Merrill Lynch has pulled out of negotiations to take space in Larry Silverstein's buildings. It seems to me that it's time to rethink the whole project of putting more office space there, and turn the area into a national monument. If you're worried about losing commercial space--though this is hardly a current issue for New York's beleaguered financial industry--there are green spaces and low rise in the surrounding area that could be bought with eminent domain and built up.
She wants a
simple memorial: an open grassy space with the outlines of the buildings laid in bricks or something similar. My feeling was that the only way to appreciate the magnitude of what happened was to be able to see, across an open space, just how big the buildings were. I also felt that we should have a public space where people could be--not work, not shop, but simply enjoy other people.
I on the other hand long nursed a different idea: also a national monument, but this time a huge gold obelisk that was the tallest structure in the world and crowned with a big, screaming eagle (also in gold; in immediately post-9/11 blueprints, the eagle was extending a middle talon). Since then I have relaxed the idea into two white marble monuments (still obelisks) crowned with simple gold flake that shines in the sun. Lights would shine at night. These monuments can be rimmed with connected lawn walkways. Probably the ring of flags that the Washington Monument enjoys are not necessary here. But certainly this should be a grand public works project on a national monument that preserves the memory of the structures that were destroyed, and the people in them, and that renews in American hearts an ounce of classically restrained pride. And it should have been started...and finished...long ago.
That said, Megan's practical argument against building new buildings is pretty persuasive as well.
Have brainwaves emanating from my long string of posts criticizing the "sense of" phenomenon made their way into criticism of Disney's new refurbished Tomorrowland -- a land that the WaPo has run a five-page feature on...and over -- ?
It's a bit of a cop-out. There was a time when the future was streamlined jet cars. Rather than create a new sense of the future, they say, 'Ah, remember when we believed that the future was streamlined jet cars?' It's a feeling of connection to the future, rather than connection to the future.
"It's a core ache. Something is missing that we're searching for.
It’s interesting that we’re more willing to do a cost-benefit analysis of having children than to do a cost-benefit analysis of eagerly participating in a culture of narcissism.
Here’s my thought for the day. In 1991 Rolling Stone interviewed Bob Dylan on the occasion of his 50th birthday, and at one point the interviewer asked Dylan if he was happy. This seemed to puzzle him a bit, and he was silent for a minute. Then he said, “You know,” he said, “these are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It’s not happiness or unhappiness, it’s either blessed or unblessed. As the Bible says, ‘Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’”
Trouble is, we cannot deny yuppie world, because we American individuals go insane when we try to reject public opinion as our informational and inspirational lodestar. Ah, but then this is a reason why family is important: having your own children around -- and spending more time with them than other individuals who aren't family -- makes you less insane if you admit that we are all stuck in yuppie world! Why? Because family makes you less of an atomized individual. Counterintuitive, isn't it? So strangely happiness even on its own terms is probably more attainable within a family with kids. Unless you want to be a super-atomized individual who rejects the concept of marriage and thinks finding meaning in raising one's own flesh and blood is a silly vestigial primitive search for meaning and...but wait, such an individual is in danger of simply defining happiness as...being a super-atomized individual in the best possible way. And people who fall back on 'because God is God' get the laughs...
"The Moment," we are told, "is a daily blog that spans the T Magazine universe of fashion, design, food and travel." Sounds like a promising place to find deep insights into the difference between European and American civilization, no? Well:
So, what is this obscure fascination with aristocracy all about?
Certainly all of those very Italian names are music — make that opera —
to the ears of foreigners. But how can modern, liberal, fashionable
people aspire to play a part in this costume drama — extras in a
historically correct adaptation of an E.M. Forster novel? Even I got
caught up in the act.
As a lapsed Florentine, I can only marvel at my own fascination with
all of those things that I once hated and vowed to escape — and go buy
myself a new silk neckerchief. -- Stefano Tonchi
That's my bold above. I could go on and on about this, but in the interest of easing up on the criticism pedal, I think I'll just let this one linger on its own authority for a while.
Donating $10 to buy a mosquito net to save an African child from malaria has become a hip way to show you care, especially for teenagers. The movement is like a modern version of the March of Dimes, created in 1938 to defeat polio, or like collecting pennies for Unicef on Halloween.
Unusual allies, like the Methodist and Lutheran Churches, the National Basketball Association and the United Nations Foundation, are stoking the passion for nets that prevent malaria. The annual “American Idol Gives Back” fund-raising television special has donated about $6 million a year for two years. The music channel VH1 made a fund-raising video featuring a pesky man in a mosquito suit.
It is an appeal that clearly resonates with young people.
Addressing a conference of 6,000 Methodist youths in North Carolina last year, Bishop Thomas Bickerton held up his own $10 and told the crowd: “This represents your lunch today at McDonald’s or your pizza tonight from Domino’s. Or you could save a human life.”
The lights were so bright that he could see only what was happening at his feet. “They just showered the stage with $10 bills,” Bishop Bickerton said. “In 30 seconds, we had $16,000. I’m just lucky they didn’t throw coins.”
It's all about the benjamins. Andrew's quote for the day:
"First comes love. Then comes marriage. And now it's a milestone every
couple in California can celebrate," - a Macy's ad for its gift
registry in today's NYT.
Our go-to corporations for life's big transactions know what celebration means in America -- $$$. Note it may be useless or moot to claim there's anything wrong with that. But it's revealing nonetheless how monetary celebration has so seamlessly taken the place of that baby in the baby carriage.
There's an argument on the right that gay marriage is a radically Lockean rejection of our obligations to reproductively maintain our communities and to instrumentally view marriage accordingly. I have a both more munificent and nastier argument, which orbits around the question why are our radical Lockeans rejecting gene egotism? There is something creepily socialistic about the inclination of straight and gay celebrities alike to view children as creatures that ought not necessarily have any biological connection to their parents -- or, more specifically, that your 'own flesh and blood' is just one of many kinds of young person with whom one can have a relationship of parentishness. This seems like a trend with legs.
Curiously, the eros lo volt movement oscillates between radical individualism and radical panhumanism -- with each seeming somehow to need to be demonstrated as proof of the other. Naturally the 'unnatural' transactions created by these oscillations are all easily (hungrily) integrated into capital markets. Untold numbers of new profits turned, everybody wins, right?
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of
conservatism is libertarianism. ... The basis of conservatism is a
desire for less government interference or less centralized authority
or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description
also of what libertarianism is.
One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as
more of a libertarianish right. ... This whole idea of personal
autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of
view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be
able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes
down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in
the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know,
people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional
conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand
that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that
I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it
succeeds as a culture.
I am no great defender of Rick Santorum, and I am inclined to think about 'community' the way Thatcher thought about 'society', but it's obvious that what falls through the cracks in the easy contrast between Reagan's and Santorum's comments is the difference between cultural libertarianism and political libertarianism. Reagan is clearly talking about the latter; Santorum is talking about the former. There are obvious problems: Reagan says 'less centralized authority', not 'less centralized power', and Santorum says 'succeeds as a culture' but also talks openly of 'government' getting 'involved in the bedroom.' So I don't want to be too glib in the other direction and suggest it's easy in today's climate for conservatives or anyone else to neatly separate out political from cultural issues.
But I do think it's easier as a rule than it is now, and this is so because the basic general (as opposed to central) authority governing our cultural conduct has more or less unraveled, and we are trying to fill that gap through politics and, specifically, through law. This won't work, but it's a stopgap measure until the culture reconstitutes itself authoritatively. But since cultural libertarianism holds, when it comes to cultural authority, that the only rule is there are no rules, this is something of a pipe dream. And this is the main point Santorum is trying to make, even though he is the wrong messenger because he wants to put central (i.e. Federal) power to work in institutionalizing a cultural authority that can no longer stand on its own two feet. Reagan, on the other hand, is clearly speaking in political terms, speaking of conservatism as a political disposition that carries, viewed from the national level, a bias against checking cultural libertarianism with centralized political power.
I agree with this disposition and this bias. But in no way do they lead me to celebrate cultural libertarianism. In a further complication, I am a great fan of cultural pluralism or cultural federalism, seeing it as a better and more practical realization of Nozickian politics. Libertarians hate making this switch because it results, politically speaking, in more injustice toward individuals, which I care less about insofar as I am very forgiving (from a decent distance) when it comes to 'cultural injustices.' At least in America: where if you don't like it, move. We are very very fortunate to be able to do this as easily as we can and do. And no, this isn't simply a function of our oil-based economy. In covered-wagon times it worked as well. Yes, there were hardships that raised the barrier to entry. But that kind of suffering to live the way you want with like-minded Americans of your more or less choosing seems to me worth the payoff in decentralized power and decentralized authority. Sadly this may not be a popular attitude among mainstream conservatives -- or even, given their true preferences, a sustainable one.
From the talk of prep-hip crosstown romance winning raves from Megan, Ross, Wonkette:
Also have a slight fetish for arm tats on them (gross i know, would NEVER marry one for the record).
Sigh. In order to keep our many social niches from becoming inbred, however, from time to time the popped collar and the doodled-on Converse will have to mix. A fusion of preppiness and hipsterness would certainly appeal to me, because currently the only representatives of that promising style are Vampire Weekend. But both preppiness and hipstertude are about so much more than the Hamptons and Williamsburg. Then again putting this burden on the greater DC metropolitan area seems overambitious, or at least unfair.
Any combination of niche stylings is tolerable and even exciting if the people who inhabit them are pleasant to be around. The main problem -- as Peter remarked recently, sort of -- would be that social scenes, regardless of the niches they support, often have this strange way of making people unpleasant to be around. Awkward poserishness wears many uniforms. Any uniform!
Who exactly are these high Racial Resentment Index voters? A
majority, 61 percent, have less than a four-year college education,
many are older (44 percent were over the age of 60 compared to just 18
percent under the age of 40) and nearly half (46 percent) live in the
Bold mine. It's refreshing to be reminded that reflexive race prejudice lives outside the old CSA, too, and has for a long time. Nice news for the South, but I don't know how it cuts for Obama. And I continue in my conviction that a Democrat who voted against Obama in the primary election because of his race might very well vote for him in the general because the alternative has become a Republican.
Dayo Olopade, like myself, got a kick out of Bottom. Kudos for reminding me of the joy of foreign-language sound effects:
I’ve long been a fan of onomatopoeia, not least international versions.
(In France, a pig goes “groin groin,” and a slamming door goes “vlan!”)
But I’ll disagree that these pearls of diction need some kind of
automation; hearing form meet function on one’s tongue is thralling