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August 28, 2012

Your Dumb Media: "Underground Sex Club Discovered Under Whiskey Row"

Everything with the media is hype and dumb.

Read this breathless article.

"This is the weirdest I've ever found," said Greg Harris, the superintendent of the project for Sullivan-Cozart.

Two floors below Main Street, a large black and white logo displays the word "LATEX," presumably the name of the club, painted on the century old wall.

The wall is a century old, but the logo is decidedly not. But notice how those two concepts are used together in rapid suggestion to suggest maybe the club is a century old.

From deep inside the subterranean blackness, a series of oil paintings depict a series of bizarre images, sexual and violent. "Very disturbing," Harris said. Below one painting, a piece of equipment that appears fit for a torture chamber remains. A wooden rack large enough for one or two people includes a headrest and a rusted chain that can be turned by a handle. A gear resembling a saw blade is connected to the handle.

Okay. The name "Latex" suggests to me that this was an 80s club. Or even the 90s. So, it's not exactly ancient.

There is what appears to be a rack, but my guess it is used as a table, and was chosen to give an "edgy" vibe. Even though it's just used as a table. Like a dude who buys a coffin and uses it as a coffee table.

The "oil paintings" of "bizarre images, sexual and bizarre" turn out to be Goya's very famous Saturn Devouring His Child (explicit, violent painting warning) and Munch's equally famous The Scream.

You've probably seen them. On people's walls, in college. Pictures of the paintings are somewhere in the 20s in the slideshow that accompanies the article.

There's a third painting but the picture is taken at an oblique angle so I can't identify it.

Now, Goya's Black Paintings (of which Saturn Devours His Child is one) do have a kind of Call of Cthulhu feel to them, being uncomfortable images, and including one painting of the Devil at a coven. And there's a whole strange backstory to how he painted them on his walls and never told the public they even existed. (Which has led, as all interesting things must, to a conspiracy theory, that they are fakes and weren't even painted by Goya.)

But... you know, not exactly new. They date from like 1830. And not exactly arcane. And this is just the sort of vibe that an "edgy, happening" bar would like to swipe for itself.

My point is that this is probably just a seedy unlicensed bar from the 80s or 90s that tried to be all happening and edgy. Based on this thin evidence, there is really no reason to go screaming about a "Secret Underground Sex Club From Ancient Days."

Is this interesting? It's marginally interesting, I guess, to find a forgotten, dead bar from the 80s or 90s.

It is not nearly as interesting as "Secret Underground Sex Club Discovered In Old Civil War Mineshaft," which is the sort of vibe this sells.

The real deception comes in branding extremely well-known paintings (reproductions, of course) as "bizarre images, violent and sexual," as if this is some kind of Cthulhu cultists' representation of the First Ring of Hell.

Are they just that dumb? Or are they selling you dumb? I don't know.


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posted by Ace at 03:58 PM

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