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Hartford Courant from Hartford, Connecticut • Page C04

Hartford Couranti
Hartford, Connecticut
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C4 SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2009 THE HARTFORD COURANT CTOPINION RANT IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES Package On A Pedestal? Has The Penis Replaced The Breast As A Cultural Obsession? We asked you to tell us what moves you, irritates you, makes you laugh. Below are some of your responses. Please e-mail us more at or log on to courant.comrant. We'll publish the best rants next Sunday. Wonder why our society is full of people doing weird and sick things? Take a look at the contents of movies being shown.

Sex, violence, drug abuse, mayhem. Just to mention a few. Sign a free trade agreement with Cuba and Detroit's problems are solved. Cubans have not bought a new Chevy in 50 years. To the young "lady" in the tan Civic who tailgated me and then flipped me the bird when I wouldn't go 15 mph more over the speed limit: Hope you made it to your destination safely.

The UConn women's basketball team has so much athleticism and speed that their opponents feel that an octopus is guarding them on defense. As the giants of industry, insurance, banking and finance are begging for, and getting, additional enormous bailouts, we are quietly closing our 21-year-old business in Avon because of this very same economic situation that they are saying caused these problems. There's no help for small business! Since a "problem" has morphed into an "issue," how do you define a real problem? Whatever happened to entering a contest by sending in a card with name, address and phone number? Now it's: "Go to our website and click on 'contest'." What about the poor people and seniors who can't afford a computer, don't want to impose on friends or family and don't go to the library? This is total discrimination against the above groups. Why do TV announcers and newscasters say, "See you at 11" or "at this same time They never see me, and whether or not I see them is up to me. You worked hard, paid your taxes, saved a little and only bought a home and those things you could afford.

Now as a reward for living within your means, you can help bail out those who bought homes they couldn't afford, ran up huge credit debt buying luxury items and doing extravagant things you would love to but can't afford. What visionaries our legislators are! My rant? Snow from plows piled in handicapped parking spaces. Why does the road through Elizabeth Park have so many road signs? It's a park! I've read a lot of people complaining that no one uses turn signals anymore. Well, one hand for the steering wheel and one hand for the cellphone means NO hand left to hit the turn signal. equipment you've been issued by the factory It's all about the mythology we ascribe to it.

It's all about the significance we project onto the "stuff," and not the "stuff itself that has mattered. And that's true historically, psychologically, culturally, aesthetically and even dare I say it? sexually. What you're talking about is the confusion between the definition of the phallus the symbol of masculinity, the signifier of power and the individual penis itself, the quirky member, the sometimes confused, bewildered, usually nice-enough fellow who lives in a guy's pants. I hesitate to confuse you even further by pointing out that you are comparing a I want to see guys shopping at "Victor's Secret" for props, getting gel implants at 25, getting uplifts at 40, discouraged that nobody's making eye contact during an interview because they're checking out how well the Calvin Kleins are filled. That would be a humbling experience, and good for the collective masculine soul.

primary sex characteristic for males with a secondary sex characteristic for females. But you do raise one interesting point, which I will happily acknowledge: Art is not obscenity even though the art made by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is not referred to by the rest of the world as "paintings." Perhaps you're just hung up on all your words? Larry Gina, you're just jealous of my nuance and stuff. It's a complex subject I'm exploring and nobody but a brave, crusading columnist would touch it. Oops. I've evaluated recent Jockey and Calvin Klein underwear advertisements and, like wow, Gina, there isn't much left to the imagination on the guy side.

For instance, Bloomingdale's featured a young couple in their Calvin Klein undies, staring adoringly at each other. I suspect the readers were staring at something else and it wasn't the girl's perky breasts. This is a new paradigm, a genital-based focus on the male triumph LAURENCE D. COHEN Larry Gina, I am way cool in a cutting-edge, pushing-the-envelope sort of way My antenna is out there in the popular culture, detecting every new, cool, with-it thing that readers need to know. What I've discovered of late is so shocking, so jarring, so potentially ruinous to the status quo that I'd like your advice before I disclose it to the world.

The penis is the new breast. That's right. Men have been elevated to such an important place in the culture that the previous fixation on women's breasts has given way, or sagged, depending on your point of view, in favor of fascination with and worship of the male organ. The evidence is everywhere. Last year's scandal in Peru revealed that the Giant Stone Penises of Peru, an archaeological wonder attributed to the ancient Incas, was actually created by crafty modern-day villagers who knew the tourists would come to see, well, you know.

And now a German entrepreneur, despairing that most condoms only come in one size, has invented and is marketing spray-on condoms that are made to order. And then there was the Japanese Supreme Court, which ruled last year that penises and assorted testicles and stuff, via the paintings of naughty photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, is "art," as opposed to penile obscenity You see? Breasts are so yesterday Is it OK to tell people about this? Gina Good for you, Larry! Once again you've chosen a topic that will delight readers across our fair state nay, across this great land of ours and brought to this glamorous subject the gloriously nuanced tones of your signature sophisticated approach. This can best be summed up, if I'm not misreading you, as: "Boo breasts; yay penises!" Even kids in the third grade don't have this kind of argument, Larry Even they know that the struggle for control and dominance, for equality and equity or for fun and frolic, for that matter, doesn't depend on whatever GINA BARRECA for which, as professors of English and feminist stuff often say, further research is needed. There's a professor at Yale who is the world's leading expert on the genitalia of ducks and drakes and birds and bugs and stuff. She's going to call and offer me a big, fat fellowship.

Just you wait, Gina. Just you wait. Gina Why are you suddenly doing an imitation of Liza Doolittle singing "Just You Wait, 'Enry 'Iggins?" in "My Fair Is this topic calling up deep and profound gender insecurities on your part, causing you to change the tenor (or soprano) of your argument? I am intrigued that you seem genuinely, innocently and sincerely to be thrilled by the recent attention being paid in public to the male "stimulus package." (Trust me, it has always been the subject of vast and uncensored private discussion.) You somehow think this shows a terrific step-up in terms of men's position in the world: Men WANT to be relegated to being objects, judged by the hand (so to speak) they're dealt at birth rather than what they have made of themselves? Now THAT'S funny. I want to see guys shopping at "Victor's Secret" for props, getting gel implants at 25, getting uplifts at 40, discouraged that nobody's making eye contact during an interview because they're checking out how well the Calvin Kleins are filled. That would be a humbling experience, and good for the collective masculine soul.

Don't worry yet about the research funding from Yale, Larry Even if women are giving out the awards, you can be comforted by the fact that they're still called "fellowships," underscoring that the masculine assumes the feminine beneath it, and not the other way around. There are bigger issues involved in cultural change than the mere penis. Gina Barreca is an English professor at the University of Connecticut and a feminist scholar who has written eight books. Laurence D. Cohen is a public policy consultant and a journalism instructor at the University of Hartford.

CAPTION CONTEST WE PROVIDE THE CARTOON YOU MAKE IT FUNNY! LAST WEEK'S WINNER ROCCO S. VERMIGLIQ FARMrNGTON I A kj Code Blue! Code Blue! Go to courant.comcaptioncontest. Enter your caption in the field where it says "Post a comment." To be considered for a prize, you must also enter your name and phone number. Your information will NOT be published online, we just need it to verify your entry if your caption is judged a winner. Enter as often as you like until Wednesday at 5 p.m., when we'll stop taking entries.

You can continue to submit entries by regular mail using the form below. Look for the winner online and in next Sunday's CTOpinion section. CAPTION HONORABLE MENTIONS What comes after a trillion? 'Cause we're going to need it! Melissa Bonoffski, East Granby Sure he's optimistic. He's guaranteed a job for the next four years. Mike Wambolt, Enfield He says relax, you have nothing more to lose! Bob DiScipio, Glastonbury Would you hurry up it's been 60 days already! Lou Laccavole, Wethersfield Can't you go clear some brush Richard Grabarz, Cheshire Someone run to Starbucks for a mocha vodka Valium latte and hurry! Norma J.

Franklin, Glastonbury NAME ADDRESS PHONE Mail to: Caption Contest, The Hartford Courant, 285 Broad Hartford, CT 06115.

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