There is not a lot to say about the graphic above, other than:
- It is crude.
- It is funny.
- It is intentional.
- It is inappropriate for a general audience newspaper
- A competent editor should have caught it, and
- The graphic artist needs a warning and a reprimand.
The media, its staff, celebrities and assorted vulgarians and boors seem to be determined to make public square America as uncivil as a locker room, as crude as a peep show, and as juvenile as a junior high school farting contest. Professionals, including USA Today editors and publishers, can either do their duty and discourage this intentional rudeness in their products and services, or shrug it away. Similarly, our culture needs to decide if we are going to just define our deviancy down some more, and accept gratuitous sexual innuendo that will gradually make the whole population into a bunch of snickering Beavises.
It’s our choice, ultimately. I’m not offended, I’m just saddened by it, just as I am saddened to see people going to the theater dressed like slobs, kids screaming four-letter words in stores while their parents do nothing, twelve-year-old girls dressing and making themselves up like Victoria Secret models, platinum-selling hip-hop songs graphically extolling misogyny, cable news commentators calling the President “a dick,” Academy award winners peppering their acceptance speech with “fuck,” and “Extenz” ads on TV at 8 PM.
You can see other examples of this media phenomenon—or is it a trend?– courtesy of journalism critic Charles Apple, here. This is what happens when a vital democratic institution requiring integrity, self-control, professionalism, ethics and a sense of responsibility is in the control of second-rate minds with third-rate values.
10 thoughts on “Wanted, Desperately Needed, and Lacking: Professionals, Adults and Values in the Media”
I understand your sadness. There is a kind of juvenility (if there is such a word) in our culture. Silliness pervades everything. Unfortunately you cannot mandate that people grow up. You just try and raise the bar yourself.
Moronic, idiotic, poorly done phallic images should not be laughed at, even if they do convey information. This graphic artist should be fired — though I can just hear him/her … “Only a few of us GOT it! So who cares?..
This is just one more example of the sliming and demeaning of America. I’m getting pretty damn sick of it, frankly. How can you raise children in this environment? My son (aged 16) knows well that whatever you do or say at home is all right, basically, because it’s private. What makes a “gentleman” is his/her ability to adjust his thinking, his attitude, and his vocabulary to the venue he’s in and the people he’s with. This isn’t faking it: it’s being responsible and responsive to those around you. (That’s why all of this parents’ friends think he is part of the Royal Family and their children are barbarians… Another story).
There’s no way to get around the naturally phallic shape of a classic thermometer. If the sun had just been pointing at it, would it still have been obscene?
Though, given how fixated we are in identifying Venus and penis imagery in everything, I do have a hard time (pun totally intended) believing that the graphic designer involved didn’t know that gripping the thermometer would highlight the obvious similarities. So although I wouldn’t blink if I saw this and don’t think it’s going to traumatize the kiddies, it’s still unprofessional.
Fortunately, while children apparently WRITE USA Today, almost no children read it.
I never thought of the thermometer as especially phallic, by the way, and I’m pretty sure thousands of artist have managed to suggest one without making the connection obvious. How did you like the snake coming out of the model’s pants in the other ad?
I know admitting this will leave me with no credibility…but I thought the trouser snake was funny. Clever? Appropriate? No. But funny.
It made me laugh too.
Somehow I never saw it as phallic until someone pointed it out. Sometimes a cigar… is just a cigar..
That is no cigar.
It took me a minute to get that the sun was giving the thermometer a hand job, and only because of the context in which the graphic was placed.
Had I simply seen it in the original media, I probably would not have caught the reference.
The estimate is that 95% of all viewers see the image as sexual. I think that’s too high, but I think a majority would see it. It’s like being able to curl your tongue…