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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Walk The Line, Naked: The Best in Public Indecency and Political Commentary

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 10:53 AM

In protest of the controversial French ban on Islamic religious attire in public places, two French women, one of them Muslim, recently began a -- well, the right noun here hasn't come to light yet, and may not exist -- called Niqabitch. That is, they put on niqabs, short-shorts and high heels and promenaded around Paris, mugging for onlookers and timidly getting up in one policeman's grill until his colleague fawningly asked to take a picture with them. Check out their video, to the strains of the Beastie Boys' "Hey Fuck You":

Unclear whether they'll repeat the [let's provisionally call it a] stunt or whether their point has been made. ("Unfortunately, on our stroll through the neighborhood of ministries we didn't cross any superstars of national politics," they write, "but we had a good time.") As political statements go, it's slightly more righteous than the incident in August when a group of thugs in niqabs stuck up a Marseilles supermarket at knifepoint. But as fashion and shock value go, it's pretty timid. For once, the French could learn something from us flabby Americans when it comes to the naked truth.

For starters, hard to beat Erykah Badu's notorious video for "Window Seat":

But it was inspired by Matt and Kim's "Lessons Learned":

Compared to which, similar efforts by Alanis Morissette, Lisa Stansfield and Blink 182 seem downright childish (although in the latter case that's admittedly the point).

Paris is no stranger to such stunts, at least in the last couple of years, but to call the video for Make the Girl Dance's "Baby Baby Baby" political agitation is to give it a little too much credit:

Frankly, you could argue that this Guitar Hero promo makes a more respectable statement.

So the gauntlet has been thrown down, Bay Area, along with the pants. What will Berkeley students get naked to protest? What can the Folsom Street Fair do to shake us from our political complacency? Don't tell us the World Naked Bike Ride and its protest of "our dependence on fossil fuel" is the best we can do. What else you got?

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Daniel Levin Becker


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