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Italy’s culture ministry on Friday defended Premier Silvio Berlusconi for giving ancient marble statues in his office replacement body parts, to the horror of art restorers.

The ministry, which is led by a close ally of the premier, said in a statement there’s no cause for alarm: The hand added to Venus and the penis added to Mars are attached by magnets and can be removed without damage.

Just when you think American government is insane, Silvio Berlusconi always has to come and show us up. So there’s your difference between us and our ally: Our prudes like John Ashcroft cover up the boobs on our statues, whereas their legendary pervs like Berlusconi add sexual organs to their statues. [WP via Wonkette operative “Lily E.” (you’re welcome)]

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