If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a smirk by a broadcaster during a national newscast worth? How much damage might it do if it is making light of people, particularly nudists?
I asked myself these questions after watching the CBC National newscast on Monday night. One of the last stories read by host Wendy Mesley was about a recent report on bad behaviour in Canada’s national parks.
Other media outlets had reported on it during the past few days, too. Parks Canada manages some 46 national parks, 171 historic sites, four marine conservation areas and an urban park. As part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, entrance fees are being waived this summer, and attendance is expected to soar, along with the list of ticketable infractions.
The Parks Canada report featured a list of common infractions between May 2009 and March 2015, with “liquor/noise/campground” disturbances at the top with 5,282 incidents, followed by “illegal camping/camping without a permit” at 4,336 incidents, “illegal hunting/fishing/poaching” at 2,574 incidents and so on and so on.
Way down near the bottom of the list is “Nudism” at 48 incidents.
That’s 48 incidents of people being ticketed in Canada’s national parks over a six-year period, i.e. about 8 people a year.
So, why is that small number worthy of being highlighted in headlines by some media outlets?
And why did Wendy Mesley and the people who write the news stories she reads to millions of Canadians feel it was worthy of mentioning on the air last night?
And why did she feel the need to smirk when she mentioned that fact at the end of the Parks Canada report?
I know the answers, and so do most — if not all — of my naturism readers here. Many media people, and the outlets they serve, do not taken naturism and its practitioners seriously. They think social nudism is funny, something to make light of, the same way people use to make light of gay men once upon a time — i.e. a time when people smirked when they saw effeminate men or a gay couple.
Nudism is not part of today’s politically correct world yet. People feel they can openly make light of nudists, even mock them. You would think that the mockers never take their clothes off.
I suppose it is a reflection of their hangups and lack of body acceptance. That is probably the root of this particular evil. But it is also a reflection of their ignorance, that they give no thought to the damage they do to naturists when they make light of them on such platforms.
Of course, we know that there is nothing funny about punishing people for celebrating nudism in a national park. It is, in fact, persecution. Nudists are among the most oppressed people on the planet — if they come out of the proverbial closet in areas that have not been specifically delegated as “clothing optional.”
Instead of making light of the 48 who were ticketed for being naked in Canada’s parks, a serious journalist might have delved deeper into the subject, and asked why taxpaying naturists are not allowed to be naked in a national park? They might ask why Parks Canada is discriminating against naturists?
The CBC National newscast was not alone in playing up the “nudists” angle in their Parks Canada reports. Many print outlets had the word “nudists” or “nudism” in their headlines, too, — with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge (click bait) angle. (And, lordy, just what is so fucking funny about nudism, anyway! Are these journalists so friggin’ juvenile!? Grow up, folks!)
But there was no click value for Wendy Mesley and the CBC National news on Monday night.
It was a cheap smirk and a cheap shot.
Photo: CBC News logo. (Wikimedia Commons)