At this summer's Three Rivers Arts Festival, the real-estate management company that controls PPG Place, Grubb & Ellis, removed a work of video "art" featuring a naked woman.
Like right-thinking citizens everywhere, we at City Paper applauded this action. We know there's a place for shameless displays of the human body -- namely, pages 65 through 80 of City Paper. But we also know how loathsome the human form can be. (Some of us report on local politics, after all.) We were heartened to see a corporate leader and a vaunted nonprofit cultural group working together, helping to protect us from such depravity.
But as summer wore on, we were shocked to realize that -- far from upholding the city's morals -- our business and cultural leaders are purveyors of the most wantonly lascivious displays you can imagine. And we're not just talking about underwriting Lawrence Welk reruns on WQED-TV, either.
Be it a cemetery or a schoolhouse, government buildings or Downtown high-rises, Pittsburgh is awash in smut. Granite-hewn harlots and thinly veiled phalluses beckon from every street corner, tempting us ... taunting us ... like the scarlet women we thought we cleared from Downtown streets many years ago.
The images and stories on the following pages are, frankly, disgusting. They reveal the full extent of Pittsburgh's debauchery, featuring as they do the perversions of long-dead architects, and the voices of porn-peddling "artists" of today. We recognize that some parents will want to keep this issue away from their children (who can still check out this week's "Savage Love" column online at www.pghcitypaper.com). But it's parents who most need to read this issue. As you'll see on page 26, for example, the next time your children ask to attend school-board meetings, it may not be because they want a voice in setting the math curriculum.
This issue may inspire revulsion; we only hope that disgust will spur people to act. Similarly, we can only wish that every Pittsburgh building had property managers as enlightened as Grubb & Ellis. May they someday be placed in charge of every structure and public space in city limits, and given the necessary sandblasting equipment to clean up this town for good.