Better ways to save the world

What to say about Ashland's latest brush with fame? Recently arrived resident Jennifer Moss — better known as "The Pastie Lady," "The Naked Lady" and "Earth Friend Jen" — is bringing her adopted hometown all sorts of attention, and generally not of the flattering variety.

It's all over the environmental activist's plan to lead a procession in Ashland's Fourth of July parade wearing nothing but a hemp G-string and Rollerblades. When the sponsoring Chamber of Commerce balked, saying it can bar entries that offend, Moss threatened to sue. She pointed to an Ashland law that permits residents to bare everything but their genitals.

The Chamber has its reasons for believing it can draw limits around parade entries as it has for years. The American Civil Liberties Union in Portland says those reasons might be arguable, depending on whether the organization receives public money (The ACLU is not involved in the dispute at this point).

But we would say this to Moss: No matter what the parade outcome, there are better ways to go about saving the world than to focus on her right to bare her body.

Information is what she says she's peddling: important information about the environment, our throw-away society and treating the Earth well.

Concern about the environment is at an all-time high, and these are messages lots of people could get behind. But the crowd's going to be considerably smaller if Moss is standing at the front of the line going on about whether her breasts have to be covered while she's talking.

In an online video filmed when she was in California, Moss explains she's always felt "different." Ashland, which tolerates things many cities wouldn't and which has more than its share of people working to fix environmental ills, offers her an opportunity to fit in and get the word out about that cause as well, if that's what she's really trying to do.

The question worth asking is: Is that what she's trying to do?

If so, there are better fights to pick than with parade organizers. Ashland's parade has featured all sorts of voices in the past. Part of its fun is that it's an edgier procession than most. Organizers have found a way to work right up to the good-taste line without going over it.

If environmentalism is really the cause that inspires her, Moss ought to be able to walk that line as well.

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