Today, Tucker Carlson launched The Daily Caller, a Web site that has been hailed as the conservative answer to the Huffington Post. Given my peculiar obsessions with Arianna Huffington‘s left-leaning political tabloid, I had but one question for Carlson: Will there be nipples?
Last June, I noted the Huffington Post’s regular publication of “nipple slips,” or the accidentally bared nipples of major and minor celebrities. I argued that the promotion of these red-carpet snafus encourages readers to objectify women’s bodies, while denying those women the agency to control their own nipple exposure—-and that these non-consensual erotic displays compromised the Huffington Post’s ostensibly progressive bent. (Recall this intensely zoomed-in image of the outer reaches of Beyonce‘s areola to reveal the depths of HuffPo’s obsession with accidental nipples).
When pressed on what it all means, editor Arianna Huffington insisted that a nipple slip is divorced from political ideology: “As Freud said, ‘Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar’—-and a nipple slip is just a nipple slip.” (Translation: Sometimes a cigar does not mean a “penis,” but sometimes a “woman’s nipple” does mean a “woman’s nipple,” and that means lot of page-views).
Huffington’s armchair psychoanalysis failed to shed any light on the matter: How is the objectification of women justified by political progressives? With the launch of Carlson’s Caller, I was presented with a rare opportunity to see how a right-leaning Web site might deal with women’s boobs peeking out of their dresses. Would it lean toward the side of abstinence-informed modesty? Would it tend toward boy’s-club objectification? Or would it just publish, like, real news?
I e-mailed Carlson to ask him about his site’s political ideology, and whether it would embrace nipples. Carlson’s response: “I can’t promise the site will be areola-free—-in my experience these things are hard to predict—-but even at this late stage we haven’t settled on a firm nipple policy,” he wrote.
So far, the Daily Caller has yet to promote images of any accidentally naked celebrities on the Web. A perusal of the Daily Caller’s “Entertainment” page reveals some tabloid fare (“Lohan in paparazzi incident…again“), and some sexy news (“Avatar was supposed to have a sex scene“), but, alas, no nipples: