors.

The point of all that is to show that we are oppressed. The police initially cited naturists despite being far from any textile, the CoE didn't want to make the beach accessible, and the Parks Dept. certainly didn't want to have lifeguards at the beach. It's whole history has been strong-armed into existence. Rights that a normal beach would have no problem getting, we had to fight for. The history of your beaches probably have some legal battles too.

In a larger context, 100 years ago it was normal to skinny-dip at the local swimming hole. Since then, we've been pushed to some very remote beaches and private property (out of public view). Even YMCA's were nude-mandatory in the pools until the 60's. Haulover is a minor victory that NO other US naturist beach has been able to meet yet. We are still an oppressed minority, and being quiet hasn't helped us over the last 100 years.

The SFFB says this in retrospect: "Education is the key, because while there may be a minority fundamentally opposed to nude recreation, most are in opposition due to a lack of information, or disinformation, regarding naturism."

This is EXACTLY why I should be adding TNS's book to local libraries.

*Note that I'm trying to stay on topic, instead of pick apart everything that is said.

Anonymous said...

"Hypocrisy? The library is rejecting my literature, and you cheer them on. But when I delete yours, it's an "unfair cheap shot"?"

If you actually read my comments, you would know that I stated that your comment about me wanting "naturism removed from public spaces" was the cheap shot. Why the need to mischaracterize what I said? As for the charge of hypocrisy, well, are you still trying to force the library to accept the book? If so, then apparently it's okay for you to censor me but not for the library to "censor" you. So why do I think it's okay for the library to "censor" you? Again, if you read my comments, you would know that it comes down to the appropriateness of the venue in question -- it's not like I think the book should be banned from publication. A public library is an appropriate venue for any kind of material? So what if Larry Flynt wanted to donate an anthology of Hustler magazines to the library? In his mind, that might be just as appropriate as you think a book on naturism is. I certainly don't agree with that, but that's not the point.

"You're (I'm?) right that a sexualized society is moving in favor of us, well, sort-of. They are moving in favor of sexed up clubs. They want CO beaches banned because of "the sex", and they want naturist resorts to be 18+. Hopefully you see where the problem is with all that..."

Quite the contortion of logic there. Although it does go along with my premise that there is a lot of adult activity going on on nude beaches today (which I fully described to you, but you wanted to cover up and therefore deleted). If that's so, though, that just makes the book more of a lie. Naturism may not be in theory, or in your (and my) mind an adult activity, but that won't mean a thing when people actually go to a nude beach and see what goes on there. As they say, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

"You're really bad at staying on topic. I was talking about society being offended."

Um, actually YOU'RE the one who brought these other groups into this. You were equating the "naturist rights" movement with those other movements. You were equating naturists who aren't "out" and fighting for their "rights" to any African Americans who opposed Rosa Parks for "rocking the boat." You can't backtrack now. Just because you can't do something you want to do wherever you want to do it doesn't make it a civil rights issue. Did you know that if you google the term "nudist rights," 2,720 results come up. When you google the term "smokers rights," 78,000 results come up. This is really a much better analogy -- like naturists, they can't do what they want to do wherever they want to do it. But does that mean that they DO have that right? Moreover, are they an "oppressed" group fighting for their civil rights? You think that naturism is good and smoking is bad? Again, that's just your (and my) opinion -- most smokers (as in those who aren't also naturists) probably feel the opposite. The bottom line is that neither the Constitution, nor anything else (court ruling, etc.), states that just because one wants to be able to do something, one automatically has the right to do it wherever they want.

"The SFFB says this in retrospect: "Education is the key, because while there may be a minority fundamentally opposed to nude recreation, most are in opposition due to a lack of information, or disinformation, regarding naturism."

Again, that's what some naturists, who apparently just can't stand the thought that many people just DON'T agree with their views, WANT to believe. That doesn't make it true.

You know what? No matter how tempting it will probably be to respond to you and call you out on whatever bizarre statements you make this time, I am not, in fact, going to respond. You said above that some people see you as a nut? You are, and apparently not a particularly bright one either.

Academic Naturist said...

You asked for censorship... Should I turn off anonymous comments again?

Note that I am the ONLY naturist blogger (that I know of) that doesn't moderate comments, and allows anonymous comments. I'm really an advocate of free speech, which is why I'm not continuing to censor you.

FYI, the Library of Congress has Hustler magazine. It's listed in the "adult" category, like any other items containing nudity.

Yes, some beaches at times are more sexual than others. It depends on the people. If there are no kids around, the adults tend to be more vulgar. If a couple families show up to your beaches, people would be more sensitive to them. It happens at Mazo all the time.

A book on shopping malls won't mention the questionable people that hang out there, drug deals, or shoplifting problems. Would that make the book a lie? You seem to think so.

FYI, the smoker's rights issue is something I agree with. I thought having dedicated smoking sections was a good compromise. The fact that smoking is being banned everywhere is NOT a rights issue. It's a health and budget issue. Smoking, including second-hand smoke, causes an unfairly HUGE toll on the healthcare industry, and the government wants people to stop because of that. Smoking can't be compared to naturism -- naturism doesn't make people ill for years at a time and expect the healthcare industry to pay for it.

I like your analysis the SFFB quote... You do realize that they've DONE IT (had an education campaign among politicians) and have Haulover to show for it, right? They speak from experience, not optimism.