A man amongst men

A man amongst men

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There've been a lot of smart people in the history of the world.

Einstein. Socrates. Velma from Scooby Doo.

Men and women who have affected what we do and how we act in such profound ways that they've received recognition -- and deservedly so -- as the greatest minds ever. 

Whether their influences have been scientific, logical or creative, these people have each been anointed as a step above what we call smart. 

They're geniuses.

Well, until this week I thought they were geniuses.

Because now, there's only one remarkably brilliant man worthy of that claim of intellectual superiority.

Only one man who is so blessed with advanced brainpower that we can't help but sit back in awe.

Only one man who can now truly be referred to as a genius. 

I know what you're thinking. 

No, it's not Charlie Manuel.

His name is Spencer Tunick. And we should all bow in his honor.

If you've never heard of Spencer, don't be embarrassed. I had no idea who he was either until last Sunday when I was thumbing through the Plain Dealer. Suddenly, I came across a photo on page 21-A, which looked like a bunch of nude people.

Much to my delight, as I leaned in more closely, I realized that it WAS a bunch of nude people -- and a lot of them were women!

"Hello, Plain Dealer? Yes, I'd like to renew my subscription -- for the next 50 years!"

Spencer, my friend, you are a god.

Mr. Tunick, you see, is a New York photographer who somehow, someway, convinced 2,000 people last week in downtown Montreal to take off their clothes and lie naked on the steps of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. He says it's going to be part of something he's calling the Nude Adrift Series. And he's planning on traveling to every continent to shoot group nudes.

Let me say this again. He didn't photograph one person. He didn't even photograph 10 people. Which, mind you, are more naked people than I've seen in my entire life.

No, Mr. Tunick lined up 2,000 people and got them to place their bare asses on cement, waiting to hear the words, "Say cheese."

"When If anyone is wondering why no one shows up at baseball games in Montreal, maybe they should've taken a walk by the Art Museum.

Better yet, maybe the team should change their name to the Expose.

Mr. Tunick, you are truly a genius. On so many fronts.

To begin with, I think I can speak for any man out there when I say, "OK, forget the naked guys because that's kinda gay. But how in the hell did you get a thousand women to take off their clothes?"

Can you imagine if you or I tried to make that sales pitch?

"Hi ma'am. Um, do you happen to know what time it is? Great, thanks. Say, I know this may sound perhaps a wee bit forward on my part, but I was wondering…y'see, I've got this camera, it's a really nice camera. Telephoto lens, too. And hey, I just got a new battery. Plus I'm only one stamp away from getting a free roll developed at Medic. Anyway, I was, um, wondering. I realize it's like, y'know, 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday and all, but it would really help me out a lot in my career if you would, y'know, take that dress off -- it looks really nice on you, by the way -- and let me take a couple of pictures of you. I swear this won't take more than a few minutes. It would also help if you put your hands on that railing over there and kinda stuck your ass out toward me.

"It's art, you know."

If those words ever came out of my mouth, I would never again have to ask myself the question, "Hmm. I wonder what a Kenneth Cole shoe would feel like buried in my balls."

But then again, I'm not Spencer Tunick, Supergenius.

Wait though. Because there's so much more to this than him getting a bunch of people naked. Once you think this thing through -- completely through -- you'll understand exactly what I mean when I say that this is the smartest man who ever lived.

To start with, not only did he get 2,000 people to agree to take off their clothes in public, he got them to show up and do it at 5:30 in the morning. In 55-degree weather. 

Hey fellas, wanna get rid of that morning wood lickety-split? Then try mid-May in The Great White North…before dawn!

But wait, there's more. 

Not only did he get 2,000 people to agree to take off their clothes in public at 5:30 in the morning in 55-degree weather, he got all of them to sit there naked for an hour

"Perfect. CLICK. One more. Wait, move your arms a little bit…perfect. CLICK. OK, now just tilt your heads to the left. No not those heads."

But wait, there's more.

Not only did he get 2,000 people to agree to take off their clothes in public for an hour at 5:30 in the morning in 55-degree weather, he got city officials to agree to the whole idea.

"Hi Mr. Mayor, or Mr. Le Mayor, whatever the hell they call you up there. Tunick here. So anyway, I'd like to get a couple of thousand people nude downtown this week. You OK with that?" PAUSE. "Yeah, I didn't think so."

But wait, there's still more.

Not only did he get city officials to agree to let him have 2,000 people to take off their clothes in public for an hour at 5:30 in the morning in 55-degree weather, he also got the police to lock up all the surrounding buildings so no one could leave. And so no other photographers could show up and interfere with his "art."

Apparently, two women and a man got cold feet -- and I'm assuming cold other stuff -- and couldn't find any way to get into a nearby mall because the doors had been locked.

But wait, there's more.

After this remarkable example of artistic freedom had been completed, newspapers all over the country ran stories about what he did. With a photo

We're talking well-respected, time honored, daily newspapers. And the Plain Dealer, too. 

If you can, please find last Sunday's paper. Look at that picture on 21-A. Notice how I didn't say look closely. Just look at it. Right in front of you. Beaver, beaver and more beaver.

And this isn't D'arcy Egans column I'm talking about.

Spencer Tunick, you are a genius.

While other men try on a daily basis to coerce women out of their clothes, you, through the sheer will of your superior intellect, convinced government officials, police, stores owners, and hundreds of news- papers how vitally important is was for you to photograph 2,000 men and women in their birthday suits.

For that, you are from this day forward, deserving of the title, Genius.

Of course, if you were really, really good, they all would've been chicks. 

And hot ones, too. 

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