Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Right To Bare Everything

Freedom is on trial this week. We all know the outlines. The overbearing, increasingly tyrannical government is attempting to crush the liberty of the people by violating the inalienable right for choice in one’s most personal affairs. Nothing less than the fundamental relationship between the state and it’s citizenry hangs in the balance.

No, I’m not talking about Obamacare and the right of people to make their own health care choices. I’m talking about something more important, the upcoming trial in Minneapolis about the right of a University of Minnesota teacher to stroll around in public without his clothes on.

The facts of the case are these and they are not in dispute:

Shortly before 3 p.m. July 10, [Officer Danny Kagol] and another officer were patrolling Sweeney Beach, located on Twin Lake, the smaller of a pair of lakes between Hwy. 100 and Theodore Wirth Parkway on the Minneapolis-Golden Valley border. They spotted [Patrick] Scully walking toward the shoreline.

"As I continued to observe Scully, I was able to see that he was wearing no clothing. I was able to clearly see his penis as he walked to shore," the report read.

Silver lining: if you have to be written up in a police report for indecent exposure, the emphasis on being able to “clearly see” your equipment is better than, “he was wearing no clothing, but I couldn't detect anything.”

The defendant Scully has never denied he was in a state of undress while in public. His defense relies on a more creative theory.

Scully, a longtime performance artist and crusader for an au naturel lifestyle, says it's art -- an extension of his vision to live in a world where we're no longer afraid of our bodies.

If his public nude exploits are art, it would shock me if he’s not receiving a generous public subsidy from the MN Legacy Fund.

His plea for us to not fear our bodies reminds me of a scene from the Seinfeld episode, The Subway. Jerry wakes up on the subway next to a Patrick Scully fellow traveler.

JERRY: O-K. You realize of course, you're naked?

NAKED MAN: Naked, dressed. I don't see any difference.

JERRY: You oughta' sit here. There is a difference.

NAKED MAN: You got something against naked body?

JERRY: I got something against yours. How about a couple of deep knee bends, maybe a squat thrust?

NAKED MAN: I'm not ashamed of my body.

JERRY: That's your problem, you should be.

More information to better understand the context of Scully’s behavior:

Scully, who teaches English as a Second Language at the University of Minnesota, has performed as an artist since 1976 and once considered a run for mayor, said he's not a pot-stirrer without reason. You'll never find him strolling naked down Nicollet Mall, for example. His performances are generally limited to the stage, or to the homes of friends or other supporters.

Reminder: never accept an invitation to a house warming party from a friend or supporter of Patrick Scully.

"In the big picture, I think that we fear our bodies, and we live in a society in which people are easily manipulated by fear," he said. "Governments since at least Julius Caesar have been aware of that."

"I believe that you have to be the change that you want to see in the world," said Scully, a 6-foot-7 dancer, founder of Patrick's Cabaret and outspoken gay rights activist.

Be the change? If there’s ever a movie made about this important case, I know what the theme song will be:

Be the Change (JB Doubtless, 2008, NARN First Team Productions)

In a world where people were gripped with fear of their bodies, a 6’7” dancer/college professor changed everything. By wearing nothing at all. Be the change. Frolicking toward your local theater, Summer 2013.