“Great Performances” on PBS recently aired Trevor Nunn’s acclaimed stage production of King Lear, starring Sir Ian McKellen. (Missed it? You can view it online.) But the show was performed with one excision: namely the elderly king’s dangling sceptre. The nudity was cut for the broadcast, and naturally, this question of implied censorship and the stifling of “artistic expression” was taken up, where else, but in the comments section of site. Expression is still free online! The issue is split between two camps: those that think nudity automatically means sex, and the crunchy, body-positive sorts who, like, get the artistic choice.
Commenter “Glen” is worried that “Given the fact that the telecast of King Lear could be viewed by young children I would suggest that the ‘nudity’ part be omitted. …I do not support that type of on air,TV viewing, and to remove that part would not detract from the performance and it would maintain a moral standard.”
Morals! But then, “Laurie” says “The naked human form isn’t evil or something that should be hidden from view! If you’re uncomfortable with the human body, then maybe you need to discuss the issue with your family. Shakespeare and the people of his time weren’t concerned about nudity as a natural state of being and neither should we.” Though at that time people weren’t concerned with basic hygiene either, but let that pass. Free to be you and me!
And then the piling-on continues, as “Matty” opines “What child today would have an interest in watching King Lear on PBS? None that I know of…[t]he human body (or sex) is nothing to be ashamed of.” True facts!
Who knew Ian McKellen’s unclothed body would be such a lightning rod (heh) of controversy? The pole (heh) to rally around? This government-funded artporn could have been used as a tool (heh) of the liberal elite to indoctrinate our innocent children to wantonness. Willy (heh) Shakespeare certainly wouldn’t have wanted a naked man to be the takeaway from his epic tragedy. But anyone who wants to argue the point has really made a boner (heh). There really are no wieners in this argument. (Oof! Done!)
(It’s a good thing probably that the naysayers don’t pay close attention to the actual story. The sexual puns in Shakespeare’s text are far dirtier than a mere glimpse of Gandalf’s staff.)