States Agree Not to Mention that NY Resembles a Deformed Penis
Albany, NY (Reuters) – Two-thirds of the states have ratified a measure barring comparisons of New York’s shape to the defining feature of male anatomy, bringing to a close more than four centuries of debate over the issue.
The treaty calls for the states to refrain from calling attention to unfortunate features of geography and topography beyond the control of the state government. Most other states lack such features, but several have them, and were among the first to ratify the measure. Florida, with a similar problem to that of New York, has been less self-conscious about its shape, though it has acknowledged its fate by naming a city St. Petersburg. Alaska, as well, has a western coastline that bears an evocative resemblance to a portion of female genitalia, though many males would be hard-pressed to locate it without help.
The embarrassing shape of New York came into being when the colony was first formed. The Dutch, originally in control of the the territory, played along, even appointing a succession of governors named Peter – Minuit and Stuyvesant – and carrying the joke into other parts of the state, such as Long Island. They put the “man” in Manhattan, even going so far as to name a thoroughfare “Dyckman Street.”
Even after the British seized control of the colony and rechristened it New York in 1665, the naughty naming continued apace, with the establishment of Scrotum-on-Hudson and other more subtle references, such as Rochester and Crown Heights.
But New York’s leaders were always of two minds about the area’s unfortunate visual associations. When more and more people gained access to formal education and maps, the members of the state legislature drafted a document calling for voluntary restraint on the part of all the states to preserve the dignity of their state institutions and keep their discourse chaste. For decades, the proposal languished, but last year’s debacle with NY Congressman Anthony Weiner thrust the issue into the open again and gave the measure a new burst of support.
Not every state legislature was so convinced that the agreement is necessary, or serves a constructive purpose. “Michigan would rather be able to poke fun at New York, even at the expense of having her northwest peninsula similarly mocked,” said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. “Aside from the Tigers beating the pants off the Yankees, when do we ever get to engage in such a cathartic release of frustration?” Michigan did not ratify the agreement.
Although the treaty explicitly rules out impolite references to natural formations, some states, notably appendix-shaped New Jersey, will not be immune to mockery of its reputation as one big toxic waste dump, a major factor in Trenton’s close vote on the issue this past spring. Opponents criticized the agreement as a fig leaf for New York arrogance. The measure barely squeezed through after intense lobbying by both sides that aroused political tensions among Democratic legislators frustrated by their impotence under Republican Governor Chris Christie.
But the governor managed to pull the vote through, and New Jersey’s ratification may prove seminal in lessening the animosity between the cross-Hudson rivals. “We really do get along,” he remarked, “even though New Yorkers can be such pri – wait, am I allowed to say that?”
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