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.
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 …
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.
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."
@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... ;-)
" 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.)
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.
"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.
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?
> 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)
"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.
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.
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?
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"?
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?
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.
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)
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.
Penii or mythical beasts, either tends to offend the reactionary who seem to never tire of the yearly indulgence in the tired old trappings of the season, totally unaware most of the current yearly decor comes only from the Victorian era, and is not an eternal tradition.
We're well overdue a renewal or a makeover of the season - it's just got so cliche - from the usual holiday telly schedule to the tedious endless repetition of christmas songs in every shop you go into from the end of November onwards.
"mythical beasts, either tends to offend the reactionary who seem to never tire of the yearly indulgence in the tired old trappings of the season, totally unaware most of the current yearly decor comes only from the Victorian era, and is not an eternal tradition."
Mythical beasts such as flying reindeer? :)
Incidentally while many 'tired old trappings' might indeed be Victorian-era, actual Christmas Trees date from the 1600s while tree-worship and the hanging of greenery indoors around winter solstice time predates Christianity. Saint Nicholas as a bringer of gifts is also a much older idea, and many European countries celebrate 6th December, his feast day, with the arrival of 'Sinterklaas', 'Samiklaus' etc
.... I can see why you thought this was funny, because I think it's funny.
Yes, I possibly should have grown up by now, which is certainly my wife's view after overhearing me explaining to our youngest why boys _always_ find fart jokes funny, no mater how old they get.
Well, when I was a student, I might have found it funny. For about five minutes. And then, it's just a bit silly.
But it's also pretty damn puerile. And if their landlords didn't see the funny side, they might have found themselves out of their accommodation for the New Year.
It would be interesting to know what legal means the landlord would have to evict them that quickly? Considering they haven't broken any standard letting agreement.
My oldest has just moved into a rented property, and the rental agreement is standard for the letting agency and includes a vast number of "thou shalt not..." clauses. I'd be very surprised if anybody letting properties to students would be daft enough not to include prohibition on causing offence, hazard or harm to neighbours, amongst many other things.
None of the ones I ever signed as a student (or since) included any clauses that would cover this.
Also just because you break the agreement it doesn't mean the landlord can say "pack your bags". They have to issue a section 21 (basically we want you out), go to court and have a judge agree (they are the only people that can say you HAVE to go) and get county court bailiffs (only people that can throw you out). Looking at a good 7 or 8 months for the full process. Same rules apply if you don't pay rent or break any other clause, if they don't have the specific clause in the contract the judge might not even agree with them. One of the good things about the UK is the protection tenants have.
(I own my own house now but have always taken an interest in tenency law)
...of if it's an 'assured shorthold tenancy', as I believe most are these days, assuming they have been there for the tenancy period on their contract (6 or 12 months usually), give them 1 month's notice of termination of their rolling contract without need for a reason.
One of the bad things about the UK is how little protection tenants have compared to other European countries, especially when it comes to things like rent increases, or the landlord deciding to sell up to someone who no longer wants to let the property.
Having the paper explain it and getting attention to it is great but for most it will just look juvenile without context. They should do some thinking about the statement it makes; that would be difficult without writing "my insecurity is bigger" below it. I think I'd be more inclined to take a spot light and aim it into the window of the extremist lighting up the world and put a wreath around it and say "it's only a decoration."
. . . The concerned resident neglected to mention whether he was offended by the sight of his own appendages. . . .
I don't know about that person but I am not offended by the sight of my own appendage. Neither do I go around flaunt my appendages to just any Tom, Dick or Harry. My appendage is for private showing only and that to only a very select individual.
have not downvoted.... but I have two observations:
1) Offence is taken, not given.
2) It is fine to have a moral standpoint, it's fine to be proud of it, but don't wave it about in people's faces or shove it down children's throats.
So, your moral stances are like your dicks, keep them between you and your significant other and everyone will be happy. Representations or written descriptions of your moral standpoints are acceptable, but they might offend some people - in that case however, I doubt you'd give a fuck and you'd still feel justified in conveying the concept.
can cause offense
Offence can never be caused; it's a choice the offended person always makes to be offended. I can't possibly know what you might find offensive vs the next snowflake in line, so it's really up to you to choose not to be offended by things.
That we've allowed ourselves to be driven so far down this utterly barking mad road of allowing "you" to retrospectively flag something that offends you when it's too late for me to not say it and was previously unknowable to me that you might choose to find it offensive, is the biggest risk to society we face. Once everyone chooses to be offended all the time, in a game of oversensitive oneupmanship, then no progress will be possible.
Offence can never be caused; it's a choice the offended person always makes to be offended.
Whilst this is undoubtedly true in some cases, I wonder whether you would agree that, for instance, daubing racist graffiti on someone's door, in human excrement, would be deliberately causing offence, or whther the victims are just being "snowflakes", because you'd have a hard time defending that position in front of a magistrate.
All very good points, but everyone missed mine, which was that those who push their neighbours' buttons may find themselves sleeping in draughty cold houses with cardboard window panes at the start of the spring term if they hit home.
I never said *I* would break any windows. Then again, I never said I would draw things on my walls with fairy lights, things designed to get a rise out of my neighbours.
Because, well, where's the win?
I wonder whether you would agree that, for instance, daubing racist graffiti on someone's door, in human excrement, would be deliberately causing offence
It's criminal damage for sure, but ultimately while the offender hopes the victim to be offended, only the victim can choose to be so. It's not within the offenders gift to ensure.
you'd have a hard time defending that position in front of a magistrate.
Quite rightly so, but not because of any offense the victim perceived, but because it's a clear cut case of criminal damage, which is what you'd actually be charged with.
In Greece and Rome the phallus was a symbol of good fortune and abundance. It was regularly carried on religious processions - sometimes requiring several people to do the job.
There was even a deity called Fascinus who was represented by a set of male genitalia, whose image was kept - for some reason - by the Vestal virgins.
So if the students are told to take their symbol down, they have several reasons for refusing on religious grounds. Depending where you work, this image might not be safe for it.
First bunch of students "We thought we'd have a laugh and erect some christmas lights in the shape of a penis."
Second bunch of students "Well it's offensive, reeks of toxic masculinity, rape culture and it's ....it's ....it's oh so, so white. Don't you care about diversity?"
First lot again "Well yeah, we did think of putting a black one up but no-one would've seen it. And besides, the buildings only three stories high."
All I see is a candle with holly berries around tbe base. It looks like someone forgot to include the holly leaves, or they flash out of sequence resulting in something which might be construed as obscene by those with less than moralistic minds.
Roight. I'm off to Dick's Sporting Goods to get some balls. Anyone else want to come?
obviously a Christian knob as it's a helmet rather than a skin. So what's the issue?
Seriously though, I wonder if the same 'complainer' remonstrates his kids about watching the daily news of people around the world being blown up, tortured, starved, displaced and generally fucked over in the name of imperial resource hoarding and money making arms companies.
An indirect relative of mine tells stories of a perfectly restrained, polite and quiet young lady in his shared student house who was in the middle of PhD writeup.
One day, completely calm and unassuming, she went into the garden, took out the lawn mower, mowed the word "Wank" into the back lawn and then quietly went back to her room, presumably to continue writing but nobody knew for sure because nobody dared talk to her for the rest of the day.
PhDs can be stressful.
"I would hope that if they are students, their university or college takes some form of action against them"
Someone should try get a hold of the the head of the staff there, and put forth an oral complaint relating to taste and the sheer size of the thing.
Its just to much to take, in the face of it all.
And wont someone PLEASE think of the children!!
Come on. This article is about students, not millennials. Doesn't anybody know the difference?
Students have always had idiotic hairstyles, wispy beards, appalling dress sense, oversized eyewear, an inappropriate sense of entitlement, ride their bicycles down the pavement without lights and generally think behaving like five year olds all the time is very clever and funny.
Millennials, on the other hand, ...
... oh, all right then...
"Where are the hairs on the balls [...]"
Apparently the fashion these days is to be a smoothie. It can make the skin looked like a plucked chicken though.
It might even be a side-effect of the infantilism encouraged by the largely undifferentiated treatment of teenagers as "children " even at age 17. There was time when 16/17 year olds were treated as "almost adults" in taking responsibility for themselves - in line with their still current legal sexual consent and even marriage.
If you would care to read the Reading Chronicle article the Reg refers to it states (and I quote)
"The large light display appeared at the front of a home on Erleigh Road, Reading, on Sunday.
It is believed to have been erected by a group of students living in the house."
Sometimes I really appreciate local rag journalists.
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