Thou shall not view naked marble buttocks

The other night I caught myself shouting at the TV again. Surprisingly, I wasn't yelling at President Bush for saying something stupid, or Mariners' first baseman Richie Sexson for striking out with the bases loaded, or Martha Stewart for using too many nuts in one of her cookie recipes. (I don't like nuts!)

I was shouting at KCTS, the local PBS station, because they pixilated the buttocks of a 2,000-year-old Roman statue.

Let me explain.

I was watching "Globe Trekker," a PBS show that follows around a hip guide (well, "hip" by PBS standards) as he or she travels around a foreign locale. This particular episode was about spending a whirlwind weekend in Paris. So they showed a young female guide as she spent an hour running through the Louvre like any every other American tourist.

As she ran past an old Roman statue I noticed that the statue's buttocks were pixilated out. "Pixelation" is the process by which a video image is obscured so that you can't see it. "Buttocks" are those two bulbous mounds of flesh you're sitting on as you read this. "Furious" is the emotion I felt as I looked at my clock and realized my government thinks that it is too dangerous for me to view 2,000-old marble buttocks at 11:45 p.m. on a Saturday night on my own television in my own apartment.

What irks me even more is that earlier in the day I had been watching sports when a commercial came on for one of those crime-scene dramas. The preview of that week's episode showed a motorcycle helmet with a decapitated head inside rolling down a highway and bumping into the foot of a construction worker.

And that was the commercial!

So let me get this straight: Showing marble buttocks on a show late at night is bad for me, but showing a murder victim's head rolling down a highway in an afternoon commercial is good for me.

I wonder if the ancient Roman parents shielded their children's eyes from the nude marble statues outside the Coliseum while they waited in line to watch the Lions eat the Christians inside.

Fortunately, there are lots of vigilant governmental bodies and citizens protecting us from these harmful, marble body parts.

In 2006, an award-winning art teacher in Texas was fired because she took her class to a Dallas art museum and they walked by a room that had nude statues. The class didn't go inside the room; they just walked by it and happened to see nudity.

This year, a woman ran for Seattle City Council on the platform of removing a nude statue of a man and boy from the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park.

And let's not forget how, in 2004, our country was held hostage by the televised image of Janet Jackson's right breast. Luckily, we didn't have anything else important going on at the time - like a war or two - so Congress and the Federal Communications Commission were quickly able to nip the danger of exposed boobs in the bud.

I'm no prude. I watch violent TV shows and movies all the time.

On the other hand, I don't actively seek out nude marble buttocks every chance I get.

But what a society hides and what it promotes says a lot about that society.

Recently, I walked past a video store advertising three movies. One poster showed Russell Crowe pointing a gun. The next one showed Matt Damon pointing a gun. The third showed Jodie Foster pointing a gun. At least they were all fully clothed.

Staff columnist Matthew Wilemski may be reached via the addresses below.[[In-content Ad]]