Media Blog

Bob Herbert’s Phallic Problem

Byron mentioned it over in the Corner and here’s the transcript from the Morning Joe exchange where Bob Herbert mistakes the Victory Column in Berlin for both the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument:

BOB HERBERT: You guys have seen the ad a number of times, I am sure, and you have it here in-house. First thing you see are a couple of images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, right? And we see an image of Barack Obama right after that, comes quickly at the beginning of the ad. You remember that, right? Do you remember any other startling images right there at the beginning? [NO ONE RESPONDS] All right. There is an image right there in that very beginning of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and there is an image of the Washington Monument. Look at the beginning of that ad again. And you tell me why those two phallic symbols are placed there. [SNAPS FINGERS] Pow, right at the very beginning of that ad. You tell me.

SEVERAL PANELISTS SAY: Isn’t that the Victory Column?
HERBERT: And also the, well, it looked like the Leaning Tower, but it’s definitely a phallic [UNABLE TO HEAR WORD], right in the beginning, and the Washington Monument. So you explain to me why there are two phallic symbols immediately in those first few seconds of that ad. And I put it in the context of the ad that was run against Harold Ford in 2006. And you explain to me why you have these scantily clad women, or women known to be scantily clad, women who have trouble keeping their clothes on, only in ads where the candidate is a black male, where the person being attacked is a black male. Why is that? Coincidence? Do we have it against, you know, John Kerry? Did we have it against Al Gore? Did we have it against Bill Clinton? Why is that?

I wonder if Herbert realizes — if he’s correct, and the Victory Column is inescapably phallic in nature — that Senator Obama self-selected such a symbol as the backdrop for his introduction of himelf as a citizen of the world.


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