There's a penis upsetting huge swathes of Austrians right now. It's that one up there, and it belongs to transgender reality TV personality Carmen Carrera. Throughout the country, this amazing David LaChapelle poster is pasted on Austrian streets, advertising this year’s Life Ball in Vienna, an HIV/AIDS charity event.
Basically, some Austrian conservatives aren't too pleased with Carmen's dick because Carmen's dick sits beneath Carmen's tits—a combo that has never sat well with conservatives. Austria’s far-right party, the FPÖ, have filed a lawsuit against it, and one grandmother took to the streets to paint over every penis in town, supposedly after she was asked by her grandchild if she had a cock herself (which doesn't sound like a true story to me—what kid actually asks their grandma questions like that?).
The poster kind of blew my mind. I mean, I don't want to sound old fashioned or anything, but I'm not used to seeing pictures of a hairless cocks-out person gazing over some dude with a fluro testicle for a head on an advertising board. As much as I try, I can't imagine this sitting opposite me on the subway.
Our Austrian VICE office posted about the situation yesterday, and when we asked them all about it, they were amazingly European, saying that they were really embarrassed by the controversy surrounding the penis, and that it "makes Austria look like the States in the 50s." While the far-right may be on the rise in the EU, it's worth remembering that the majority of its inhabitants are basically the most amazing liberal humans in history.
Anyway, VICE Austria explained that the central argument in their country was about whether the image was corrupting to youth—an argument used by every crypto bigot in history—and as such, in an attempt to get to the root of the issue, our Austrian colleagues decided to hold a straw poll of sorts. To see just how corrupted the children were, they asked some kids they had hanging around exactly what they thought of the cock themselves.
(Before people get upset, these kids had all seen the poster before and they had the parents' permission.)
Here's what the kids said:
VICE: What do you think of this poster? Do you think it's cool?
Juli (8): The poster is OK, I think. I’m wondering why the man wears a bowl on his head. Looks like a big eye or a globe.
Hey Laurenz, what do you think about this picture?
Laurenz (8): He or she needs a feel-good bra and Ronaldo briefs.
Good point, lad.
Your mum told me you'd seen this poster around town, what does it make you think?
Simon (5): Why does she have a weenie? Is it a man or a woman? Anyway, I like it.
Hey my man, thoughts on this?
Ferdi (8): It’s a little strange. The woman is naked, but I don’t care about it, that’s fine. I just don’t get what it has to do with this Life Ball thing.
Some people have said this is strange. What do you think?
Anahita (8): I don’t think it’s that strange. Also, it can happen that women have weenies, right? Also, it’s just a picture.
What's up with this thing, huh!?!
Paul (10): I get what they want, but I think it’s exaggerated.
Of course, this is a biased survey, since they only asked a whole bunch of cool liberal kids that they know, but still, it's a landslide in favor of Carmen's dick! In your face, Austrian conservatives!