A crank is a person who is angry and offended by something that everybody else accepts or even desires.
It seems nobody agrees with me on some issues. That makes me a crank. There’s no getting away from it.
It has recently been brought to my attention, or more correctly my awareness, through conversations within my family, that I am the only one who is offended by the concept of laws against public nudity. This isn’t because I wish to, as my sister would put it, prance around in the nude. It’s simply because being told that I will go to jail if I try it says that there is something wrong with my body, something unacceptable, probably located in the genital area.
“Indecent exposure” is itself an indecent concept.
But okay, I’m not completely alone here, though I lack the commitment of Stephen Gough, the naked rambler.
Mr. Gough walked naked from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 2003-2004 and again in 2005-2006.
He’s been repeatedly arrested, and is currently serving 6 years in jail for appearing in public naked. That is so very fucked up.
I wish I had the guts to walk across my country to show solidarity with Stephen Gough.
But back to my original point – Stephen Gough is a crank and so am I. This is apparent because there’s been no widespread campaign to have him released, no embarrassment in the culture for treating him so shamelessly. The vast majority of people seem to think that public nudity, which really harms nobody, is quite rightfully illegal. People who offend us with their naked bodies deserve to be in jail.
Stephen Gough does have his fans and his defenders. The Hebden Bridge Eccentrics turned out naked, or mostly naked, in solidarity.
But it’s far from a general outcry. I am truly offended. I am furious. Stephen Gough decided to fight one of the stupidest of our taboos. He’s harmed nobody, but society feels justified in putting him in jail for what could be life. By what right? This is abuse of the law, using it to enforce the preferences of the majority.
New York recently declared that women have the right to appear topless in public. I want the right to appear bottomless in public. There is nothing obscene about my body, or yours.
This is a freedom of expression issue that should be important to everybody. But only cranks like me and Stephen Gough care.
Maybe someday I’ll write up a sign to carry, strip off my clothes, and show my true colours. It’s tempting, but I really don’t want the attention right now.