Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bloviating at Ground Zero

The New York Times, which never ceases to shock and amaze, really outdoes itself today in its coverage of the new design at Ground Zero. The main story, and editorial, are inoffensive enough. But the Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff steps in to prove, once again, that the Times is second to none in producing sanctimonious, politically slanted pap when given half a chance.

"Somber, oppressive and clumsily conceived"? Maybe. The problem is not that Ouroussoff hates the design, but that he uses the occasion to share with us the Nicolai Ouroussoff View of the State of the Civilized World. Well, guess what, folks? I couldn't care less about the Nicolai Ouroussoff View of the State of the Civilized World. Nicolai Ouroussoff can stick the Nicolai Ouroussoff View of the State of the Civilized World where the sun never shines.

Nicolai believes that we live in a "society that has turned its back on any notion of cultural openness." Now, that is patently false. Any society that can appoint a dufus like Nicolai Ouroussoff to the position of New York Times architectural critic is obviously open to pretty much anything.

However, I do see a certain irony in the following: "What the tower evokes. . . are ancient obelisks, blown up to a preposterous scale and clad in heavy sheaths of reinforced glass - an ideal symbol for an empire enthralled with its own power." Again, the "sun never shines" thought comes to mind. But so does this:

Here we have a pompous, bloviating nonentity who is given a forum by one of the American institutions most enthralled with its own power. This twit would be lathered in obscurity were it not for an institution that is accountable to no one, and reflects a skewed point of view shared by only a tiny, elite fraction of the American people. Under the guise of "architectural criticism," readers of the Times are forced to endure a political lecture. I can't think of anything more Fascist than that.

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