Berkeley Republicans announce a purposely racist bake sale to mock a new Affirmative Action law.
What could go wrong?
(Also cross-posted at PajamasMedia.)
Here’s a video treat from the report, with interviews of Berkeley College Republicans alternating with clips of counter-protesters speaking their minds:
In recent months it has become increasingly common to see men walking around San Francisco’s Castro District completely naked. You might assume this is illegal, but no — there is no law against public nudity in San Francisco, unless that nudity also involves “lewd thoughts or acts.” (In practice, what that means is that unless you have an erection or are masturbating, it is OK to expose yourself in San Francisco.)
But the ever-escalating recent increase in public nudists spurred S.F. supervisor Scott Wiener to propose new legislation requiring naked people to sit on towels when using public facilities, and also to cover their nether regions while eating in restaurants — so that other residents won’t have to come into contact with whatever bodily excretions that might result from sitting down pants-free.
Well, as luck would have it, the more politically-minded of the public nudists had already scheduled a pro-nudity protest just on general principles, but the timing was perfect to make it into a photo op for the newly proposed towel law.
Needless to say, I was at Saturday’s protest, camera in hand.
I had originally intended to make this a lighthearted post, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt the protest merited serious analyis.
So, below, you will find discussions about the purpose of clothing, public hygiene, exhibitionism, community standards and morality — and lots of pictures of naked men. If you don’t want to see the pictures, stop reading now.
(Note: This is the X-rated version of this report; if you want to see the G-rated version, in which all the pictures are blurred out, click here.)
The protest was held in a small plaza at the intersection of Castro, 17th, and Market streets in San Francisco. While the Castro District is well-known as a sort of outdoor gay-themed tourist attraction, it is still a “real” part of the urban landscape, just like any other part of the city, with street lights and gas stations and trolley tracks and laws. Traffic streamed by as the nudists (all men) began to assemble, several of whom were carrying protest signs saying things like “Nude is not lewd” and “Get your hate off my body.”
It was cloudy and a bit chilly, but that didn’t stop about 40 or 50 men from standing around naked, and posing for the phalanx of photographers who had assembled across the tracks.
Local alternative newspaper The Bay Guardian saw a chance for a publicity stunt and produced “Butt Guardian” towels so that everyone could be in compliance with the new anti-excretion ordinance.
Bay Guardian employees handed them out to all takers; if you want one of your own they even have an online version you can print out “to soothe the heebie jeebies induced in some shrinking violets about stray hairs and other hysterical anal imaginings covering the seats of our fair city.”
The quote above got me thinking about the very purpose of clothing, something I had never really pondered until now. Humans wear clothing, obviously, to keep us warm in cold climates. But clothing has several other functions as well:
1. To protect the wearer from the elements — cold temperatures, blazing sun, wind, etc.;
2. To cover up various body parts which cultural norms have deemed taboo;
3. To advertise one’s status, role, class or position in society;
4. To prevent the transmission of potentially unsanitary excretions and fluids by enclosing the anal and genital regions.
And this is the source of the conflict: Wiener’s law merely addresses the issue of public hygiene in point 4 above — but the nudists are protesting the cultural norms in point 2. Yet no matter how successful they are in smashing cultural norms, they still can’t escape the general consensus that day-to-day urban nudity has pubic health consequences.
The nudists’ reply is that the “pubic health” argument is merely a smokescreen to justify puritanical repression. The anti-nudity advocates are being dishonest, the protesters argue; opposition to public nakedness is not based on concern about transmissible diseases, but rather on old-fashioned prudery.
While that may be true, I counter with this: The San Francisco public nudists are also being dishonest; there is indeed a sexual component to their behavior, and they are exhibitionists using politics to justify their thrill-seeking.
Want proof? Keep reading.
The naked protest originally had nothing to do with the hubbub over the new towel legislation; it was in fact basically just a launch party for the Folsom Street Fair (advertisements for which were visible all around the intersection, as seen in the photo above):
The event, which had been scheduled before Wiener’s proposal was announced, was part of the unofficial celebrations leading up to the annual Folsom Street Fair, billed as the world’s largest leather and fetish event.
Now, I didn’t cover this year’s Folsom Street Fair (held yesterday — too cold!), but I have covered it in the past, and — trust me on this — it is a free event held on city streets at which people unabashedly have sex in public. (Actually, you don’t have to trust me — you can simply click on my EXTREMELY NSFW report about the 2007 Folsom Street Fair and see the proof for yourself.)
In that report, as part of a caption for a series of photos showing a man masturbating in public, I made the following observation:
The Folsom Street Fair is primarily a festival of sexual fetishes — bondage, sado-machochism, animal fantasies, and so on — yet the pre-eminent sexual fetish at the Folsom event is the one least discussed: exhibitionism. This man, for example, is an exhibitionist, as were a great many others at the fair. Exhibitionists derive sexual pleasure from having people watch them engage in sex. You, the observer, are a participant in their sex act, whether you want to be or not. That’s the point, the source of the “thrill.” If you attend the Folsom Street Fair, to a certain extent you are knowingly agreeing to be “visually raped” and to participate in the exhibitionist sex of others, just by being there to view it. Almost always, when someone at the fair began to masturbate, a crowd would form to watch: and by so doing would voluntarily become second-hand participants in the solo sex act — just as you the viewer are doing right now.
But does the same argument apply when the exhibitionist is not actively masturbating and doesn’t even have an erection? Could he be secretly getting a thrill and involving passersby in his sexual fantasies anyway?
No, according to The Bay Guardian, which has leapt to the defense of the public nudists.
In response to a San Francisco Chronicle columnist who wrote,
If these guys were opening a trench coat and exposing themselves to bystanders in a supermarket parking lot we’d call them creeps. But if they sit on public chairs and expose themselves to bystanders, they’re defenders of free speech. Here’s some free speech - when moms and dads walk their kids to school, they don’t want to see you naked.
…The Bay Guardian had this to say in reply:
Actually, I’ve often walked my daughter to school along Castro Street, and I don’t care whether people are naked or not. Neither does she. My kids are San Francisco city kids; it’s all a big Whatever. And the naked guys in the Castro, mostly middle-aged men, aren’t “exposing themselves” in the way of a sex offender who gets off on it; they don’t confront anyone, or jump in front of anyone, or try to force anyone to look at them. They aren’t fucking in the streets. They’re just walking around (and sitting down) without clothes on.
The Bay Guardian’s argument basically comes down to this: If these guys aren’t parading around naked for the thrills, then they aren’t deriving any sexual pleasure from it, and thus there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. And that is also exactly what San Francisco’s extremely lax laws about pubic nudity say: unless you are engaging in “lewd thoughts or acts” then you can be naked in public.
But hang one one minute. It’s pretty easy to identify a “lewd act,” but how can we judge whether someone has a “lewd thought” while showing his naked body to you? Presumably, this is a legal euphemism for “getting a hard-on”: If a guy has an erection, the law presumes he is engaging in “lewd thoughts”; and (here’s the key) if he doesn’t have an erection, that’s proof that his thoughts are pure.
But there’s another way we can assess their motivations aside from measuring the engorgement levels of their penises. Look at the sign above and the sign in the first photo; both reveal that the protest was organized on a Web site called nude-in.blogspot.com. If you visit the site (mild NSFW warning), you’ll see that the protest’s Web page — and hence the protest itself — was actually masterminded by Bare Naked in Public, which according to the protest page’s own sidebar “is the most all inclusive male exhibitionist destination on the Internet.”
And if you dare to click on the VERY NSFW Bare Naked in Public home page, you will finally see the truth (and a whole lot more) revealed: San Francisco’s urban nudists are exhibitionists who derive sexual thrills from exposing themselves in public.
There. Someone had to say it.
And if that’s true, then they are indeed breaking the city’s anti-nudity ordinance because they do think “lewd thoughts” while parading around naked.
Common sense tells us the same thing. As this picture shows, the spot chosen for the nude protest is basically on a traffic island in the middle of an extremely busy intersection; trolley cars filled with commuters and tourists run immediately adjacent to the “park,” while a six-lane major traffic artery runs along the other side; and one of the city’s most crowded pedestrian streets leads right to the same intersection. Why choose that particular spot, not just for Saturday’s protest but for daily nudity year-round? The goal quite obviously is to be seen by as many people as possible. The nudists claim they just want to be left alone and be free to go about their daily lives with no clothes on. But if that were the case, they wouldn’t purposely congregate in crowded places.
La de da. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just standing here!
Furthermore: San Francisco is not a particularly warm town. To quote Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” No one in their right mind under normal circumstances would want to be naked in San Francisco. You’d have to have a reason — like being an exhibitionist.
If you truly just wanted to be naked, you can be naked at home. Or at San Francisco’s city-sanctioned nude beach (Baker Beach). If if you wanted to be naked amongst other naked people, there are several nudist colonies in the Bay Area and northern California. But no. These protesters and urban nudists don’t simply want to be naked in private or be naked around other naked people; they want to be naked around clothed people. Because that’s where the sexual thrill originates; violating a taboo. Being naked where nakedness is normal doesn’t count; eliciting shock or interest from unwitting strangers is the whole point.
To end on an upbeat note: one of the protesters set up an easel right on the corner of Castro and 17th and began painting.
His masterwork depicted UFOs landing and naked humans running out to meet their alien saviors. On the table next to his easel (directly behind him in this photo) were several books about extra-terrestrials and UFO invasions.
Now, see, this guy might legitimately claim that he is naked in public for a completely non-lewd reason — to welcome our alien brothers when they arrive. But the other protesters have revealed not just their genitals but their real motivations.
One final point: What is the feminist position on all this?
Last month I covered yet another San Francisco protest, this one called Slutwalk, where this photo was taken. And the message at that protest was “Unwanted Exposure to Scrotum Is Never OK!”
Why are only feminists allowed to point this out?
My new photo essay now up at zombietime (and cross-posted at Pajamas Media) takes a look at the September 17 “Day of Rage” protests across the country:
(PJM version is here.)
A few sample images to whet your appetite:
Feel free to comment on the proceedings!
Submitted for your approval: The perfect solution to America’s national debate over taxes.
This proposal is completely serious. Below you will find my suggestion for an amended IRS 1040 form. As you will see, it contains two new sections: “Voluntary Tax Rate,” in which each American can individually determine his or her own rate of income taxation; and “Allocation,” in which taxpayers can apply their personal tax payments to specific federal expenses.
It’s simple, it’s completely non-partisan and even-handed, and it allows for total individual autonomy and personal freedom.
Will it lead to a complete restructuring of the United States government? Possibly. And if it does, will that be a good thing? Most definitely.
Read on to see how this new idea came about.
• Problem #1: “Raise my taxes!” vs. “Don’t raise my taxes!”
Recently, billionaire investor Warren Buffett publicly announced that he wants the government to raise his taxes, because, he feels, he just isn’t paying enough. Soon after, fellow billionaire Donald Trump joined Buffett in announcing the he too would at least be willing to pay more taxes if necessary. Then millionaire TV host Jerry Springer joined the chorus of wealthy Americans demanding that their own tax rates be raised.
These high-profile champions of increased self-taxation are simply the most visible members of an entire sector of the American public who demand that we as a nation raise our own taxes to pay for our ever-increasing expenses. (Many of these high-tax-advocates of course pay few or no taxes of their own; what they really want is other people to pay more in taxes. That’s why actual taxpayers like Buffett and Springer make headlines when they join the call for higher rates.)
On the other side of the coin, groups like the Tea Party have quickly ascended into political prominence by charting the exact opposite course, insisting that the economy can only be rescued by an across-the-board lowering of taxes nationwide. Critics portray the Tea Party lower-tax platform as nothing more than “greed” — the selfishness of people who want to keep their own money, and not share it with the rest of us. Defenders of the low-tax-advocates point out that it’s not greed but a desire to kickstart a stalled economy: lower tax rates generally lead to increased economic growth.
Until recently, the argument was limited to two sides, each seeking to dictate terms to everyone else: liberals said, “We want all of you to pay more taxes!”, while conservatives said, “We want all of you to pay less taxes!” But Buffett and Trump and Springer changed the parameters of the debate; instead of demanding that everyone else pay more taxes, these wealthy high-tax-advocates’ new twist is to announce, “I personally want to pay more taxes!”
» Solution #1: Voluntary Tax Rates
This seemingly intractable debate gave me an idea. Both the liberal and the conservative positions are ethically untenable: No one should have the right to force anyone else to pay more or less taxes than they prefer. These billionaires have hit upon a brilliant concept: Instead of everyone trying to force everyone else to conform to this or that view of tax rates, let each person voluntarily set his or her own tax rate!
Thus if Warren Buffett wants to pay more in taxes — he can do so! And if a Tea Partier want to pay less in taxes, she can do so as well. And if liberals think the tax rate is too low — well, under this new system they are free to pay at whatever higher rate they can afford.
It’s as simple and streamlined as can be, and everybody gets what they want. (See the amended 1040 form below for how it would work.)
• Problem #2: “I’d willingly pay taxes for those government programs I like, but can’t tolerate paying for programs I hate.”
Both liberals and conservatives have this exact same problem: They’re more than happy to pay for their favorite government departments and expenses, but it drives them crazy when they’re forced to subsidize stuff they hate.
Liberals and anti-war activists, for example, have long insisted that their taxes not be used for war; so (especially when a Republican president is in office and/or during wartime), you will frequently hear them demanding that their taxes not be used for “the war machine,” or for certain weapons systems (like nuclear missiles) or for any number of things they deem distasteful (e.g. drone attacks, harsh interrogations, foreign combatants in military prisons, etc.). Conversely, conservatives frequently complain that their taxes are used to support “freeloaders” who spend their entire lives as recipients of the welfare system, and who as a result never contribute to society. So conservatives bristle at the thought of paying for overly lax welfare programs, not only because they see themselves as shouldering most of the burden, but also because they think the welfare system fosters a culture of depedency, leading to a downward cycle of fewer and fewer people paying more and more of the taxes.
And what drives both liberals and conservatives to distraction is when they discover that their tax dollars are being used for programs or procedures which they deem morally wrong; liberals, for example, don’t want their taxes to pay for the federal government to break up immigrant families by deporting the illegal parents while allowing the natural-born-citizen legal children to stay; while many conservatives find it intolerable that their tax dollars are used to pay for abortions in federally subsidized clinics — a procedure which they feel is tantamount to murder.
Yet the problem is, we’re all paying into the same big pie, and we don’t get to determine what our personal tax contributions are used for. Thus liberals end up paying for war crimes, and conservatives end up paying to murder babies, and everybody’s unhappy.
» Solution #2: Personalized Earmarks
Why are we still using this outdated system that leads to universal dissatisfaction? If each person was able to “earmark” the specific aspects of government which he or she deems acceptable, then no one would feel that their taxes were used for programs which are either unhealthy for the soul or for the national economy.
The solution to this problem is obvious: Simply amend the tax code to allow each taxpayer to individually allocate which governmental expenses receive funding from that person’s tax payments. Presto! Everybody’s happy, because nobody is being forced to pay for things they don’t like anymore.
But would this create a lot more paperwork for the IRS? Somewhat. As for re-designing the 1040 form, I’ve already done that part, so nothing to worry about there. As for totaling up the calculations of how much each government department gets from each taxpayer — well, sure, that would require more bean-counters, but the overall amount of extra IRS employees needed for the task would be tiny compared to the number of bureaucrats in most other areas of government, and this minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for fundamentally reorganizing the tax code in such a way that is pleasing to everyone.
Below you will find my proposed amended IRA 1040 form; the top image shows the full front page of the 1040 form with the two new sections in situ, as they will appear to taxpayers; and the bottom image shows just the newly added sections, for extra clarity. (In each case, simply click on the image to see a much larger and clearer version of the amended form.)
Don’t like my proposal? Feel free to add your own revisions, critiques or alternate suggestions in the comments section below. Let the debate begin!
# # #
…and, for the record, here’s the same new revision, all by itself (click to enlarge):
# # #
I demand justice justice.
No, I don’t have a stutter. What I want is justice for the word “justice” itself.
Because, you see, “justice” has been hijacked by the American left and is now their exclusive weapon. It is no longer a politically neutral word; whenever you see the word “justice” — especially preceded by another noun — it invariably is meant to convey some far-left position.
A History of Crimes Against Justice
The degradation of “justice” started with the phrase “social justice,” a concept which was originally only a religious term but which was later adopted (and re-defined) by the American left to have political connotations. Use of the word “justice” as a leftist buzzword was given a big boost in 1971 with the publication of A Theory of Justice by philosopher John Rawls, which focused on “justice” as the axle around which liberal thought rotated.
Let a Hundred Justices Bloom
In the mid-’70s, the end of the Vietnam War deprived the professional left of its main protest topic, so they cast around for something new to whine about. In the absence of any glaringly urgent crisis, such as a war, they settled on a scattershot array of issues which could be unified under the generalized label “social justice.” Any aspect of American society which was insufficiently leftist suddenly needed a good dose of “social justice” to rectify things.
This overall blanket term was OK for a while, but with the arrival of the new millennium there was a rapid expansion of the “justice” concept. With breathtaking speed, justice-related terms proliferated exponentially in the early 2000s, and within a decade it became nearly impossible to even keep track of all the different “justices” we were expected to achieve.
The trend started with the two justice titans: “economic justice,” and “racial justice.” And someone must have thought: Why stop there? Soon we started seeing demands for “environmental justice” and “reproductive justice.” And then the floodgates were opened. The global warming scare brought us “climate justice“; the drive for socialized medicine became “health care justice“; amnesty for illegals transmogrified into “immigrant justice“; and on and on it went. By now we have
…to name just a few. Go to any protest or visit a left-wing Web site and you’ll find dozens more “justices” that need immediate resolution.
Want to give your hobby the veneer of righteousness? Just think of a noun, affix the word “justice” after it, and voilà: You’re part of the solution! Yes, it’s that easy.
In fact, the abuse of “justice” has become so widespread that you can immediately identify the political slant of any group just by looking for the word “justice” in their name or literature; if they prominently feature justice, then they’re left-wing; if they don’t, then they’re not.
Of course, this was part of the plan from the beginning: to use language as a weapon. Find a word that everybody likes, with a universally positive vibe, and then use it relentlessly and ungrammatically as a catch-all euphemism for socialist goals. We want justice, thus we must be the good guys! And any group that isn’t for some kind of justice must therefore be in favor of injustice, and as a result must be the bad guys.
Don’t think for one minute that such linguistic gymnastics are accidental. The left puts an immense amount of effort into branding and framing and public perception. And they’re quite self-congratulatory about the whole process: they invariably think their wordsmithery has worked to shift public opinion leftward.
But of course those of us outside the bubble see that it doesn’t work at all. When you abuse a word like “justice” (or another good example, “rights”), all you succeed in doing is to contaminate the word’s original connotation. So that by now, when average Americans see the word “justice” in a political context, they don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling like they used to, but instead see a giant flashing neon sign that says “LEFTIST EUPHEMISM.”
Each word only has so much accumulated credibility that you can expend before you drain it dry. Poor old “justice.” By now it has been so misused and molested that it’s not only been drained dry, it’s acquired an entirely new connotation — and not a good one.
Which is exactly why we need a new movement — let’s get justice for justice. The word needs to be saved from the clutches of its abusers and restored to its former glory.
Justice justice now!
[NOTE: This is the UNCENSORED version of this report, and is most definitely NOT "safe for work." If you want to see the CENSORED edition, which IS pretty much "safe for work" and family-friendly, click HERE. Aside from covering up the private parts, the reports are otherwise identical.]
Saturday, June 11 was “World Naked Bike Ride” day in San Francisco. As the title implies, it doesn’t happen only in San Francisco — it’s a global event, with rides in over 70 cities around the world.
Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner is recently unemployed, so (in the censored version of this report) I got him a gig as the censor for today’s event. As an expert in penis-photographs, he definitely has the skills for the job! Throughout the censored version of the World Naked Bike Ride report, wherever you would have seen a wiener, you’ll see a Weiner instead! (However, this uncensored version is Weiner-free!)
Participants gathered in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area. Anyone could join in — anyone who enjoys being naked in public, that is.
The main question gawkers ask is, “Why???” Well, in theory at least, there is a political dimension to the World Naked Bike Ride, which gives me an excuse to report on it. Luckily, the event’s main organizers have posted an FAQ page for the perplexed. The question “Why are you riding naked?” is answered with “To celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency.” In addition, the WNBR main page states, “We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy.”
Hmmmm. Seems the message is a little muddled. Several justifications are given:
1. “To celebrate the human body.”
2. To bring attention to how dangerous it is for cyclists on city streets.
3. To protest oil dependency and the oil-based economy.
4. To promote bike-riding and make a stand against the car culture.
But, as the sarcastic commentary about nuclear energy in the picture above shows, nuclear power is also no longer kosher. Yet if you eliminate oil/coal/gas and nuclear…all other energy sources combined account for only 19% of current global needs, so it’s not clear exactly what kind of serious viable solution they’re proposing.
Even so, I suspect there’s only one real reason motivating the World Naked Bike Ride: exhibitionism, or the desire to be naked in public. The rest of the justifications are just a political veneer.
Here’s something you may not have known: If you’re young, skinny, female and half-naked, people will want to take your picture. Learn something new every day!
A guy in all-body tiger paint seemed to be one of the ride organizers.
He happily posed for souvenir photographs with passing tourists.
But when he bends over, watch out! Ass cracks are ass cracks, with or without body paint.
During the pre-ride preparations, one of the riders stood off to the side to make a cell phone call. He was approached by stunned out-of-towners who had summoned up the nerve to ask him what the heck was going on. He nonchalantly explained.
Side note: notice the kid sitting behind the naked guy. No attempt was made, on the part of the participants, police, or public, to keep kids at a safe distance from all the full-frontal nudity.
While a few of the participants were somewhat demure about their private parts being exposed, or were at most faux-nonchalant, most of the rest made a point of exposing themselves as vividly as possible.
Several “participants” did not even have bicycles: They just showed up for the hour-long pre-ride preparation period because it was an opportunity to have a “valid” excuse for being naked in public.
These two guys, for example, showed up, disrobed, stood around for ten minutes posing naked for all the photographers, then put their clothes back on and left! Bicycles had nothing to do with it.
In what I hereby deem as “Worst Public Relations Decision of the Week,” the Nesquik Bunny showed up to hand out free chocolate milk samples to the exhibitionists, and posed for pictures alongside various bizarre characters.
The rest of the Nesquik team joined the fun. And no matter what he was standing next to, the Bunny always kept the same goofy smile, which made the proceedings even more surreal, if that was possible.
The legendary parrots of Telegraph Hill looked down on all the human flesh. “Squawk! Those flightless giant pink birds have lost all their feathers! Squawk!”
Here’s an only-in-San-Francsisco moral dilemma: A pre-op transsexual showed up for the ride. He/she thankfully wore shorts, but was “topless.” Now, it was pretty obvious that he/she had not yet undergone gender reassignment surgery, so was technically still biologically “male,” as the muscular physique revealed. But he/she was also either starting hormone treatments, and/or had small implants, because a modest pair of breasts was beginning to emerge. Bay Area Political Correctness dictates that one must always acknowledge and respect whichever gender someone declares him- or herself to be. But wider U.S. social standards dictate that (in the censored version of this report) I cover up any naked boobs exposed in public. Yet censorship is frowned upon according to S.F. mores, while the wider U.S. social standards would not regard this person as yet a woman. So I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t!
To censor, or not to censor — that is the question! (In the end, as you can see in the censored version, I decided to not censor; if you’re open-minded, you can take this to mean that I too am open-minded and oppose censorship; if you’re more old-fashioned, you can take this to mean that I think men are men, regardless of what they think they are. Whew! Wriggled my way out of that one.)
But I’m not safe for long: I’m immediately forced to confront another moral dilemma: How to document the fact that kids were present at this event and witnessing all the full-frontal nudity? Even though there would be “news value” in showing such pictures, there’s also a taboo against having kids and nudity in the same picture. So, to be prudent, I deleted almost all images that showed kids witnessing the goings-on, lest I set off alarms with the Internet Police. (I was also compelled to do this in all my previous “naked San Francisco” reports, of which there have been many.) As a compromise, I show here a guy who brought his months-old baby to the event. Fortunately, the kid seemed far too young to have any awareness of what was going on.
As one point, an unfortunate accidental photographic alignment seemed to show the kid grabbing the ding-dong of one of the riders; but it was all a foreshortening illusion — they were several yards apart.
Sunny day + no clothes = sunburn! So before departing, the participants lined up in a sunscreen elephant-train, lathering it on each other.
Almost time to go! The organizers handed out route maps to the riders: at noon they were all going to start biking around the entire city for several hours, shocking passersby and changing the world! (Notice the cigarillo the guy is smoking. Health!)
Time to pose for one last souvenir shot, to satisfy all the rubberneckers.
And we’re off! After a brief whirl around the plaza and through the craft booths, the riders made their way to the Embarcadero to start their ride along the waterfront.
Some old-school San Francisco natives encountered the lead bike with its sign and gestured at it in disgust. “C’mon, you bozos! You can’t be serious!”
Even this passing tourist cast a jaundiced eye on the proceedings.
As you can see, it was very male-centric at the San Francisco edition of the World Naked Bike Ride. But that’s not necessarily true at many of the other rides in other cities. The London World Naked Bike Ride, for example, is not only ten times the size of the S.F. ride, but is almost half female. And elsewhere in Europe and Australia you’ll find the event to be more gender-balanced.
Were any minds changed by this “protest”? Probably not. Were viable solutions proposed? Nope. Did people “make a statement”? Well, sure, but if your statement is little more than “Look at me, I’m naked!”, then it’s not very clear what you have achieved.
I’ve got a new photo essay up at Pajamas Media:
Even the smallest protest can hold surprises!
My latest, now up at PajamasMedia:
It’s a three-way combination post: An essay, a photo report, and someone else’s photo report, all fused into one unified experience.
A sample photo to whet your appetite:
All across the internet over the last few hours, liberal commenters and bloggers have fallen back on one of their most trusted logical arguments in situations like this in which a Democrat is caught in a sex scandal: “At least he’s not a hypocrite.”
This sampling of (unedited) comments taken from today’s New York Times‘ and San Francisco Chronicle’s articles about Anthony Weiner’s public confession are typical:
“Much to do about nothing. Please wake me up if you find out that he mishandled/stole taxpayer money, or had previously participated in some sort of moral clensing crusade.”
“Unless an elected official is a hypocrite (i.e., an anti-gay politician who espouses “family values” but solicits men for sex in public restrooms), I don’t care about his private life, including whether he sends naked pictures of himself to women who aren’t his wife.”
“I certainly find it reprehensible, particularly the lying. But he didn’t run on a Family Values moral superiority platform, like Ensign; there is less hypocracy and more simple stupidity here.”
A quick search of the liberal blogosphere and in the comments sections of MSM articles will turn up countless similar examples. If you spend any time on the Internet, you’ve undoubtedly encountered it yourself over and over, as others have noted. And it hasn’t just emerged in regards to Weinergate: It’s actually one of the bedrocks of the liberal worldview: Conservatives are hypocrites concerning moral issues, whereas liberals are not.
Which got me to thinking:
This has to be the weakest philosophical argument I’ve ever encountered.
Not just weak: self-extirpating.
If there ever was a moment to really dig down into the fundamental structure of this argument, this is it. So let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?
What liberals really really love about this stance is its climactic declaration: Our opponents are hypocrites!
Here is how the liberals present their case:
But what they don’t want you to think about — and what they themselves don’t even want to acknowledge — is that this “hypocrites” howl is the second half of a two-part argument. And in that second half, they are the victors. But in the first half….
Well, for the “at least we’re not hypocrites” sentiment to make sense, there must be an agreed-upon starting point — one which the liberals themselves are confirming each time they make this argument. And what must that starting point necessarily be? For conservatives to be hypocrites when they do something immoral, then that means they must profess a moral ideology in the first place. And — here’s the key — for the liberals to be let off the hook when they do something immoral, then that means they must profess an ideology with no moral claims whatsoever.
Thus, the diagram above only showed you the climactic second half of the liberals’ sleight-of-mind trick. The full statement — including the first half which you’re not supposed to think about — would be diagrammed like this:
Not quite so effective an argument when seen this way, is it?
Now, I’m not here to defend hypocrisy — I hate it as much as the next person. I’m only here to point out that in order to lay claim to their “but at least we’re not hypocrites” defense, liberals must necessarily paint themselves into an impossible corner, defining themselves as the ideology of amorality.
Remember, that’s not my characterization of liberalism — that’s liberals’ own characterization of themselves when they use this argument.
Does that mean that the “fallen conservative” is inherently more appealing or “superior” in some way to the “honestly amoral liberal”? No. It actually comes down to each voter’s preference.
Consider these two statements from two different potential husbands:
“I know I promised to stop drinking forever, honey, but I fell off the wagon again; please forgive me, and I’ll really really try to stay sober from now on, but no guarantees.”
“I’m a tertiary alcoholic, a stone-cold drunk; always have been, always will be. You’re not likely to ever see me sober. Take it or leave it.”
If you had to choose, which would you marry?
Obviously, neither is very appealing, but the liberal stance is that the second potential husband is preferable, because at least he’s honest. The conservative stance is: The first potential husband is preferable, because at least he’s trying.
Within the parameters of this “Hypocrisy Defense”…Which do you think the general public prefers: An ideology that at least tries to champion a moral code, but whose adherents sometimes fail to live up to it; or an ideology that by its own definition is inherently immoral and whose adherents don’t even have a moral code to violate?
The liberals are taking a HUGE gamble that a majority of Americans will throw in their lot with the party of immorality. But I have the feeling they’ve lost that bet — not just in Weinergate, but at a deep structural level in society for a long time to come.