The other day a headline in USA-Today caught my eye. It was entitled Naked TV Taking Off. There seems to be a plethora of participants sans clothes programming under the heading of Reality TV that tapes middle age men and women in various motifs trying to act natural.
According to journalist Ann Oldenburg as Survivor, the granddaddy of all survival reality game shows, kicks off its 28th season Wednesday (8 p.m. ET/PT), a new wave of survival-TV series is rolling in. Among them: Fox plans a show that will play out over the course of a year; a second season of Discovery’s titillating Naked and Afraid arrives in March; and Syfy’s Opposite Worlds gets ready to crown a winner.
Each episode chronicles the lives of two survivalists—a man and a woman—who meet for the first time and are given the task of surviving a stay in the wilderness naked for 21 days. After they meet in the assigned locale, the partners must find and/or produce water, food, shelter, and clothing within the environment.
The events of each couple’s quest play out in a single episode. Partners strip down and meet each other. They are provided with rough cross-body satchels containing a personal diary/camera—for use when the camera crew is not there at night—and a map. They all wear identical necklaces with a center bead, which is a microphone, and some personal jewelry is allowed.
I saw a two-minute clip of this show and it was tame by anybody’s standards. Sure there are a lot of bare bottoms but any hint of genitalia is blocked by mysterious white light balloon, giving lie to the advertisement that this is a reality show.
The above article also pointed out: We’ve got The Bachelor. And we’ve got Naked and Afraid. So why not mesh the two?
VH1 has just announced it has given the green light to Naked Dating, a one-hour weekly series that will explore the art of romance free of pre-conceived notions, stereotypes — and clothes.
No jewelry, no phones and no conventions of society to get in the way.
Each episode is its own date, following a man and a woman as they each date two different suitors. At the end of the episode, the two will analyze what they’ve learned and decide on whether or not to move forward with their prospective love matches.
But of course this will all be done in an exotic locale and everyone will be naked.
I even found a website devoted to Naked Yoga.
On the surface all this appears to be innocent and relatively harmless.
I know that many will signal this as further proof that Western Civilization as we once knew it has officially ended. Nudity is everywhere–stage, art galleries,dance recitals, theater and movie theaters.
Perhaps something different is going on. During my formal history studies I learned of the Pendulum theory, which held that life and history are always changing. Both are in a constant state of flux, heading into the future.
When it comes to ideas, trends, fads and historical movements at some point it will reach its end and start coming back to the other direction.
Now this is not a perfect theory when applied to American social mores but it does offer some insight.
Our society has become so satiated in a sewer of pornography and perversion that it has suffered an overload that threatens the emotional stability of millions of Americans and their families.
Since the human body has been a battleground for many of these searches, what better place to look for the harmony of body and soul that seems to have vanished from our culture.
According to Bobby Schindler’s article on the legal murder of his sister Terry Schiavo, namely the Dehydration Death of a Nation, …we have become a nation that spends billions trying to find the perfect while ignoring the condition of our collective soul.
Perhaps the pendulum has gone as far as it can go. Just maybe this flood of naked TV programs that do not seem to appeal to the prurient interests of men and even some women will help them extricate themselves from the moral morass that has entangled their souls.
During the 16th century Western culture suffered an overload of rituals and devotions to the human soul that furthered devalued the importance of the human body.
In this ignoble attempt its leader saw fit to throw the body’s Creator out with the medieval bath water of Puritanism, Jansenism and Gnosticism—all which thought the body was an evil mechanism created in the devil’s workshop fraught with temptation, sin and eternal death.
This situation gave birth to the Enlightenment that led to Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey and the so-called sexual revolution that threw the human soul out the window.
What we are experiencing now is their thinking taken to its inevitable logical conclusions of sexual excess, and perversion.
Both these historical events appear as a complete rejection of the perfect union of man’s body and soul into one indivisible human being,
Perhaps Naked Yoga with its visible pudenda and phalli is a new attempt to bring the body back to its Edenic status and total integration.
I think this was signaled in Saint John Paul II’s work of the Theology of the Body, which sought to bring back a human way at looking at the human body.
Saint JP II urged people to treat the bodies of others as being a person and not a thing.
I have not seen a truer indictment of America’s culture of death than this basic statement.
Along similar lines there is the story of Junior Lindsey Stocker, who failed a dress code check at Beaconsfield High School in Quebec.
Stocker tried to explain: when I started explaining why I didn’t understand that rule, they didn’t really want to hear anything I had to sa… I felt very attacked …adding that many of the rules in the dress code appear to specifically target girls.
She left the classroom and printed off about 20 posters inspired by an image on Tumblr that read: Don’t humiliate her because she is wearing shorts. It’s hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects” and posted them around the school.
In my opinion her shorts were not immodest or suggestive.
This is the pure personalism of the late saintly pope. Her adult message to schools was that they should teach boys to respect their female classmates as persons and not sexual objects.
Perhaps Naked Yoga and the naked TV shows are secular attempts to tap into this corporal theology.
If one looks at these men and women in their natural state doing nothing more than very athletic yoga exercises, one should be thinking along with the pope and see them, not as naked objects but as beautiful creations—all made in the image and likeness of God.
According to Saint John Paul II this by no means signifies that impurity of body is identified simply with partial or total nudity. There are circumstances in which nudity is not impure. If someone uses it to treat the person as an object of pleasure – even if it is by bad thoughts – he alone is the one who commits an impure act. Impurity of body only occurs when nudity plays a negative role with respect to the value of the person. One can say that what happens then is a de-personalization….
I think the bifurcation of man’s body and soul probably happened during the days of St. Augustine. He had been a subscriber to the Manichean heresy in the 5th century that saw the human body as detestable and a vehicle for temptation, sin and eternal punishment.
Many of the hang-ups good Catholics suffered from and still may suffer from can date back to this time.
Of course this does not mean that we should deny sin and that we are free to express our sexuality in any way that we wish.
Sin flourishes when we treat others as things!
The truth of these words was echoed in an interview of Glenn Beck on Fox recently where the social commentator said, religion teaches us to love people and use things. Today’s society teaches us to love things and use people.
If a woman saw a man as an individual, she would not flaunt her sexuality in his face but dress with a modesty that flatters her entire body without emphasized her erotic zones.
What we need today is a healthy attitude toward the human body. If humans, especially the sexually high-wired American male can ever learn to substitute love and appreciation for women and their bodies the world would be a nicer place and we would all be that much closer to Eden.