Monday, August 8, 2011
Some Chicagoans Need to Get Over Their Prudery!
Chicago has always been the "city of Big Shoulders". Its fame grew out of the meat-packing industry and it has since become the major metropolis in the midwest. Unfortunately, it also seems to be that some of its citizens are acquiring the noisome prudery and pseduo-morality (which I call moralism) of its more southerly peer cities. (Excepting New Orleans, of course).
This prudery has evidently arisen since a giant (26' high) sculpture of Marilyn Monroe ("Forever Marilyn") was erected on its Pioneer Plaza. (Never mind the magnificent sculpture, the work of 80-year old Seward Johnson, has elicited many more head turns and eyeballs than the nearby Wrigely Bldg. and Tribune Tower!) But the prudes don't like the fact that so many (mainly males) tend to congregate beneath the sculpture's legs and stare back up toward the quilt-sized, lace trimmed real panties. What do you expect any red-blooded American male to do?
According to one 20-year old waitress quoted in today's Wall Street Journal article ('Statuesque Blonde Bombshell Explodes a City's Sense of Decorum', p. A1):
There's always someone under her legs!
Well, uh...is there a law against it? I don't think so! Nor is there a law against people standing under them, just gazing and taking photos. Get over it already! If this is the biggest problem of some in the Windy City - that they have issues with over-fascination of some gawkers with a sculpture's underwear- then they truly have minor problems in the scheme of things. That many in this country, especially the unemployed and homeless - not to mention starving kids, should be so lucky!
Other nitpickers don't necessarily begrudge the gawkers their views, but they do complain about its appropriateness for Chicago. After all, the famous scene that the sculpture depicts (Marilyn's skirt flying up over a subway grating in the movie, The Seven Year Itch) was filmed in Manhattan, and the movie was set in New York City.
But these complainers also miss the boat, and point. The sculpture was never intended to be a permanent fixture in Chicago, according to The Sculpture Foundation (which manages all of Mr. Johnson's work) but to be moved to different cities and regions. Indeed, they explained that the Chicago stay will end next spring, and they've already received hundreds of inquiries from other cities seeking to have it.
So fear not, Chicagoans - especially the prude bluenoses- Marilyn will soon be out of your hair.
Nor will prudish visitors (such as the University of Oklahoma Philosophy professor quoted in the WSJ article) have to fret much longer about mothers corrupting their sons' morals. As when the prof expressed "mind blowing" when she observed a mom "coaching her son to gaze up at Marilyn's underwear".
According to one Chicago blogger, and publisher of "Gapers Block", the response has been "almost uniformly negative".
I wouldn't place too much store in that, Mr. local blogger, since it is always the squeaky wheels that get the attention. The whiners, and moralists who have nothing better to do with their time than worry about their neighbors' behavior and "salvation". When the nation would actually be a much better place if they got off their judgmental high horses and went around to help out in soup kitchens, or food pantries!
I'd pay more attention to the millions who admire a work of beauty and grace, and only occasionally express their approval such as the guy quoted in the WSJ piece who said he makes it a point to stand on the Plaza for 10 minutes each day just to see the smiles on visitors' faces as "they poke each other in the ribs".
Sounds like this is a bit of harmless diversion we could actually benefit more from these days, in the midst of credit downgrades, crashing stock markets, inept political parties and never-ending, unwinnable "wars"!