Hosing Down

When the Schoolyard Ain’t Enough

I’ve become sick and tired of the surfeit of sexually oriented material that has crept into the chaste fiber of this column for far too long a time. Just as I seriously begin to wonder when it all might end, I’ve decided that occasionally I enjoy being sick and tired. So, on with the show; my defenses have once again collapsed and you’ve been warned.

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, pop singer and former Gossip Girl actress Taylor Momsen was asked, “Is it fun to see how shocked some people get when you take off your clothes [onstage and on her album cover], or is that reaction boring by now?”

Her response: “I’m hoping people don’t react, actually. We’re all naked when we’re born [Taylor is nothing if not well-read]. If you find it shocking, that’s your own perception. I don’t think John Lennon was trying to shock people when he was naked on Two Virgins. He was just trying to be as honest and raw as he could, and that’s what my intent is with nudity.”

The unnerving thing about Taylor Momsen is that, presumably, she recited this bull dookie with a straight face.

That’s right; her intent was honesty. Not the extra attention she would get from the press (not here, babe – I can’t be bought, I’m not about to… uh… oops…) not the increase in sales to pitiful perverts of both sexes, and certainly not for the about-to-be-revealed primary reason. No, it was all for honesty.

Taylor Momsen obviously is of the opinion that the public is comprised entirely of idiots. Some may feel she has a point there, but the existence of just one non-idiot blows her opinion all to heck. Today she has met the ultimate blower – I may be stupid; I may posess less intelligence than a retarded cabbage, but I’m no idiot.

Here’s some real honesty for you: Taylor Momsen is but the latest celebrity to benefit from the cultural loophole that allows actors, musicians, models, athletes, even politicians and other mutants to get away with something for which countless practitioners have been going to jail for centuries. Just like the stories of the creepy old coot “hanging out” over by the schoolyard, Taylor Momsen is first and foremost an exhibitionist. She gets off having people look at her when she’s naked, no buts about it. Well, actually, yeah, I guess her butt is involved. There I go, tripping over myself again. What an ass.

Stop it.

Let’s all be honest here. Surely we all have had at least one family member who got caught showing off his/her private business in public and ended up in the slammer and ultimately as a registered sex offender. Entire families have been known to have been busted for this offense – from the frisky grandparents all the way down to the littlest child, in some peoples’ imaginations – unless the offending family members were in show biz and actually got paid for doing it. It’s the unsung perk of fame, ladies and gentlemen, and today I’m shattering the silence and waving, wiggling, and wagging the real truth in your face.

This is beginning to excite me.

Let’s go back, for a moment, to that creepy old freak at the schoolyard. In deference to the fairer sex, let’s make him male and call him Wally. (The vast majority of schoolyard flashers are female, if wishes really do come true.) A good day for him can involve as little as one successful flash without getting caught. He’ll go home with a great sense of accomplishment.

Now compare the case of Taylor Momsen to Wally, and meet the unfathomable. Wally’s sense of accomplishment has in Taylor become nirvana. Thousands upon thousands of eyes have witnessed her nakedness; chances are that at any given moment, somewhere in the world, someone is looking at Taylor’s own nibblets and she doesn’t have a damn thing to worry about concerning the law. And this can go on for days, weeks, months… maybe she can reach the level of Lindsay Lohan or human rodent Paris Hilton and have millions of people begging for another look at her in the state in which she was born…. Celebrity exhibitionists are all living in what might be described as Flashers’ Heaven – the public honoring them and crying out words like “art” and “honest” and “brave.” They’re “surprising” and “candid” as they “bare more than their souls” and become “templates of freedom” through their “courage” as they offer the public their nude selves to worship. Flashers’ Heaven will continue to expand as long as there is narcissism and voyeurism in the world and the public continues to swallow all the arty justification of celebrities who live primarily to get off on themselves.

I love all those interviews with actresses when they’re asked how difficult it was doing their now-famous nude scene in that now-iconic film. They always respond by saying they appeared nude because that naked love scene was “essential” to the plot of the film and it was a “closed set” and she “trusted” the director. The truth is that nudity is never “essential” in a movie (but I thank God every day for it), a “closed set” still has you parading in front of five or ten necessary technicians, and this “trusted” cliché implies a delicacy in the actor’s character that simply does not exist. The whole thing’s undertaken so that millions of people will be looking at you naked. The more the merrier. (I am reminded of the Academy Awards show of a few years ago, when co-host Anne Hathaway continually plugged her own recently released motion picture and continually reminded the audience that she was nude in a lot of the film. What started out seeming quaint and humorous became bleaker, even pathetic as her own agenda became unmistakably naked.)

Smoke this, Taylor Momsen: John Lennon did it to shock people and to cause some global controversy and because he hadn’t sufficiently thought it out but primarily because he wanted the whole world to see him naked. He loved the thought of exposing his genitals to millions of people who would probably study them even after he was dead. He was a pretty perceptive fellow, as we all know, but, alas, thoroughly infected with Wally’s Disease.

I am certainly not saying that all nudity in the arts is deviant. In the same Two Virgins shots, Yoko Ono is equally nude. She was so righteously steeped in the avant garde by this time that I firmly believe she looked upon it as honest art. It was her sense of artistic intent and her always-unique, always-evolving vision that inspired me to accept an invitation for my own recent series of nudes. The Hose: Adonis in Surrender by noted photographer Gretchen Vellasquez recently completed a four-week exhibition at the Farnham Gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Seven of the prints are viewable at glasquezartes.com and may be ordered from that site. Buy several sets; great for grads and moms and the upcoming yuletide season. I’d be ever so grateful.

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