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Good nudes

BY BEAU ELLIOT | SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 7:20 AM

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This probably qualifies as irony — though I realize so little does, despite what hipsters, sportswriters, and sportscasters would have you believe.

(Especially sportscasters and sportswriters. What is it with them and the English language? Do they still need introductions?)

There is a race building among Russia, Canada, the United States, Iceland, Norway, and perhaps others to explore for oil and gas in the newly melting areas of the Arctic Ocean; experts in the field, according to BBC Radio, think that perhaps 25 percent of the world's undiscovered lies beneath the Arctic Ocean.

(My copy of The American Heritage Dictionary, which has a copyright date of 1997, defines the Arctic Ocean as "The waters surrounding the North Pole between North America and Eurasia; covered year-round by pack ice." Yes, you're right; that semicolon shouldn't be there. And "covered year-round by pack ice" seems, well, quite quaint.)

The reason — unless your name is Sarah Palin — that these oil fields have become available is global climate change, which is causing the melting in the Arctic Ocean. (Sarah — can you see Arctic melting from your porch? Oh, you didn't put your glasses on.)

And that melting is caused in large part by burning petroleum products.

So we create global climate change by burning fossils fuels, the Arctic ice caps melt, and, presto, whizzo, we get to find some more fossil fuels that we can burn and create some more global climate change. Oh, cool.

This will work out quite well, I'm sure.

I'd like to take this moment to say adieu to the Maldives. It's been really nice knowing you — not that, well, very many of us did.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (not that we were considering salad dressing, exactly, though we'll probably soon start making salad dressing out of petroleum byproducts — if we haven't been already, given the taste of some), apparently there are some nude paintings at the UI.

Well, STOP THE PRESSES.

(OK, these days, that should probably be STOP THE BLOGGERS, but it's impossible to stop the bloggers. It's like the old story — quite possibly untrue, like so many fish stories — of fishermen trying to stop starfish infestations by chopping off their legs and tossing them back into the sea — the starfish legs, not the fishermen's legs. In either case, neither works. Each chopped-off starfish leg grows into a new starfish and multiplies the starfish population several-fold [talk about getting a leg up], which, of course, is not quite what the fishermen had in mind. The same does not quite occur with chopped-off fishermen's legs, it turns out. So let me be the first to say: Fishermen, do not chop off your legs in hopes of increasing the fisherman population. There's a far better way to increase your population, and one day, Republicans willing, we'll be able to tell you about it.)

Nudes, of course, have been the subject of Western art for at least a few hundred years. édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe (1862-63) comes to mind for no particular reason (the title translates loosely as Expose Republican Puritans, which you may take any way you wish).

This apparently comes as news to Ocheyedan, Iowa, which is represented by state Sen. David Johnson, a Republican. He told the Press-Citizen last week that the two UI nudes were "borderline pornography." And we all know how Republicans feel about borderlines.

No nudes are good nudes is apparently Johnson's view. Not that he actually saw the two paintings in Calvin Hall by undergraduate Lisa Rowley. He saw an e-mailed photo.

Well, given that Johnson obviously has an e-mail account, and given that we appreciate art in this community, I think we should all e-mail Johnson and tell him what truly is "borderline pornography":

The dearth of state funding for Iowa's public universities.


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