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.
April 25
1939—Batman Debuts
In Detective Comics #27, DC Comics publishes its second major superhero, Batman, who becomes one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, and then a popular camp television series starring Adam West, and lastly a multi-million dollar movie franchise starring Michael Keaton, then George Clooney, and finally Christian Bale.
1953—Crick and Watson Publish DNA Results
British scientists James D Watson and Francis Crick publish an article detailing their discovery of the existence and structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in Nature magazine. Their findings answer one of the oldest and most fundamental questions of biology, that of how living things reproduce themselves.
April 24
1967—First Space Program Casualty Occurs
Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when, during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after more than ten successful orbits, the capsule's main parachute fails to deploy properly, and the backup chute becomes entangled in the first. The capsule's descent is slowed, but it still hits the ground at about 90 mph, at which point it bursts into flames. Komarov is the first human to die during a space mission.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.
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