Proof that America and the UK are still neck and neck on some things

When I was growing up in the UK, I was in a household where sex was The Subject That Must Not Be Mentioned.
In addition, nudity, since it was seen as an obvious precursor to sex, was also a largely taboo subject. My parents’ opinion was that there were these oddball people called “nudists”, who, to the general amazement and amusement of the population, would take their clothes off and run around naked in the Summer. According to my parents, they were either weird or crackers.
When I started traveling in Europe in the 1980s, I rapidly discovered that for the rest of Europe, nudity was seen quite differently. If you were on a beach in Crete and it was 92 in the shade, with a water temperature of 80 degrees, why the hell would you want to wear any clothing anyway? I soon discovered the advantages of informal nudism in countries where nudism, instead of being seen as some form of warped behavior that clearly showed tendencies for weirdness and sexual perversion, was a perfectly logical thing to do, at least on beaches.
Fast forward to the mid 1990s when I moved to the USA. I swiftly discovered that the USA rivalled the UK in it’s lack of understanding of nudism, and it’s post-puritanical schizophrenia about sex. Apparently you could not even say “fuck” on network television, so if you did, it was bleeped out. The sheer unmitigated stupidity and pointlessness of this action (“fuck” is just about the easiest English word to lip-read) was clearly lost on legislators and TV companies. It was all about appearances. As a person who grew up dealing with the English class system and the facades that families erect to paper over all sorts of dysfunctionalities, I find the whole idea of keeping up appearances to be artifice, bullshit and nonsense.
At the time that I was relocating to the USA, Sting gave an interview to an English magazine where he mentioned that he and his wife Trudie Styler engaged in Tantric sex, and had studied it with teachers.
You can guess what happened next. The English tabloid newspapers lifted all manner of quotes from the article and printed them interspersed with ribald and juvenile speculation on Sting’s sexual habits. One implication being, surprise surprise, that Sting was a sybarite who really spent most of his night hours in orgies with all manner of women, and Tantra was just a cover story. This was all accompanied by chortling and “nudge nudge wink wink” innuendoes.
Newspapers in countries usually reflect the attitude of the country towards talking about sex. The English tabloid newspapers are juvenile, the broadsheet newspapers uncomprehending and engaging in subtle cluck-clucking, with occasional attempts at slut-shaming if the people under discussion are female.
So it brings us to the present day, and the latest piece of muck-raking by a US newspaper. The Washington Free Beacon has discovered that Rob Quist, a Democratic Party candidate in Montana who is also a musician, appears to have performed concerts at…yes, you guessed it. A nudist resort.
Quite how this amazing revelation is relevant to his qualifications to run for elected office is, needless to say, not discussed in the Free Beacon article.
The article is fairly standard tabloid smear journalism. The article produces the revelation that Quist has been seen (GASP) at nudist resorts (with the obligatory link to a nudist resort with the salacious warning “may contain inappropriate images” (Translation: Surf on over there for the smutty stuff, har har). The article then concludes with the news that the nudist resort where Quist performed has erased all mention of him from their website (Translation: See! He or the resort must have something to hide).
I am going to surf on over and donate some money to Quist’s campaign. This article is hopeless, muck-raking nonsense. It’s a good example of why I tend to pay limited attention to newspapers and mass media outlets in the USA. They have their editorial priorities all screwed and scrambled as they search for some attention-grabbing headline.


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