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Cleveland cops only cared that Tunick’s 100 naked women were not marching.


The Spencer Tunick naked women photo-op at the Cleveland RNC provided an interesting spectacle. One hundred nude women aimed large mirrors at the convention center to shine light on the retrograde sexism of the GOP. They also might have stroked Donald Trump’s ego with a news headline he’s sure to have appreciated: A HUNDRED NAKED WOMEN GREET TRUMP AT THE RNC. Leave it to the press to mistake petitioners for groupies. What happened next also illuminated exactly what’s wrong with orchestrated protest. Nothing. Nothing wrong.

Tunick sweated about getting arrested for his per-usual photo project “Everything She Says Means Everything.” He’d gotten permission from the property owners, and his mass nudity installations are not misunderstood to be gatherings of sex offenders, but the RNC cops did show up. Their visit shed light on the very element Tunick was missing.

Esquire Magazine described the brief artist v. officer cultural exchange:

As soon as the women get into place, a van pulls up with four cops. The driver says to one of Tunick’s assistants: “What’s going on here? I just wanted to make sure there was no marching. There’s not going to be any marching in my area.” Then, they shake hands, and he drives off.

There’s not going to be any marching in my area says a cop untrusted to shut down unpermitted protest. Because dissent was envisioned to get out of hand, the city of Cleveland decided to abridge it. My area, the cop bragged. What a shame no one had the clothes to challenge him.

Naked masses of people express what again? The philosophy escapes me. Naked supplicants remind me of how the ancient Greeks forbade their slaves to wear clothes lest they conceal themselves as citizens. Apropos to today’s nudes, Greek and Roman slaves were also shorn. Military detainees in modern times are still stripped to prevent their escape. By definition, naked people wield nothing. To uphold inequity, indeed to maximize inequity, leave the poor nothing.

To a middle class steeped in materialism, perhaps Spencer Tunic’s nudescapes commodify communal being-ness. I can’t help but think their sensationalization appeals to the prurient. To non-Americans this is FEMEN activism stripped to nudity.

Tunic’s remote “she says” transmission to the RNC, an aerial photobomb deploying no boots on the ground, there, recalls the fairytale emperor whose imaginary attire was woven of a similar lack of substance.

One thought on “Cleveland cops only cared that Tunick’s 100 naked women were not marching.

  1. mayhaps the anticipation of a strip search. Was it anywhere near a strip mall? the jokes write themselves.

    What doesn’t shine as funny is the cop declaring public property to be his own kingdom. They come up with the possessive a lot in their confrontations with those who don’t bow to worship them. My town, my cell, my day room, my this that and the other thing. They say it with a couple of other goons looking a lot like they’re trying to “mean mug” somebody. As backup.

    It’s a technique that lessens the perceived humanity of their victims.

    And they wonder why their profession doesn’t get respect.

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