back to article Millennials 'horrify' their neighbours with knob-shaped lights display

You've heard of the e-penis – the measure of an individual's power and stance on the internet – but have you considered the street penis? Yes, 'tis the season to overcompensate by spewing the most garish Chrimbo lights display possible all over your home to let your neighbours know that you are indeed the big man. We all know …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it a penis or....

    Is it a penis or a visual representation of a protected religious figure? One is not easily removed, the other will be removed immediately.

  2. Thoguht Silver badge

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    Definitely a protected religious figure (probably NSFW, depending on the attitude of one's employer to certain Shinto festivals).

  3. sprograms

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    An erect phallus was also a religious item in the widespread cult of Hermes in ancient Athens. Athenians would very often have a statue of Hermes in such a state, placed by their front door to protect the boundary of their house, as was also done to mark the boundary between neighboring towns. The statue was called a Herm. See Wikipedia's entry for Hermes, sub-topic Herm.

  4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    Do you know one explanation of why visual representations of God were forbidden in Judaism?

    Because at least one of the three gods mentioned in the first part of the Bible (Adonai, Elohim and Yahweh) was a fertility god represented as bringing life into being by watering the land with his semen.

    "This isn't rude, constable, I'm a pre-Yahwist and I think the Ten Commandments are blatant heresy."

  5. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    @Voina i Mor: Pedantry alert - I suspect you are mixing mythologies. One ancient god associated with semen, water, and fertility is the Sumerian Enki. You don't need to be familiar with Sumerian myths if you share reading preferences with other commentards here: I am pretty certain Enki was featured in some book by Neal Stephenson. Could it be a subliminal inspiration for your post? ;-)

    I can speculate how the connection with the Old Testament God may have come about. It seems that Enki had an alternative moniker of Elil, which sounds Hebrew enough. However, it's a red herring: the word El means "god", while Elil stands for "idol" (including physical artifacts), has pejorative connotations appropriate for pagan deities (no intent here to offend anyone!), and cannot possibly be used in connection to the One True Old Testament G-d whose name cannot be written in full.

    Not mentioning G-d and not using any images are manifestations of the same idea that has no anatomical roots but signifies the utmost respect and adoration. So euphemisms are used throughout. The word typically represented as Yahweh is an abbreviation (think G-d - I used it intentionally here to make the connection), Adonai means "My Lord", Elohim is a generic word for G-d (and Adonai Eloheinu, used in prayers, stands for "Lord Our G-d"). These are not "three ancient gods of the Bible" but different ways to refer to the same supernatural entity.

    By the way, grammatically the Elohim of the Bible can hardly have a penis - the word itself (as well as Adonai) is not masculine but plural. Grammatically, plural is sometimes used for amorphous, uncountable, omnipresent, all-permeating substances or notions. Water (maim) and life (chaim) are other examples, allowing me to close the circuit... ;-)

  6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    one of the three gods mentioned in the first part of the Bible (Adonai, Elohim and Yahweh)

    Yet another example of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"..

    Adonai is an Aramaic word (the New Testament and bits of the OT were written in Aramaic - most of the OT was written in Ancient Hebrew) that is cognate with 'Lord'. The Ancient (and Modern) Jews have a proscription about using the names of God directly (YHWH being one of them) and so used the word 'Adonai' as a placeholder. Much the same way as we say 'Lord' instead of using YHWH.

    Elohim (which is plural) simply means "mighty ones" (or "sons of God" - 'El' means God/mighty power in ancient Hebrew and is used sometimes and one of the Names of God). Sometimes used to refer to angels, other times used to refer to the faithful.

    YHWH is a word that stands in for the phrase "I am what I am" (one of the names of God that declares his purpose - can also be stated as "I will be what I will be" - Ancient Hebrew only had two tenses - past complete and incomplete). Also note that ancient Hebrew had no written vowels so modern English has added in the extra vowels to give some idea of the pronunciation.

    So in summary (and apologies for the Biblical nerdism), your reasoning and example are utterly wrong since none of the three names you mentioned are anything to do with an acient fertility god. There were gods who were referred to using 'El' - but only because all the langueages in the area were related and used similar names. Not three Gods, but different names for the same God (and one name that is plural and doesn't refer to God at all - as in the ancient sh'ma: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One" - which in Modern Hebrew uses 'Adonai' as a placeholder.).

    And yes, I have studied that stuff - for a lot of my life.

  7. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    " I am pretty certain Enki was featured in some book by Neal Stephenson. Could it be a subliminal inspiration for your post?"

    Not really, I have never to my knowledge read anything by Stephenson.

    But I am aware that this is an extremely contentious area.

    Orthodox Jews have quite a critical apparatus intended to "monotheise" Bereshit, and I would say that I am familiar with some of what you post. To others I would merely suggest that yours could be a post facto rationalisation since Bereshit was put together many years after the origins of the Hebrew religion. And, in fact, after Omri suppressed the worship of Yahweh, referred to in Kings when his successor Ahab was overthrown by the Yahwists. (Coincidentally there's an excellent article on the chronology of the written Bible in this month's National Geographic, but it doesn't go into prehistory.)

  8. Voyna i Mor Silver badge
    Coat

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    "Yet another example of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing""

    I am so put down

    "So in summary (and apologies for the Biblical nerdism), your reasoning and example are utterly wrong"

    Again, I am so put down.

    Mine's the one with a copy of Weingreen in the pocket. I gave all my other textbooks to Oxfam years ago...they were a little taken aback but said they would probably go to Oxford.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Is it a penis or....

    '..YHWH is a word that stands in for the phrase "I am what I am" (one of the names of God that declares his purpose'

    Hmmm

  10. Autonomous Cowherds

    "When you walk home you just don't expect to come face to face with an enormous penis on a wall.

    The lights were flashing and it is so in your face, you cannot help staring at it."

    ~Repressed home owner, 53.

  11. Chris King Silver badge

    "When you walk home you just don't expect to come face to face with an enormous penis on a wall."

    Sometimes, it's not even a human one.

    The mural is still there, but Dobbin is not so pleased to see his master these days.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He'd better not take a holiday where he will see the Cerne Abbas Giant cut into a chalk hillside***.

    ***Apparently when the figure was being renovated at some point his original navel was mistakenly incorporated as being the glans. The National Trust have no inhibitions about promoting it as a tourist attraction. NSFW?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The lights were flashing [...]"

    According to the newspaper picture they didn't actually animate it as such. Either no creative imagination - or a lack of Arduino skills.

  14. Ogi
    Thumb Up

    > or a lack of Arduino skills.

    Arduino?!? Pah! Kids these days, back in my day, yadda yadda, .... Real men do it with logic gates!

    http://pigeonsnest.co.uk/stuff/cocklights.html demonstrates the idea, with schematics!

    I was still a student when I stumbled across that site, so we are talking a good 10 years ago at least that people were making and decorating their places with cocks (and multicoloured animated ones to boot). Why is this newsworthy now?

    those damned restaurant-killing, soap-shirking, marriage-dodging millennials. Or, more specifically, a bunch of students sharing a house due to the property's proximity to the town's university.

    No one else could possibly sink so low.

    Ah, because Students/Millenials? You would think nobody before them ever thought to graffiti a sex organ onto a wall somewhere. Honestly, talk about making a mountain of a mole hill (not el reg, the actual news outlet).

    Icon because, well, I can't set this as an icon: http://pigeonsnest.co.uk/stuff/images/cocklights.gif

    (Not sure if NSFW, its a multicoloured flashing phallus symbol, so depends on how prudish your workplace is)

  15. tekHedd

    "When you walk home you just don't expect to come face to face with an enormous penis on a wall."

    At least, not until you arrive home and go inside...

  16. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Forestry plantations!!

    "Ah, because Students/Millenials? You would think nobody before them ever thought to graffiti a sex organ onto a wall somewhere. "

    Maybe it's just my dirty mind, but there are at least two hillside forestry plantations in the shape of a penis and balls. Balls at the top. Northbound carriageways of the M6 and M74 afford the "best" views. One in the Lake District, the other about half way between Carlisle and Glasgow. There may be more, but that's the ones I can think of at the moment.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IIRC in the 1970s a popular magazine was advertised on Stockholm's large billboards with a cartoon full-height yellow erect penis. No one seemed to bat an eyelid. Bart would have happily displayed that in Springfield on his skateboard.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    American Marine

    Did they file a flight plan to erect those lights?

  21. cageordie

    Worthless without pictures

    No pictures of a visual story? How's that work? Not very well.

  22. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    Bit of a cock up.

  23. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    If you really need to know what a penis looks like, click the link at "according to the Reading Chronicle". Not our pic so not gonna use it. Otherwise I hear the internet's full of them.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    You can see a picture on this local newspaper's page - until the GDPR pop-up appears.

  25. detritus

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    re: GDPR pop-up — this local rag's not sharing data with the most egregious quantity of innocuously-named 'vendors' as others I've happened upon since GDPRgeddon made it easy to check — only 126.

    I clicked a link to some East London paper recently and was bemused to see that they'd liked to have shared my details with 416 'vendors'.

    So THAT is why we have GDPR.

  26. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    Having seen the picture, it's quite like what I expected - a very simple outline. You know, the sort of thing you have to know what it's meant to be in order to realise what it is meant to be.

    Regarding the "what if a child saw" comment - they would see an arrangement of lights on a wall and not understand what it is meant to be.

    @ExcellentSword - want me to wander around there and take a photo for the article?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    The modern millennial's house is now an IoT device.

    The light pattern displayed, clearly depicts an eggplant on wheels

  28. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    "Otherwise I hear the internet's full of them."

    Do tell! Link or it didn't happen. (I thought t'internet was all kittens?)

  29. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    "I thought t'internet was all kittens?"

    Wait until the 18th of December. Then Tumblr takes down its porn, or so it claims, and we will see just how many people want to support its business with only one type of pussy to look at.

  30. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    Otherwise I hear the internet's full of them.

    Yeah, just search for "politician" and you'll get an eyeful.

  31. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Re: Worthless without pictures

    John Brown (no body),

    Good Grief! Of course the internet isn't just for kitties.

    The Internet Is For Porn - as this not all that safe for work video attests.

  32. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Fake news

    This story sounds like a phallusy

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fake news

    Christmas comes but once a year

  34. joeW

    "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    Hang on, I thought it was the middle-aged men who were supposed to complain about rainbow-haired Millennial snowflakes being too easily bloody offended these days?

  35. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    @joeW

    Ding!! Ding!! Dong!!! We have weiner!

  36. Spazturtle Silver badge

    Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    This may surprise you but political groups are not strictly divided along age boundaries, middle-aged men and rainbow-haired Millennials can have the same political views. Would you have been happier if he had said "It's deeply offensive because it promotes rape culture and toxic masculinity"?

  37. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    I think his thesaurus may be broken. Offensive? Maybe. Deeply so? Only if you think 'deeply' has the same meaning as 'marginally'.

    In a world filled with things that are much more offensive in many different ways (I mean, seriously, I can think of several off the top of my head), one wonders why we still have people who seem to get offended just for the sake of being offended. $Deity only knows how this person would react if he had to take a bunch of schoolchildren to a city farm. Presumably, he would have the blindfolds ready?

  38. Def Silver badge

    Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    I took it to mean it's offensive to God botherers who think Christmas and the associated garish decorations are important.

    Either that, or he's just got a bit of size envy, but rather than admit that he falls back on the "I'm offended" card.

  39. VikiAi
    Happy

    Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    He said 'deeply'. In this context. Hyak hyak hyak.

  40. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Re: "It's deeply offensive" says 53 year old man

    God botherers who think Christmas and the associated garish decorations are important

    But not to those of us that actually think about such things rather than being fed opinions..

    (Chrstmas as we know it has very little to do with the birth of Christ - which was probably in March - and everything to do with the Catholic Church borging pagan festivals in order to keep their converts happy)

  41. Steve Button

    Nobby Holder would be proud.

    That is all.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ""It's not the sort of thing you would want a child to see."

    Those comments are often made by people who are determined regularly to expose their children to images of a bloodied man nailed to a cross. Oh I forgot - after about the 15th century they added a loin cloth to such figures.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have to wonder how a child would know what it is meant to represent.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "You have to wonder how a child would know what it is meant to represent."

    Well a "child" that is not not allowed to view such images is legally defined in the UK as "under 18".

  45. arctic_haze Silver badge

    It seems reasonable to try to protect the children. The problem is they themselves are the group most likely to produce this kind of iconography. School mates are best teachers of how to draw you know what.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "

    It seems reasonable to try to protect the children."

    Protect them from what? The features of the human body need reasonable explanations before they get to a stage where hormones are starting to cloud their judgement. It is what is forbidden that has the most allure.

    Many, many years ago there were neighbours who were devout Roman Catholics with a large family. At my Winter Solstice party I found their angelic 15 year old daughter wandering round the house with another girl. She was sticking erect penises made of pink modelling clay on any of the wall pictures that included men. I calmly pointed out that it was not wise to do this. Her memorable comment was "I've seen more of them than you've had hot dinners". This was pre-internet - she elucidated that baby-sitting evenings had certain privacy advantages for her and various boys of similar ages.

  47. phuzz Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    "You have to wonder how a child would know what it is meant to represent."

    Well about half of them only have to look in their own pants, and given how little the average toddler hates wearing clothes, I'd guess most kids have seen a penis.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should go the whole six inches and have window displays with "LE TITS NOW". That'll put it up 'em!

  49. LucreLout Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    They should go the whole six inches and have window displays with "LE TITS NOW". That'll put it up 'em!

    Thanks for that. It's completely ruined another Christmas radio classic for me, but somehow it seems worth it.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better hope those lights are wired OK, or we may get Chestnuts Roasting as well...

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