Homer Simpson (cartoon charactor, verbal stylist) vs Cerne Abbas Giant (pagan icon, well-hung stick figure)
I'm not a big TV watcher, in fact I didn't even own a TV for about a decade. So I sometimes feel like a bit of a TV-age yokel even now, after many years of ownership and sporadic watching. Like tonight for instance. I've seen several of Keith Olbermann's "special comment" clips on the web and on very rare occasions I will tune in for his Countdown show on MSNBC. During the news summary segment they mentioned the silly story of Homer and the Pagans from several days ago, no doubt because the Simpson's movie opens today in the US.
You can read about the prank at any of the links I've provided, but basically some wiseacres in England painted a giant line drawing of Homer Simpson next to an equally large, ancient etched drawing of a Pagan fertility symbol (the "Cerne Abbas Giant"). The locals weren't amused.
Anyway, after a thorough 10 sec overview the MSNBC reporter flashed up the same aerial photo that had been printed in the other stories over a week before. Except it's not exactly the same as there is a blob of pixelation over the crotch area of the Cerne Abbas stick figure. The line-drawn penis is apparently too risque for MSNBC.
Here's a quick googleful of major news organizations printed the very same photo sans pixelation.
Times of London
Naturally I looked to see if the MSNBC Countdown pages displayed the full monty, but found that MSNBC.com search was not working. OK MSBNC, I know you're a major corporation and all but here's a tip guys, if you put a button that says "search" on your site, maybe it should actually, you know, return some search results.*
But enough of the canonical schtick. Click on any of the links above and you will see two large line drawings. One of them depicts a grown man-character in his underwear and is little more than light-hearted brandalism recently added to coincide with the release of a cartoon movie. The other is a religious/cultural symbol etched into the ground in the 1700s, maybe earlier. One of them (sorry Homer) has a stylized penis, and apparently is just too much of an obscenity for TV. This is insulting and absurd.
A 300 year old stick-figure penis must be hidden yet it's completely acceptable to saturate our television content with drug ads and tragedy porn? That's the real obscenity here.
* And don't start with the browser-compatibility jibberish. I used a very standard browser with generic settings. I also tried with IE.