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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Battle of the Butts

(With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan)

The Times Square Church hates big butts, and they cannot lie.

They are definitely not happy about the giant happy (complete with smiley faces) derrieres about to be plastered on a big billboard on their building and have sued to stop the TOTO Corporation from putting it up.

(TOTO is a Japanese company which has come to the US to sell Americans their high-tech toilets which, by the way, are already in half the homes here in Japan.)

In court filings, the church claims that...

"It is instantaneously obvious that this advertisement is too indecent for public display. It consists principally of photographs of the nude back sides of several people. It is certainly unsuited for public exposure to children, and antithetical to the values of our congregation and church. That anyone thought it suited for display on a church building is astonishing."

(To be clear, the billboard will NOT be erected "on a church building," but rather on the side of the large office building in which the church happens to reside.)

The TOTO Corporation, of course, has a different take on the matter:

"The advertisement is not obscene or pornographic. It is not sexually suggestive. And it does not promote an immoral or indecent message or product. All it does is display parts of the human anatomy that, while usually covered, can be seen on network television and in the public library and refers the public to the Web site of the product’s manufacturer. The Times Square Church is entitled to find the advertisement distasteful and objectionable. But it is not entitled — under the plain terms of its lease or the common law of nuisance it invokes — to dictate the contents of the advertisements that appear on the building it occupies."

Judge Marcy S. Friedman has granted the church a temporary restraining order and prohibited the billboard from going up until she studies the matter further. Of course, the whole thing is a bonus for TOTO, giving them invaluable free publicity for their snappy new toilets.

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