On managing controversy


Can we talk? Joan Rivers

I’m 110 pages into the 300-page book Naked at Lunch, A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing Optional World. Mark Haskell Smith is the author.

It contains no pictures, but nudist camp photos are readily available in great quantities online for those who cater to such interests.

Nudity is controversial, to say the least. Mr. Smith goes into great detail about how that controversy is handled by people of various points of view. And he does it with finesse, insight, and humor. The range of opinions is extreme, making nudity and attitudes and laws about it an informative subject to study.

Generally speaking we are not instructed in managing controversy. We are, more or less, instructed in how to provoke it. We are encouraged to try to dominate, to “win” the competition and show the “losers” who they really are. Our political process is a vivid example.

I never would’ve thought seeing a hundred people naked around the swimming pool would be dullsville, but it is.—Mark Smith

In this book Mr. Smith profiles the anxieties he faced as he explored the world of nudity. More important to me, he guides us through the evolution of his thinking. He seemingly hides nothing relative to that evolution. He bares his soul in addition to baring other parts of himself.

If I have one great hope for humanity it is that we might educate ourselves in the art and science of managing controversy. Controversy is about to destroy us because we are illiterate in the subject, and we are in a downward spiral.

I suggest taking a controversy and digging into how it is managed. Nudity, for me, is an ideal field of study, especially since I found this outstanding text.

I welcome your thoughts. And my thanks to Joan Rivers for the wonderful tagline, “Can we talk?”

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