Naked Sashimi Shunned in South Africa

Fried Pickles
Flickr user Ko_An
South Africa's ruling party has proclaimed that eating sashimi off a semi-nude model's body is officially offensive. Known in Japan as nyotaimori, the practice involves a nude female model lying supine, her lady-parts covered discreetly with leaves or other garnish on which raw fish is artfully presented. Other than eating body-temperature raw fish off a naked human platter, there's nothing "nasty" involved.

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, "This act is anti-ANC and anti-revolutionary. This act is defamatory, insensitive and undermining of a woman's integrity." Apparently, South African politicos are getting into hot water because they were seen at parties thrown by the rich and powerful where nyotaimori was part of the entertainment. It must be an evolved South Africa when the revolution has concerned itself with prudish matters of mild titillation.

In the interest of modesty, perhaps they ought to pass a law that forces everyone to eat their boerewors (South African sausage) sandwiches with a knife and fork? I don't care if you're as polished as Gwyneth Paltrow, there's not a woman alive who doesn't look like Jenna Haze when gobbling a fat sausage sandwich. Stop by a Jerry's Woodfired Dogs for lunch some time and report back to me.

Perhaps the ANC will discover the laissez-faire solution to the offensive practice. Bottom line? Nyotaimori is lame. If naked sushi had any critical mass, it would have sustained West Hollywood's shuttered Hadaka Sushi, but it didn't. Closer to OC, there was a sushi bar inside Mr. J's strip joint that served food until 2 a.m. Though nyotaimori wasn't on the menu, you could get your late-night sushi-and-naked-girl fix, until Mr. J's went out of business.

Maybe South Africa's still-young democracy is several decades behind our scandal curve. In 1990, a month before Nelson Mandela was freed from his 21-year prison term, Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaine with a prostitute in a seedy motel room. In another 20 years, maybe South African politicians will have sex scandals worthy of the name.

This revolution will definitely not be televised. My advice to the ANC: liberate, don't overlegislate. You've got bigger fish to cut into sashimi.

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