Does C. Stephen Eckel's artistically rendered penis—which, until recently, one could view on his website—makes him unfit to serve Rochester, N.Y. as a county legislator? Republicans who live in his area certainly believe so! They keep all of their sepia-toned naked self-portraits to themselves.
"I don't see how anybody can not question the judgment of someone who puts something like this up on a website, especially where there's no safeguards for children to be protected from it," says Tony Micciche, who vastly overestimates the modern-day kid's interest in local politics, and who hopes to unseat Eckel during this Tuesday's election. Micciche admitted to WHAM-TV ("serving western New York with breaking news about George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley since 1980") that he hadn't actually looked at the photos—he'd only heard about the pics after the media, tipped off by a GOP operative, reported on them. But he just knows they are pornographic and moral turpitude-y and blessed by The Devil himself, so please pull the lever for him on Tuesday and defend family values from C. Stephen Eckel's private parts.
Aside from smut-peddling, why would Eckel—who has served as a county legislature since 2005—decide to post his naked pictures to the Internet? Well, it seems to have something to do with his civilian job as a photography professor. Even WHAM-TV admits that the pics are straight-up artistic (and pretentious, though that's our opinion)—taken 11 years ago while Eckel was getting his MFA, and posted on his personal-professional website. Until now, they have not impeded his ability to represent his constituents, nor have they reached out to attack anyone. Nevertheless, he has removed them from his website so that people would focus on the issues instead of his crotch and its whereabouts.
"This is just a low attack on me to put my stuff from an artistic portfolio to be used to smear me," Eckel told the New York Post, the tabloid version of Art Forum. "My integrity as a photographer and as an artist is strong and powerful, and my integrity as a county legislator is strong and powerful." Oh man, that's also so pretentious! Stop being such a stereotype, artsy C. Stephen Eckel.