Tag Archives: nudity

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams?

21 Mar

I’ve just finished reading “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams” by Susan and Kenneth Webb (so says the cover anyways, it reads like it was all written by Susan).  It promises “the story of the Farm and Wilderness camps” and it’s a memoir written for the 50th anniversary of said camps (which was in 1989 – the year before I started going).  It really made me wish there were a longer and more in-depth history of the place in some form.  There was a lot in it that I didn’t know – details about the Catamount bell that keeps time for Timberlake, or the origin of Flying Cloud – but it wasn’t written to be a history.

My overall impression from the writing is that Ken and Susan had this vision of a camp that was the absolute perfect vision for the time and place so it was impossible for them to not succeed.  There were so many points in the story where they were both sure they were thwarted only to have some miracle swoop in and rescue them (and the camps), it’s almost a thriller of a novel.  It’s also an indication that they held the correct truth for the land where Farm and Wilderness now exists.  Everywhere they went to talk about their vision, or their camp (and later, multiple camps) the response was always a profound relief and appreciation.  It makes me miss them, and I never knew them.

They had such a powerful compassion for their vision and such strong convictions for how things ought to be that things had no choice but to become that way.  Reading the memoir makes me both miss camp powerfully and be sad again at how far from Ken and Susan’s vision they seem to have strayed.  Farm and Wilderness was never anti-anything, and it certainly never had to be “anti-racist.”  Farm and Wilderness lived and grew through the Civil Rights Movement and it was an unsung hero at the forefront of Civil Rights.  Ken and Susan ignored bomb threats to travel south and try to recruit campers.  They admitted their first african american camper after the camps were “full” and despite the fact that half of their paying clients were southerners and left them after they did so.  They had convictions and they stuck to them.  They believed in Quaker ideals, they believed the human body to be a miracle and “God’s greatest gift.”   If they had ever noticed a decline in the number of campers participating in suitless swimming they would have tried to figure out where they had gone wrong in teaching this.  They never apologized for these beliefs.  They never consented that they might be wrong about them.

They never allowed anyone to doubt them, because they were right.

 I’m also surprised to learn how strong (and due to whom) the connection between the contra dance world and Farm and Wilderness used to be.  It saddens me that the camps do not dance as much as they used to.  I learned to dance at camp and it’s possible I wouldn’t be in the community I am in now if I hadn’t.

The world is always changing, and businesses (and particularly businesses which educate children) have to be always changing as well, but some core truths remain the same.  They ought not to be compromised, and they ought to always be taught.


The iPhone-man Cometh

14 Jun

You’ve probably heard that Apple is releasing the iPhone at the end of this month. If you haven’t heard, how’s life under that rock going? You may or may not, though, have seen these commercials for it. One interesting thing about these commercials that I can’t really think of any other commercials for any other products doing is that they show only one thing: the product being used. That’s it. There’s nothing else. No slogan, no humerous anecdote, no sex, no violence, no “special offers” or deals, no nudity, just the iPhone being used. They simply say “this is the product, this is how it does what it does” and that’s it. They have enough confidence in their product that they let it speak for itself. Almost like it’s just an honest ad, and not propaganda. Almost. (As opposed to those other commercials from Apple…)

In any case, the iPhone looks damn cool, and if it had enough storage for all of my music, had already been out “in the wild” for a long enough to be tested and improved, had useful battery life, and was cheaper (or I were richer) I would totally buy one. Totally.

I want them to see me naked

6 Jun

“I swim naked at the waterfront in part because I want them to see me naked, I want these boys to look at me and see a healthy, attractive female body and see that I’m not ashamed and that it’s just a body.” and with that proclamation, Anna earned profound respect and perhaps a fair amount of awe.
I’m paraphrasing of course, since she said this during staff week (before the campers arrive) in my last summer on staff (2003?) at Timberlake, so I’m sure I don’t remember the exact wording. I remember the message (if not the words) of what she said because it made me so thankful that she was there and that she had said it. (As you know if you’re a regular reader, I feel somewhat strongly about Fifth Freedom.)

But it occurs to me today that her statement is a sign that Fifth Freedom is just not “working” the way it used to when I was a 9 and 10 year old camper. If she had said, instead, “I swim naked at the waterfront because they don’t see me when I do.” that would have made perfect sense. In other words, being naked at the TL waterfront (or anywhere else at TL) shouldn’t be noticeable. It should be something that you could notice (like the fact that your heart is beating) if you paid attention to it, but not something that really warrents too much attention (like the fact that your heart is beating).

Since it was more noticeable when someone had a suit on when I was there, the message of “bodies are healthy, normal, and something to be proud of (or at least not ashamed of)” was much stronger and easier to understand, even to a 9 year-old boy shocked at the site of a sea of bodies.