Intl. Notebook | Politique Diabolique Apr 22 2009
WINGS OF DESIRE
Italian premier depicted by artist as leering angel.


In Italy, artist Filippo Panseca recently unveiled a controversial painting in which Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi takes the form of a nude angel canoodling with a bare-breasted government minister and former starlet named Mara Carfagna. Though Panseca has created similar pieces over the years, including one showing Berlusconi’s wife Veronica Lario topless and with neat v-shaped pubes (below), the reaction to this new portrait surprised him. “I did it as a joke,” Panseca told the Associated Press yesterday. “I’ve been doing all sorts of works for fifty years. I didn’t expect to raise such clamor with this.”

Perhaps not, but in Italy, where politics and sex are so intertwined Italians once voted porno actress Ilona Staller into the parliament, it isn’t so surprising people took notice, particularly when one considers that two years ago Berlusconi commented to Carfagna, “If I weren’t married I would marry you immediately.” The aside infuriated Berlusconi’s wife, and she demanded a public apology. Intentionally or not, Panseca definitelycaptured a conspiratorial moment in his new portrait. Berlusconi might as well be whispering to Carfagna that he has a nice little stimulus package under his drape. In any case, now that he’s eternally enshrined on canvas with the object of his lust, it’s safe to assume his wife is seriously peeved again. If she buys the painting and burns it, we won’t be surprised. As for Filippo Panseca, perhaps it’s finally time to expand his repertoire beyond Italian political figures. We suggest a winged Sarah Palin flying above a crowd of heavily armed Alaskan bird hunters.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 06
1945—First Nuclear Weapon Is Used on Hiroshima
Hiroshima is leveled when the atomic bomb codenamed Little Boy is detonated over the city by the United States. Around 70,000 people are killed instantly, and tens of thousands more die in the months and years ahead due to burns and radiation poisoning.
August 05
1962—Nelson Mandela Jailed
Thanks mainly to intelligence-sharing efforts from the CIA, South African police are able to locate and arrest Nelson Mandela, who is imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort. He would spend his next twenty-seven years imprisoned, most of them on Robben Island, where he and other inmates performed hard labour in a lime quarry.
1962—Marilyn Monroe Found Dead
Global screen icon Marilyn Monroe, who had starred in such films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year Itch, is found dead in her Brentwood, California home of acute barbiturate poisoning. Her death sets off a frenzy of conspiracy theories that continue to swirl even today.
August 04
1944—Anne Frank Captured
After a Dutch informer tips off the Gestapo, 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are captured in an Amsterdam warehouse. The Franks had first hidden there from the Nazis two years earlier, and Anne had spent much of the time writing her diary. The diary survives the war, but Anne Frank doesn't—she perishes in a Nazi prison camp.
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