Monday, September 17, 2012

Royalty goes topless: a break from bleak reality

We interrupt the presidential election news to bring you this bulletin on the latest reports from what is now being called "The Royal Topless Scandal".   You know the story:  The Duchess of
Cambridge, a.k.a. Kate Middleton, was pictured in a magazine sunbathing topless.  And now the royal court is threatening a lawsuit. For Europeans, however, this is simply a  delicious diversion from the bleak world and morality has nothing to do with it.

Of course, if you've never visited Europe, you won't know that most of the Mediterranean beaches are open  to topless sunbathing women, some of them grandmothers. Most Europeans take such opportunities  for voyeurs and sun worshippers in stride.  I recall that when a priest in the Italian town of Monopoli on the Adriatic tried to clothe the bathers with bras, the townspeople were outraged by the potential loss of tourists and threatened to burn down the church.

Except for the royals, where it's one thing after another in the sniffiest  circles, nudity is not a big deal over there.  Maybe it's because the people have lived  since classical Greece  among towering naked  statues,  none more revealing than Michelangelo's David.  Nor for that matter, Georgione's masterful 16th Century painting, Sleeping Venus.  And so many others.

Still the Duchess' semi-exposure in France, Ireland and by a magazine owned by Silvio  Berlusconi (who else?)  brought down the wrath of Buckingham Palace.  After all, it was hardly the "wardrobe malfunction" that exposed Janet Jackson's nip during Super Bowl XXXVIII  on CBS.  (The FCC fined the network a half-million dollars, but later voided it. How can we ever forget?) In the latest faux-scandal, Middleton didn't malfunction, she intended to be braless.

Sometimes, it's important to skip the presidential campaigns, even the headless GOP ticket, for a moment or two to get to the real problems facing the world.

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