The not-quite naked lunch

class=img_thumbleft>If you want the media to turn out for your pet cause, there is probably a better strategy than the spectacle of human nudity. For the life of me, though, I can't think what that might be. Today's exercise in the science of naked publicity stunts comes courtesy of PETA. Via press release, the celebrated/reviled/oft-ridiculed animal rights organization announced that one of its own would appear in the buff in downtown Minneapolis at high noon.


Sure enough, activist Michelle Cho had parked herself at the corner of Nicollet and Seventh just in time for lunch hour. Sitting on a seat cushion under the Mary Tyler Moore statue, Cho, who is from Los Angeles, looked both cold and a little blasé.

The cold part is understandable. So is the blasé part. In the past month, Cho has pulled similar stunts in Providence, R.I., Ottawa and Cambridge, MA. As she shivered in the chill air, two more appropriately dressed compatriots held a banner emblazoned with the legend, "All Animals Have the Same Parts, Go Vegetarian."

It is worth noting that Cho was not, in fact, entirely nude; in addition to the words printed on her body (representing various cuts of meat), she was wearing a pair of modest black panties and her nipples were concealed by pasties. Nonetheless, the event did seem to achieve the desired effect. As a predictable throng of befuddled bystanders and activists mulled about, the TV camera guys worked the scene.


The whole affair didn't last long. Within a matter of minutes, a Minneapolis police officer (a woman) had handcuffed Cho, wrapped her in a blanket and stuffed her in the back of a squad car. A bunch of males cops stood around and watched. They looked pretty happy with their assignment.

No word yet on what, if anything, Cho will be charged with. There certainly was nothing indecent in her conduct; from the perspective of the lascivious, the whole spectacle seemed the rough equivalent of an underwear advertisement. On the other hand, the lack of actual nudity might be the grounds for some sort of false advertising rap.

Photos by Mike Mosedale