SurferRosaThree or four times a week I find myself on the public floor an hour before the branch opens to the public. I’m out with a list of stuff in my hands that patrons put on hold the night before and I’m helping a few other staff folks find these items so we can get them in the hands of our customers. For some reason, handling the media holds are not a staff favourite. Me, I have no issue with media so I’m typically wandering around the CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and audibooks.

A few days ago a CD came up on the list and it was one I’m familiar with as its by The Pixies and I’m a fan of The Pixies. The name of the album is Surfer Rosa. For those who haven’t seen the cover of this album, it features a rather stunning, black and white portrait of a young woman. She’s beautiful… and topless. However the picture is about as pornographic as any nude painted by the Renaissance masters. In other words, her nudity isn’t the message. Indeed her nudity is merely a facet of the confidence she exudes. You can look at the picture and see that this is a strong woman.

Some of these things even come with a fold out of the whole photograph which is just as stellar as the cover photo.


What I’m trying to say is that I knew what to expect when I pulled that CD off the shelf and what I expected didn’t involve the fact that some schmuck placed a sticker over our heroine to cover up her breasts.

Because, as we all know, breasts are evil and will lead to the downfall of civilization.

It pisses me off even more that there’s no way I can get that sticker off without damaging the cover. So not only has some uptight moron defaced the cover to a CD that wasn’t theirs to begin with, they effectively destroyed it. For two cents and a used jawbreaker, I’d have that picture above professionally printed on a huge poster sized sheet of paper, then laminate it so I could hang it above the CDs.

Thing is, I’ve seen madness like this before but in a different form. Back in Washington I worked for a library that serviced a decent sized Hispanic population. Of course, we had Spanish language magazines for them and some of them were a little out there. The best one of all was Muy Interesante.

Muy Interesante is a great magazine. It’s kind of like National Geographic with an edge. Thing is, it’s not published in Mexico; they print it in Madrid. For those playing the American game, Europe’s laws about nudity are far more relaxed than those of the United States. As such, there were times we’d get that magazine in, peel off the wrapper, and marvel in the full frontal nudity displayed on the cover. I’ve got a couple of samples below for you, but I kept them small so folks don’t think you’re surfing porn while reading an information culture blog:


You can click the thumbnails to see the larger image.

Now then. These magazines were out on the shelves with other magazines like Cosmo or Shape. The funny thing is, I never got a single complaint about Muy Interesante. No one ever complained about the breasts or the pubic regions or the butts or anything. That magazine would stay on the shelf when it wasn’t being read and I usually wound up tossing them after a while because they were so well used and well read.

Meanwhile, people stole Cosmo all the time. If Cosmo was missing it was because it was either down in the men’s restroom (ewww) or because someone walked out with it. I still find it weird that people preferred and lodged complaints against a magazine with no nudity while, just a couple shelves over, there sat another magazine with full nudity alongside an eye-catching red cover.