The Right to Streak

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Ah, college students. At once brilliant, and at the same time, hopelessly stupid.

On the smart side is PSU student Elizabeth Burke, who fought and won in court to have charges of public lewdness dismissed. Burke was arrested last spring for participating in the school's annual Mifflin Streak.

And on the dumb side is Ryan E. Pfister, a major in information sciences and technology and economics, who writes:
As a community, we choose not to allow "lewd" acts in public. Most people, I think, would agree that includes public nudity. If judges start to think that's not the case, maybe we need to make the law more specific. Either way, I'm not going to support this civil rights movement. Because one person's right to streak is overruled by something else: everyone else's right not to see that.
The problem is that Pfister completely contradicted himself earlier in the editorial by stating:
Burke's lawyer, Stacy Parks Miller, argued that for the open lewdness charge to be applicable, somebody had to be offended or alarmed. Shockingly, the prosecution was unable to find someone in the area (i.e. a college student) who was angry about seeing a naked girl.
If you are going to base an argument on the fact that "everyone else" is going to be offended, you cannot preface it by stating that the prosecution could not find a single person who was offended.

Pfister seems to be worried about where to draw the line as far as streaking is concerned, as if thousands of students are suddenly going to strip down and run around the classrooms because of this court case. This is prudishness at its most naked. Notice that Pfister uses all the old cliches, such as "family-friendly" and "offensive" and "lewd", and compares the streaking to activity at a strip club, yet he offers not one single fact to support his position. Prudes can never actually explain why nudity is harmful, because there is no evidence that anyone anywhere has ever been harmed by the sight of a nude human body.

Thankfully the court decided that Elizabeth Burke committed no crime by running nude as part of a college tradition. The law has ruled that nude is not lewd, but prudes like Ryan Pfister can't handle the truth, they continue to pound sand.

Read More: Columnist Matt Sober recognizes streaking as innocent fun.

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