Thursday, May 10, 2012

Judith Lynne Hanna’s "Naked Truth"

Judith Lynne Hanna is an anthropologist and dance critic who has served as an expert court witness in more than one hundred exotic dance cases nationwide. She is Affiliate Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, and has written hundreds of articles and numerous books, including To Dance Is Human: A Theory of Nonverbal Communication; The Performer-Audience Connection; Dance, Sex, and Gender; Dancing for Health: Conquering and Preventing Stress; and Partnering Dance and Education.

Hanna applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Naked Truth: Strip Clubs, Democracy, and a Christian Right, and reported the following:
Taking an unprecedented, counterintuitive look at America’s conflict over sexuality, I reveal how the attack on the exotic dance industry by the activist Christian Right threatens the separation of church and state and undermines our civil liberties. My 15 years of research led to surprises: Across America, a politically aggressive segment of the Christian Right uses plausible-sounding but factually untrue arguments about the harmful effects of strip clubs on their communities. This Christian Right stokes public outrage and incites local and state governments to impose onerous restrictions on the clubs with the intent of dismantling the exotic dance industry. The attack on exotic dance is part of a “grand design” to supplant constitutional democracy in America with a Bible-based theocracy.

I take readers onstage, backstage, and into the community and courts to reveal the conflicts, charges, and realities that are playing out at the intersection of erotic fantasy, religion, politics, and law. I explain why exotic dance is a legitimate form of artistic communication.

Page 99 is a photo that illustrates a dancer preparing to go onstage where she performs for the entire audience. She is showcasing for individual patrons who pay fees for “private dances,” special attention. Dancers have diverse backgrounds: some were professional ballet dancers and other learned to dance by watching and being coached.

I debunk the many myths and untruths that the Christian Right uses to fight strip clubs. Moreover, I demonstrate that while the fight happens at the local level, it is part of a national campaign to regulate sexuality and punish those who do not adhere to Scripture-based moral values. The naked truth is that democracy is under siege and our civil liberties—free speech, women’s rights, and free enterprise—are at stake.
Learn more about the book and author at Judith Lynne Hanna's website.

--Marshal Zeringue