Thursday, September 27, 2007
Fascism Follows Function . . .
Or, further proof, as if any were needed, that we've become a nation of narcissistic brats:
I think both Woody Allen and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could get some mileage out of this one. From today's New York Times:
The Navy plans to spend $600,000 for “camouflage” landscaping and rooftop adjustments so that 1960s-era barracks at the Naval Base Coronado near San Diego will no longer look like a Nazi swastika from the air.
The resemblance went unnoticed by the public for decades until it was spotted in aerial views on Google Earth.
But Navy officials said they became aware of it shortly after the 1967 groundbreaking, and had decided not to do anything.
“There was no reason to redo the buildings because they were in use,” a spokeswoman for the base, Angelic Dolan, said. She added that the buildings were in a no-fly zone that is off limits to commercial airlines, so most people would not see them from the air.
“You have to realize back in the ’60s we did not have the Internet,” Ms. Dolan said. “We don’t want to offend anyone, and we don’t want to be associated with the symbol.”
The Anti-Defamation League in San Diego has objected to the shape of the buildings.
“We told the Navy this was an incredibly inappropriate shape for a structure on a military installation,” said Morris S. Casuto, regional director of the organization. He added, however, that his group “never ascribed evil intent to the structures’ design.”
Mr. Casuto praised the Navy for recognizing the problem and “doing the right thing.”
Actually, the right thing for the Navy to do would have been to respond to the Anti-Defamation League's complaints with the old Arab saying: "Go fuck yourself, by yourself."
If such response were deemed insensitive, then the Anti-Defamation League could alternatively have been told that, since they found the shape of the building so objectionable, they were welcome to cover the cost of any "'camouflage' landscaping and rooftop alterations" from their own budget. Although this reply might have been judged more offensive still.
While we're altering government architecture to appease everyone's rice-paper sensibilities, I've got a few more candidates:
In our nation's capital, there's this a well-known military facility in the shape of pentagon. In case you didn't know it, a pentagon is a type of pentagram, a shape long associated with Satan worship.
This loaded geometrical symbolism might well explain why this structure was attacked by a cadre of suicidal religious fanatics six years ago. Reason suggests that they found this "an incredibly inappropriate shape for a structure on a military installation," although some will argue that, to the contrary, they considered it an incredibly appropriate shape. In any event, it's provocative and needs to be changed.
We've also got, again in our nation's capital, this weird, obelisk-shaped structure honoring our first president. According to Wikipedia, "Obelisks were a prominent part of the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, who placed them in pairs at the entrance of temples. . . . The obelisk symbolized the sun god Ra and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the aten, the sundisk. It was also thought that the god existed within the structure."
I'm sorry, but we can't have the American people inadvertently worshipping the sun god Ra, so this thing is going to have to be torn down or converted to a more appropriate use, such as an airship mooring point or something.
Now that I think about it, Washington D.C. is veritably dotted with these Greco-Roman temple-like buildings meant to honor various presidents from our nation's history. Greek and Roman temples were bastions of pagan worship, and we are by no means a pagan people. What's worse, both the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced slavery, and surely this ignoble act of oppression seals the deal. These monuments must come down, or again, undergo conversion to more appropriate uses, such as astronomical observatories, surround-sound theaters, or grandiose fried chicken shacks.
But what really puzzles me in all of this is, what is it about the California sunshine that so infantilizes the imagination of its Jewish residents that they take offense over a naval barracks which bears an accidental resemblance to a swastika only when viewed from the air? And what does it say about the moral anxiety of a nation that it shells out $600,000 rather than simply telling them to grow up?