`Penthouse' shock for Frau Schroder

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The Independent Online
PAYING HOMAGE to Germany's first lady has become a tradition at Penthouse magazine. The last time it did so, two years ago, the cartoon honouring Hannelore Kohl provoked the wrath of her husband and landed the publisher of the German edition in court.

Now it is in hot water again for its depiction of Doris Schroder-Kopf, the young woman by the new Chancellor's side. Mrs Schroder tried to slap an injunction on the cartoon, but the writ has been dismissed.

It must be said that Mrs Kohl's picture two years ago probably caused more offence. It portrayed her as the emblem on the Chancellor's official limousine, with Mr Kohl greedily looking on. A pair of blue leather gloves, a string of pearls and a tassel in the German tricolour was all she wore. Her ample beauty was for all to behold.

In last month's Penthouse, Mrs Schroder is rather more demure, a sash strung across her larger-than-life bosoms, protecting her modesty. This time, the subject had no objection to the artist's improvement of her figure. She was appalled merely by her "distorted" face and exaggerated toothy smile.

Peter Herzberg, the German editor of Penthouse, pronounced himself perplexed by her reaction. The picture, he said, was an example of the noble art of caricature, drawing on artistic licence accumulated over centuries. Case dismissed, and the magazine is now allowed to republish the cartoon which, thanks to the controversy, is in any case reaching a broader audience.