Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shooting the Moon

A new world’s record has been established. 18,000 people in Mexico City’s Zocalo Plaza posed nude for American photographer Spencer Tunick. Tunick said in a press conference. "I think all eyes are looking south from the United Sates to Mexico City to see how a country can be free and treat the naked body as art. Not as pornography or as a crime, but with happiness and caring."


This same photograph would have been more interesting if it had been taken from a different angle. An 18,000 person Moon seems a bit more exciting than a bunch of naked people bent over in the fetal position. That would really be art.

Mooning was a popular sport in the 1960’s, especially on College Campuses. There were also variations of the standard Moon; the Pressed Ham, the Red Eye, the Baggie and the Double Inverted Baggie. Shooting a good Moon at the proper place and time was truly an art form.

I was stationed in Africa in the mid sixties when mooning was at it peak, and we attempted to take mooning to new heights. Several of us would climb up antennae towers (more than 100 feet tall) so that we could shoot a moon to Ethiopia. We also did Pyramid Moons and the Banana Split Moon.

But our most famous Moon was accomplished on a bridge on the road that led from Asmara to Massawa, Ethiopia (now Eritrea).


The above photo of this event is in Michela Wrong’s book about Eritrea; “I Didn’t Do It For You.” Michela writes:
“What is it about Anglo-Saxon males and their bottoms? A Frenchman or a Spaniard does not seem to feel the same compulsion to bare his bum, a gesture psychoanalysts would no doubt interpret as blending primeval defiance with homo-erotic bonding. Like generations of fraternity fellows before and after them, the Kagnew men, delighted in exposing their buttocks to the world.

It was fun and it was a sport or contest. It was a distraction from the world of chaos that had existed around us. We were young and impetuous. We enjoyed ourselves and didn’t care about what others thought about us or our antics.

As we got older, some of us lost this feeling along the way. We became what are known as adult humans. I haven’t and I think that I never will. I didn’t want to turn into Jackie Paper:

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.


The Beach Bum

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