Add these to list of those who haven’t gone nude on Internet

Armchair Mayor column, The Kamloops Daily News, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008

Have you ever said something so totally stupid you’d like to crawl under a rock for 100 years until everybody who heard it is dead?

I did, this week.

It began innocently enough, showing up at a luncheon thingy for new TRU president Kathleen Scherf prior to her fancy schmancy installation ceremony.

Previously, I’d spoken to her only by phone. Christopher Seguin, the university’s vice-president of advancement, made the introductions.

Ah, yes, said Scherf, she recalled our phone conversation, and some of the articles and photos we’ve published about her.

“You outed my tattoo!” she said cheerily, sticking out her wrist to show it off, and adding, “And that’s the only place I’ve got one.”

“Well,” I said, “As long as you haven’t posed nude on the Internet.”


“No, I haven’t!” she reassured me.

“That’s good,” I said, digging myself in deeper with, “I’ll bet Betty hasn’t either.”

Our MP, standing with us, was quick to confirm that, indeed, she hasn’t.

By this time, not more than 60 seconds into the conversation, Seguin was getting a little edgy, but Nancy Greene-Raine (yes, the famous Olympian and chancellor of the university), gamely offered that if you’re going to pose nude you shouldn’t do it on the Internet.

And there we stood, unsure of how to segue into a topic that was even halfway appropriate. So I congratulated Scherf on her new job, suggested she probably needed to mingle, and retreated.

In hindsight, I could have talked about what a great city Kamloops is, asked which debate she was going to watch, anything. But no, I ask the president of our university if she’d ever posed nude on the Internet.

My only hope is that Kathleen Scherf lives up to her reputation as having a sense of humour, and that she does not order campus security to put me on their hit list.

In my defence, there was a reason the question popped up. You have heard about Sharon Smith, the Houston mayor who posed full monty wearing only her chain of office a few years ago. At the time, she admitted to being “embarrassed” about the picture that was all over the Internet, not to mention the tabloids.

But, she acknowledged, taking the photo in her Town Hall office was “a proud moment for my husband.”

That picture has come back to haunt Smith as she now runs for the Tories in Skeena-Bulkley Valley. But federal natural resources minister Gary Lunn says Smith is a leader and the pix don’t matter.

It was probably the resurfacing of the Smith photo in the news that led a couple of readers of my armchairmayor blog to Google “Cathy McLeod nude.” (The blog host provides stats on what people type in to get to the blog. Any site that has mentioned her by name would come up in the search.)

No, I am not going to ask Cathy McLeod if she has ever posed nude on the Internet if I’m introduced to her, and I trust the question won’t come up at Wednesday night’s all-candidates’ forum at the TRU Grand Hall.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume she never has. 

But it seems that whenever a woman goes into politics these days, the Internet gets swamped with browsers searching for nude photos of them. “Sarah Palin nude” is currently one of the most popular searches on the net.

“Hilary Clinton nude” was, apparently, a popular search when she was in the running for the Democratic nomination.

Aside from the question of just what sort of mentality is out there seeking titillation from pictures of nude politicians, it begs the question of why prominent community leaders — especially, it seems, mayors — insist on posing in the nude and ending up with their pictures on the Internet.

A mayor in Oregon was tossed out of office for posing on a city fire truck in her bra and panties. The deputy mayor of a town in Europe posed nude for a magazine last year.

It’s not just female politicians, either. A guy in Jersey City was elected mayor despite a widely circulated picture of himself drunk and naked on his front step. The lord mayor of Belfast was caught on camera in the buff, with a couple of women friends.

We have yet to have a local scandal in this regard, but you never know. Late mayor Phil Gaglardi once admitted to stripping down so he could jog around his City Hall office for exercise.

When one sits down in the mayor’s chair in that office, visions come to mind one would rather did not come to mind.

Politicians have been known to pose nude for good causes, of course. I once tried to talk City council into posing for a nude calendar for charity — fortunately, nobody took me up on it.

Are those we elect to public office such egomaniacs, or just so dimwitted, they can’t resist taking it all off for others to see? Of course, in the case of mayors, those who pose nude like to wear the chain of office while they’re doing so. Eyoo.

Anyway, I leave you now, with the reassuring knowledge that the new president of TRU, the university chancellor, and our outgoing MP have all definitely not posed nude on the Internet.

But that’s as far as it goes, because I have it etched firmly in my brain as one of the questions not to ask people I’ve just met.

About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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