Is it because he's from Texas, because he's a Republican, because he's an evangelical, or because he's just begging to be lampooned? Hard to tell with this guy:
Washington is a town filled with boobs.
"Overflowing," I might have said. Assholes, too.
They're everywhere, from the bare-breasted ladies who decorate the fountain at Dupont Circle to the peekaboo statue in the Justice Department's Great Hall to the countless nudes in our museums.
They're also on the chests of the prostitutes who attend certain Republican lawmakers.
But while those of us who live here hardly blink at the public nudity, it can shock some of our visitors.
Especially those from places where there's more oil than enlightenment, like Saudi Arabia and Texas.
Such was the case for Robert Hurt, who last week tried to add the issue of artistic indecency in the nation's capital to the platform of the Texas GOP.
Do you get the impression that the Texas GOP has too much time on its hands?
"You don't have nude art on your front porch," the Dallas Morning News quoted the delegate as telling the platform committee at the state party convention.
Some front porches should definitely be nude. But anyway, my mother's neighbors have a fountain with sculpted nude women in their front yard--does that count?
"So why is it important to have that in the common places of Washington, D.C.?
Umm, maybe because the human form has been the subject of some of the greatest art Western civilization has produced in the last 5,000 years? That's just a guess. Apparently, though, western civilization is not a big hit back in Texas.
Hurt, 54, a Kerrville, Tex., rancher and father of 14, told us in a phone interview he first came to Washington a decade ago for a gathering of the evangelical Promise Keepers on the Mall.
Wait a minute--father of 14? That explains everything. Poor guy is probably so terrified of reminders of female fecundity he can't bear it.
"It was probably not much different than 'The Beverly Hillbillies' going to Beverly Hills," he joked.
At the National Gallery, he was appalled to see statues of unclothed people. "I found it very inappropriate," he said.
Right, who would ever expect to find nude statues in a museum? Shocking.
Returning a few years later, he discovered Arlington Memorial Bridge, flanked by the bare-chested figures of Valor and Sacrifice.
Nice use of the verb "discovered," as if Hurt were starring in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Naked Knockers.
"The Lady Godiva thing -- that's what it conjured up, and that's not what our country's about," he said.
He's right about that. Lady Godiva was a liberal activist who rode naked through the streets of Coventry, England in order to protest the excessive rents her own husband was charging his tenants. Indeed, that's not what our country's about; here, we'd just evict the damned tenants and refer them to faith-based organizations for help.
Hurt notified his elected officials of his concerns but believes nothing was done.
What a surprise
While he said he respects free speech, "I believe art affects a country indirectly. I have been studying the decline of morals in this country. It's sending the wrong message to children that nudity is fine, that nakedness is fine. . . . There are degrees of vulgarity, and it opens up the door for the other stuff."
Yeah, one look at a Giambologna and the next thing you know your kids will be surfing the net for bukkake and scat. How awful that kids might grow up to think that "nakedness is fine."
The platform committee did not adopt Hurt's recommendation on Washington nudity (nor his proposal to extend the 22nd Amendment -- presidential term limits -- to spouses). But Hurt said he'll pursue the issue, possibly with another trip here to videotape the evidence. "I'm not going to stop until I succeed. I'm prepared for a long fight.
Yeah, him and Plato.
(h/t to Atrios)