modigliania-reclining-nude uncensored

This painting is Modigliani’s Nu couché, or “Reclining Nude” as it is usually rendered in English. To my pornified eye, it is no thing at all — a crudely-rendered oil painting with muddy colors, of interest (if at all) for the expression on the woman’s face. But that is why they don’t let me into fancy auction houses. Former taxi driver and current Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian thought it was worth 170 million bucks, and for that price bought it this week.

And here’s where it gets interesting. As Mashable reports, the financial press (but pretty much nobody else) found the painting too shocking to put on TV, and felt the need to fuzz out the naughty bits (tits included!) for its audience of stockbrokers and mature persons of business. CNBC, Bloomberg TV, the Financial Times — none of them thought their audiences could handle this boring old canvas in its filthy uncensored glory:

modigliani-reclining nude financial press censored

modigliani-reclining-nude with censor bars

This cannot possibly be a “protect the children” impulse. How many children do you know who watch CNBC? Or who read the Financial Times? I can only speculate about the true motive, but to me it speaks of the reasons underlying the #pornocalypse. I’ve mentioned before that #pornocalypse begins to show its ugly ass when an internet company reaches that certain stage in its life-cycle where bankers and stockbrokers are getting involved. Steve Jobs {spit!} aside, the anti-sex squeamishness typically isn’t coming from the tech industry, it shows up when it’s time to start dealing in serious money.

I don’t know why financiers can’t handle a little bit of nudity in their financial reportage. But there’s nobody more slavish toward the whims of money than a financial press editor. I think we can safely trust that they know their moneyed audience. Call this proof of a sort: the #pornocalypse is an artifact of the prudishness of the rich.

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