Bad PR: Schrödinger’s Cock!


It’s official: TOP Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has the largest penis in show business, according to British women.

No you heard me right – I said he HAS the largest penis in showbusiness, not that he IS the largest penis in showbusiness. As reported in multiple sources last week, including our old friend The Sun:

A survey carried out among 4,000 housewives revealed a large portion of them think Clarkson is the proud owner of a ten-and-a-quarter inch penis.

Unsurprisingly, of course, The Sun went with the headline ‘Clarkson in Poll Pole Position‘. See what they did there? That’s called journalism. Or something.

Apparently, according to this definitely-scientific survey of random women (and I love the specific implication that they were housewives – more of that later), the Top Gear hosting, Daily Mail writing, right wing caricature Clarkson is in possession of a ten and a quarter inch effort, downstairs, with Gordon Ramsey closely following behind him – or at least as closely as his speculated 9 and a half inches will allow, at any rate.

Now, those of you of a more skeptical bent – and I believe there are quite a few of you out there – will have spotted the inherent flaw in this entire piece: no, I’m not talking about the continuation of some rather dodgy and long-debunked myths regarding size, ego and masculinity; or that the numbers involved are ludicrously and comically out of kilter with the real average underpants size of a fella; or even the fact that they’re clearly confused by the fact that Clarkson is a massive cock, rather than that he possesses such. No, I’m talking about the glaring fact that this survey purports to have surveyed people’s opinions and speculations of something which is grounded in fact. At the moment, Clarkson’s piece is entirely safely secreted in his over-tight dad-jeans, and thus while there is a factual answer to the penis problem, there’s only baseless speculation at this stage. Were we able to open the box, we’d be able to put the speculation aside and start dealing in facts.

What we have, in short, ladies and gentleman, is Schrödinger’s Cock.

Still, I’m a bit obsessive and irritant when it comes to these kinds of nonsense stories – clearly, there’s something afoot here, and I’m not talking about the almost-a-foot purported Clarkson package. Reading on in the Sun’s tadger tale, we see this little chick of light in the curtain of cock-ypop. Quoting the story:

‘A spokesman for the online dating website who carried out the survey said: “The majority of the blokes in the poll have huge egos and women clearly think some have packages to match.’

Ah-hah – so the survey was commissioned for an online dating site, eh? Interesting. Well, this led me to do a bit of digging, and by digging I mean googling the exact phrase the spokesman used, in order to find the initial press release this whole nonsense came from. Really, it’s often that simple. Especially in this case, where the quick google search turned up the source of the story… the PR survey firm One Poll.

Now, what’s good about being able to get to the actual press release, apart from giving you the ability to track directly the way in which these stories hit the tabloid near word-for-word from the initial release, is that you get to see the small changes the newspaper editor makes, often to try and make the story look less like the bullshit excuse for getting a brand name into the national press that it actually is.  Quoting the press release:

“The poll was carried out in the wake of Sarah Brighman’s declaration that ex-husband  Andrew Lloyd Webber has one of the biggest manhoods in Britain. Over 4,000 ladies voted in the poll, conducted by www.F-Buddy.co.uk, an online no-strings dating site for adults. Yesterday a spokesman for F-Buddy.co.uk said: ”The majority of the blokes in the poll have huge egos and women clearly think some have packages to match.”

So, this ‘online dating site’ is in fact a site called ‘F-Buddy’. Three points and an explicit tag for anyone who can guess what the F stands for. Yeah. They describe themselves as ‘the original and best place for adults looking for no strings attached sex’.

What we have here, then, is a simply an advert for a sex site, masquerading as a lighthearted news piece, which made it to the front cover of the Daily Star on Thursday April 15th (fyi, the headline that day was ‘Jordon Holiday Boobs Horror: Breast implants explode on Red Sea scuba dive’).

Where’s the harm here? Well, besides being another example of the shocking ease in which national newspapers can be manipulated – likely willingly – by cynical pr surveys to run adverts as front page news, I think there’s something deeper here, too. While it’s always been true that sex sells, there’s a real cynicism to selling via the engendering of insecurity-preying stereotypes – the underlying message is clearly that size matters, with the full press release even including the downright infuriating line:

“The poll revealed a quarter of women would dump a bloke if their manhood didn’t measure up to the mark.”

Well, if it means more people sign up to websites to anonymously-screw their fears away, it’s all in a good cause, I guess… In the same vein, Phones 4U recently told us that Men with iPhones are more attractive to women, while City Deal website Groupola.com want men to know that it’s Simon Cowell’s power that makes him the most desired one-night-stand amongst women.

That smell you’re getting a whiff of is the scent of more male dignity being sacrificed on the fire of brand awareness.

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  1. #1 by Echo on April 29, 2010 - 03:08

    Just 10-1/4″? *scratches head wondering if should be this disappointed*

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