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« What Americans want | Main | "Birds, it seems, can have theories of mind, too" »

December 01, 2005


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"But more importantly, why are serious thinkers and opinion shapers on the right side of the blogosphere following him down this rabbit hole again?"

The key phrase here is "serious thinkers." You give those who are barreling down the rabbit hole too much credit.

Before accepting Sissy's derision, I would just urge people to look at my analysis. Oriented "almost precisely on Mecca" means 1.7 degrees off. Could this be coincidence? Maybe, if it only occurred once. The graphic that Sissy reproduces is the second occurrence of this orientation at the site. The first orientation is that of the large red-maple crescent, which is still intact, with its crescent points defined exactly as before, just blended in with a few more trees.

The above graphic is of the Tower of Voices section of the memorial. Why should it contain an orientation on Mecca? Because it is an Islamic prayer-time sundial. Look at it. Islamic afternoon prayers commence when an object's shadow is equal to the length of its noontime shadow plus its height. See how the tower's shadow is depicted approaching the inner arc of trees? It is almost time for prayers.

When prayer time arrives, believers will need to know the direction to Mecca. They go out to open end of the crescent, sight down the ends of the rows of trees in the northeast direction (the red line in the graphic) and they are facing Mecca.

My verification that the Tower of Voices is an accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial depends on one assumption about the construction of the tower and one assumption about the topography of the ground where the shadows fall, both of which are pretty solidly evidenced by the available information. Given these assumptions, accomplished sundialists have verified my analysis that the tree line serves as an Islamic afternoon prayer line throughout the year.

The issue here is not a choice between being open to the use of crescents in a non-religious way or determined to interpret them as having Islamic significance. The issue is what the architect actually did here. I am hoping that at least SOMEONE else will actually go through the kinds of calculations and analyses I have and root out any errors. The perfect candidate would seem to be somebody who is skeptical. If you are inclined to be skeptical, please take a look. Come up with SOMETHING in my analysis that you can challenge.

What doesn't cut it is the stick-your-head-in-the-sand position that Sissy seems to be advocating. Maybe I am being unfair. Maybe she looked at my analysis and thinks that, for reasons she does not cite, it does not hold up. Buher her position SEEMS to be that if the Tower of Voices IS a precisely configured Islamic sundial, we should pretend we don't see it, because that would give crescent's a bad name, and we all want to be able to use crescents.

We DO all want to be able to use crescents, and the way to preserve that is to not let sneaky al Qaeda sympathizing architects plant a memorial to the terrorists on the graves of our murdered heroes. How about just a little self interest? What will it do to the reputation of architects if this IS a shrine to the terrorists, and architects don't object until it is a fait accompli. You sure you don't want to take a closer look?

Sissy I'm normally with you 100% but I have to say I think you're being a little quick to dismiss opponents of the flight 93 memorial - sure it's a beautiful sculpture but for one, the other graphic not shown above does look a lot like a crescent. I take your meaning about how it was just following the lay of the land - but then why put the sundial there. Bit of a coincedence but you still could say "well but it's probably not the first time a sundial appeared in a depression"... except for the 44/40 thing. To me at least the number 44 seems (pretty obviously) to represent the number of dead - including the 4 terrorists, said inclusion being moral equivalence of a rather unpleasant nature and which makes strike three in my book.

You seem far better versed in the arts than I, but it sounds from your article as though you're trying to discourage people from reading too much into abstract art - yet isn't that at least part of the premise of abstract art, ie. that you have to work a bit to "get it"? If so then Rawl's analysis is really an art critique and just as valid.

Aside from all that, isn't it understandable that conservatives would become hypersensitive about monuments concerning the WOT, what with things like the WTC "we're sorry world!!" site and the way the MSM daily does its utmost to enable such atrocities by suppressing or glossing over their anti-American agenda?

While the design is no doubt aesthetically pleasing, it is not the eye of the beholder that is offended by design, but rather the heart and mind of the beholder.

The design is offensive to the heart and soul of those who do not want an iota of real or perceived moral equivalence vis-a-vis the Islamic terrorists. Yes, the terrorists died, but if they were the only ones to have died that day, there most certainly would be no memorial to their worthless, wretched existence.

A well designed memorial for such an important and sensitive matter should/would at worst generate criticism on a purely aesthetic level - not a political or appropriate-for-purpose level.

If I had to guess, I'd say the designer wanted to ensure that all elements at work that fateful day - including Islamism - were included in the design. Maybe he/she was trying to do what they thought was the 'right' thing by ensuring that the memorial incorporated the ugly fact of Islamic terror at work that day, but in a way that was not overbearing to those visiting the site. The design accomplishes that.

The question is whether including design elements to acknowledge the Islamic terror aspects of that day is appropriate for the memorial to F93. I think it is not.

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