Clinton W. Taylor reports that the Flight 93 Memorial controversy is not over:
There is this new design out for the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Its original version, called the “Crescent of Embrace,” met a barrage of flak in the blogosphere because of its unfortunate resemblance to an Islamic crescent, aligned toward Mecca. In the wake of the criticism the architects retitled that section as the “Forty Memorial Groves” and revised their plan to close the crimson crescent of maple trees around a large natural depression in the earth, adjacent to the “sacred ground” where Flight 93 crashed.
I suppose that is an improvement. Nonetheless, the winning memorial to a plane crash is still…a hole in the ground.
Is that the most tasteful commemoration possible for a struggle aboard a doomed plane, one that may have saved the United States Capitol from the fate of the World Trade Center?
Next up from the same firm: The Titanic memorial ice sculpture.
The revised design is still the subject of some criticism, with one blog called “Error Theory” lambasting it as an “Islamofascist shrine.” I don’t buy that. I don’t think Paul Murdoch Architects, the L.A.-based firm who came up with this, harbors some deep affinity for Taliban hegemony. On the other hand, I do believe that the revised plan is so vague that it is possible to find any number of conflicting interpretations within its incoherent and nihilistic expanse. Murdoch’s designers bear some of the blame for this failure, but there are three sources of bad inspiration that deserve singling out as well…
…The aesthetic of the Murdoch design is not, as Error Theory suggested, Islamofascist, but rather pagan, or at least New Age. The chimes, the Stonehenge-like circle of trees, the obsession with the ecology of the area, all decry the thoroughly Californicated roots of the idea…