Considering its reputation, most Americans do not think of the San Francisco Bay Area as a particularly prudish place. At least, not where it comes to public human displays of sexuality.

Well, if this story is any indicator, prudishness is very much alive and well in the area, at least where it comes to outdoor structures. Acting on complaints from phallophobic neighbors, bureaucrats in Alameda County have enabled and empowered their penis paranoia by ordering the redesign of a call phone tower so that it looks less “phallic.”

I kid you not. Here’s the photo:

And the accompanying caption:

Technicians work on T-Mobile’s cell tower on Thursday, July 26, 2012 in Castro Valley, Calif. Alameda County code enforcement officers has forced T-mobile to add “branches” to make T-Mobile’s cell tower resemble a tree and to look less phallic. Photo: Yue Wu, The Chronicle / SF

Sorry, but I think you really have to be a paranoid phallophobe (or maybe on hallucinogens) to see the above as a penis. If it looks like anything, I’d say it might resemble a microphone.

I think these people are in need of some sort of sensitivity training, or at least in need of an education in what a genuinely phallic structure looks like. I happen to live only a few miles from the Ypsilanti Water Tower:


Now that’s phallic. And, far from generating phallophobic bigotry, it is much loved as a landmark. The tower is featured on local postcards like this (which no visitor to the area should forget to send to the folks back home):

And as a local source of humor:

A long-standing urban legend holds that the tower will crumble if a virgin ever graduates from nearby Eastern Michigan University.

Such blatant insensitivity! And at Wikipedia, no less! Where are the phallophobes when we need them?

Hey, do you think if someone sent the above postcard to the Alameda County Phallus Police, they’d launch a harassment investigation?

These days, we can’t be too careful, especially with humor!

I mean, seriously.