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penis, penis, penis.......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 12, 1994.


Penis penis, penis, penis....... Yep, that's what they call it. Penis. Those of us in the news biz are allowed to say penis on the air. Either by statute or managerial chilling effect brought about by concern for the advertising dollar, the perfectly good and remarkably descriptive word had been previously relegated into the same limbo as breast and vagina, which to to say silence. But since breast cancer made headlines, the mammary word has become so prevalent nobody notices anymore, although even ten years ago there was a brush and bar of soap kept in radio management's office lest anybody use the word "breast" instead of "bust" or "bosom."

But now thanks to the heroic social and physiological surgery waged by Loreena Bobbitt, our homgenized-haired media gets to say "penis" on the air. A lot. There is some back sliding, of course, to "sexual member" on occasion, or sexual organ, but fully half the carefully coiffed T.V. reporters get to suppress giggles and smirks as they laugh at John Bobbitt, surely one of Nature's lesser intellectual triumphs. Bobbit, for those of you just back from Iowa, had his penis severed and reattached by microsurgery, surely an eye-bulging horror that still has men crossing their legs differently and holding hard cover John Grisham novels over their groin when they sleep. His lovely, sensitive, equally intelligent wife Loreena - now on trial for this crime of the century - failed lately to have her husband convicted of rape. This complicates her defense, which is self-defense based on rape. Oh, excuse me. I've gone on too long in this story. Penis.

Bobbit, a Marine of no evident stature, and Loreena, a Venezuelan manicurist, somehow did not achieve the deep spiritual level of tender love you'd expect between a really dumb Marine and a foreigner trying not to be deported. Ample evidence exists theirs was a violent marriage, on both sides, and that neither thought it unusual or inappropriate. If Loreena was raped, there was no medical evidence of it or a struggle. If she was jealous and mad that her intellectual leatherneck was going to leave her, condemning her to deportation - his theory, by the way - (1,2,3 sentences. Penis.) than it hardly explains her actions, which would clearly exasperate her problem unless she is her husband's physics lab mate in the school of life. Penis.

Yet, imagine, if you will, if Loreena had been maimed or disfigured, her breast thrown on the side of the road and reattached. The syllogism is far from complete, of course, but even the Bobbitts could predict instead of the smirky half-whispered word "penis" and all the Howard Stern celebrity come-ons, we'd instead be listening to reporters with their wrists stapled to their forehead bemoaning this wanton criminal, this new Jack the Ripper. And no exculpatory anecdotes about abuse would excuse it, unless you're a Menendez brother.

Justice, of course, has always been flavored by political correctness, itself only occasionally flecked with justice, and a news media, avoiding tact that would caste doubt on the civic-mindedness of their audience, prefers to revel in the giddy stupidity of being able to finally list all human body parts on the air. Wow.

Penis heads.