Sifting through some of my mail after what seems to be quite a long holiday, I found this amusing image. While it first conjured up images of Riders On The Storm, the journey into the apocalypse proved to be the same dead-end like notions of a holy rod of peace.
While Friede Sei Mit Dir translates to May Peace Be With You, Friede is unfortunately also the first name of Friede Springer, publisher of Germany’s biggest and right-wing tabloid Die Bildzeitung. And the relief above decorates the eastern wall of the Rudi-Dutschke-Haus, which happens to be the main office of Germany’s largest left-leaning newspaper Die Tageszeitung.
The artwork by sculptor Peter Lenk is a satirical statement on the trashy headlines and content the tabloid produces to sell its irrelevant news to the masses (like “First goal kicked with penis”, “Emasculated by mother in law’s dachshund” or “Now everyone can use the word ‘dick'”). The guy with the dick is Kai Diekmann, chief editor of Die Bildzeitung, while the reference to his male organ does not only relate to the trash he produces but also provides a link to a Bildzeitung’s-style satire in Die Tageszeitung, which imputed to Diekmann that he was subject a penis extension gone wrong ;).
There’s much more to this story, including court procedures and internal fights in Die Tageszeitung over the artwork’s installation – quite funny really, especially considering how seriously many Germans took the whole issue of installing the artwork. For those understanding German, here’s a link for further informative amusement.