A member of the Russian parliament is demanding that the country redesign its 100-ruble banknote -- which features a drawing of a semi-naked Greek god Apollo -- because, he says, the deity's barely-visible penis presents a potential threat to children.
ABC News reports:
In a letter to the Central Bank, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Roman Khudyakov wrote that the image showed "intimate parts of the body" and should come with an 18-plus warning like explicit movies. He said the bill, worth just under $3, could pose a risk to children.
"As bills of that denomination often get into the hands of children as pocket money, I strongly request your help in changing the design of the banknote or otherwise bringing it into accordance with current legislative regulations," he wrote, according to Izvestia newspaper.
The banknote's illustration is of the Apollo statue atop the entrance to the famous Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. The statue's private parts were covered up with a fig leaf during the recent renovation, according to the Moscow Times.
According to Khudyakov, this violates the recently-introduced law on protection of minors from harmful information. Unlike the original statue, the banknote has no historical or cultural value, and neither is it an advertisement or a product with controlled access. Therefore it must be brought into line with the demands of the law...
Legal experts interviewed by Izvestia did not have a common opinion on the subject - some said that banknotes could be considered a printed product and therefore should fall under the law, while others noted that the law itself lacked a definition of "harmful information" and the picture of the famous statue could not really do much harm.
"You can see clearly that Apollo is naked, you can see his genitalia," Khudyakov reportedly told Reuters TV.
Welcome to 2014 Russia, where they are having a serious debate about whether children will be harmed by the cock and balls on a neoclassical statue.
Now, when I say that the genitalia in question are "barely visible," I mean it. It just so happens that Michael and I have two gay Russian friends staying in our apartment with us while they begin the process of seeking asylum in the United States, and one of them told me this story and handed me a 100-ruble note so I could check out Apollo's package for myself.
As it turns out, it's so small I couldn't even see it when I examined the banknote at a distance of about half an arm's length (about as close as most people typically get to their currency). It was only when I looked much, muuuuch more closely that I spotted the offending penis.
Naturally (and incredulously!), I whipped out my ruler to see just how
long tiny a fake penis has to be to (allegedly) pose a threat to the delicate sensibilities of Russian children these days. The answer? Less than 1/16 of an inch.
But THINK OF THE CHILDREN, you guys! Plus, it's a penis we're talking about here, which probably means it's gay propaganda.
A close-up photo of Apollo's junk is after the jump. Check it out and sound off: is this image pornographic? Do you think the banknote should be redesigned to cover it up? And if you have kids, do you think they would be irreparably harmed by seeing it?