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Cities are sexist because skyscrapers look like penises, says Guardian in unironic rehash of 1980s comedy

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Cities are sexist because skyscrapers look like penises, says Guardian in unironic rehash of 1980s comedy
A recent article in the newspaper described skyscrapers as “upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating into the sky.” No wonder the woke left wants to cancel comedy when it is literally publishing punchlines instead of headlines.

It’s taken almost 40 years, but the Guardian is now unironically publishing jokes as news. To shake up its pages a bit, it took a break from calling everything racist to point out that cities are full of penises.

Obviously, it would not be a revolutionary observation by someone working in the paper’s London office that they were surrounded by dicks. But that is not what this article was about. This piece was about the phallic nature of skyscrapers.

The article, in the architecture section, was headlined: ‘Upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating into the sky – do cities have to be so sexist?’ I had to double check this was not a parody when I first came across it on social media, because it is literally the punchline to a sketch on one of my favourite comedy shows.

Way back in the 1980s, the BBC ran a satirical sketch show called ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’ and among its stars was a young Rowan Atkinson. In one scene, Mr. Atkinson plays a sex-obsessed French art critic discussing the nature of London’s architecture. While doing so, he describes Nelson’s Column as “Nelson’s Willy! A huge, massive private part, penetrating the skies.”

Obviously, the tall and slender nature of skyscrapers (or ‘sky-rapers’, if you’re the Guardian) has nothing to do with ground space being at a premium in cities; it is purely down to male architects wanting to replicate their erections with their erections.

This isn’t just a practical use of space, these are reminders of masculine power with their “bases, shafts, and tips,” the Guardian tells us. How is any of this different to Atkinson’s character’s assertion that Britain must be sex-mad since it has built its Houses of Parliament in the shadow of “something called Big Ben that every hour says ‘dong’?”

The answer, of course, is that there is no difference. Both arguments are, in the words of Atkinson, a load of willies. Interestingly, one could even argue that Atkinson’s character was more progressive by acknowledging the existence of at least some feminine architecture, such as the “enormous titty” of St Paul’s Cathedral.

But this got me thinking: Could woke publications’ seemingly earnest desire to put forward arguments hitherto only made in jest be the real reason why they want to cancel comedy? Do they want to erase historic satire because they now wish to make those claims without a hint of irony?

Given that the Guardian is already parroting Not the Nine O’Clock News, how long before it follows Monty Python and publishes a piece lamenting the struggles faced by transgendered lumberjacks?  

Or maybe ‘The Two Ronnies’, with a heartfelt article about the bullying in hardware stores faced by people who muddle up four candles with fork-handles? How about following ‘The Fast Show’ by discussing the rampant sexual harassment displayed in the menswear sector? Suits you, sir!

Obviously, I’m being ridiculous, but the point is I realise this and am doing it intentionally. The Guardian piece, however, was apparently not only written with a straight face, but edited, approved and uploaded seemingly without anyone in the chain at any point thinking ‘Hang on… this is b*llocks!’

The Guardian does of course have every right to publish this kind of tripe. But it is slightly worrying that a supposed paper of record can be so divorced from reality it is presenting written versions of 1980s satire as serious journalism in 2020.

What is more alarming, though, is that the author of the piece, Leslie Kern, an associate professor of geography and environment and director of women’s and gender studies, doesn’t look closer to home when calling out latent institutional misogyny. She does work at Mount Allison University after all. Oooh Matron…

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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