Not-So-Flat Stanley

photo via Hamburger Morgenpost

At first glance, this news story about a German prostitute’s tombstone being deemed “too slutty” seemed like just another one of those “Oddly Enough” stories that every paper traffics in (“Drunken Tractor Driver Leads Police on Slow Chase” et al). Until we got to the part about how the tombstone in question was designed by none other than illustrator Tomi Ungerer, best known for the classic — and brilliantly illustrated– children’s book Flat Stanley. (The book which launched a million grade-school projects.) Consider our minds blown. Apparently Ungerer was a long-time friend of Domenica Niehoff, who died earlier this year of a lung illness. Niehoff campaigned tirelessly for the rights of sex workers; thanks in large part to her advocacy work, Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. To honor her achievements, she was the first (retired) sex worker to be buried in Ohlsdorf Cemetery’s Garden of Women.

Ungerer wanted to honor her legendary 48″ bust with a tombstone that involved two curved slabs of pink marble. Unfortunately, cemetery officials declared that Ungerer’s design was inappropriate and “too slutty.” We’re guessing this also means that we’ll have to wait a few more years for the guaranteed-to-be-a-classic children’s illustrated book “The Very Friendly Sex Worker.”