A blog host can give an opinion on any subject and then censor opposing viewpoints just by deleting them. I think it's mean to do that, especially deleting a long discussion after participating in it for several days, but the host has that option. If she does so, the only way to express a different point of view is to start another blog.

The following discussion was removed by Carla from her blog "Nudity in Mail Art - Call for Entries". In the first statement, which is an excerpt from one of Carla's posts, I added boldface and underlines to the phrase that started the discussion. That post was not deleted when the rest of the discussion was.

–––––– Carla Cryptic:
..... Some of the people who most detest nudity in art believe that nudity is wrong because of their interpretation of the Christian Bible but, in that very book, Adam and Eve are naked and considered innocent of any evil 'before the fall', when they are given knowledge. So, it should be that no one can take offense at this portrayal of Adam and Eve. Well, that seems logical. But, of course, it doesn't matter to someone who is made illogical by their beliefs. .....

–––––– Talking Bird:
Carla, in re Adam and Eve and logic: Before the fall, Adam and Eve didn't know they were naked. "Innocent" meant "ignorant," in the same sense that a naked lion is innocent, even if it kills and eats a child. If a human did that it would be different. As soon as Adam and Eve knew they were naked, as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their immediate reaction was to be ashamed and to cover themselves up. So it's not illogical to use that story as a basis for modesty. Logically, anyone who accepts the burden of knowledge, or Original Sin, as the church calls it, might feel the same way about nudity as Adam and Eve did.

But there's considerable variation among Christians on the nudity issue. Catholic painters used a lot of it in the 15th century, even nude baby Jesus. Muslims seem more unified on the issue. My own guess about why religious people are often against public nudity is that they think it's a slippery slope, that once you give up modesty there's no real stopping place, and eventually you get two couples play-acting a rape scene and one of them gets killed. Do you know the story of Meredith Kercher? I didn't till today, but I brought it up in the What Do [Men and] Women Want discussion.

–––––– Carla Cryptic:
I don't feel we can debate the issues you've raised because we seem to be using different frameworks to understand meanings of words and concepts. Within any set of beliefs, there is an internal logic, and that's actually what I was playing with in my piece 'Adam and Eve... before the fall'. Before the so-called fall, being nude was not considered unnatural but, in fact, part of the ideal state of living in the garden of eden. After the fall, being nude became something which was considered something to be ashamed of. Since that is an article of faith, I don't see any way to debate its validity. I am only commenting on its existance, that there could be sucn an arbitrary change from one moment to the next. One moment, nudity is harmless, the next it is potentially harmful. That's an interesting concept to me, perhaps because it isn't an article of my faith. I hope that we all know that the things we do in mail art are going to be at odds with someone who sees them. I know that my attitude about nudity is not necessarily a common one since it is not informed by any religious doctrine or tenet. It is my own personal reaction to the world and its human population. My belief that perceiving nudity as intrinsically problematic is hard on human beings individually and societally is my own, albeit shared by others. I'm sure we are in the minority, at least in the country I live in.

My reaction to your guess about why religious people are against public nudity is that, given the factual evidence around the world and over time, it seems likely that thinking public nudity would lead to couples play-acting rape scenes and someone thereby getting killed stems somehow from internal processes I can't even imagine. In the real world, rape is less common in cultures where nudity is not sexualized (i.e., where it is considered a common and natural state of human existence at any age). And, more importantly in terms of this discussion, perhaps, is that rape and murder don't go together that often statistically, even in cultures where both are common.

I'll check out the What Do (Men and) Women Want discussion - I'd not noticed any new posts there in a while but was probably just getting distracted by other things. :)

–––––– Talking Bird:
Carla, I didn't suggest a correlation between nudity and rape. (Though I have to say that your resort to comparing primitive cultures to ours was misleading and disingenuous. The proper comparison to argue against the point you thought I made would be to compare the incidence of rape in industrialized nations before and after nude images became highly accessible to the general public. I don't have that data handy; do you?) I only suggested a correlation between nudity and more advanced sexual games such as play-rape. The Kercher case is believed to be a sex game, not an actual rape. And the correlation I suggested was a "slippery slope," not simultaneity.

Are you familiar with the term "slippery slope"? Merriam-Webster says it means "a course of action that seems to lead inevitably from one action or result to another with unintended consequences." I would add that it implies a series of apparent results or unintended consequences, which appear as a continuous escalation of the original action or intended consequence.

Play-acting rape is just one of the points along that slope. You must be aware that it's much more common among young couples today than when we were young, and that fact must be shocking to many people our age, who thought women's liberation included moving away from the concept of women's submission to men. Similarly, the number of abortions per year when we were young would have seemed unthinkable to our parents when they were young. And our parents' exposing of their semi-nude bodies on the beach would have been unthinkable to their parents. That's the slippery slope I was referring to.

Maybe there's no harm in it. Certainly bikinis are no problem. Maybe a million or two abortions per year in the U.S. is fine. Maybe young couples play-acting rape scenes, even with knives, is nothing to be concerned about. But the slippery slope concept suggests that these are just points along the way. We don't know what comes next, but it seems likely that it will be something that would have shocked Meredith Kercher. And it doesn't seem to be headed in the direction of Samoan traditional culture.

–––––– Carla Cryptic:
TB - This is the third or fourth time you've attributed meanings to my posts which aren't there and I wish you would stop doing that. Also, you've accused me of bad intentions and ignorance - that's just not the best way to win friends or influence people.

Just to be clear, I was not comparing co-called -primitive' cultures with modern industrialized ones. I was comparing places like Sweden with places like the United States, both places I've lived long enough to have experience of. I don't like using examples I don't have personal experience of in a discussion like this.

I do understand the concept of a 'slippery slope'. I just don't agree that public nudity is a slippery slope to violence, play-acting or otherwise. I accept the fact that you are worried that it could be.

You mentioned 'people our age' but, when I was young, all abortions were either done in a back alley or in another country because they were totally illegal here. Many girls and women died from badly-performed abortions. Still, there were always people who would try it because the alternatives seemed worse to them than death.

As for the bible stuff, we've each made it clear how we interpret it. What else is there to say about it unless someone else wants to weigh in?

–––––– Talking Bird:
Carla, you may have meant Sweden, but what you said was:
"cultures where nudity is not sexualized (i.e., where it is considered a common and natural state of human existence at any age)."
Having seen photos of primitive people going about their daily lives without clothing, and not having seen photos of naked Swedes in church or at the office, I couldn't have guessed your true meaning.

But comparing Sweden and the U.S. in response to what I said about a slippery slope is equally misleading and disingenuous, and my point there still holds: to challenge the slippery slope idea you'd have to compare incidence of rape in our culture before and after nude erotic images became highly accessible to the general public, which you still haven't done. I accept the fact that you don't want to think about that.

–––––– Carla Cryptic:
Good morning my obstreperous friend. I'm sorry you feel the way you feel, for your sake even more than for mine. But, one last time, I was not being misleading or disingenuous because I had no intention of being either. Both of those words imply intentionality. You are really being disagreeable and I don't really know or care why. But, because this thread is about people's feelings about nudity, I don't mind you posting them here. I just wish you would STOP PICKING ON ME. Lol... it feels more and more like bullying in high school and I was always the victim of same rather than the perpetrator so I don't particularly enjoy it.
I won't tell you to go pick on someone else, even as a joke, because I've seen you do it in other threads and I didn't enjoy it then, either. You don't seem to care about other people's feelings at all, only getting in the last word, a last word which is usually a negative one. It's sad.

–––––– Carla Cryptic:
Wow, do you bring out the brat in me, TB. I guess I bring out the bully in you. Let's try and contain this, shall we?

–––––– Talking Bird:
Carla, I haven't said how I feel about nudity, except maybe whatever is implied by my first post, a nude photo of myself which I posted in response to your request for male nudity. And I haven't picked on you. I've only defended the people you ridiculed in one of your comments. You said they had been "made illogical by their beliefs" because they disagreed with your theory that the Bible encourages nudity. I myself don't have much of an opinion on nudity or Adam and Eve, but I thought you were being unreasonably closed to a differing point of view. You may recall another thread, in which I defended another group of people (which you later said included you) whom Wilma called "sick" because they like erotic art showing women as victims. I have no dog in that fight either, but I'm committed to promoting understanding between people. I said that although I didn't share their interest in such images, and wasn't sure it was a good idea for society as a whole, I thought people who like that stuff are probably well-intentioned; and I even suggested a logical basis for their view. I was obstreperous in your defense.

I do care about people's feelings. But when someone's mean, I'm more sympathetic to the feelings of those on the receiving end of the meanness. Your blasé remark was an insult to millions of sincere and thoughtful people. I just wanted to point out that they aren't the illogical boobs you made them out to be. You didn't have to reply to that. You could have let my comment stand as an opposing viewpoint, or you could have replied only that you still think they're fools, without presenting any additional supporting argument. That would have ended the discussion. But you chose to debate the point, and then to criticize my manners and to say that you feel sorry for me. And then you complained that I have to have the last word, and that my comments are negative.

I wouldn't have said I bring out the brat in you. More like the mother whose child refuses to obey. Obstreperous 2: "stubbornly resistant to control."

Shortly after that last comment was posted, Carla deleted all my comments and all her replies to them, but didn't delete her original comment that I was reacting to.

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Tags: art, call, concepts, day, female, mail, male, nudes, nudity, of


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Comment by Talking Bird on February 23, 2009 at 9:23pm
The link I provided just above the excerpt goes to the start of the full comment.
Comment by Carla Cryptic on February 23, 2009 at 8:55pm
What I mean is, please post the ENTIRE statement I wrote so people can see the context. Or, if you are reading this and haven't read the entire thread at my blog, come by and see it for yourself if you are so inclined.
Comment by Carla Cryptic on February 23, 2009 at 8:54pm
I'm really glad you reposted all of this... I would have done it eventually but had other things on my plate at the time. Just for the record, I left the original comment you were responding to because it was a response to someone else and had nothing to do with our back and forth comments. I think, though, you should post it here to let people see what you were reacting to. Please feel free to do so.


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