Friday, March 27, 2009

Culture under siege

The ritual in action*. R.I.P.

From the blog Pittsburgh Dish comes terrible news about Oakland high class, college livin'. No longer will residents of cheaply made tenement shacks be able to lounge on their porches on a couch they stole from a garbage pile. No loner will the students of Pittsburgh's numerous fine higher learning institutions (and Duquesne) be able to use said couch as fuel in a celebratory fire over a sporting victory, the end of finals, or as the clear flammable solution to a whisky fueled rage at sitting implements. And why is this? Well, because of the fire thing. And lucrative fines! And spite!
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will sign legislation banning couches from porches, his office said yesterday, after City Council gave its unanimous final approval to Councilman Bruce Kraus' ordinance.

Upon the mayor's signature, the presence of a couch, mattress, box spring or upholstered chair on an unenclosed porch could bring a fine of $200 to $500 per day, plus court costs.
Council also was motivated by the celebratory burning of couches that accompanies some Oakland street festivals and follows big sports wins.

"Hopefully, this will help out, but it's still a lot of education that's going to happen" before such behavior stops, said Ms. Payne.
Et tu, boy mayor? Must you treat us like lowly Morgantown dwellers? I'll bet this solves everything. No more fires. Nothing else in Oakland is flammable.

An era is ending. No more sitting on the porch discussing literature getting shit faced and skipping class. Now people will have to steal lawn furniture or milk crates and sit on those. They will have to defend and protect these new sitting implements from theft. This flies in the face of the whole dirty porch couch concept: that no one in their right mind would ever try to steal one.

So a heartfelt farewell to all the dirty porch couches in my life, you were there when I needed to sit down outside, avoid a beagle, recover from a hangover, and yell shit at passers by. Although I now regret ever allowing my skin to touch you, that meant something. In an ideal world we'd pile all of you up in the street and set you on fire, a fitting tribute and final sendoff, but that would anger our child mayor. Fare thee well, dirty porch couch, fare thee well.

*picture by noted photojournalist Nathaniel Minto
The last name has been redacted to protect his identity

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