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Cattlegate is getting out of control

February 27, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

I guess my eye just isn't naturally drawn to a person's trailer hitch. So apparently I was the last to know that some wiseacres have been adorning them with - there is no other way to put this - a big set of novelty bull genitals.

Why? Hey, this is Washington County, why anything?

Look, it wouldn't be my first choice in vehicular decoration. I guess they're for people who find fuzzy dice to be too sophisticated.

Apparently they are fairly widespread, and I'm told that at least two trucks have been seen with a "God is My Co-Pilot" sticker on the bumper and a set of bull hmhm on the hitch. What can I say? People are conflicted.

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I don't know what kind of statement they're trying to make. I find them mildly distasteful, but no reason for people to go nuts. I mean crazy.

But some people have, most notably Del. LeRoy Myers, who has introduced legislation that would ban the bull jewelry, along with a raft of other autotrash that includes uncovered human or animal genitals, human buttocks or human female breasts.

These displays are harmful to kids, he says.

Fortunately, the issues of school construction, health care, stem cell research and work force housing have all been solved, so now we can get down to things that really matter in Annapolis, like a bull's ding-a-ling.

Brilliant. The news went national, and once again Washington County, Md., has become the laughing livestock of the world at large. Here are a couple of random examples from a widely read electronic bulletin board:

"So is he going to fix every male animal in the state or just buy them pants?"

"I think it will be hilarious seeing one of those cars in the wintertime after they salted the roads."

"Ah, yes, Washington County, MD ... a nice little slice of Alabama an hour's drive from your nation's capitol."

One guy had a different take. If people are forced to remove these from their trucks, he asked, "how will we know who all the idiots are?"

And of course the ACLU was right on the nose, saying if we ban bull cojones, we ban Venus de Milo stickers right along with them. Right-o. Can't swing a pitchfork without hitting one of those wildly popular Venus stickers. "Got Arms?"

But all right, enough. LeRoy, I'm begging you. You can't be doing this. As a lawmaker you have to know that about 50,000 people before you have tried to outlaw bawdy speech only to be shot down. What makes you think you'll be the one to get something into law?

And really, LeRoy, do you want to be the one pulling a long-haul trucker off to the side of the road explaining to him that his nudie mudflaps are a violation of state law?

All this means is that from now on your name will forevermore be associated with a bull's undercarriage.

And it gets worse. About a million people called in to point out that the Myers family farm displays a prominent, anatomically correct statue of a Charolais bull right by the road, complete with a proud, low-hanging pair of aces visible for all to see.

First of all, it's genitals, people, genitals. Stop calling me and saying that LeRoy has a bull with a couple of gentiles hanging underneath it. He doesn't. I assure you.

Anyway, that's different, Myers says.

Oh, OK. So a bull's pride and joy is OK on a bull, but pornographic on a pickup. So does that work both ways? Does that mean it would be obscene to hang a pair of spark plugs from a goat?

The real problem with Cattlegate focuses a lot of attention on us that we really don't need and a lot of attention on the makers of the products that they are doubtless most grateful for.

In the interest of journalistic accuracy, I went to the Web site of one of the businesses that sells the things. Rather remarkable, really.

They come in all manner of colors: red, blue, brown, brass (naturally), pink, champaign and mocha. Unreal. My friend Laura's reaction summed it up pretty well: "Aren't they kind of rubbery looking? Eewwww."

I'm not going to judge. All I'm saying is that if, instead of putting another $40 into the kid's college fund, you find yourself on the Web ordering a set of champaign gonads for your F-150, you might want to examine your priorities. And LeRoy: If you really care about the kids, feel free to try to do something about the ones in this state who don't have any health insurance.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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