Pagan fertility aids disrespected by Homeric donut?

Ridiculous as it may sound, that seems to what angry Pagans are saying about the image of a gigantic Homer Simpson painted on a field adjoining the famous Cerne Abbas giant:

PAGANS have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away cartoon character Homer Simpson who was painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant.

The 17th century chalk outline of the naked, sexually aroused, club-wielding giant is believed by many to be a symbol of ancient spirituality.

Many couples also believe the 180ft giant, which is carved in the hillside above Cerne Abbas, Dorset, is an aid to fertility.

A giant 180ft Homer Simpson brandishing a doughnut was painted next to the well-endowed figure today in a publicity stunt to promote The Simpsons Movie released later this month.

It has been painted with water-based biodegradable paint which will wash away as soon as it rains.

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: "It's very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing.

I think it's kind of cute, and I'd like to have someone explain to me how it's disrespectful towards Pagans.

Let's take a look at the picture the BBC has kindly provided.


Hopefully, there's no BBC photoshopping involved, but these days it's hard to tell.

The Pagan Federation seems to think Homer and his donut are not only disrespectul to Pagan religious beliefs, but also to "science":

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint District Manager for the Pagan Federation in Wessex, in whose area the figure resides, said: "It's very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing. We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind. We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away."

She added: "I'm amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It's an area of special scientific interest."

The religious objection alone I could almost understand, but I'm wondering what science is involved. Do I need to consult an astrologer?

According to the Wiki entry, it is considered unlikely that the Cerne Abbas giant (no relation to Mahmoud) is an Iron Age fertility symbol as believed:

The giant, owned by the National Trust, is thought by many to be an Iron Age fertility symbol but, as it is unlikely that the monks of Cerne Abby would have tolerated such a figure and with no records before the 17th century, this cannot be confirmed.
Why would Pagans be offended by "disrespect" towards symbols that cannot even be confirmed to be Pagan in origin, much less identifiable Pagan deities? And why would Pagans harbor any particular dislike for Homer Simpson? Or donuts?

Isn't it more likely that the Homer Simpson image has offended someone more powerful than an obscure group of British Pagans? I think what is being missed becomes obvious if we only look at the subtext. To do that requires taking a Freudian view of donuts, as well as the colloquy between Bill and Hillary Clinton in the famous Clinton "Sopranos" video -- as interpreted by Ann Althouse:

....the "O" of an onion ring is a vagina symbol. Hillary says no to that, driving the symbolism home. She's "looking out" all right, vigilant over her husband, denying him the sustenance he craves.

Bear in mind that Homer Simpson is an intellectually challenged American father, symbolic of the moronic American patriarchy that Hillary wants to kill off. (It just so happens that the intelligent, self-aggrandizing, Hillary Clinton has been favorably compared by Mother Jones to Lisa Simpson, Homer's daughter.*)

Taking this a step further, might the father's offer of the donut to the (patriarchal) fertility god be seen as a final plea for help before the male camaraderie that Hillary abhors is literally rubbed out?

And how can we really know for sure it's not an onion ring that Homer is holding? For the purposes of this analysis, it might not really matter whether the object is an onion ring or a donut (or hell, even a life preserver!), for as Ann Althouse explains, the narrative reduces itself to the timeless struggle over a very simple element:

The man wants the hole-shaped item, and the woman forbids it.
I think that's exactly what is happening, and I only wish I could prove conclusively which woman (or women) are involved, and why.

The nonsensical claim that Pagan beliefs are being disrespected does not fool me, as I suspect a very clever strategy coming straight from the Clinton campaign!

The Pagans (and other unwitting dupes on the left) are being tricked into thinking that they are helping to preserve fertility when in actuality they are helping to undermine it.

As to the social conservatives on the right, why, there's no way they're going to be caught defending Pagans. Or Pagan images. Or Homer Simpson.


The Clinton triangulation strategy is so diabolical that it even works when it's full of holes!


THE LISA SIMPSON HILLARY: We're seeing of lot of this conscientious Hillary lately. When she ran for Senate, her critics said she was just running on name recognition. "But she was able to give milk prices to upstate New Yorkers," says Helen Thomas, the former upi reporter who has covered the White House since John Kennedy. "Then, in the Senate, she acted like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, asking experienced Republican senators to 'teach me' how it all works." This is the Hillary who got straight A's; the law school graduate who in 1974 wowed the old D.C. pols on the Watergate Committee; the one who attempted to master health care in 1993; and who in 2000 visited Buffalo 26 times and earned its citizens' votes. This Hillary first appeared at age four when, according to her mom, the future senator confronted the neighborhood's meanest girl bully, knocked her down, and then exclaimed, "I can play with the boys now!"

UPDATE: Commenter Cut N. Paste has shed light on this mystery by discovering this animated gif.

Still no word from the Clinton election staff.

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and welcome all.

I can't help noticing that Glenn has characterized the Simpson drawing as a "sacrilege." Does this mean Glenn sympathizes with the Wiccan position? Or the scientific position? Or might Glenn's objection be to graven images in general? (Strictly speaking, I think the latter would be the missionary position.)
Absent further explanation, I don't know whether to interpret the remark.

But hey, regardless of what he meant, at least Glenn has weighed in on this urgent issue.

I'm still waiting for the Clinton position!

UPDATE: Thanks to Ann Althouse for linking this -- especially for the charming Quoits picture that says it all!

AND MORE: Forgive the appearance of patriarchal sexism, but I just thought this picture belonged here:


Well, Hillary did say "I can play with the boys now!"

posted by Eric on 07.17.07 at 04:46 PM


The problem is that he is holding the donut up over the other guy's head where he can't properly mount it.

Phelps   ·  July 17, 2007 5:12 PM
Cut N. Paste   ·  July 18, 2007 9:15 AM

Nice job Cut N. Paste. Good to see the creative juices flowing.

Sean   ·  July 18, 2007 12:54 PM

A ringer!


Eric Scheie   ·  July 18, 2007 1:51 PM

A good example of self-parody: someone seriously talking about doing "rain magic" accusing someone else of disrespecting sciene.

ray_g   ·  July 18, 2007 3:38 PM

Yay. Thank you, loudmouthed pagans, for making the rest of us look like idiots.

I hope it turns out to be Photoshopped; maybe it'll embarrass the whiners that they got all up in arms over nothing.

I think someone(s) need a hobby that's NOT going to the press every time they think they've been slighted.

Kitrona   ·  July 18, 2007 11:30 PM

The juxtaposition of the two images is hilarious, and does no physical damage to the fertility figure. These so-called pagans are just a bunch of sanctimonious whiners. Get a life, guys.

Charlie   ·  July 19, 2007 12:15 AM

It looks like Mr. Simpson is about to play a game of ring-toss.

That or perhaps sending a message about rolling donuts and flying...

Croak   ·  July 19, 2007 1:10 AM

If that image really dates from the 17th century, I think it's pretty uncool to mess with the immediate surroundings.

What would you think of having a huge rock carving of Homer on Mt. Rushmore?

Neal J. King   ·  July 19, 2007 4:11 AM

Well of course it's a sacrilege to the Pagans. Imagine a 400-year-old ground picture of the crucifixion, and then drawn next to it, a cheery-looking Homer Simpson holding a hammer.

But the UK isn't Saudi Arabia (yet). While I understand the British don't have as explicit a guarantee of expression as the US First Amendment, I also believe that most of them know that any real democracy must accept the legality of sacrilege, given the alternatives.

If the Homer is on private land, and Homer is there with the owner's permission, it's nobody's business. (If on public land, it would seem a surprising permission has been granted by some political body.) The faux controversy of course helps both sides, promoting as it does both The Simpsons and Paganism.

Neal, while the Pagan is comparable to a rock carving in its permanence, the water-washable Homer isn't. Even if it were, if someone owning a stretch of land near Mt. Rushmore wants to draw or carve something depicting the evils of America, he probably has a right to. (Perhaps there is a preexisting content-neutral law against defacement near such a monument, which I might oppose but is not really a big First Amendment issue; more likely, the Feds own most of the land around there and wouldn't approve any such defacement.)

DWPittelli   ·  July 19, 2007 7:28 AM
mikeski   ·  July 19, 2007 10:11 AM

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