Paddy Power Slammed For ‘Defacing’ Historic Fertility Symbol
Posted on: July 5, 2017, 02:00h.
Last updated on: July 5, 2017, 07:37h.
Mischievous Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has been criticized for “defacing” the Cerne Abbas Giant, a possibly ancient hillside chalk drawing in Dorset, England.
The 180-foot-tall sexually-explicit image on the side of a hill towering over the quiet village of Cerne Abbas depicts a naked man wielding a club and sporting a 30-foot erection.
But since Paddy Power arrived under cloak of darkness sometime this week, he has been wielding a tennis racket.
Paddy Power says it’s a celebration of Wimbledon and, specifically, the apparent fertility of UK number one Andy Murray, who revealed at the weekend that he and his wife Kim were expecting their second child.
Through history, the site been seen as a powerful fertility symbol, for one very obvious, 30-foot reason, a tradition that inspired the bookmaker to create this touching celebration of Murray’s good news.
According to local folklore, childless couples who make love on the hillside will be blessed with offspring.
National Trust Takes a Dim View
But not everyone enjoyed Paddy Power’s tribute. A spokeswoman for the National Trust, the organization charged with protecting Britain’s numerous historic places and spaces, said: “We’re fans of tennis as much as anyone and pleased to hear of Andy Murray’s news, however we do not encourage any defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant, however it was done.
“The Cerne Abbas Giant is protected… and we are very concerned about any publicity stunt that may in future encourage damage to this fragile site,” she added.
The addition of tennis gear is temporary, of course, and will do no lasting damage to the giant. Meanwhile, Paddy Power said it had made a £5,000 donation to the National Trust.
It’s not the first time pranksters have added their own addition and embellishments to the figure. In 2007 the local press reported that a man claiming to be “the Purple Phantom” had painted the giant’s manhood purple.
Who Created the Giant?
The provenance and age of the Cerne Abbas giant is mysterious. Many believe it to be an ancient representation of a Saxon or Celtic god, while others have suggested it may be a depiction of the Roman divine hero Hercules.
Curiously, there is no written record of its existence before the 17th century, in contrast with another chalk hill drawing, the White Horse of Uffington, which has been referenced across the centuries and is known to be 3,000 years old.
That may be because it was covered in undergrowth until 400 years ago, but it also makes it likely it was the work of a 17th Century prankster. In which case, its creator would have probably approved of Paddy Power’s shenanigans.
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