There are 800,000 stories in the naked city, and most of them are pretty gross-looking. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ 6–5 vote to ban nudity in public places, with exceptions for children under five and festivals like the city’s seemingly superfluous Gay Pride Week. Now, San Francisco’s public nudity is concentrated in what one article calls “the city’s historically gay Castro District” (“histrionically” might be more descriptive); in fact, the ban was sponsored by the Castro’s supervisor, Scott Wiener, and instead of making a joke here, we’ll pause for a moment while you think of your own . . . One might have expected public nudity to be welcomed in the Castro, but as one resident explains: “When it’s in my neighborhood and I can’t enjoy lunch because a guy is spread-eagle near me, it’s a problem.” Figures that the opposition would be mainly aesthetic.
“Fireman Ed” — Edwin Anzalone, the former New York City firefighter and iconic New York Jets fan who led the crowd in constant “J-E-T-S” chants while wearing his white fireman’s helmet — announced this week that he has “Q-U-I-T!” It was not the team’s ineptitude that drove him to abandon his seat in Section 124, but the increasing number of confrontations between him and other New York Jets fans. In a guest editorial in a local newspaper, Fireman Ed proclaimed that “this is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another.” When even Jets fans, who are not known for their tea-party etiquette, are announcing the end of our polite culture, then things must be truly terrible — possibly almost as bad as the Jets themselves.
In Gilbert, Ariz., a pregnant woman ran over her husband with the family’s SUV after a heated argument in a parking lot. Just a typical Saturday evening, it might seem, were it not that the source of the dispute was the husband’s failure to vote in the recent election. His wife, according to a news account, “believed her family would suffer under a second term of Pres. Barack Obama”; her pregnancy was six months along, and, no doubt remembering “The Life of Julia,” she likely found the thought of Obama’s reading her sonogram and changing diapers too much to bear. Somewhat surprisingly, “officers said they didn’t believe [the woman] was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.” That’s good in view of her condition, and she seems lively enough without them. We can only think wistfully of what might have been if all of Romney’s get-out-the-vote volunteers had been this dedicated.
Two men in Whitehouse, Texas, both reportedly avid deer hunters, left the home of one of them and were immediately set upon by a buck, evidently intent on settling some scores. He attacked the pair, who took refuge in the bed of their pickup truck, whereupon Bad-Ass Bambi added insult to injury by nonchalantly stealing a pack of cigarettes from the cab and starting to eat them. When the owner of the cigarettes unwisely tried to get back his smokes, says a news article, “the deer got more aggressive.” In the end the men had to call the police, who, after considerable struggle, subdued the obstreperous stag with a Taser — less frontierish than a Sharps rifle, but safer in suburban areas. This is what happens when citizens don’t cling bitterly enough to their guns.
Last month’s basketball game between Grinnell and Faith Baptist Bible College would not normally have attracted much attention, even with its swim-meet-like score (Grinnell 179, Faith 104; together, the teams got into the 270s even faster than Obama), which was high but not unprecedented. What made the game a national story was the performance of Grinnell’s Jack Taylor, who chucked up 108 shots and sank 52 of them — a tally that, along with a few free throws, was good for 138 points, a collegiate record. Despite the presence of all those Baptists, there were only a few dunks; Taylor shot mostly three-pointers, which he sank at an unremarkable 38 percent clip. Sports-page moralists have been shedding tears for tiny Faith, an 0–5 team from the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association, over the supposed humiliation, but its Eagles exceeded the century mark, a rare occurrence, and sophomore David Larson set a school record with 70 points. Would a 73–42 loss have been any better?