The news for penises

Episode 20 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus includes segments of television news as reported for special audiences: The News for Parrots, The News for Gibbons, and The News for Wombats (the parrot segment also has A Tale of Two Cities “specially adapted for parrots”). Here at AZBlog, penis-related material has been piling up for months, so now it’s time for The News for Penises, in five chapters. (I exclude material on gay porn and my XXX-rated collages, though these are penis-heavy, because I report on these regularly on my XBlog.)

Chapter 1. Penis, penis, penis, penis. Back in July a lawyer correspondent sent me a brief from the Supreme Court of the State of New York (County of New York) in an action by Archie Comics against Nancy Silberkleit; you can read the whole sad thing here. It’s a story of things gone terribly wrong when a supervisor goes off the rails and runs her employees and colleagues down, poisoning the atmosphere in the workplace.

In the middle of this story are allegations of Silberkleit’s

inappropriate and offensive language and behavior including making off-color jokes and commenting on emplyees’ physical attributes or characteristics, amounting to sexual harassment by Silberkleit

Among the supporting statements was a letter alleging that

Sometime in late 2009 NS interrupted a meeting whose attendees were … She pointed to each one of them [all men] and said, “PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS”, and then walked out.

… On April 20, 2011 NS walked in to your office again and referring to a book yelled out “PENIS, PENIS, PENIS, PENIS” and then said, “My balls hurt.”

The complainant alleged that this was bullying amounting to sexual harassment.

Well, yes, penis in the context is a garden-variety metonym, conveying ‘man’. But a reasonable person could argue that in the context it was clearly a slur, intended to be demeaning.

Chapter 2. The politician’s penis. Then there’s Anthony Weiner’s penis, last encountered on this blog here. Not long after came Tom Tomorrow’s cartoon commentary on the situation:

Well, he did resign eventually, and on September 13 his seat went to a Republican.

Chapter 3. Male enhancement. Another story from July (AP 7/22/11, “$1.75M settlement in ExtenZe penis enlargement case”), which began:

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California diet supplement maker that promises its ExtenZe pills increase penis size is paying $1.75 million in penalties to settle consumer protection law violations.

The Orange County district attorney’s office says Monrovia-based Biotab Nutraceuticals Inc. misled consumers with unsubstantiated advertising claims for some of its supplements, including ExtenZe.

ExtenZe is marketed as a “male enhancement” product – note the distant N N compound: male enhancement ‘enhancement of males’, alluding to a specific kind of enhancement, namely enhancement (that is, enlargement) of the penis.

[The voluminous literature on such treatments and products also uses the expressions penis / penile enlargement and penis / penile enhancement; also penis / penile augmentation, but usually for surgery. (Female enhancement seems to be used for products to increase libido and intensity of orgasm; versus the surgical breast augmentation / enhancement / enlargement.)]

Chapter 4. Penis size. Now from this July, a Fox News story (“NIH-Backed Study Examined Effects of Penis Size in Gay Community” by Judson Berger 7/18/11) that’s framed as an attack on government waste and frivolity in science. The lead:

The federal government helped fund a study that examined what effect a gay man’s penis size has on his sex life and general well-being.

The study was among several backed by the National Institutes of Health that have come under scrutiny from a group claiming the agency is wasting valuable tax dollars at a time when the country is trying to control its debt. This particular research resulted in a 2009 report titled, “The Association Between Penis Size and Sexual Health Among Men Who Have Sex with Men.”

The study reported, among its findings, that gay men with “below average penises” were more likely to assume a “bottom” sexual position, while those with “above average penises” were more likely to assume a “top” sexual position. Those with average penises identified themselves as “versatile” in the bedroom.

The story goes on to quote the Traditional Values Coalition (“This country is broke and we cannot spend money on this kind of stuff”) but eventually explains that no taxpayer funds were used in collecting the data. The story was of course picked up by the anti-gay media.

Chapter 5. Phallic art. And then recently I got a pointer to John Coulthart’s blog (earlier discussion here), with a posting on pieces by artist Jos Karis, working under the name Josephtailor, in particular a penis cast and a phallic wall piece, 100, with a hundred massed penis casts. I can’t illustrate them here, for obvious WordPress reasons, but I’ve assembled them in an XBlog posting, here.

And that’s the news for penises.

2 Responses to “The news for penises”

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