The news for wieners

(Phallic preoccupations abound in this posting, sometimes in street language — I mean, look at the title above —  so some readers may want to skip over it)

Passed on by a friend on Facebook yesterday, this German grocery-store snapshot plus a joking double-entendre intro in English (together making what appears to be a a fast-spreading meme):

(#1) Hähnchenschnitten Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style chicken cutlets’ from the (German) Vossko company, the name of the product including the German phrase Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style’ — that is, prepared like Wiener SchnitzelWienerschnitzel); meanwhile, the English-language intro alludes to wiener art, in the sense ‘penis art’, referring to artworks in which penises are significant elements (or, in an hugely extended sense, to any artworks in which human penises are visible) — the label wiener art involving the (mildly racy) AmE sexual slang term wiener ‘penis’

German Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style’ (a) leads to English Wiener art ‘Viennese art’ (b) and then to four AmE slang uses of wiener art: (c) ‘sausage / frankfurter art’; (d) ‘dachshund art’; (e) ‘penis art’; (f) ‘weenie art’. All will be illustrated below.

Know your memes. The frozen-food package in #1 is not an invention for the purposes of a joke, but the real thing. Here’s the package from Vossko’s site:

(#2) with (a) Gm. Wiener Art; Wiener Schnitzel — made from boneless cutlets of veal, tenderized and flattened by pounding, coated with breadcrumbs, and pan-fried (in lard or butter) — is an Austrian national dish, historically associated with Vienna; variants of the dish made with pork, beef, or chicken are referred to in German as other kinds of Schnitzel or with the modifier Wiener Art; and are often referred to in English as kinds of schnitzel (chicken schnitzel, a staple of our Columbus OH household, typically served with egg noodles, parsley, and lemon slices)

(b) Wiener art. The art of Wien, a city famous for its artists and its public art of many different sorts. Most notably, perhaps, through the Vienna Secession movement. From Wikipedia:

The Vienna Secession … is an art movement, closely related to Art Nouveau, that was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian painters, graphic artists, sculptors and architects, including Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner and Gustav Klimt. They resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists in protest against its support for more traditional artistic styles. Their most influential architectural work was the Secession Building designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich as a venue for expositions of the group. Their official magazine was called Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring, in Latin), which published highly stylised and influential works of graphic art.

For modern Americans, Klimt is the face of the movement. See the section on Klimt and his art in my 3/23/16 posting “Klimt Eastwood”, featuring this celebrated Klimt portrait:

(#3) (b) Wiener art: Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907

The English noun(s) wiener. First, the capsule version from NOAD:

noun wienerNorth American 1 a frankfurter or similar sausage. 2 informal a penis. 3 informal, derogatory a weak, socially inept, or boringly studious person. ORIGIN early 20th century: abbreviation of German Wienerwurst‘Vienna sausage’.

[AZ: note that frankfurter is originally Frankfurterwurst ‘Frankfurt sausage’, though modern English speakers see no connection between frankfurter and the city of Frankfurt, wiener and the city of Wien / Vienna, or, for that matter, hamburger and the city of Hamburg; they’re just food names]

Then, the fuller treatment in OED3 (Dec. 2019) on the noun wiener:

— 1. Originally and chiefly North American. A small, thin sausage similar to a frankfurter, traditionally made of pork and beef, and typically smoked. Also more fully wiener sausage, wienerwurst … Cf. Vienna sausage [1st cite 1880]
— 2. North American colloquial. The penis. [1st cite 1935]
— 3. North American colloquialA person held in contempt, esp. one ridiculed as weak, socially inept, or unfashionable; a fool. Also used as a general term of abuse. [1st cite 1970]
— compound noun wiener dog: a dog of a very short-legged, long-bodied breed; = dachshund, sausage dog [1st cite 1922]

The four uses of wiener in OED3 then give rise to four senses of wiener art:

— (c) wiener art ‘sausage / frankfurter / hot dog art’ (the basis for the other senses)

— (d) wiener art ‘dachshund art’ (metaphor from the sausage sense, the dog resembling a sausage)

— (e) wiener art ‘penis art’ (metaphor from the sausage sense, the penis resembling a sausage, and the sausage resembling a penis — there’s a Page on this blog on my postings about penis art

— (f) wiener art ‘weenie art’ (metonymy — part standing for whole — from the genitals sense, with accompanying derogation, as in prick, dick, putz, schmuck); the derogation can follow from perceived interactional flaws (you’re a weenie because you’re socially ineffectual or bumbling) or from perceived social disengagement (you’re a weenie because you’re absorbed in bookish or nerdish / geekish concerns), as in NOAD on the noun weenie:

… 2 … [b] (also wienerinformal a weak, socially inept, or boringly studious person: newer programming languages are a favorite of the tech weenies.

And, yes, there’s art of all of these types. Most of it lowbrow stuff, or art serving some purpose beyond art for art’s sake (entertainment, advertising, sexual arousal, whatever), or art pointedly commenting on art of those two types.

(c) hot dog art. Well, there are the jokey men’s boxer shorts with images of hot dogs in buns on them. And then images of hot dogs in buns as satisfying scenes from everyday life, — in effect, mass-culture still lifes — like this søciety6  art print by Miriam Joy E:

(#4) Hot Dog in a Bun (intended to hang on the wall in a living room or dining room)

Then a piece of poppish and meta ceramic art from the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum:

(#5) Betty Spindler, Hot Dog, 2000, glazed clay

And then, sheer high-poppish light-heartedness, in a 6-foot fiberglass replica of a fiberglass hot dog advertising figure:

(#6) Note that he’s enthusiastically self-condimentizing. Also extraordinarily phallic. You can order one of your very own from the Big Cheese Productions site; remember that he’s one tall hot dog (5 inches taller than me, in fact)

(d) dachshund art. Here there is a mass-art compendium, cartoonist Gary Larson’s 1990 book Wiener Dog Art:

(#7) Wiener dog cartoons from Larson’s Far Side

Hard to pick just one example.  Many of the cartoons are parodies of, burlesques of, or riffs on famous works of art — for instance, an homage to Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory. The Dalí:


The Larson:

(#9) Larson, The Persistence of Wiener Dogs

(e) penis art. From my 9/23/16 posting “News for penises and their simulacra”, in which I ramble on about having to cordon off most images with human penises in them on AZBlogX, but manage to find a few that can get by, in particular an alarming but entertaining photo of the gigantic graffito of Brussels / Bruxelles:

(#10) [newspaper quote from my earlier posting:] Les habitants et les passants de l’avenue du Parc, à la Barrière de Saint-Gilles, ont été sacrément surpris, voire choqués. Un graffiti d’un gigantesque pénis a été dessiné sur la façade d’un bâtiment.

(f) weenie art. Showing the socially inept or the socially disengaged. One example of each sort from (for a change) high art. For the first, from the 16th-century Dutch artist Quentin Massys (in the collection of the (American) National Gallery of Art):

(#11) Massys,  Ill-Matched Lovers, c. 1520/1525

And for the second, a boy lost in his books:

(#12) Joshua Reynolds The Studious Boy (date uncertain), in private hands — a grind, as we were called, contemptuously, when I was a lad at Princeton; grinds were a subtype of weenies, and that was the current term (even though the OEDs first cite in this use is from 1970, and this was roughly 1960)

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