Tuesday, December 18, 2007

... Emporium of Raunch?

" 'O wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!"
Robert Burns

This quote from a writer at the TCPalm website, an upstate newspaper conglomerate owned by the Scripps chain:

Take Key West, that open emporium of raunch and anything-goes attitudes.

A young woman came to the Gallery yesterday in mid-afternoon. She asked about the house here, how old it was, who had lived here. She said it was her first time in Key West although a frequent traveler. Somehow the conversation came around to Duval St. and she volunteered that she couldn't believe that some of the t-shirts she saw could be displayed in a store window for all to see.

New City Commissioner Barry Gibson has picked up the political football that is censorship to some, and simple good manners to others. He met with a small group of fellow retailers (Barry is co-owner of Shades of Key West, a sunglasses shop with two locations in Old Town) recently to open discussions about the open display of some very vulgar shirts. There was a period of time during Jimmy Weekley's terms as Mayor when the t-shirt shop retailers voluntarily exercised some discretion in what they displayed in their windows. Now almost anything goes.

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes.

So, is that how we are viewed, as an open emporium of raunch? A place where anything goes? It's my view that we are seen that way, by a segment of the population who are in their nature, boobs, brutes and buffoons, who come here with the idea that they can do everything that they can't or wouldn't do in the places they come from.

Is that what we want?

Not me.


janna said...

I'd be willing to bet the majority of visitors to KW don't want the raunch. I just returned after my 4th visit, this time it was just me and my 15 yo daughter. Once the sun went down, there was very little to do, given that we weren't interested in going to bars. One nite, we went dancing at el Maison de Pepe's, and another we went to the awesome Tropical cinema. The other nights, we read in our room. And yeah, some of those t-shirts are truly offensive, even to someone who is not easily offended. One in particular actually makes me feel sick to my stomach ("hump & dump" - you know the one). It's tragic that some of the most interesting places to shop have disappeared, but those crappy t-shirt shops persist. I've yet to see anyone actually wearing ANY ONE of those t-shirts, so do they really sell?
I love the idea of Key West, but I'm finding that with each trip down, the reality comes further and further from measuring up to the idea of chilling out on a little island peopled by creative, interesting people. Those people are perhaps still there, but are being drowned out by the shrill clamor for more $$ at the cost of Key West's creative soul.

Anonymous said...

It seems that without periodic public attention, our downtown will always sink to the lowest common denominator.

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