Archive for Monday, March 31, 2003

Prudery attack

March 31, 2003


To the editor:

State Sen. Susan Wagle's attack on prize-winning Kansas University professor Dennis Dailey is an expression of individual prudery in the spirit of U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's decision to install curtains (at taxpayers' expense) to conceal the breasts on a marble statue of the Spirit of Justice.

When did human nudity, and especially child nudity, become obscene? Wagle claims, "Anyone else downloading pictures of the genitals of children would be prosecuted." This is patently false. What about art historians, anthropologists, nurses, and parents? The sculptures and paintings of the Renaissance, including Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, are replete with depictions of the penis and testicles of the infant Jesus. Is it only girl's genitals that are considered "obscene"? There have been photos of naked children in the pages of National Geographic, Life, TIME and Newsweek for decades.

Most human societies allow small children to be seen unclothed in warm weather. It is in the interest of public health to provide everyone with resources about healthy and unhealthy genitals, especially children's. It is also in the community's interest to provide access to a complete and informed education about human sexuality. When President Bush is quoted in TIME magazine (3/31/03, p. 173) as saying "F___ Saddam, we're taking him out," it is clear that Sen. Wagle's assertion of "community standards" of obscenity are absurd.

John W. Hoopes,


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