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May 3, 2010 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Despite irrefutable video evidence of the incident, Erykah Badu pleads not guilty to indecency charges.
posted by djduckie (106 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not Guilty doesn't mean "I didn't do it". It's more like "Try to convict me without my assistance".
posted by squalor at 7:20 PM on May 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


Also, she didn't plead not guilty of being naked. She pleaded not guilty of being indecent.
posted by qvantamon at 7:22 PM on May 3, 2010 [39 favorites]


To be fair, Eykah Badu's recent shows are reason enough to keep her going. She's a national treasure and should be allowed to do whatever she wants.
posted by The Whelk at 7:23 PM on May 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, i love erykah badu, that's why i posted this, i just wanted the FPP to sound snappy. Also, I have no idea about law. Even simple everyone should know law, and I think it's messed up that they had to hunt down people to make the complaint.
posted by djduckie at 7:23 PM on May 3, 2010


Also, she didn't plead not guilty of being naked. She pleaded not guilty of being indecent.

She was naked in public, and unless her crew cleared the area of children and anyone who could possibly be offended, (they didn't) once a complaint was logged, the law appears to be against her.

Disorderly conduct, Texas penal code:
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
...
(10) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act

posted by zarq at 7:27 PM on May 3, 2010


I wasn't aware she'd shown her anus in the video.
posted by item at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


...and last time I checked, pubic hair is not the same as genitals.
posted by item at 7:31 PM on May 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


She pleaded not guilty of being indecent

Your honour, I present as evidence Blues Brothers 2000. The prosecution rests.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:31 PM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the authorities are at all intelligent, they won't convict her. It isn't very hard to imagine what might happen should some of Erykah's more thoughtful and creative fans choose to protest a court's decision against her.
posted by koeselitz at 7:32 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a certain irony here that people who didn't want to see a naked Erykah Badu are pressing charges while thousands of people on the Web who do want to see a naked Erykah Badu get the pixellated version.
posted by lore at 7:34 PM on May 3, 2010 [30 favorites]


To be fair, if you only know her from On And On, you would have missed the fact that Erykah Badu has been going slowly, without any fuss, completely, wonderfully insane in her albums and live shows.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wish I had those five minutes of my life back. Really, what a waste of pixels.
posted by spicynuts at 7:40 PM on May 3, 2010


exposes his anus or genitals

well the law says 'his' and unless there was a penis hiding behind those pixels, the person in question is a 'her' so she's safe.
posted by spicynuts at 7:41 PM on May 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wasn't aware of this video, and I like Erykah Badu.

That's some seriously brave art. It's very real, powerful and poignant. If you haven't walked down the street and thought about throwing away all your clothes at least once I'll argue that you're not paying attention and are possibly not sane.
posted by loquacious at 7:42 PM on May 3, 2010 [12 favorites]


The Whelk: "To be fair, Eykah Badu's recent shows are reason enough to keep her going. She's a national treasure and should be allowed to do whatever she wants."

QFT
posted by shakespeherian at 7:43 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


...and last time I checked, pubic hair is not the same as genitals.

Have you found a non-censored version of the video online that proves her labia were covered by public hair? If so, please share with the group. :)
posted by zarq at 7:44 PM on May 3, 2010


It was all done in post. Erica wasn't even there!
posted by delmoi at 7:45 PM on May 3, 2010


Erica wasn't even there!

True. Erykah was.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:49 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


you would have missed the fact that Erykah Badu has been going slowly, without any fuss, completely, wonderfully insane in her albums and live shows.

Oh sigh.
posted by jokeefe at 7:50 PM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think the suit is ridiculous, but not nearly as ridiculous as the video. I mean, if you're ripping off someone else (even with a nod to them)... well, what's the point?
posted by dobbs at 7:51 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a pretty big non-controversy to me.

Is it awesome that she's brave with her art, and taking power over the way in which her body is exposed, and in a fashion that isn't "Let's do a Playboy shoot, oh I'm so naughty! tee hee"? Yes.
Is it also illegal and probably will get her prosecuted? Yes.
Did it hurt anyone, really? No. ("ZOMG! Scarred for life by ladybits!")

I'm glad she's serious about her art, and I hope she keeps making awesome music.
posted by yeloson at 7:59 PM on May 3, 2010


[Like half the goddam comments removed. Please feel free to stay out of a thread if all you have to say is that (a) you don't know who that is or that (b) you think they should be beaten to death. For fuck's sake.]
posted by cortex at 8:02 PM on May 3, 2010 [57 favorites]


If you believe the video is irrefutable, I have a little film called 'Forrest Gump' you should check out. It's the irrefutable story of a man and all the famous people he met.
posted by mullingitover at 8:06 PM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's my understanding that (1) under the plain language of the statute, proving her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt won't be difficult, and (2) if convicted, she will be fined not more than $500. So I guess I'm curious: Does anybody here seriously think she shouldn't be convicted? (And when I say "seriously," I mean, for a more legitimate reason than simply, "Because she is Erykah Badu.")
posted by cribcage at 8:09 PM on May 3, 2010


As far as the "anus and genitals" portion of the law: unless she bent over and spread her butt cheeks, and/or splayed her legs open to show anything beyond the labia, she's not guilty, at least on a technicality.
posted by amyms at 8:23 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does anybody here seriously think she shouldn't be convicted?

I seriously think no one should have to pay $500 for taking their clothes off, yes.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:25 PM on May 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


I bet she factored the $500 into the filming budget right from the beginning. Chump change for her. And she's challenging the charge not because she thinks she has a chance, but because it's more free publicity and notoriety. More power to her.

I'm not a criminal lawyer, but I think this would be the easiest part of the law to challenge: "is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act". Offended or alarmed by whose standards - and if it's community standards, would that particular community be offended by tasteful nudity for the sake of a work of art in progress? And was she being reckless in assuming otherwise? etc.
posted by naju at 8:25 PM on May 3, 2010


I remember reading somewhere that a woman in Michigan was acquitted of indecent exposure because the law specifically forbade display of "genital organs", and when the judge pressed the arresting officer on the point, he was forced to admit that, as the woman was standing upright and presumably unshaven, he was not in fact able to view her "genital organs" at any time.

However I'm unable to google this story up so it's possible I'm mis-remembering it.

Maybe Erykah's hoping for a judge with the same attitude. :)
posted by edheil at 8:26 PM on May 3, 2010


jokeefe: “Oh sigh.

Do you really think she'd be regarded as less insane, in this instance, if she'd been male? I think the assumed crazy-quotient would have been much, much higher. I'd say it's about 50/50 whether hypothetical-he would be preparing a defense for some sort of trumped up sex crime charge. I'm not sure that the ability to walk around Dallas naked without people thinking "whoa, call the cops, that guy is off his meds" is included in the invisible knapsack.

Of course, it does brings up other questions: would a male artist of the same stature have felt it necessary to get naked to make the video go viral? if he had done it regardless, would the video have had the same success?
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:26 PM on May 3, 2010


I mean, if you're ripping off someone else (even with a nod to them)

The first three seconds have the legend "INSPIRED BY MATT AND KIM". Additionally, according to an interview with Matt:

"She’s an artist that I respect and like and before she made the video I got a call from her and we talked about it for a little bit. We talked about the bigger picture she saw of this to expand out to be like… for more people to try this.

"I definitely respect that she gave us credit by putting our name in her video, rather than just making the video and not giving us credit. I think she did the video in the right spirit as we talked and more than just shock value. There was a bigger idea for the whole thing. In the end it’s an element of flattery, as the person who came up with the idea and the person who did it. But, there is a certain side that’s like well, that was something we have done… (Chuckles)"

posted by dhartung at 8:27 PM on May 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Does anybody here seriously think she shouldn't be convicted? (And when I say "seriously," I mean, for a more legitimate reason than simply, "Because she is Erykah Badu.")

Agreed. If this was some old, gross, cracked out guy walking around naked near kids and taping it, I don't think anyone would be objecting to prosecution.

Not checking with the local government about your video production to make sure all the relevant permits are in place and that you aren't going to be doing anything wrong is part of any responsible shoot. If you choose to skip your due diligence and end up breaking the law, that's unfortunate, but your fault.
posted by Menthol at 8:29 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


i wish she hadn't used the word "telepathically" quasi-seriously in her interview.

because she otherwise could have made a great statement about everyone is so afraid of our bodies and sexuality that children might be scarred for life by seeing a naked woman.

or something. it's late and my rhetoricfeministliberalsomethingfilter is not working properly.

but seriously what the hell? i'd like to know if the people who are complaining also have Cosmo lying around the house or if they shield their children's eyes everytime there's an underwear ad is on TV.

someone upthread said at something about how she at least wasn't being all playboy about it. cause yeah, really, the last thing our body image obsessed little girls need to see is a confident attractive woman naked in non-sexualized, perhaps even artful way.

can't there be something pleasant in a pleasing body without it being sexual? when people turn it into something sexual, you end up with all this mess. this shouldn't even be a news story, but for the quasi-puritanical finger pointers who were brought up to be super anxious about their bodies and sex and never learned there was a difference. (speaking from the experience of being raised catholic in a deargodcoverthenakedness household.)

good night. outrage was last thing keeping eyes open.
posted by sio42 at 8:30 PM on May 3, 2010


If you believe the video is irrefutable, I have a little film called 'Forrest Gump' you should check out.

And if you believe a little film called "Forrest Gum" exists, you might want to know about the writings of Descartes on solipsism, which may only exist in your mind.

Sheesh.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:33 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The charge is neither indecency nor public nudity, it is disorderly conduct. Unless the law or precedence has changed from my wild days in the 70's, it is an established fact that pubic hair constitutes "being covered" for a woman in Texas. (Men are out of luck.) Disorderly conduct is the preferred tool for enforcing the matter (or occasionally "disrupting traffic"). Disorderly conduct, however, is a much more subjective matter than "Is she naked or not?"
posted by pbrim at 8:33 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


posted by zarq Disorderly conduct, Texas penal code:
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
(10) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act


Ladies and gentleman of the jury, regardless of whether you think this was art, or a music video, or nothing more than a beautiful woman stripping off her clothing in the middle of Dealey Plaza, the fact remains that the people of the great state of Texas don't want to be exposed to anus.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:35 PM on May 3, 2010


Hmm. The irresistable force of sex offender status vs. the immovable object of clear artistic intent. This should be interesting.
posted by effugas at 8:41 PM on May 3, 2010


I like how there's a guy in the background gathering the clothes she drops, and he get picks up three things before realizing she's shooting a video and gives up.
posted by hellojed at 8:42 PM on May 3, 2010


Plus, she's been legitimately famous for like, 13 years now.
posted by naju at 8:48 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's see Lady Googoo-Gaga do THIS!
posted by ReeMonster at 8:50 PM on May 3, 2010


She'd probably be better off pleading No Contest and paying the fine than paying legal fees trying to fight it.

As pointed out, she's not actually fighting it. She's simply pleading "not guilty" so that she has a "trial" and gets much more than $500 worth of publicity. Hell, $500 is probably worth Metafilter alone! If this didn't happen, it'd just be another music video that a lot of us wouldn't watch. I didn't even know Erykah Badu was still around.
posted by explosion at 9:08 PM on May 3, 2010


I might have heard the name somewhere, but if you had asked me to tell you who Erykah Badu is, I'd be at a loss for words (and I'm not middle age). If a person hasn't heard of her, it doesn't mean she isn't any less interesting to those folks who have heard of her (which is what I perceived Huron Bob to be saying in his second to last post).

I wasn't really impressed by the music, but hip hop or whatever genre it falls into isn't my cup of tea, either. The artistic appeal of stripping down naked in a public place (where JFK was shot) and feigning being shot is loss on me. To the uninitiated, it does come off a lot like a stunt, particularly since she's intent on contesting the misdemeanor charge against her. Having read up on the song and her intent, I can't say it doesn't still come off as stunt, as JFK's assassination certainly had nothing to do with trying to reject "groupthink." I don't doubt she's a serious artist and represents many a wonderful thing to some people, but for myself, I think she could have done it differently. Not everyone goes out to visit a park, much less such a historically important one, with the hope and intent of seeing a naked musician trying to make a statement.
posted by Atreides at 9:13 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wake up sheeple! This nudity controversy is to distract you from the fact that there was another shooter on the knoll!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


$500 worth of publicity. Hell, $500 is probably worth Metafilter alone!

I'll pay for her account.
posted by rokusan at 9:27 PM on May 3, 2010


cribcage: “It's my understanding that (1) under the plain language of the statute, proving her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt won't be difficult, and (2) if convicted, she will be fined not more than $500. So I guess I'm curious: Does anybody here seriously think she shouldn't be convicted?”

This is a vague question. Do you mean to ask whether we think that (a) by the letter of the law a court would be required to convict her? - or whether we think that (b) by just right a person should be convicted of a crime for the simple fact of being naked, in a way that is clearly not lewd or lascivious in any way?

Because you ask the question in a way that sounds distinctly like (b). And if your question is really about whether what she did should be a crime, then I think there's a real debate to be had.

HuronBob: “i think my point may have been that taking your clothes off in public pretty much makes you an attention whore (god, I miss the img tag), not an artist...”

Hmm. Maybe. But I have a feeling it's more the other way around - that keeping clothes on all the time, in every situation – and being deeply concerned when someone takes their clothing off, even in a distinctly nonsexualized way – is a sign that our society is barely managing to contain a roaring undercurrent of shame. And I think this is particularly true of us as Americans. We, of all the civilized peoples in the world, are most frightened of a display of nakedness in public, and apparently least able to tell the difference between a sexualized and a nonsexualized show of nudity. This sometimes attains inane and almost horrifying dimensions; as when we're happy to have our children watch the most brutally violent action movies as long as the good guy wins in the end, but a tiny bit of nipple seems to us to be permanently damaging to a child.

I say: Michaelangelo's David is naked. Boticelli's paintings are full of breasts. Whatever – it's art. Kids spend the first year of their lives staring at nipples, so these things can hardly be that damaging to them. And if some seven, eight, or nine year old girl or boy experiences the giddy thrill of seeing woman's breasts or a tuft of hair between her legs as she walks naked on the street, they are not going to die of ocular cancer. And as I can tell you from first-hand experience, preventing those children from seeing naked bodies sure as hell won't keep them from thinking about 'em. What's the harm?

Frankly, it's interesting to me that the most subversive thing in this video is all the more subversive for being forgotten. What ought to any sane society to be shocking is the fact that Erykah Badu just compared her own artistic self-expression with the Kennedy assassination. But nobody seems to have noticed that; the only thing they seem to care about is the fact that she was naked. That says something about our priorities, I think.
posted by koeselitz at 9:29 PM on May 3, 2010 [21 favorites]


Atreides: “Not everyone goes out to visit a park, much less such a historically important one, with the hope and intent of seeing a naked musician trying to make a statement.”

You might think it's bad art. Is bad art a crime?
posted by koeselitz at 9:30 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


She deserves to be convicted. While some people may have no problem with the idea of walking down the street and seeing whatever random person decides they want to expose themselves in public, I do, and I think that the vast majority of people do, too. Public indecency laws are, in my opinion, an eminently justifiable violation of free expression (if any meaningful expression is in fact going on). Do I want to live in a society where creepy dude can sit on park benches and beat off to the women walking past them? No, sorry. Keep that shit at home. And if it's not okay for some ugly creep to wander down the street naked, making people feel uncomfortable and forcing people to take their kids across the street out of fear, then it's not okay for Erykah Badu to do it just because she's good looking and has a camera following her. She knew the law, and if she wants to make herself a martyr for artistic expression, then so be it.
posted by Dasein at 9:31 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dasein: “Public indecency laws are, in my opinion, an eminently justifiable violation of free expression (if any meaningful expression is in fact going on). Do I want to live in a society where creepy dude can sit on park benches and beat off to the women walking past them? No, sorry. Keep that shit at home. And if it's not okay for some ugly creep to wander down the street naked, making people feel uncomfortable and forcing people to take their kids across the street out of fear, then it's not okay for Erykah Badu to do it just because she's good looking and has a camera following her.”

If you really believe this, then you're saying that all representations of public nudity – statues, fountains, etc – need to be taken down, too. Do you really think that? Or can it be that you, too, see a difference between artistic and sexualized nudity?

Society can allow a performance artist to walk through the street naked and at the same time jail lecherous old masturbators without being hypocritical. In fact, making a distinction there is quite trivial. Do you seriously believe that there is no easily-defined difference?

I'm frankly quite surprised by the vast outpouring of hate toward Erykah here. I've never been a huge fan, but I think this is a very cool thing. Anything that gets people out of their bodies and out of their strictures can be a good thing. We really need to loosen up.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 PM on May 3, 2010 [12 favorites]


At any rate, kudos to Dallas PD for giving this video 1000x more attention than it might have otherwise gotten.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:41 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you really think she'd be regarded as less insane, in this instance, if she'd been male? I think the assumed crazy-quotient would have been much, much higher. I'd say it's about 50/50 whether hypothetical-he would be preparing a defense for some sort of trumped up sex crime charge. I'm not sure that the ability to walk around Dallas naked without people thinking "whoa, call the cops, that guy is off his meds" is included in the invisible knapsack.

It would absolutely be a different thing, and not just because the naked female body has a long public history of being turned into art (at best; usually it's just objectified). But that wasn't the point I was trying (though a bit obscurely) to make: it's that female musicians are frequently described-- even as if it's supposed to be a compliment!-- as being crazy, or insane, or nutty, or whatever. I'm sure The Whelk meant his comment in a positive way, but it gets a little repetitive.
posted by jokeefe at 9:44 PM on May 3, 2010


You might think it's bad art. Is bad art a crime?

No, but stripping down in public is.

As for the bad art, that's my interpretation and opinion. People are free to laud it if it's their cup of tea.

I'm frankly quite surprised by the vast outpouring of hate toward Erykah here.

I'm kind of curious to as where this vast outpouring of hate is? A couple or so people count as vast? Are we including everyone who isn't aboard the Erykah Badu boat or for public nudity?
posted by Atreides at 9:44 PM on May 3, 2010


While some people may have no problem with the idea of walking down the street and seeing whatever random person decides they want to expose themselves in public, I do, and I think that the vast majority of people do, too.

What? No one called the cops. People simply didn't care.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:47 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


As Rolling Stone previously reported, Dallas officials sought to use the "Window Seat" case as a catalyst to springboard changes to the city's "no permit necessary" laws for video shoots.

This might be the driving force more than outrage at public boobies. Dallas could use the cash, and loads of people shoot videos/student films at Dealey Plaza and other downtown areas.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 PM on May 3, 2010


me: “You might think it's bad art. Is bad art a crime?”

Atreides: “No, but stripping down in public is.”

And it sure as hell shouldn't be. That's part of the point, isn't it?

“I'm kind of curious to as where this vast outpouring of hate is? A couple or so people count as vast? Are we including everyone who isn't aboard the Erykah Badu boat or for public nudity?”

It's mostly gone now, thankfully, but it's been replaced by a whole bunch of "meh, I think this woman should be convicted." Which is funny, because, as ifdssn9 says, none of you were there, and the people that were there didn't call the cops anyway. So at most I guess y'all should just be sitting in your little rooms and thanking your lucky stars you weren't subjected to such a shocking and frightening display of nakedness. Heaven forbid!
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 PM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


What ought to any sane society to be shocking is the fact that Erykah Badu just compared her own artistic self-expression with the Kennedy assassination.

I don't care about the nudity, but the gunshot in Dealey Plaza was offensive, and her explanation doesn't help. "John F. Kennedy was a revolutionary; he was not afraid to butt heads with America, and I was not afraid to show America my butt-naked truth."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:57 PM on May 3, 2010


I'm also surprised by the hate evident here-- I was a fan of her first album, ages ago, and then kind of lost touch with her subsequent work, but the release of New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) in 2008 brought me back around. I think it's a fantastic piece of work; she's a serious artist and deserves to be taken seriously. The naked video is a piece of performance art, confrontational and subversive in the best senses of the words, imo.
posted by jokeefe at 9:57 PM on May 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


"John F. Kennedy was a revolutionary; he was not afraid to butt heads with America..."

Some revolutionary
. Thanks to JFK the war machine got a jump start and millions of Asians got obliterated.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


On preview: Yeah, sometimes it's not the best idea to try and listen to musicians-- whose chosen media is not language-- try to explain themselves. Ouch.
posted by jokeefe at 10:02 PM on May 3, 2010


For those who have never heard of Erykah Badu, and you're even remotely inclined to like soul/r&b pick up her 2000 album Mama's Gun...it's really good.

I wonder if this whole thing is skewed somewhat by Erykah Badu actually being from Dallas. I'd imagine that natives have a different level of reverence and amiliarity in regards that historic site.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:03 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had never heard of Erykah Badu before. She's awesome.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:50 PM on May 3, 2010


Huh. I thought the idea of stripping in Dealey Plaza was that millions upon millions of people have seen a man's head literally blown apart by a bullet as he sat next to his wife, and that footage is considered profound and worthy; yet a woman goes naked in the same place and that's considered cheap and offensive. Forty years from now a woman will boogie naked at Ground Zero in Manhattan: she will probably be hanged on the spot.
posted by Ritchie at 10:59 PM on May 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


I guess y'all should just be sitting in your little rooms and thanking your lucky stars...

Oh, go away. If you want to have a serious discussion about whether Erykah Badu's nudity constitutes an important artistic statement, that's cool. If you want to argue that her important artistic statement warrants exception from the condemnation inherent in criminal punishment, that's cool too. But if you can't do either without asserting that the rest of us plebeians "need" Erykah Badu's bold statement of nudity to rouse us from the confines of our complacency, then really, come at us with some credential (Are you a significant artist? art critic? anthropologist? Is there some reason we should listen to you as other than an Internet person?) or else lose the condescension.
posted by cribcage at 11:06 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anybody here seriously think she shouldn't be convicted?

If I were on a jury, I would most certainly acquit. (regardless of how famous or attractive she is).

It's all about the exposure (no pun intended)... but, the bottom line is... Who?

Erykah Badu has won 4 Grammy awards ... On and On, Baduizm (album), You Got Me (with the Roots), Love of My Life ... she had a baby with Andre 3000.

If you've never heard of her, you haven't been listening very hard.

I liked New Amerykah Part One. Haven't listened to Part Two yet ...
posted by mrgrimm at 11:10 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Q: Did you consider the children in the plaza that day?

A: I didn’t think about them until I saw them, and in my mind I tried to telepathically communicate my good intent to them. That’s all I could do, and I hoped they wouldn’t be traumatized

posted by Burhanistan at 11:26 PM on May 3, 2010


I'd imagine that natives have a different level of reverence and amiliarity in regards that historic site.

"less" – It's sort of like the Space Needle I suppose, except it doesn't even look neat, it's just the place in Dallas you take tourists to because what else have people heard of?
posted by furiousthought at 11:27 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"less" – It's sort of like the Space Needle I suppose, except it doesn't even look neat, it's just the place in Dallas you take tourists to because what else have people heard of?

I went to the big-ass stadium, with the ridiculously gigantic screen. :)
posted by zarq at 11:41 PM on May 3, 2010


I admit I didn't read the comments thus far, but watched the video. BEAUTIFUL! Good going, gal!

A good friend of mine is taking pictures of ladies as naked as they want to be to be all non-judgmental about womens' bodies as an art project. It's about body image and the general variety of ladies' body types. Her project is gorgeous. I was going to participate, but my husband asked me to keep my nakedness to our bedroom, and I agreed to keep his wshies.

Way to go, Erykah Badu!

Now, I'm going to read the rest of the comments. Sorry for being rude and not doing so earlier.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:33 AM on May 4, 2010


If I were on a jury, I would most certainly acquit.

Why is that? Laws against full public nudity don't strike me as an infringement on some sort of fundamental right so long as they are applied equally (i.e. women are free to go topless if men are). I'm pretty damn socially libertarian and making it illegal not to deliberately walk down a crowded street where there is no expectation of such a thing (as there might be at a beach or private pool) seems like not a very objectionable law.

Shouldn't jury nullification, if we're going to preserve it, be used for... you know... actual assaults on our civil liberties and miscarriages of justice? Not 'cause somebody thought it would be cool to stroll around sans couture.
posted by Justinian at 12:40 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not 'cause somebody thought it would be cool to stroll around sans couture.

I stroll around "sans couture" in public every day. I'm fully clothed and all, but I'm definitely not wearing anything fashionable.
posted by amyms at 1:16 AM on May 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Irrefutable evidence of a groove: Annie Don't Wear No Panties.
posted by The Mouthchew at 1:35 AM on May 4, 2010


[a bunch more comments removed - very seriously shut up with the "I don't know who this is" threadshitting.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:49 AM on May 4, 2010


Creepy old masturbator is a red herring. What about just someone who isn't Hollywood hot walking around? They'd be charged and you'd never have heard of the incident. If she wants to reform the law for everyone let's hear her argument. If she wants to get off as a special 'I'm famous' exception I hope she gets fined and we can all move on.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:50 AM on May 4, 2010


I'm glad public nudity is still controversial because I shudder to think what artists will have to resort to once it no longer is.
posted by vapidave at 5:53 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know I've seen other videos with a similar approach -- not just the one linked above with the white man and woman. There was a french one with a stripping woman, at least, and I can vaguely remember others. Walking down a public street while shedding clothes is not a new concept.

However, I found this video a lot more interesting than the others, in large part because she's a much more interesting and serious artist. The Kennedy reenactment adds a level beyond simply "nude in public," for example.

I'm pretty damn socially libertarian and making it illegal not to deliberately walk down a crowded street where there is no expectation of such a thing (as there might be at a beach or private pool) seems like not a very objectionable law.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings. I think that there should be a lot more spaces where full or partial nudity is allowed. And yet, I can sympathize with people not being ready to see that on the street. My vague understanding is that a few states -- Oregon comes to mind -- have decriminalized the nudity, but will prosecute if the intent is to offend or cause disruption. So there are other paths available, even within the US.
posted by Forktine at 6:21 AM on May 4, 2010


"What ought to any sane society to be shocking is the fact that Erykah Badu just compared her own artistic self-expression with the Kennedy assassination."

I don't care about the nudity, but the gunshot in Dealey Plaza was offensive, and her explanation doesn't help. "John F. Kennedy was a revolutionary; he was not afraid to butt heads with America, and I was not afraid to show America my butt-naked truth."


I've long been a huge fan of Miz Badu, but I think she stepped way out of line on this one. It seemed like a really desperate way to draw attention to herself and her new music. What if she had done this crap in front of the Lincoln Monument? Seriously, girlfriend, America doesn't need to have your butt-naked truth publicly inflicted on their kids.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:32 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because you ask the question in a way that sounds distinctly like (b). And if your question is really about whether what she did should be a crime, then I think there's a real debate to be had.

No there isn't. If taking your clothes off in public was not a crime, then many people would have done it long before now, and she would not have done it because there would nothing shocking or alarming about it.

In other words, the laws reflect the consent of the people, which at least on this point, reflect the norms and mores of the public. The law gives forces to those norms, and that is what she is challenging (the force, not the norms). If there was no law, there'd be nothing to challenge, and no artistic statement. The irony here is that she can only make this artistic statement in a place governed by laws. I challenge her to make this statement in Mogadishu or Kabul. She needs the law to protect her during her artistic critique of the law.

An integral part of the artistic work here is the existence of the law - it's the canvas she paints on. Without it, there is no art.

What people seem to be ignoring is that fact that she is already working in another medium - music - but she apparently lacks the ability to make as shocking a statement solely through music, so she has to do it on film. Contrast this with musicians whose music was in itself so shocking and iconoclastic, that the music alone constituted the whole of the challenge to the establishment.

No one will care about this a year from now. By contrast, 58 years after the fact, people are still angry about John Cage writing and performing a silent piece of music.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:12 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm glad public nudity is still controversial because I shudder to think what artists will have to resort to once it no longer is.
posted by vapidave at 8:53 AM on May 4


Whatever you are thinking of, it's been done.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:13 AM on May 4, 2010


What if she had done this crap in front of the Lincoln Monument?

... or in the NY subway? (NSFW)

Zach Hyman [tee hee], Photographer, Takes Nude Shots Of Models On Subway Trains (NSFW)
posted by brokkr at 7:14 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


but seriously what the hell? i'd like to know if the people who are complaining also have Cosmo lying around the house or if they shield their children's eyes everytime there's an underwear ad is on TV.

semi-related: When I worked at the grocery store, some mystery customer would regularly, without fail, come in and put other magazines in front of the Maxim type magazines on the magazine rack on aisle 9. Anecdotal yes, but people like that DO sadly exist.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:21 AM on May 4, 2010


I challenge her to make this statement in Mogadishu or Kabul. She needs the law to protect her during her artistic critique of the law.

That seems rather disingenuous to me. You're saying that because there are places where the social contract has dissolved and arbitrary violence is the order of the day, her criticism of Americans' perception of public nudity is hypocritical?

Non-sequitur fun fact: In Germany, it is illegal to walk around in public nude. It has, however, been ruled by the Supreme Court that you are allowed to be naked on your property no matter if someone can see you. And since your car is, from a legal point of view, an extension of your property, it is legal to drive your car in the buff.
posted by brokkr at 7:22 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Musicians nude? Well, lessee, there were those two virgins... that was actually a lot more radical a statement, IMO.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:28 AM on May 4, 2010


By contrast, 58 years after the fact, people are still angry about John Cage writing and performing a silent piece of music.

Who the hell is this Cage person, when he's not making hackneyed musical statements using silence...and WTF does that teach our kids about composition?

Only sorta kidding, Pastabagel.

My favorite quote (by a Brit character, about American obsessions): from the 1963 movie "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World":

"And this positively infantile preoccupation with bosoms! In all my time in this wretched, godforsaken country, the one thing that has appalled me most of all is this preposterous preoccupation with bosoms! Don't you realize that they have become the dominant theme in American culture, in literature, advertising, and all things entertainment and everything! I wager you anything you like that if American women stopped wearing brassieres your whole national economy would collapse overnight!!"


posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:41 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Badu's music a lot (the New Amerykah albums are my favorites, though Mama's Gun is a great Soulquarians album, and one of the things I really dig about her is her willingness to keep changing her style and working with new collaborators), and I think she's one of the most interesting people working in soul/r&b in the last decade or so.

This video doesn't really move me, in any direction, but I'm enjoying the more thoughtful portions of the discussion.
posted by box at 7:59 AM on May 4, 2010


then really, come at us with some credential (Are you a significant artist? art critic? anthropologist? Is there some reason we should listen to you as other than an Internet person?) or else lose the condescension.

You mean lose the same condescension that you're displaying? Since when does someone have to have a credential to express an opinion? What credential do you have that entitles you to speak for "us"?

The irony here is that she can only make this artistic statement in a place governed by laws. I challenge her to make this statement in Mogadishu or Kabul.

I challenge you to come up with an analogy that's not a Hobson's choice. Just about any of us Westerners could be challenged to do just about anything we take for granted in a place like Mogadishu -- such as listen to recorded music in public or private, for example, which is a severe crime in many parts of Somalia nowadays -- without it having any practical meaning.
posted by blucevalo at 8:08 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


amyms and edheil are right, at least in the state of Maine: Streakers found not guilty and a more recent one: Men found guilty, woman acquitted, in Greenville skinny dip.
posted by fings at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2010


Between Ms. Badu and my recent introduction to Janelle Monae (THANKS HERMITOSIS), I'm afraid that Metafilter may be forcing me to reconsider my position (con) re: all R&B after the 1970s.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:32 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see some people here are very well-socialized to find nudity shocking and offensive. I see others that have realized that the socializing they went through as children was something they could take control of for themselves. Congratulations on achieving adulthood! It seems to be discouraged these days.

Personally, I'm extremely offended by someone equivocating a naked lady walking down the street with "some creepy dude masturbating". More offended that the original "creepy dude" mysteriously morphed into "creepy old dude". Please explain what age has to do with it? Your bigotry is showing, you might want to get that looked at.

As for the artist, I never heard of her. The music was okay, but nothing that excited me. The lady would have been beautiful had she better sense than to ink that which started out just fine. I understand it's the fashion. "Fashion" is the worst excuse for anything.
posted by Goofyy at 8:35 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Pastabagel: "In other words, the laws reflect the consent of the people, which at least on this point, reflect the norms and mores of the public. "

Not really. No one really cared.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:10 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


semi-related: When I worked at the grocery store, some mystery customer would regularly, without fail, come in and put other magazines in front of the Maxim type magazines on the magazine rack on aisle 9. Anecdotal yes, but people like that DO sadly exist.

That's quite different.

'Lads mags', as they are called in the UK and Ireland, are part of a culture of objectifying and commodifying women and their bodies.

Covering up or removing sexist publications is nothing like objecting to a person being naked in the street, which I have absolutely no trouble with.

Even if they are ugly.
posted by knapah at 9:10 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Germany, it is illegal to walk around in public nude.

Is it legal to lie on the ground nude, 'cause there was a lot of that when I was in Berlin.

Also: It's kind of absurd that these videos are getting pixelated (the Matt and Kim one was like that too). This is the internet, we can handle some junk. Hell of a time to get shy.
posted by mike_bling at 9:29 AM on May 4, 2010


Also: It's kind of absurd that these videos are getting pixelated (the Matt and Kim one was like that too). This is the internet, we can handle some junk. Hell of a time to get shy.

You want to see her unpixelated? Here you go (NSFW, of course)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


America doesn't need to have your butt-naked truth publicly inflicted on their kids.

I understand that she broke a law and should suffer the consequences, but the older I get, the less I understand this sentiment. Kids can't handle nakedness? Kids run around naked all the time. Some of them take baths together. And I can count on one hand how many times I've been on a school bus where some kid's bare butt doesn't get pressed up against a window at passing traffic.

It's not as though this was a public porno shoot, she's just walking around. She wasn't even being some creepy jerk about it it, like a sleazy flasher in the park or something.

Also, I kinda love at the beginning the guy who picks up her jacket and starts running after her, but then for some reason just changes his mind about a minute later.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:19 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I kinda love at the beginning the guy who picks up her jacket and starts running after her, but then for some reason just changes his mind about a minute later.

I'm pretty sure that dude was in on the shoot. Badu mentions that it was just her, the cameraman, and another guy to fetch her clothes (and perhaps serve as a bodyguard if need be). Once they finished the shoot, she jumped up, tossed her warm up suit back on and booked the hell out of there.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2010


Oh. Well, my way is funnier.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:39 AM on May 4, 2010


Fiasco da Gama: "She pleaded not guilty of being indecent

Your honour, I present as evidence Blues Brothers 2000. The prosecution rests.
"

This court rules in favor of the defendant. Her performance in BB 2K was one of the few good things about that flick, and almost enough to redeem it by itself.
posted by Reverend John at 11:17 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's the (much better, imo) Matt and Kim video for Lessons Learned. I don't think anyone posted it ..

"Big plan(take off every cloth in NYC), and stress(people who is watching, police) after get big result. Too much big result after get big bad result is waiting so we must have the next aim after a good result was provided."

Indeed.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2010


Why is that? Laws against full public nudity don't strike me as an infringement on some sort of fundamental right so long as they are applied equally (i.e. women are free to go topless if men are). I'm pretty damn socially libertarian and making it illegal not to deliberately walk down a crowded street where there is no expectation of such a thing (as there might be at a beach or private pool) seems like not a very objectionable law.

Oops, meant to answer that. I guess I do see it as an infringement on a fundamental right. I think there are ways to differentiate between public masturbators and the unclothed. Also, as you note, the public nudity laws are certainly not applied equally.

I think it's an appropriate situation for jury nullification (if such a crime is even tried by jury, which I would doubt.)

I guess where we disagree is your claim of "no expectation of such a thing." I do expect nudity to be legal. Everywhere.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2010


Erykah is eternal win.

Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, oowhoah...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:55 AM on May 4, 2010


Between Ms. Badu and my recent introduction to Janelle Monae (THANKS HERMITOSIS), I'm afraid that Metafilter may be forcing me to reconsider my position (con) re: all R&B after the 1970s.

well, I hope this isn't too much of a derail, but considering the amount of "who?" going on here i guess it's fair to say that a lot of people don't realize that there's been a lot of good soul music being made over the bas 10-15 years. I blame this on the bastard child of R&B and hip-hop that makes up a lot of today's pop music. The upside is I frequently get to be the guy introducing people to good stuff they may have missed. Which gets my ipod invited to lots of parties.

For those who are inclined and don't know where to start here's a little list.

D'Angelo, obviously.(warning, a tad nsfw, and slightly depressing if you haven't been to the gym in a while) If you haven't checked out Voodoo, I consider it a mandatory addition to everyone's collection.
Alice Smith
Aloe Blacc
Chocolate Genius His two albums "Black Music" and "Godmusic" are so good it's baffling that he hasn't sold a zillion albums.
Anthony Hamilton If you like 70's soul, you will like Anthony Hamilton.
Martin Luther
Cody Chesnutt whose song The Seed was remade by the Roots, and is as brilliant and crazy as they come.
Rafael Saadiq Formerly of Tony! Toni! Toné! never really went away, and has awesomely turned into a one man Motown revival.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:38 PM on May 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


One witness finally complained earlier this month, telling officers "she and her two small children were offended,"

Make that one mother was offended and decided her children were offended too. Most children would not be offended by Badu's actions. They would most likely laugh or find it odd or intriguing. But parents tend to project what their kids think.
posted by Rashomon at 12:50 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where I live -- Seattle -- it is, in fact, legal to be naked in public, as long as you're not being prurient or lascivious. Every year the Fremont Solstice Parade has a bunch of naked bicyclists in it. My three-year-old daughter watched this video over my shoulder and the only thing in it that disturbed me for her sake was the gunshot at the end. The only thing SHE was disturbed by, on the other hand, was the pixelization.
posted by KathrynT at 12:51 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Badu is kind of an idiot. It's not like Matt and Kim were really out in Time Square with their sexy bits out; they used flesh colored thongs, or whatever. If Badu was only going to release the video with a big, opaque cloud of pixels over her nice fat ass -- just like Matt and Kim did with their respective nice fat asses -- then what exactly was the purpose of really exposing herself to the poor, innocent (and now irreversibly traumatized, I'm sure) children of Dallas?

Either wear a thong for your intentionally pixelated video, or streak the people, pay your trivial fine for corrupting our youth and showmedatass. But don't corrupt our innocent youth, skip your fine, and blur your bodacious booty from my pervy gaze. That's wrong on three different levels.
posted by dgaicun at 1:10 PM on May 4, 2010


Kids can't handle nakedness? Kids run around naked all the time. Some of them take baths together. And I can count on one hand how many times I've been on a school bus where some kid's bare butt doesn't get pressed up against a window at passing traffic.

The distinction between sexualized nudity and artistic (or just casual!) nudity is important here, I think. Kids can be traumatized by an imposition of adult sexuality, obviously, and some kinds of nudity-in-front-of-kids could be categorized that way.

Simply seeing a woman strip, though, would not bother any child I know ... right up until she feigned being shot. That would alarm them.
posted by palliser at 2:14 PM on May 4, 2010


I don't think her bra fits correctly; it's riding up in the back. Other than that, I have no objections.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:36 PM on May 4, 2010


I liked it, it was very powerful to me. Not sure about the getting shot part, but I though Ritchie's comment to be spot on. All I could feel the whole time was elation at how peaceful and free she seemed, and how sad that made me - because I could never do the same thing in a public place if I wanted...I would be too afraid of being physically attacked or shamed in some way. And that's a sad feeling, as a woman.
posted by agregoli at 7:54 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


A(n untraumatized) 5-year-old reviews Erykah Badu's "Window Seat".

I thought the video was beautiful. The combination of power and vulnerability she is radiating is moving. You can see it in her face: she is doing something frightening and important.

Also, as someone who grew up in a sauna culture and saw just about all grown ups I knew naked from time to time (parents, grandparents, neighbours, teachers), I'm sometimes weirded out by how thoroughly sexualized the naked human body is in some other cultures. There's something about it that strikes me as absolutely crippling. It's such a fertile ground for body-hate, shame, harmful beauty ideals and a very skewed idea of what is normal.
posted by sively at 1:47 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is a "window seat" anything like a "drop seat"? Because, if so, I think we need more of those.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:38 AM on May 7, 2010


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