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Fun places to live #456723

What I wouldn’t give to live in the town of Brattleboro, Vermont. They sound like such fun people.

For years the town (population 12 005, according to their Wikipedia entry) has been nudist-friendly … there is no ordinance prohibiting nudity in the state or in the town. And so people who like letting it all hang out flock there, drop their trousers and wander in to the Chelsea Royal Diner for a “two-dolla-holla”.

But that all changed earlier this year. Faster than you can say “Careful with that axe, Eugene” (*) an emergency ordinance was passed by the town’s elders, temporarily banning nudity in public spaces. Leading the charge were the usual posse of outraged citizens, like the Revered Kevin Horion who told Fox News:

“How do you want to be viewed as Brattleboro? We want to welcome families with small children … Nudists could pop up anywhere,” he said.

Of course they could, Reverend. That’s the thing with nudity. Things pop up. And we can’t have that, can we?

So things came to a head (jammer, dominee) and the ban was passed.

But that all changed this week when the town decided not to pass a resolution making the ban permanent. Which means that, come September, bouncing bottoms, boobs and bollocks are welcome on Main Street.

I really enjoyed reading the minutes of the town meeting on Smoking Gun that debated the ban this week. Some of the highlights:

Stephen Bannsteader said: “I have lived in this area since 1988. I have not seen rampant nudity during that whole time.” It is unclear whether he was expressing that as a good or a bad thing.

Terry Martin spoke at the meeting too, although he had originally planned on not speaking, he said. His concern was sexual predators:

He gave a number of examples, including the nudist skateboarder [No mention of whether or not the skateboarder was wearing a helmet. 10 bucks says no one noticed.], the fellow from Arizona [Who? What did he do? How come everyone knows exactly to whom Terry is referring without his name being mentioned?] and a man who got out of his car on Sunset Road and stripped in front of a woman who was having a picnic [Note the guy from Arizona has no name, but we know exactly where the picnic was being held].”

Someone called Audrey appeared to be nominally in charge of the meeting. And my, what a bossy boots she is:

Ronald Doyle … quotes Second Timothy Three [from the Bible] … Audrey interrupts him and reminds him that the subject is the nudity ordinance. He says that he is speaking about the nudity ordinance, and finishes the quotation.”

Later … after cheering and applause: “Audrey warns against further outbursts.”

And then: “Dora — Speaks against religion being the basis of government. Gasps of disapproval from the audience [Quite right too. Whatever was Dora thinking, having a free thought and all?]. Audrey reminds her to speak only to the amendment.”

And so the meeting goes on. After the vote is taken and the ban rejected, “Mike Gauthier … says that the vote does not represent the majority in Brattleboro … and warns that this is not the end of the issue. Dick DeGray gets up and walks out of the meeting.”

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a town where the biggest issue was whether or not to allow people to stroll starkers through the local supermarket? And doesn’t Audrey want to come to South Africa and be Helen Zille’s 2-i-c in the Cape Town city council? We need someone like her to crack the whip and keep us all in check. If she can keep Ronald Doyle on his toes, why, she can handle some of our miscreants with ease.

(*) I’m aiming to weave at least one Floyd or Roger Waters song title in each blog entry I write for Thought Leader. Not sure why, probably just because I can. I’m doing okay so far


  • Tony is a corporate animal but it wasn't always so. He used to work in the media, with a specific interest in technology; travel; music; and getting free stuff. He doesn't consider himself a thought leader, although he does confess to having thoughts. He presents the M&G's weekly podcast.