Saturday, March 10, 2007

the Gateway Arch, feminism, & desis gone wild

St. Louis, Mo. - If you talk with some feminist urban planners they'll say that many skyscrapers in cities are phallic symbols of their male designers. Thus the quest to have taller and bigger buildings is nothing but an outward manifestation of the male ego.

In fact they would argue that many architectural designs stem from this same logic, whether it's the Eiffel Tower to the Washington monument (erect since 1884). If you think this is a bit extreme or a pure fabrication, then you should look at downtown Chicago. Amidst the tallest buildings in the world is the Smufit-Stone Building (to the right, on 150 North Michigan Ave.) , which resembles, well, the female response to a phallus. Okay so maybe this one is a bit more of an urban legend, but hey, you can't help but think that there may be something to it.

Okay if that's some of the thought behind traditional buildings, then what on Earth can explain the Gateway Arch here in lovely St. Louis? Well okay I guess we can go with the fact that a simple, inverted parabola is timeless and while its steel material is modern it stays nostalgic with its nod to classical European arches. I mean that does make sense. Plus many of the tour guides at the arch would agree. But alas my friends, such an explanation is too simple. The reality I think is the astonishing fact that there an incredible number of desis there this morning. I dunno if I was just lucky, but the fact that today was a relatively uneventful Saturday I think means that today was a good sample survey of most days here.

Thus it leaves no doubt in my mind that the Gateway Arch is a giant Desi Magnet. Brown people from around the Midwest (and further!) are drawn to the stainless steel construction, reminiscent of the "china" set of most Indian households. Also the fact that I was there and drawn to it wasn't lost upon me either.

So there you have it, the Gateway Arch is nothing more than a lure for the pigmentally gifted hailing from the Indian subcontinent. In my fleeting 12 hours left here in the Da Lou, who knows what other secrets I shall uncover. But uncover them I shall, and report them I will.

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