Misplaced outrage

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In an era of gotcha journalism and inflated outrage, politicians, bureaucrats and handlers - and the organizations employing or led by them - are in a race to ensure they seem sufficiently upset when “infractions” of polite behaviour make headlines.

What am I talking about? Nudity, and the floundering employers and moral gatekeepers who think they’re tasked with policing the naked body in an era when nakedness has never been more rampant in popular media.

A police officer in San Francisco is in trouble because his off-duty hobby is photography: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/photography/2012/08/san_francisco_police_officer_gared_hansen_fights_for_his_right_to_take_nude_fantasy_photos_.html

I'm a strong civil libertarian, and I want robust checks on police powers. I can’t say, though, that I feel any discomfort about a police officer taking pictures of sexy sorceresses. Consenting adults, and all that.

A Republican congressman had to apologize to his constituents because he went skinny dipping in Israel: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2190810/Republican-congressman-apologises-skinny-dip-Kevin-Yoder-sorry-naked-jump-drunken-Israel-trip.html

Um, who cares? If he was getting liquored on the public dime, that’s an issue. Swimming without his clothes is nobody’s business. What’s the new policy: “Elected officials shall never doff their garments to engage in a swim”. I don’t even care if it was technically illegal. Bunch of overstarched puritans.

And, of course, there’s Prince Harry, in trouble for being naked in a Vegas hotel room – like you’re supposed to be anything else when you’re in a Vegas hotel room! But most English newspapers have complied with a royal request not to publish the photos: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Scandal+loving+British+newspapers+steer+clear+naked+Prince+Harry+photos/7136282/story.html

The question is: Who is really upset by these things? Anyone? This outrage – mostly faked, I think – is completely out of step with modern culture. The goal of civil society shouldn’t be to make everything as blandly inoffensive as possible. Offended by nudity? Better not look in the mirror after you shower, then.

You know what offends me? This: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/24/youre-pregnant-now-sign-this-petition-group-criticizes-doctors-who-encourage-patients-to-sign-anti-cutbacks-letter/

Its subtle coercion just makes it all the more repugnant. The OMA and Dr. Doug Weir owe Ontarians a genuine apology.

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