Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.


nude tree people

I am not sure as to how to frame the above photo. NUDES IN A TREE would seem to be an appropriate caption. But some might argue that the caption does not provide a protest discourse since without an initial organized protest this photo would never have been taken.

And what was the nature of the protest?

Last year, the University of California announced that it was going to build a new athletic training facility next to Memorial Stadium at the eastern edge of the Berkeley campus. Unfortunately, in order to build the facility as planned, the University must remove several oak trees that are currently growing on the site.

For reasons that are not entirely clear, local activists have seized on the fate of the “Memorial Oak Grove” as the cause du jour, and a vigorous campaign has been launched to stop the project and save the trees. To that end, protesters have been actually living in the trees since December of 2006, alternating in shifts every few days or weeks. The controversy has received an inordinate amount of media coverage.

OK, so maybe the caption should have been NUDE TREE DWELLERS. But there is more.

Completely unrelated to any of this, a local art photographer named Jack Gescheidt has recently become well-known for a photo series he calls the “TreeSpirit Project,” which involves naked models pictured climbing and hugging trees. But when Gescheidt heard about the Memorial Oak Grove brouhaha, he sensed a perfect media opportunity. He announced that the next installment in his Tree Spirit Project would be a nude photo shoot among the oak trees next to Memorial Stadium. And this time he wouldn’t use only professional models: he issued an open call for anyone and everyone to come get naked for the trees.

And so on Saturday, March 17, 2007, the planets came into alignment and a disparate confluence of people found themselves gathered together in the oak grove: tree-sitters, nudists, activists, journalists, Jack Gescheidt and his assistant, perverts, pornographers, the police and passersby…


The whole scene could or should be dedicated to the UC Berkeley nude guy of yesteryear, Andrew Martinez.

For the complete photo shoot, click here.

May 3, 2008 Posted by | exhibitionism, higher education, hugging, nudity, sexual politics, UC Berkeley, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Imperial Leather launches hugging campaign in the UK

In a previous post I bemoaned the developing taboos re hugging in the workplace and university place.  Now as I find via the Hindustan Times that the hugging taboo has become very well developed in the UK.  Imperial Leather financed a study on the hugging taboo and is now appealing to the UK public to embrace hugging( pun intended).  If any readers of this post are from the UK, I would appreciate receiving their word on hugging taboos in the UK.

Report from the Asian News International brought to you by the Hindustan Times

London, Nov. 3 — There’s nothing more comforting than a hug. However, psychologists warn that the trend of political-correctness is killing the innocent cuddle.

The finding is based on a study conducted in the UK.

Dr. David Holmes, senior psychologist of Manchester Metropolitan University, said that people have become so nervous about giving others a hug for fear of the consequences that the hug is close to extinction in the country.

“Political correctness is partly to blame as we have been conditioned not to touch anyone anymore as it can easily be deemed inappropriate,” the Daily Mail quoted him, as saying.

“Life now is all about having minimal physical contact. It is a real shame, but on the serious side it is a scientific fact that animals who receive little affection are unhappier than those that receive more contact.

“In addition, these days we are just too busy to hug…

A spokeswoman for Imperial Leather, which conducted the study, appealed for Brits to join the quest to bring back the hug.

“Physical contact is a human need, and although often forgotten, hugs are essential to combat and cope with every day stresses,” she said.

“Our study found having huggable, snuggleable soft skin makes us feel happier when coming into contact with loved ones.

“Imperial Leather are appealing to the great British public to join us in our quest to bring back the old-fashioned hug.”

Dr David Holmes added: “Overall, we should get back to hugging. It is good for us after all.

Published by HT Media Ltd. with permission from Asian News International

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

November 4, 2007 Posted by | hugging, political correctness | Leave a comment


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