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PhD: Now what about nudity at the other left-wing Berkeley coops?
AM: There are three coops which are the really far left ones. And there's this ongoing debate about who's "the most left," and who's the most open minded about things. At one of the other coops, they really stifled me pretty hard when I went over to visit a friend; when I walked around there in the nude they said, oh, you're so gross. But they're opening up a little now that it's the "left" thing to do.
[I found it amusing how similar this seemed to fraternities arguing about what was the most pro-frat thing to do. Andrew's coop's walls are covered with graffiti, much of it with an anti-frat mentality.]
PhD: What do you do about stores or restaurants that say something like, "no shirt, no shoes, no service"? [pause] You're smiling.
AM: I probably would walk in, pretending I didn't read that sign or whatever, and then wait until they said something. And they probably would, and then unless I was feeling really militant or had a lot of people to do some kind of nude-in, I'd probably just put on clothes. Because at a certain point I've just got to live my life.
PhD: Right. Speaking of living your life, it sounds to me like Berkeley is likely to kick you out. Do you think that's likely? [In fact they did several weeks later.]
AM: Um hum.
PhD: So what do you think will happen now? As I thought about the possibilities, doing something with the law is one choice. Or you could start your own nudist camp or become some kind of entertainment figure...
Philip: A nude talk show! Just do a regular talk show, but naked! Pretend you're telling people, "Just get over it, OK? We're not wearing clothes!"
PhD: Yeah, you could start on public access cable, and have a nude talk show.
AM: Well, I can really just go with whatever happens. I'll probably be learning a lot about law, not necessarily through law school, but from doing my own thing, because I doubt if any law school would accept me.
PhD: Well, they might accept you, but you need to have graduated from college first, and they probably wouldn't let you go to class in the nude.
AM: Yeah. And I'd have to have decent grades, which I don't have. I think you have to focus a lot to get good grades. You have to be very aware of where you're standing and what the teachers want and all these things. And that's OK; I could do that -- I have done that in the past -- but it just generally gets in the way of my education.
PhD: You have to take it all seriously.
AM: Yeah, there are so many tricks to keep your grade point average up.. And then within the semester, doing the nice little homework assignments, like all neat -- you know it's such a game, and that's just not my scene at all.
PhD: So your grades your first year and a half have been what, roughly?
AM: Like a C plus, something like that.
PhD: Now let's move to the topic of why people react to you favorably or unfavorably. What do you think people's reactions would be if you weren't so handsome? What do you think they would say?
AM: Well, they definitely wouldn't say, oh, he just wants attention, or he just wants people to look at him!
PhD: Yeah, that's what they say now: "oh, you just want to do this to show off what a great bod you've got."
AM: Let's see. If I were older, they'd probably say, "oh god, cover that up, it's so disgusting!"
PhD: Right. You've taken that possibility away from them. Just like, if you were a woman doing this, there'd probably be fewer guys complaining.
AM: Exactly. I think it would be a lot easier [for the movement] if women would get nude more often. On the other hand, people would say that women need to be chaste, and this is obviously not a chaste act.
PhD: In other words, if you were a woman going nude they'd call you a slut.
PhD: So what aspect of going around nude do you enjoy?
AM: Just the physical comfort. Not having the restraints. The wind touching all over. It's cooler, it really is! You know, if it wasn't for all the political stuff, it really wouldn't be worth it.
PhD: You mean, politics are a big part of doing what you do?
AM: Well, they play a big part in why I'm continuing to fight. If it weren't for the politics, then I probably wouldn't do it anymore, just because the hassle of being this big spectacle -- people saying things, like, "oh my god he's nude!" and police having to deal with all this stuff continually -- it isn't really worth the small pleasure it is to have this one part of my body exposed. But the politics really give me the motivation to continue with it, although the original motivation isn't political: it's just because I don't like clothes.
PhD: Now, when you're on a talk show, what do you enjoy about that?
AM: Free propaganda! Propaganda is the most powerful tool for changing society, and normally you have to pay for a billboard, pay for posters, pay for public announcements. But on a talk show they're offering me to come and tell them what's on my mind. A lot of times it's tiring. But generally, it's still good cool. If people want to know why I'm doing it, it's my obligation to let people know what's up. It shows a little more community oriented mentality than propagandistic Orwellian terms, but...
PhD: Some people would just assume that you're doing it because you like being the center of attention. Is that part of it too?
AM: Well, I don't know subconsciously what's going on. But I get very tired of being the center of attention and it's really wearing me down. Being the center of attention is maybe OK every once in awhile, but it's like headlines all the time: "Naked Guy goes to go get a drink," "Naked Guy walks into a pub." You know, I just, I think it sucks. I'd rather just live normally and blend in like I did before.
PhD: And you kind of blend in here, at the coop.
AM: Yeah. Generally, being the center of attention sucks for me.
PhD: They're having a dance here at the coop tomorrow night; are you going to be coming?
AM: I think so.
PhD: If you do, will you be nude?
AM: Not unless something clicks and I feel like it. Last night, I was nude at a rave [nightclub]. Throughout the whole time I was the only nude one, but at one point there was a circle of guys dancing, and they'd pull down their pants halfway, showing their boxers, and then they'd pull them down all the way, but they still had their boxers on, and then it was kind of like this machismo thing, like "Dude! How far can you go?" And then the other guy would almost pull his underpants down, and then he'd pull them up and they'd laugh at him. And then one guy'd show his butt. But they'd only get completely nude if something like that happens where it becomes a question of "how far can you go?"
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