Nudity and tourism

Photo by Mike Koozmin/SF Newspaper Co. LLC

KQED's Forum weighed in on Sup. Scott Wiener's anti-nudity law Oct. 18, and I particularly enjoyed the attempts by all to avoid the use of the word "cockring." I taped a show for KPFA's morning mix (to air 7:30 am Oct. 19) and host John Hamilton told me that "cockring" wasn't on the FCC list of unacceptable words and it was ok to use it, but that's KPFA, not KQED. I also laughed at Michael Krasny confessing that he was beeing "lookist" when he said he'd heard that the men at Jane Warner Plaza weren't all that good-looking.

At any rate, here's the real story: A friend's mom was visiting recently from Switzerland, and what did she want to do in San Francisco? She wanted to go to the Castro and see the naked men. Of course.

You see the buses going down Market Street with all the tourists, sticking their cameras out the window to get a shot? It's a tourist attraction. 

Remember -- when the sea lions first arrived at Fisherman's Wharf about 20 years ago, and hauled themselves up on the docks, the city tried to get them to leave -- they were loud and stinky and unappealing. But they wouldn't go -- and after a few weeks, the merchants realized how good they were for business.

I asked the Convention and Visitors Bureau, now known as SF Travel, if banning nudity might be bad for the tourist industry -- and the local economy. The folks there haven't gotten back to me. But I don't know; maybe the city economist should study this nudity ban.

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