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Statue Of David Clean, Still 'Dirty', Says Group
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FLORENCE, Italy - Protesters from all over the Southern and Midwestern United States -- the so-called "Bible Belt" -- have staked out positions outside the Galleria dell'Accademia in Italy. 'Cover Up David', or CUD, wants to remind the world that while the famed Statue of David may now be clean, "It's still an abomination of filth, it's as dirty now as the day it was whittled out," says the CUD's spokesman, Alton Lapston, Jr. They are calling for the statue to be clothed, covered up, or removed from public view.

"'For once, we WANT a cover-up!'"
-- Sign held by CUD protester
"You Americans take such a prudish view of the human form," said the museum's director, Franca Falletti, "David is a triumph. Michelangelo captured the completeness of the nude male form. The sin would be to deny the public an opportunity to appraise it for themselves." Falletti personally oversaw the restoration of the 500-year-old masterpiece, insisting on the controversial 'wet-cleaning' technique. Despite concerns, experts now agree that the statue has been restored to its original appearance.

"We don't want to take away from what Michelangelo accomplished," explained one CUD protestor holding a sign saying, 'For once, we WANT a cover-up!', "We want to make it more appealing to a larger audience. Right now, the artist's greatest work is only viewable by the choice few willing to be in the presence of its obscenity. We want our children to be given an opportunity to see this wonder, but we can't in good conscience allow it."

Despite CUD's claims of a limited audience for the statue, the museum reports growing numbers of visitors and inquiries about David. "We have many beautiful and one of a kind pieces," explained Falletti, "So it is difficult to say what one piece might draw what particular slice of patronage, but it is fair to say that over a million people file through the museum annually. Most of that number will see David."

CUD won't say how long their protest will last, but it is apparent that it is having an effect. "People think it's ridiculous," said a ticket clerk at the museum's entrance, "They come up, ask me about it, and they end up buying a ticket and coming in. I couldn't say we've had double our usual patronage, but it would be close."
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