One of my favorite words is “nudity.”
Take away the meaning of the word and any connotations that get attached to it, the word itself is amusing and can often generate laughs by itself, particularly when following the word “partial.”
I’ve always been fond of the word, even long before I knew what it meant. In the earliest days of cable television in Powell County, subscribers would get little paper booklets from outlets like The Movie Channel (in those days, The Movie Channel was far more popular than HBO, thanks in large part to its tendency to show the Friday the 13th movies as often as possible) detailing the monthly schedule of movies.
(Partially Related Tangent, but Only Because It Involves the Early Days of Cable: In 1987, nothing in my life, and I truly mean nothing, was bigger than the WWF. Each year, Vince McMahon and company would get me excited for WrestleMania, which only had two viewing options: 1) pay per view; or 2) wait 8-12 months for the tape to arrive at Video Solution. In the promos, the announcer would instruct us to call our cable companies today to order the pay per view, so that’s exactly what I did. I’m 11 years old, calling Johnny Napier, Powell County’s cable king, trying to order WrestleMania, then trying to figure out exactly why I couldn’t get it in Stanton. Dejected, I would miss the wrestling event of the year (perhaps even of all time) and wake up the next morning, read the Lexington Herald-Leader’s sports section in hopes of finding the results, then calling the paper to find out who won the top matches, then trying to figure out exactly why it wasn’t covered in the newspaper.)
Each day would have an hour-by-hour listing of movies, with the back of the guide providing, in alphabetical order, a brief description of each film. This handy feature also let you know the reason for a movie’s rating, and to my young mind (I would have been about 6 years old), I always stayed puzzled by the explanations.
Language: What movie wouldn’t have some sort of language in it? How else would these people communicate? I found it puzzling that a movie could get rated R simply for the use of language.
Violence: OK, so this one made sense. I’m an American; I understand violence in pop culture.
Adult Situations: To a 6-year-old, pretty much everything is an adult situation, which when read literally, as my mind did, is a situation between adults. A professional baseball game involved nine innings of adult situations. For heaven’s sake, church was chock full of adult situations (the exception, of course, being Youth Sunday). I was 6; I didn’t understand the concept of “sex” and certainly failed to grasp the importance of “adult situations.” I wonder how many movies I skipped because I saw they featured “adult situations” and thought “Great … another movie with adults talking about filing their taxes.”
Nudity: I knew what nudity was, making me feel like the most sophisticated kid in Sophisticateville. Unfortunately, I knew neither the actual meaning nor the proper pronunciation.
I thought new-duh-tee was pronounced nuh-duh-tee, and before I continue, I again remind you I was about 6 years old. “Nudity” was not one of Mrs. Lake’s regular words in our kindergarten class.
So, what exactly did “nudity/nuh-duh-tee” mean? I had it figured out: It’s when a movie featured really silly things, like people acting, and I’m serious about this, nutty. Hence, nuttity. Hence, nuh-duh-tee. Hence, nudity.
I’m fairly certain I explained my rationale to my family at some point, and while I’m sure they appreciated knowing their little boy wasn’t going to be watching some nudity-filled sex romp, I’m quite positive they appreciated even more knowing their little boy was a naïve turd.