(Abby Brack/Getty Images) But WHO is she, really?
But WHO is she, really? (Abby Brack/Getty Images)

With rumors of an Ashley Judd Senate campaign in Kentucky already swirling about in the air like things that swirl about in the air, the Seth MacFarlane backlash has begun. The Daily Caller, for instance, is on the case, noting that “According to MrSkin.com, which bills itself as “the largest free nude celebrity movie archive,” Judd has flashed just about everything on-screen.”

I found it odd that this was the part they decided to single out. Of all the things to worry about in Judd’s biography!

I am more concerned, frankly, that her son is friends with a dolphin amputee. And her boyfriend is a tooth fairy? I’m sort of unnerved by that, frankly. Also, she’s a paranoid waitress who thinks her skin is infested with bugs put there by the government? And a female serial killer who cries, “Merry Christmas, Daddy!” over her victims? These should all be much bigger red flags. As long as we’re not separating her behavior onscreen from her behavior off it.

The worst part is not that she’s had a lesbian affair with Frida Kahlo. It’s that her name is actually Tina, and she’s in fact been dead since 1942. She’s a member of some covert organization called the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which just sounds like voting booth poison. 

As Alyssa Rosenberg says, in a piece dubbing this “theatrical slut-shaming,” “It may come as a surprise to the Daily Caller, but actresses don’t generally take their clothes off on-screen as an expression of some sort of groovy seventies lifestyle, or as a way to have sex with people who are not their spouses or partners. Rather, getting asked to take off some or all of your clothes is, for a lot of actors, a frequent requirement of the job, and something that until recently, tended to be asked of women more frequently than men.”

But that would imply that Judd’s critics were looking for context. If they had been, there would have been so many more warning flags!

She’s been jilted by Greg Kinnear! Who gets jilted by Greg Kinnear? More pressingly, she attempted to murder her husband based on a gross, gross misunderstanding of the Double Jeopardy clause in the Constitution. And having just escaped the clutches of a serial killer herself, decides to assist Morgan Freeman in an investigation, she’s clearly in no psychological condition to govern.

All of these things combine to present a far, far more terrifying picture. But who bothers to watch the parts of movies that do not contain nudity? That would be a waste of precious time that could be better spent laughing at Seth MacFarlane’s jokes.

As @GreenEyedLilo quipped on Twitter, “If you thought “I Saw Your Boobs” was bad at the Oscars, imagine it as a campaign ad.” 

Maybe this is the Internet’s fault.

Context takes too long. Why bother? “Ashley Judd is a unibrowed-artist-loving, Ya-Ya-Sister serial killer from spaaaaaaaace!” is more fun to say. “Ashley Judd has boobs!” is even easier.

It is so seldom that people who have read the whole book complain that it is obscene. Invariably the most aggrieved are the ones who have skimmed rapidly through looking for the naughty parts. “If anything,” these people note, “there was too much ACTING before the Obscene Onscreen Baring of Flesh To Which I So Vigorously and Strenuously Objected.”  “How dare she act in movies without being fully swathed in modest layers of clothing?” these people ask. “She ought to save the high-profile images of nudity for after she is elected, like most of our officials do.”

Some people insist that the best way to consume food is in small bites constantly through the course of the day. But it’s the worst way to consume people, as even Ann Romney would agree. And it’s an especially obnoxious way to treat an actress of Judd’s caliber. Can’t we just stick to our traditional pursuit of taking her remarks out of context? Do we have to take her images, too? Are we stuck with this GIFification of our discourse and the blunt realization that nothing exists so wonderful and complex that it cannot be broken down into a three-second boob clip?

Perhaps acting should be a disqualifier for public office. Put in its plainest terms, Judd has spent decades taking our money while she pretended to be someone else. Sure, it’s superficially like what Ronald Reagan used to do, but only superficially. Ashley Judd, after all, has boobs.

Then again, going by the principles displayed so far, the only part of this article that will be excerpted anywhere is the line that says “Ashley Judd has boobs.” Sometimes, we sicken me.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.