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Berlusconi’s Gift to Mars, King
Tut’s Loss & Iran’s Penis Cemetery

Italian billionaire Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is not the only politician, or rich person, who believes the world is his playground. But you’ve got to give it to him: he’s astonishingly oblivious to the horror that usually greets his decisions, mostly guided by the pursuit of fun, candy and more power. As for us, we just happen to be camping around, mostly annoying the hell out of him.
So when the 1800-year old classical Roman statue of Venus and Mars was loaned to his office, Berlusconi immediately made plans to fix it.
As it turned out, the likeness of the ruler of war had his penis chipped off circa 175 C.E., and the goddess of love was missing a hand too. Never mind that it’s been exhibited that way at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome for years.
The other day, the work was completed and delivered to his door, and Berlusconi was beside himself. After all, a man known for boasting his sexual proclivities, for infuriatingly sexual tirades and for a whole catalog of public improprieties, is used to go the extra mile to be atop the subjects he cares deeply about.
Last month, another sample of his taste for remaining salient at all times erupted, after a teenager girl said she had sex with and was paid for by him. The case is still going through Italy’s judicial system but, as with previous examples, it may rattle a few pedestals but it won’t scratch his position.
While it’s clear that, on his mind, his power equates the artistic and historical wherewithal to sponsor whatever revisionism and manipulation of ancient artifacts he sees fit, many embarrassed Italians wonder when will they get to say, “Basta!” and kick his media-empire arse out of elective office.
We, of course, will be somehow on the way, as usual, wondering whether someone at the Metropolitan will ever think along the same lines, and decide to “fix” thousands of historically chipped penises throughout the galleries of New York’s most important museum.
Would the call come from the crowd who complains about the diminutive size of such important appendage on some of the marvelous statues by Michelangelo and Leonardo? Or the side that criticizes the Met for having too many of them around and not enough detailed depictions of the female genitalia?
To be perfect, err, straight, this whole discussion over the “anatomical completeness,” as they called it in Italy, of classical sculptures is a bit, well, graphic. And ignorant too, to be blunt. Right there, you see the problem of carrying on such discussion: the cheap shots keep on coming.
But there could be two alternate ways to divert your sick mind from the subject. One, think about what happened to the Egyptian boy King Tutankhamen, Tut for latecomers to his acquaintance like us. As you may’ve learned by now, his member is missing.
Anatomical conspiracy, some call it. Apparently, he was as under endowed as the NPR is expected to be if it’s up to the GOP, and the disappearance of his penis has something to do with, well, keeping up appearances. What some would do to turn such a minor “bleep” into an orchestrated caper with roots in the 2000s B.C.E. is a point for another discussion.
But as it goes, it did happen before, in 1922. It was soon rediscovered, though, amid the gravel on which his mummy was packed. For those “disappearators” above, thus, it all fits a pattern along the belief that King Tut’s anatomy was even less proportional than some of the Met statues.
Another way to sober up about it is to picture the Khalid Nabi cemetery, in Iran. A kind of under-the-radar tourist attraction, it was established in the very days of the prophet (yes, that one) but it’s named after a well known (to them) Christian poet. Oh, and it has 600 tombstones shaped in the form of phalluses and crosses.
That’s right. Only in such an ultra-conservative religious dictatorship such as Iran, you’d find such a monumental contradiction. And it’s there for hundreds of years. Since no Iranian’s been suicidal enough to publicly try to find out why on earth it has so many erect penises, who knows? Maybe even King Tut’s missing link is in there.
But please, don’t encourage Silvio. If he gets a hold of this story, he may decide he wants a similar monument of his own, if possible erected by hired nubile girls. It’d be redundant to mention what some italiani would do with such a monstrosity, though.
The team that glued the prosthetics to Mars’s statue seems to be better prepared for a possible backlash to their work: they say the replacement parts were attached using a magnetic system and can be removed. It’s very likely they were considering the possibility the PM falls off his horse and a new order is established in the land the Borgias once ruled.
As for us, we’ll always be standing on the way, and all that.

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