The Washington Post is watching you. A new feature we just stumbled upon in our Site Meter stats: "Who's blogging?" (above image, lower right) links sisu and Michelle Malkin in a sidebar accompanying a story that both of us had linked to the other day on Tom Tancredo's entry into the "Crescent of Embrace" embrolio. We notice Technorati's there at the bottom of the list. A Technorati ad, perhaps? We like it.
Uh, oh. We lost another one. Make that two. Two more big guns, Glenn Reynolds and James Lileks, have gone over to the dark side. Writes the Professor:
THIS POST ON TRAFALGAR brings to mind this column by James Lileks: "Now our memorials are muted things whose passive beauty often seems at odds with the events they describe." At best.
UPDATE [linking to Michelle Malkin's post about bullying the architect into submission] : Some progress, here.
Lileks's words brought Gettysburg to mind. We've never visited Gettysburg National Military Park. According to the NPS website, it "incorporates nearly 6,000 acres, with 26 miles of park roads and over 1,400 monuments, markers, and memorials." But in our mind's eye it is not the touchingly sentimental, old-fashioned memorials so much as the evocative and timeless landscape itself -- the "passive beauty," in Lileks's words, of its vast, empty battlefields -- that moves us to contemplate the human condition. Again to borrow Lileks's words, these "muted things" do not seem "at odds with the events they describe."
Gettysburg National Cemetery, (NPS map left) and segment of Christo's "The Gates"© (Wolfgang Volz photo) that wound their way through New York City's Central Park for 16 weeks last winter both feature the ubiquitous arc, an abstract shape often derived from existing landforms that is now at the center of a toxic blogosheric overreaction that has brought the unwitting principal architect of the Flight 93 Memorial project to his knees. Our own measured contributions to the "Crescent of Embrace" debate are available for your uninterrupted reading pleasure here.
The last time we found ourselves in disagreement with our usual allies over visual issues, the dynamics of the debate were similar. John Podhoretz and other New York intellectuals and bloggers of the right were trashing Christo's "The Gates" last February for no other discernible reason than that the left was praising the artist's vision of an ephemeral "river of light" flowing through Olmsted's naturalistic landscape. We didn't experience "The Gates" in person, but -- based upon many stunning photographs of the current project plus our having learned quite a bit about Christo's intentions and methods through the Maysles brothers' "Running Fence" and "Valley Curtain" documentaries -- we used our imagination to put ourselves into the landscape:
In our mind's eye we picture the magic of the morning-light-colored banners backlit by the sun and all the changing climatic effects throughout the sixteen days of the artwork's visitation. Everyday visitors quoted in various accounts seemed to get it while high-horse types of the right, enraged at the left's embrace of all things Christo, can't seem to see beyond their upturned noses.
Like the Flight 93 Memorial's critics' blind obsession with a semicircular grove of maples bearing the misbegotten name "Crescent of Embrace," Podhoretz's and the bloggers' criticism of "The Gates" left a great deal to be desired. As we said then:
When fellow travelers on the right "lose their cool," reflexively trashing artistic brilliance without really looking at it in order to get their digs in at their political opponents, they are the losers.
The Crescent Police may have won a battle by bullying architect Paul Murdoch into offering to "alter" his design [They "alter" tom cats, don't they? --ed], but in our view they ceded ground in the larger war of ideas by their tactics, seemingly having made up their minds long before gathering the facts and gratuitously smearing the designer in the process.