Virtual Voices

A "Mayberry-esque paradise"

Media

A news item on the radio recently caught my attention: A billboard company in Colorado Springs, Colo., decided, of its own accord, not to display a particular ad it thought the community would find offensive.

Say what?

You read correctly. Lamar Advertising chose not to put up a particular poster for the musical "Avenue Q," which will be playing in Colorado Springs next month. The Broadway show uses several puppets in the show, one of which is called "Lucy the Slut." It's Lucy's picture---featuring a larger-than-life bosom barely contained by a tacky brassiere---that won't be seen on bus shelters and billboards around the city.

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Hal Ward, vice president and general manager of Lamar Advertising, explained the decision this way: "It's our billboard and we're particular about what we display on our billboards and we like to display what is acceptable to the community." A different poster will be used to advertise the show.

An account executive for Lamar explained to a local newspaper that he uses a simple test to determine whether something's appropriate or not: "If I have to explain it to my 4-year-old or my grandmother, we don't put it up."

Imagine that: A community with moral standards, and a local business sensitive to them.

The story has caused at least one not-so-traditionally-minded blogger to describe Colorado Springs variously as a home to "tax-despising neocon Republicans," "a city teeming with conservatives who would impose their strict Christian morals on the rest of the nation if they could," and as a "Mayberry-esque paradise."

Wow. I wish someone had told me sooner. Colorado Springs sounds like my kind of place.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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