FIND THE ITHYPHALLIC MAN
As a special online supplement, I have decided to share with you today a glimpse into the writer-editor negotiating process (a recurring theme in my life and thoughts). I submit for your consideration an excerpt from an email in which my super-heroic editor was trying to get me to cut some lines that he said were confusing (he was right, they were confusing):
… Do you think you could reconsider on this last matter? I did everything else… and, by way of compromise, restoring the balance back toward subjectivity and misreading, I’ve added back a penis joke elsewhere! The one about the samovar… x L
This kind and tactful message really made me think about how I am perceived as a writer, viz. as someone who is always trying to include more penis jokes. It’s not an unjust perception. My first New Yorker piece this year, a profile of Istanbul football fanatics, referenced a penis-related viral video phenomenon; next I wrote a rather melancholy excursus on birdwatching in Kars, which nonetheless included a lighthearted mention of the duck holding the highest vertebrate penis-to-body-length ratio.
The description of the Göbekli Tepe pillars, below, brings my 2011 New Yorker feature article penis-joke record up to 3 for 3:
On one pillar, a row of lumpy, eyeless “birds” float above an extremely convincing boar, with an erect penis. Another relief consists of the simple contour of a fox, like a chalk outline at a murder scene, also with a distinct penis… Perhaps the most debated composition portrays a vulture carrying a round object on one wing; below its feet, a headless male torso displays yet another erect penis. On an informational board near the vulture, the German and English texts mention the erect penis; the Turkish text does not. I like to think that, when it comes to identifying a headless man with an erection, I’m as sharp-eyed as the next person, but personally I wouldn’t have recognized this one without assistance. To me, he looked more like a samovar.
Those wishing to play “find the ithyphallic man” may consult the photograph below:
Are you done guessing?
OK then! The ithyphallic man is in the very bottom right corner – cloaked in shadows, as always in photographs. He is a retiring type. You can see him a bit more clearly, helpfully outlined in white, in the below image (from a website proposing an astronomical interpretation for the imagery at Göbekli Tepe).
Happy holidays to all my readers and editors!