As I walked through the gallery, I immediately stopped when I saw one painting. As I stopped and looked at it, I became more and more deeply puzzled. I'm not sure how to describe the picture.
It was a picture of a city, viewed from a high vantage point. It was a very beautiful city, with houses and towers and streets and parks. As I stood there, I thought for a moment that I heard the sound of children playing--and I looked, but I was the only one present.
This made all the more puzzling the fact that it was a disturbing picture--chilling even. It was not disturbing in the sense that a picture of the Crucifixion is disturbing, where the very beauty is what makes it disturbing. I tried to see what part might be causing it, and met frustration. It seemed that the beauty was itself what was wrong--but that couldn't be right, because when I looked more closely I saw that the city was even more beautiful than I had imagined. The best way I could explain it to myself was that the ugliness of the picture could not exist except for an inestimable beauty. It was like an unflattering picture of an attractive friend--you can see your friend's good looks, but the picture shows your friend in an ugly way. You have to fight the picture to really see your friend's beauty--and I realized that I was fighting the picture to see the city's real beauty. It was a shallow picture of something profound, and it was perverse. An artist who paints a picture helps you to see through his eyes--most help you to see a beauty that you could not see if you were standing in the same spot and looking. This was like looking at a mountaintop through a pair of eyes that were blind, with a blindness far more terrible, far more crippling, than any blindness that is merely physical. I stepped back in nausea.
I leaned against a pillar for support, and my eyes fell to the bottom of the frame. I glanced on the picture's title: Porn.