Ojai, California has an environmental activist that might be too liberal for even this liberal-leaning city of 8,000.
Ojai is the home of Jennifer Moss, "The Pastie Lady". Clad only in a G-string and flower shaped pasties, Moss pedals her bicycle around Ojai in her attention-grabbing get-up and campaigns for what she considers good causes.
In the year that "social artist" Moss has been "performing" for the environment, on Ojai's main drag, she's been arrested twice--and repeatedly ticketed for obstructing traffic.
Irate parents have asked the City Council to force Moss to put on more clothes. Now she may face prosecution for public indecency.
"The issue we're looking at is exposure," said Jim Ellison, Ventura County's chief assistant district attorney. "We've assigned an attorney to do some research."
The artsy town is divided over Jennifer Moss's antics.
To some, she's too liberal, even for Ojai.
"Ojai tolerance is not eternal," local filmmaker Leland Hammerschmitt wrote in a guest editorial in the Ojai Valley News, in which he scolded Moss for her "naked narcissism." "You've had more than your day. Go away. Just stop."
But "The Pastie Lady" has her backers, too. Two particular causes of Moss involve natural fibers and "the healing powers of water".
They say "Earth Friend Jen" is not hurting anyone and that naysayers should leave her alone.
"In the South, they actually embrace you if you are eccentric or even a little crazy. . . .," Dusty Fernandez, an Oak View resident, wrote in the paper. "So lighten up people! Enjoy the view or turn the other way."
Moss has her own view.
"Nudity is natural, but a lot of people are uncomfortable with it," she said rapidly. "It's OK for children to play video games where they are killing each other, and it's patriotic to murder people in a war. But women's breasts in public? You better watch out!"
Jennifer Moss might have another view if she had young children out for a walk and they came upon a different, semi-nude activist.
Moss is quick to say that her scant covering remains within the law. She says she always wears pasties and a G-string (made of hemp). She contends that the tickets and arrests are a violation of her constitutional rights.
"They are charging me with putting on an illegal performance or show," she said of her latest legal entanglement. "I stripped my clothes to speak the truth, but I was legally covered."
Moss also apparently has little concern for the wishes of church-goers. Many may not appreciate her "performance outside their church.
Moss may face a misdemeanor charge for taking off her clothes, down to pasties and G-string, outside the city's Catholic church on Easter Sunday, as parishioners were leaving morning Mass.
"She took that opportunity to make her statement, and she appeared nude to most people," said Ojai Police Chief Bruce Norris. "We got several calls."
Moss now says that going to the church was "poor judgment on my behalf."
She chose Easter Mass, she said, because "there are so many bad people who are hurting and destroying the Earth, and many of them are religious people."
Moss recycles an old, worn argument: churches are filled with sinners.
The point might be made that sinners are in church in an attempt to fix whatever it is in their lives that they feel may need fixed. Say, if one is an exhibitionist, for example.
Regardless of Jennifer Moss's attire, her attitude is at one with those who profess to work for the good of the environment.
She doesn't have much clothing, but she's got plenty of self-righteous, condescending attitude.
And a fine sense of the "end justifies the means".
images/Sources: Ojai has love-hate relationship with "Pastie Lady"
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