Monday, April 28, 2008

Recently, I have noticed an increase in disclaimers appearing before educational TV programming that state something to the effect of: “Warning: This Program Contains Indigenous Nudity.” Viewers all over America have reported bemusement and/or an increase in night tremors wondering what “indigenous” nudity actually means, and perhaps more importantly, what to do about it. What follows are a few brief, and I hope helpful, solutions to assist concerned citizens in distinguishing between “indigenous” nudity and the myriad more civilized varieties of nakedness.

1. Are the nude people on TV running? If the answer is “yes,” then it’s usually a sure bet that you are watching indigenous nudity. Perhaps you will have noticed that at the dawn of the 21st century in America, one rarely sees a nude person running, or even walking briskly. However, in indigenous cultures, lumbering, walking, sprinting, darting, and outright running in the nude are common. Members of indigenous cultures will spend a large part of the day (which often includes strenuous physical activity) completely naked, and usually surrounded by bones. One dead giveaway that indigenous nudity is taking place is if the nude in question is running from a tiger. If one encounters such fever-pitched nudity, look out—you are either in a jungle (indigenous nudity) or on the 1/9 going downtown to Christopher St. around midnight (Friday).

2. Another way to ascertain which kind of nudity you’ve stumbled upon is to take note of the children. If the children are nude, and you’ve never worn a trench coat or been to prison, then it’s probably indigenous nudity you’ve come across. But be careful: nude children can be just as dangerous as nude adults, indigenous or not. A nude child has no sense of “boundaries,” thus, a seemingly indigenous nude can in fact be a garden-variety street-lunatic like my cousin Timmy, who, though a young child and always nude, has no business on the Discovery Channel, as he is not a member of a “tribe,” per se. If you see him, please contact my aunt Grace or just tell the manager at the Olive Garden that he’ll eventually extract himself from the Jell-O mold, you just have to answer his riddle. (As much as you think the answer is going to be “a newspaper,” I assure you, the only response Timmy will accept is “a septic dwarf.”)

3. Necessary to understanding nudity of any kind, is the question of whether the nudity has begun in medias res, or if there has been some kind of disrobing ritual. As a rule, indigenous nudity just “is” on an ontological level never really attained by its counterpart, Sorority Sex Kittens 3. To wit, if you get the sense that the nudes in front of you will probably be nude for the rest of the afternoon, 10 to 1 you’re dealing with indigenous nudity. Also, if you recognize any of the nudes to be carrying on in an argot other than your own, feel free to assume one of two things: 1.) You were ripped off at The Gas Light adult video emporium or 2.) That’s right—indigenous nudes. If, out in the world, you happen upon nudity in medias res, there’s not much I can tell you—I mean, there you are, right?

4. One common misconception I’ve come across lately is more of a function of semantics than anything else. Be forewarned, there are a lot of extremely smart people on the Discovery Channel and other avenues of learning, but if you see these people in the nude, this is what’s called “ingenious” nudity, a far cry from indigenous nudity (although spelled with frustrating similarity). “Ingenious” nudity is hard to find, and if you do, let me know. I’ve got an old bit of celluloid where you can make out Marie Curie’s boobs, but that’s it. Rumor has it there is an 8 x 10 glossy out there showcasing Wernher von Braun’s heralded third testicle, but I’d feel as if I were on a fool’s errand by continuing that fruitless search. Again, indigenous nudity may feature extraordinarily nice people, but I find very few of them worthy of the distinction “indigenous ingénues,” unless of course you’re referring to Tarzan or any of his sartorially conservative battery of nimble associates. One can also easily distinguish between the two, as an “ingenious” nude will probably be doing something to cure cancer, while an indigenous nude will just sit there with some pottery, arguing.

5. Shame. Do you feel it? If yes, that’s not indigenous nudity. That’s something my cousin Timmy sent to me on the Internet where somebody poops into a cup and then all hell breaks loose. Indigenous nudity is rarely that “in your face,” but one can hope. Civilized society will always be one step ahead of these crude, indigenous peoples, and it’s essential that we keep an eye on their nudity to ensure that we continue to raise the bar, move forward, and challenge the notion that indigenous peoples are beyond hope, mired in a primitive state, devoid of creativity, and seemingly intent on carrying out their quotidian routine in unremarkable and completely inoffensive casual nudity.

People, indigenous nudity will, unfortunately, always be with us; or until we can locate an appropriate soundtrack and lighting scenario that might provide an outlet for the kind of deviant, poo-eating nightmare we’ve come to expect from those at the vanguard of the neo-nudity movement. I hope this primer has elucidated some aspects of the true “nature” of indigenous nudity along with that of otherwise pedestrian nudity to help you discern the difference and know what to expect if you find yourself face-to-face with nudity, in any of its ways, shapes or forms.

Described as an “up-and-coming humorist” by Esquire, Tyler Stoddard Smith works have been featured or are upcoming in: The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes, The Best American Fantasy, Esquire, Meridian, Pindeldyboz, The Big Jewel, Yankee Pot Roast, Word Riot, Fresh Yarn, Barrelhouse, Monkeybicycle, and McSweeney’s, among others. For more info, feel free to e-mail him at He also edits a political satire Web site,

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