A Cold Day at Harvard: From Puerile to Penile

Letter to the Editors

To the editors:

It would seem that Harvard is still dicking around with the conflict between the First Amendment and Puritanism (News, “Ruined Snow Penis Stimulates Debate”, Feb. 24). I am reminded of one generation of (then) Radcliffe undergraduates being instructed to paint out each erect penis on the Greek amphora in the Fogg Collections, only to have the next generation instructed to restore them all.

While the cause of the destroyer of the snow penis’ action is cause for great sadness, as is any violence (“gendered” or not), undergraduate pranks often depend as much on the penile as the puerile. If the representation of an erect phallus moves her to violence, perhaps the penis police should try to avoid museums and sculpture gardens. Since ice is, by definition, a temporary medium, the destroyer of the penis might have restrained herself and let nature take her course, which inevitably takes care of the “problem.” With the world in its current state, the only possible reaction to this amount of fuss over a snow sculpture is to laugh.

Sallie B. Adams

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Feb. 25, 2003