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https://twitter.com/cree_hay/status/1465952623945728003

They built this in Rome, and next to Michelangelo last building design, the Porta Pia gate in Rome’s Aurelian walls.

The Brits periodically blast their concrete embassy with water jets to clean it up, so this is about as bad as this 1971 Brutalist effort by Sir Basil Spence ever looks before they hose it down again. Of course, when they were building it, they thought it looked new and clean compared to all the dirty old buildings in Rome designed by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Borromini.

But then it turned out that A) you could jet blast the old piles and get the soot off them; and B) their new concrete buildings got dirty really fast, even now when far less coal is being burned.

Something that fascinates me is the change in tastes over time. One weird thing is that people in different eras don’t just disagree over tastes, they can have a hard time seeing what seems obvious to people at other times.

Today, for example, this 1971 upside down step pyramid is reminiscent of similar Brutalist designs of the era, like the widely hated 1972 Boston City Hall. Some people like them, other people don’t.

You might think that observers back then would say things like, “Hoo-boy, these early 1970s buildings sure look early 1970s-ish.”

But back in 1971, the New York Times was most struck by how much the new British embassy resembled the 400-year-old Michelangelo building next door when it should have looked more early 1970s-ish. It was criticized not for looking like an upside-down MesoAmerican human sacrifice platform, but for being too “fussy and stylized” with an “overconsciously esthetic exterior” for the modernist tastes of the time in which decor was despised as reactionary.

Sir Basil Spence, the architect, has obviously tried to design the embassy in harmony with the historic Porta Pia, built to Michelangelo’s designs for Pius IV in 1561. The exterior of the embassy is made of blocks of travertine in three layers, giving a fortress‐like impression. This choice of style was apparently suggested by the sturdy gate and crenelated wall of Porta Pia.

The stonework of the embassy is the same beige color and the top of the massive iron entrance is the same shape as the Michelangelo gate.

Yet critics generally feel that Sir Basil has not succeeded as he did with his most famous work, St. Michael’s Cathedral at Coventry, built next to the ruins of the old cathedral destroyed in World War II.

“The embassy building is too fussy and stylized,” a young American architect said recently. “Using single pilotti to support the building causes extra complications, not to mention expense. But a prime objection must be that the exterior has nothing to do with the interior.

Thirty years later, everybody was agog over Frank Gehry’s L.A. Disney concert hall, which is a box hidden under a big metal abstract sculpture.

Why have so many odd‐shaped and arbitrarily grouped rooms, punctuated by little stairways, bathrooms pushed into odd corners, and more rooms against the inner wall, put there as if by accident? I feel the inside has been made to accommodate the overconsciously esthetic exterior.”

Pantheon

Granted, the ancient Romans loved concrete buildings too.

But here’s an example of a second century AD Roman concrete building.

All-in-all, postwar British architecture was remarkably bad.

But in defense of this building, bomb-proofness was a priority because the previous British embassy in Rome had been blown up in 1946 by Zionist Irgun terrorists.

 

 
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  1. Embassy?? no way ,a couple of donks parked in the street ,some brothers standing around drinking forties and you’re in Detroit…..

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    @tyrone

    Looks like something the Italian Fascist regime would be happy with?

    Hitler, on the other hand, had architectural leanings towards a neo-Ancient Rome style?

    , @Old Prude
    @tyrone

    It looks exactly like our county jail.

  2. It’s probably made to resist attacks by errant hostile Humvees. Anti-terrorism beats pretty, I guess…

    I could see that Commie so-called Pope leading the charge, to clear the city for a Moslem invasion. Talk about your Brutalism – that guy is brutally stupid.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Achmed E. Newman

    When this commie Pope dies, every single Christian church in the world, no matter how tiny and obscure should hold a service of Thanksgiving and sing the Te Deum loudly and clearly. The catholic ones sing the Te Deum in Latin . As Christian Churches did upon hearing of the victory of Lepanto, turning the Turks away from Vienna and the end of the Napoleonic and 1st and 2nd world wars.

    All my life I thought the Jesuits were only interested in running their high schools and universities. Turns out the anti Jesuits were right.

    Replies: @JMcG, @Achmed E. Newman

    , @Kolya Krassotkin
    @Achmed E. Newman

    The RC movers and shakers decided they were going to get on the bandwagon and celebrate diversity when they planted (so called) Pope Francis on the throne of Peter. Not only did they decide to choose a man clearly not really Catholic to be supreme Pontiff, they chose one whose Christianity is even dubious.

    I'm betting some ecclesiastical council a few decades or even a century from now will condemn Bergoglianism, the sophistry now peddled by Francis, as a grave heresy.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  3. Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses, designed for physical and other forms (e.g. signal) of security.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    @Twinkie


    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses
     
    Right. Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall. When you've got the Red Brigades going nuts, fortification makes sense I guess--although it really is just awful.

    By the way (pace Steve Sailer), the building is in fact faced in travertine like just about everything else in Rome. Then again, clearly a lot of concrete was involved.

    Anyway, and further to your point, the old US embassy on Grosvenor Square in London gave it a run for its money:

    https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_nbcnews-ux-2880-1000,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2018_02/2290436/180112-us-embassy-london-mc-807.jpg

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Twinkie, @Ganderson, @Dan Hayes

    , @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    The new US Embassy in London takes an old fashioned approach to security - a moat:

    https://i.insider.com/5a32bfa34aa6b5a01a8b4d2b?width=1000&format=jpeg&auto=webp

    Donald Trump, a real estate man, despised the relocation. The old embassy was in Grosvenor Square, a top location equivalent to being on 5th Avenue in NY and the new one is in the London equivalent of Hoboken, on the wrong side of the river. This area has been redeveloped in recent years (as has Hoboken) but Trump is old enough to remember when it was the kind of grim industrial area where you would have (sooty, coal fired) power stations and docks for garbage barges.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Twinkie

    , @Anonymous
    @Twinkie

    The inexorable 'clever' tendency of the Economist whipped western elites is the 'progressive' abolition of all borders and entry requirements to the western nations they rule, to allow for the maximum possibl entry of third world peoples. Policies and laws are slowly but surely achieving this goal.

    But on the other hand, in stark contrast to what the elitists have in store for the contemptible peasants they rule, the general tendency amongst the elitists themselves is for more Brazilian style segregation and boundary fencing of their *own* private little enclaves in order to keep the riff raft out.

  4. I think you have the wrong link at the end.

  5. That cathedral is pretty horrifying as well.
    I remember, in the mid-nineties, watching shopping centers being built with brown concrete block and turquoise colored metal roofs. I thought at the time, “Some corner of this local field. Will forever be 1994.” And so it is.

    • Thanks: Etruscan Film Star
  6. Zionist Irgun terrorists

    I read somewhere that the Zionist terrorists were the last substantial terrorist groups to have the balls to call themselves “terrorists”. Is that observation out of date now?

    postwar British architecture was remarkably bad

    Too true, and all the while the miscreant architects themselves would, if at all possible, live in handsome Georgian buildings.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @dearieme

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/oct/16/communities


    "Sadly, few of Spence's buildings even came close to the success of Coventry cathedral and some were almost universally loathed.

    His Queen Elizabeth Square housing scheme in Glasgow was supposed to provide a brave new alternative to the squalor of the city's tenement blocks, but they introduced a new form of concrete misery to residents.

    Like many tower post war tower blocks, they were inspired/misguided by the utopian ideas of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. As sculpture, they had a rugged handsomeness, but as a place to live they were nasty and brutish.

    Many of the 400 flats had damp problems from the start and they were hated by residents. They were demolished in 1993 to cheers of delight.

    Justifying the decision to destroy the flats, Glasgow's housing chief at the time repeated the usual complaint about architects. "The trouble is they never lived in them. They were a disaster," she said.

    Spence himself helped reinforce the image of double standards in the architectural profession when it came to his own accommodation. He lived and worked in a grand Georgian house in leafy Canonbury in north London."
     
    As Private Eye put it in "The Ballad Of Sir Basil Spens"

    "In th'Eternal City of far-off Rome,
    He built an Embassye,
    And wi' the gold that he was gi'en,
    He moved to Canonburie"
     
    , @Almost Missouri
    @dearieme


    postwar British architecture was remarkably bad
     
    To be fair to the postwar British architects, British architecture has always been pretty bad, at least whenever they try to depart from their vernaculars (e.g., Gothic, Tudor, Georgian).

    The Crystal Palace, of which the Victorians were so proud was indeed remarkable—in the literal sense. A monstrous peculiarity, while it set records for use of glass and metal, it lacked any sense of proportion or grace: just as much glass and iron as the manufacturers could spin up before the deadline.

    While Rome's iconic dome, the Pantheon, is graceful and honest, Britain's ionic dome, St. Paul's Cathedral in London is cramped and effortful. The interior and exterior do not align, and the resultant void robs the already sun-starved setting of even more light. A millennium and a half earlier, the Romans managed a larger domed space that is light, airy and strong. Too much to ask of Sir Christopher Wren, I guess.

    That said, when they stick to their Victorian/colonial vernacular, Britain has produced some lovely buildings, often at some remove from the imperial capital:
    https://swisscows.com/image?query=british%20colonial%20architecture%20in%20india&culture=en
  7. Sir Basil Spence? They gave a knighthood to the talentless fool who designed that?

  8. I get the impression that there was a post-war, pan-European style that stretched from the Soviet Union, through the East Bloc, and all the way to England. Lots of concrete, lots of functionalism, and a quasi-military sense of pragmatism. It makes sense when you think that these societies had recently been heavily militarized and deeply scarred by war, and were struggling to rebuild their economies even decades later.

    I don’t find the style disagreeable. I associate it with a time when serious adults were in charge, struggling to secure my future. It’s just like how even gas station coffee in a Styrofoam cup can be comforting—when your dad gets it for you, on a long, cold road trip in a junky car with no heat.

  9. Looks like the embassy is preparing for an assault from the Visigoths.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Wade Hampton

    Or what was left after the Visigoth assault. It also looks like a picture from that website Ruins of Detroit.

  10. I’ve seen better-looking flak towers.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • LOL: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Right_On
    @Thirdtwin

    I’ve seen better-looking flak towers.

    Funny you should say that. Cultural renegade Jonathan Meades had a soft spot for Brutalism ("concrete poetry"). In his BBCtv documentary he argued that the original inspiration for the post-war style were the remains of the German 'Atlantic Wall' structures on the French coast.
    https://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/55304000/jpg/_55304742_blockaus.jpg

  11. @Twinkie
    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses, designed for physical and other forms (e.g. signal) of security.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @Jack D, @Anonymous

    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses

    Right. Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall. When you’ve got the Red Brigades going nuts, fortification makes sense I guess–although it really is just awful.

    By the way (pace Steve Sailer), the building is in fact faced in travertine like just about everything else in Rome. Then again, clearly a lot of concrete was involved.

    Anyway, and further to your point, the old US embassy on Grosvenor Square in London gave it a run for its money:

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @slumber_j

    One thing noticeable is that this kind of building bears no resemblance to place of origin. Wouldn't it be better for an American embassy, for example, to be built along the lines of, say, colonial or federalist architecture? Hell, even Frank Loyd Wright's Prairie architecture might be a good, American choice.

    As for the British, shouldn't they feature something British? Whatever that would be: Their Italian embassy in Steve's picture reminds me of Marmite spread on a piece of toast, so maybe that's British.

    All modern architecture seems to be designed to eliminate any references to place and people. It is indeed "international," but only in the destructive sense. Ugly, it represents nobody, so why does it even exist?

    Replies: @slumber_j

    , @Twinkie
    @slumber_j


    Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall.
     
    So walls are nice indeed, but they are only speed bumps without manpower to man the walls, so to speak. Embassies like other fortified places have defense-in-depth. Usually (and in the past) outer perimeter of the embassies is supposed to be defended by the local security forces (Ha, ha, ha in some places, but pretty serious in others).

    More than that, I refer you to the State Department for comment. ;)

    BTW, in the U.S. capital region (aka DMV), you see a lot of government buildings built in this fashion with similar security features. They are everywhere - next to highways, churches, strip malls, warehouses, IT centers, etc. Most people don't even realize what they are, but for some oddities such as guarded gates, boulders (vehicle barriers), barbed wires on top of the fencing, etc. Sometimes they summon up a feeling of being a local/native looking at outposts of an imperium.

    Replies: @Cortes

    , @Ganderson
    @slumber_j

    Was there not a chill to the Winter but a nip to the air?

    , @Dan Hayes
    @slumber_j

    It appears as if the American Eagle has disgorged the remnants of a horrific abortion!

  12. One weird thing is that people in different eras don’t just disagree over tastes, they can have a hard time seeing what seems obvious to people at other times.

    This to an extreme.

    One lightning-white example is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris during the 19th Century.

    By the post-Napoleonic era, the entire gorgeous Gothic masterpiece was dilapidated and falling to pieces and no one in Paris cared or thought it worth saving. They literally did not see the beauty in it at all.

    Except one guy. He was so aghast that no one in Paris saw how beautiful it was or saw the need to preserve it he decided he needed he needed to go to extreme measures to get the people roused to save it.

    So he hit upon a plan: he’d write a best-selling novel with the Cathedral and its beauty at the center of the story so that the people would notice it again and be roused to save it. And, shockingly, he did just that.

    You might have heard of the guy: Victor Hugo. And his now-ageless novel: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

    And now you know the rest of the story.

    • Thanks: Alden
    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @R.G. Camara

    People didn't care a lot for great architecture in the past. Take a look at the list of Christopher Wren churches that were demolished for no good reason.

  13. Why were the Zionist terrorists never punished?

    • Replies: @Alfa158
    @Peter Lund

    Because they won.

    , @Jack D
    @Peter Lund

    The Italians viewed this as being someone else's dispute and basically none of their business. This was the European attitude to terrorism in general until recent times when terrorists started targeting their own people.

    Americans view it as their business if there is any injustice anywhere in the world and will try to bring terrorists to trial in the US if American interests are implicated in any way - a maximalist approach.

    Europeans take the opposite view - they look for opportunities NOT to get involved in other people's disputes unless they absolutely have to.

    Replies: @JMcG, @MGB, @Johann Ricke, @Clifford Brown

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Peter Lund


    Why were the Zionist terrorists never punished?
     
    Why is one of them on our money?



    https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/MgEAAOSwVv1gkCFm/s-l1600.jpg
  14. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:

    The really fascinating thing about the dome of the Pantheon is that the Roman architect, engineers and builders were follow aware of the concept of ‘turning moments’ in the tricky construction of the dome, and of the problems to be encountered during the partial completion of the dome, when the half dome is not being supported by the opposing dome segment.

    To this end, the Romans lightened the ascending dome layers by thinning them, and using light weight pumice aggregate, as opposed to the heavy aggregate towards the base of the dome.
    By this means, the center of gravity of each dome segment tends towards the base, thus counteracting the natural tendency of the dome to collapse towards the apex.

  15. You are absolutely right about the ghastly blight of concrete that post-ww2 British architects have imposed on their long-suffering countrymen. My favourite example is this church, for when you want to worship God with a post-apocalyptic, North Korean prison vibe:

    https://goo.gl/maps/MrAZHRahb3v6a5A8A

    • Replies: @Old Prude
    @Anonymous

    Holy schneiky! If the embassy looks like the county jail, that church looks like the interrogation center of the secret police.

    , @G. Poulin
    @Anonymous

    The ghastly thing even has barbed wire along the top.

  16. @slumber_j
    @Twinkie


    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses
     
    Right. Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall. When you've got the Red Brigades going nuts, fortification makes sense I guess--although it really is just awful.

    By the way (pace Steve Sailer), the building is in fact faced in travertine like just about everything else in Rome. Then again, clearly a lot of concrete was involved.

    Anyway, and further to your point, the old US embassy on Grosvenor Square in London gave it a run for its money:

    https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_nbcnews-ux-2880-1000,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2018_02/2290436/180112-us-embassy-london-mc-807.jpg

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Twinkie, @Ganderson, @Dan Hayes

    One thing noticeable is that this kind of building bears no resemblance to place of origin. Wouldn’t it be better for an American embassy, for example, to be built along the lines of, say, colonial or federalist architecture? Hell, even Frank Loyd Wright’s Prairie architecture might be a good, American choice.

    As for the British, shouldn’t they feature something British? Whatever that would be: Their Italian embassy in Steve’s picture reminds me of Marmite spread on a piece of toast, so maybe that’s British.

    All modern architecture seems to be designed to eliminate any references to place and people. It is indeed “international,” but only in the destructive sense. Ugly, it represents nobody, so why does it even exist?

    • Agree: Etruscan Film Star
    • Replies: @slumber_j
    @Buzz Mohawk


    It is indeed “international,” but only in the destructive sense.
     
    I suppose the International Style in architecture prefigured a lot of stuff in that way, now that you mention it. Good point about deracination.

    As I've said repeatedly here, I don't at all agree that all Modern architecture is ugly: just the bad stuff. Most art is bad, so most Modern architecture is bad...although I suppose it's more obtrusive than most bad art, because we have to look at it. Which makes it more offensive than most bad art, although ugly public sculpture has the same problem.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

  17. That’s diesel soot, not coal.
    Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline. Next, we’ll build city walls–to keep them in.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
    @Ralph L

    "Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline". There is something to what you say. If a nation were serious and vigorous in defense of its citizens, and especially its diplomats, there would be no need to fortify an embassy. The reputation of the nation would be enough.

    That's not us. We let Libyan hooligans kill our ambassador, and our government spent its efforts lying and covering up the debacle. As far a defending it own citizens? Ha! This government is at war with half its citizens. And the half they are not at war with matter less than foreign scofflaws squatting in our cities.

    Do the Chinese fortify their embassies?

    Replies: @JMcG, @nebulafox, @Anon

  18. @Buzz Mohawk
    @slumber_j

    One thing noticeable is that this kind of building bears no resemblance to place of origin. Wouldn't it be better for an American embassy, for example, to be built along the lines of, say, colonial or federalist architecture? Hell, even Frank Loyd Wright's Prairie architecture might be a good, American choice.

    As for the British, shouldn't they feature something British? Whatever that would be: Their Italian embassy in Steve's picture reminds me of Marmite spread on a piece of toast, so maybe that's British.

    All modern architecture seems to be designed to eliminate any references to place and people. It is indeed "international," but only in the destructive sense. Ugly, it represents nobody, so why does it even exist?

    Replies: @slumber_j

    It is indeed “international,” but only in the destructive sense.

    I suppose the International Style in architecture prefigured a lot of stuff in that way, now that you mention it. Good point about deracination.

    As I’ve said repeatedly here, I don’t at all agree that all Modern architecture is ugly: just the bad stuff. Most art is bad, so most Modern architecture is bad…although I suppose it’s more obtrusive than most bad art, because we have to look at it. Which makes it more offensive than most bad art, although ugly public sculpture has the same problem.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @slumber_j


    ... I don’t at all agree that all Modern architecture is ugly...
     
    I agree. Even my parents' last house would qualify as attractive, mid-century.

    What concerns me is the total disconnection between the people and their structures. How did this happen? One would think that, of all things, buildings and houses would reflect their location. Yet, that style, which still persists in various forms, denies any connection with origin or place.

    This is silly at best. Evil at worst.

    I am reminded of I.M. Pei's work in my old town of Boulder, Colorado. They are devoid of spacious windows, even though those buildings are positioned in one of the world's best places for mountain views. His love of his own, particular geometry was more important to his designs than the entire universe that surrounded his little buildings.

    Whoever hired Mr. I.M. Pei -- and whoever let his designs go forward -- is the real criminal in this case. One can't blame the architect or designer for drawing whatever he does.

    Replies: @MGB

  19. @slumber_j
    @Twinkie


    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses
     
    Right. Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall. When you've got the Red Brigades going nuts, fortification makes sense I guess--although it really is just awful.

    By the way (pace Steve Sailer), the building is in fact faced in travertine like just about everything else in Rome. Then again, clearly a lot of concrete was involved.

    Anyway, and further to your point, the old US embassy on Grosvenor Square in London gave it a run for its money:

    https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_nbcnews-ux-2880-1000,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2018_02/2290436/180112-us-embassy-london-mc-807.jpg

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Twinkie, @Ganderson, @Dan Hayes

    Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall.

    So walls are nice indeed, but they are only speed bumps without manpower to man the walls, so to speak. Embassies like other fortified places have defense-in-depth. Usually (and in the past) outer perimeter of the embassies is supposed to be defended by the local security forces (Ha, ha, ha in some places, but pretty serious in others).

    More than that, I refer you to the State Department for comment. 😉

    BTW, in the U.S. capital region (aka DMV), you see a lot of government buildings built in this fashion with similar security features. They are everywhere – next to highways, churches, strip malls, warehouses, IT centers, etc. Most people don’t even realize what they are, but for some oddities such as guarded gates, boulders (vehicle barriers), barbed wires on top of the fencing, etc. Sometimes they summon up a feeling of being a local/native looking at outposts of an imperium.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    @Twinkie

    Granted, it’s not concrete, but Fort Apache, Scotland has the look of being the work of fans of the classic Injun-country Westerns:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bride%27s_Church,_East_Kilbride

    A Grade A listed building, no less. Like Buck House, Westminster Abbey and Holyrood Palace.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Verymuchalive

  20. That’s nothing compared to what “Rome” will look like in 100 years, after the minoritarian-globalist-anti-nationalism has had its way and the Italians have downloaded millions of Africans.

  21. Anonymous[279] • Disclaimer says:

    Yet critics generally feel that Sir Basil has not succeeded as he did with his most famous work, St. Michael’s Cathedral at Coventry, built next to the ruins of the old cathedral destroyed in World War II.

    It blends so seemlessly I could hardly tell where one ends and the other begins:

    And that’s the success story.

  22. Isn’t it remarkable that there was an architectural movement capable of calling itself “brutalist”? And that its members were hired to design anything other than concentration camps?

  23. @Twinkie
    @slumber_j


    Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall.
     
    So walls are nice indeed, but they are only speed bumps without manpower to man the walls, so to speak. Embassies like other fortified places have defense-in-depth. Usually (and in the past) outer perimeter of the embassies is supposed to be defended by the local security forces (Ha, ha, ha in some places, but pretty serious in others).

    More than that, I refer you to the State Department for comment. ;)

    BTW, in the U.S. capital region (aka DMV), you see a lot of government buildings built in this fashion with similar security features. They are everywhere - next to highways, churches, strip malls, warehouses, IT centers, etc. Most people don't even realize what they are, but for some oddities such as guarded gates, boulders (vehicle barriers), barbed wires on top of the fencing, etc. Sometimes they summon up a feeling of being a local/native looking at outposts of an imperium.

    Replies: @Cortes

    Granted, it’s not concrete, but Fort Apache, Scotland has the look of being the work of fans of the classic Injun-country Westerns:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bride%27s_Church,_East_Kilbride

    A Grade A listed building, no less. Like Buck House, Westminster Abbey and Holyrood Palace.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Cortes

    Color it grey, it could be a server farm or the HQ for the Ministry of Truth.

    , @Verymuchalive
    @Cortes

    It is not Brutalist architecture, even if it looks brutal. Brutalism is derived from the French beton brut - raw (exposed ) concrete. You could get away it in the warm, dry climes of the South of France, but not in damp, cool or cold climates. Dampness problems quickly followed when such buildings were built in Northern Europe, for example. Many buildings were swiftly demolished and the practice was quickly banned. However, even with cladding, reinforced concrete buildings had similar, though less severe problems.

    St Brides Church is constructed of load-bearing brick, both inside and out. Masses and masses of it.That's why it took so long to build - 7 years (1957-64). Also, why it cost so much. In fact, it would be prohibitively expensive to build now. Unless some billionaire was to donate a large chunk, it could not be built at all.

    It has already needed some repair work. A listing doesn't guarantee its future conservation. If it ceases to be a church, other uses may be difficult to achieve. In such cases, demolition may be the only option, though it would be better to call it dismantling. I'm sure most of the bricks could be reused in other buildings.

    Replies: @Alden

  24. @slumber_j
    @Buzz Mohawk


    It is indeed “international,” but only in the destructive sense.
     
    I suppose the International Style in architecture prefigured a lot of stuff in that way, now that you mention it. Good point about deracination.

    As I've said repeatedly here, I don't at all agree that all Modern architecture is ugly: just the bad stuff. Most art is bad, so most Modern architecture is bad...although I suppose it's more obtrusive than most bad art, because we have to look at it. Which makes it more offensive than most bad art, although ugly public sculpture has the same problem.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    … I don’t at all agree that all Modern architecture is ugly…

    I agree. Even my parents’ last house would qualify as attractive, mid-century.

    What concerns me is the total disconnection between the people and their structures. How did this happen? One would think that, of all things, buildings and houses would reflect their location. Yet, that style, which still persists in various forms, denies any connection with origin or place.

    This is silly at best. Evil at worst.

    I am reminded of I.M. Pei’s work in my old town of Boulder, Colorado. They are devoid of spacious windows, even though those buildings are positioned in one of the world’s best places for mountain views. His love of his own, particular geometry was more important to his designs than the entire universe that surrounded his little buildings.

    Whoever hired Mr. I.M. Pei — and whoever let his designs go forward — is the real criminal in this case. One can’t blame the architect or designer for drawing whatever he does.

    • Replies: @MGB
    @Buzz Mohawk

    IM Pei had plenty of windows in one of his Boston projects, the John Hancock Tower. Unfortunately a lot of them wound up on the side walk in high winds.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

  25. Most exponents of the “Modern Movement” were poor draughtsmen or couldn’t draw at all ( for the latter, see Walter Gropius). Machine architecture obviously suited their severely stunted “talents”.

    But Spence was different. Before WWII he had designed a number of fine buildings in traditional or art deco styles, as at Broughton Place in the Scottish Borders.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broughton_Place%2C_Scottish_Borders

    After WWII, he jumped on the Modern Movement bandwagon and hoovered up many lucrative contracts, demeaning his reputation in the process. Most of the loons who made up the Modern Movement seemed to actually believe in the utopian nonsense they were peddling. Spence, by contrast, was an utterly cynical individual as evidenced in this article.
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/oct/16/communities

    His Queen Elizabeth Square housing scheme in Glasgow was supposed to provide a brave new alternative to the squalor of the city’s tenement blocks, but they introduced a new form of concrete misery to residents.
    Many of the 400 flats had damp problems from the start and they were hated by residents. They were demolished in 1993 to cheers of delight.

    Justifying the decision to destroy the flats, Glasgow’s housing chief at the time repeated the usual complaint about architects. “The trouble is they never lived in them. They were a disaster,” she said.

    Spence himself helped reinforce the image of double standards in the architectural profession when it came to his own accommodation. He lived and worked in a grand Georgian house in leafy Canonbury in north London.

    Challenged about this by the Daily Mail in 1972, Spence, in his typically aloof manner, said:”My house was built then. I am being commissioned to be build now.”

    All his post-war concrete monstrosities were shoddily built. They are too expensive to conserve and will have to be demolished sometime later this century, including the Rome Embassy. So, ironically enough, his legacy will be his pre-War traditional buildings.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Verymuchalive

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people. I don't believe the BS about damp problems - these could have been fixed. Your building looks sooty? Power wash it as necessary. Do you demolish your house if the siding gets dirty?

    But the Embassy, where presumably (although the UK was not exactly rolling in dough when the Embassy in Rome was built, what with socialism having destroyed the economy) they could have had the budget to build something nicer - for that there is no excuse.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive, @Twinkie, @but an humble craftsman, @Art Deco

  26. @tyrone
    Embassy?? no way ,a couple of donks parked in the street ,some brothers standing around drinking forties and you're in Detroit.....

    Replies: @Inquiring Mind, @Old Prude

    Looks like something the Italian Fascist regime would be happy with?

    Hitler, on the other hand, had architectural leanings towards a neo-Ancient Rome style?

  27. @slumber_j
    @Twinkie


    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses
     
    Right. Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall. When you've got the Red Brigades going nuts, fortification makes sense I guess--although it really is just awful.

    By the way (pace Steve Sailer), the building is in fact faced in travertine like just about everything else in Rome. Then again, clearly a lot of concrete was involved.

    Anyway, and further to your point, the old US embassy on Grosvenor Square in London gave it a run for its money:

    https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_nbcnews-ux-2880-1000,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2018_02/2290436/180112-us-embassy-london-mc-807.jpg

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Twinkie, @Ganderson, @Dan Hayes

    Was there not a chill to the Winter but a nip to the air?

  28. @R.G. Camara

    One weird thing is that people in different eras don’t just disagree over tastes, they can have a hard time seeing what seems obvious to people at other times.
     
    This to an extreme.

    One lightning-white example is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris during the 19th Century.

    By the post-Napoleonic era, the entire gorgeous Gothic masterpiece was dilapidated and falling to pieces and no one in Paris cared or thought it worth saving. They literally did not see the beauty in it at all.

    Except one guy. He was so aghast that no one in Paris saw how beautiful it was or saw the need to preserve it he decided he needed he needed to go to extreme measures to get the people roused to save it.

    So he hit upon a plan: he'd write a best-selling novel with the Cathedral and its beauty at the center of the story so that the people would notice it again and be roused to save it. And, shockingly, he did just that.

    You might have heard of the guy: Victor Hugo. And his now-ageless novel: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

    And now you know the rest of the story.

    Replies: @Rob McX

    People didn’t care a lot for great architecture in the past. Take a look at the list of Christopher Wren churches that were demolished for no good reason.

  29. They built this in Rome, and next to Michelangelo last building design, the Porta Pia gate in Rome’s Aurelian walls.

    You could call this the Porta Potty Wall. Concrete always looks peed-upon.

    [MORE]

  30. @Cortes
    @Twinkie

    Granted, it’s not concrete, but Fort Apache, Scotland has the look of being the work of fans of the classic Injun-country Westerns:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bride%27s_Church,_East_Kilbride

    A Grade A listed building, no less. Like Buck House, Westminster Abbey and Holyrood Palace.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Verymuchalive

    Color it grey, it could be a server farm or the HQ for the Ministry of Truth.

  31. @Twinkie
    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses, designed for physical and other forms (e.g. signal) of security.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @Jack D, @Anonymous

    The new US Embassy in London takes an old fashioned approach to security – a moat:

    https://i.insider.com/5a32bfa34aa6b5a01a8b4d2b?width=1000&format=jpeg&auto=webp

    Donald Trump, a real estate man, despised the relocation. The old embassy was in Grosvenor Square, a top location equivalent to being on 5th Avenue in NY and the new one is in the London equivalent of Hoboken, on the wrong side of the river. This area has been redeveloped in recent years (as has Hoboken) but Trump is old enough to remember when it was the kind of grim industrial area where you would have (sooty, coal fired) power stations and docks for garbage barges.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Jack D

    The 'refuse transfer station' for the London borough of Wandsworth is still there, a short distance up river, and barges laden with rubbish still pass along the Thames through the heart of London - it is cost effective and saves road space - down to Barking in Essex where it s burned to produce 'green energy'.

    Yes, Battersea was and is a largely blue collar ex industrial area, although most of the whites fled years ago, but as the crow flies it is no more than 100 yards or so across the Thames to the appalling chicness of Chelsea, and no more than a stone's throw from Westminster or Buckingham Palace. The problem of underground railway connectivity has been addressed by a specially built spur to the Northern Line.

    Replies: @Jack D

    , @Twinkie
    @Jack D


    The new US Embassy in London takes an old fashioned approach to security – a moat
     
    Better still would have been on an island or a small peninsula:

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0e/82/6f/0e826f1e0f17b7085fd08226a5903e36.jpg

    https://d1xw84ija6gjgy.cloudfront.net/production/ac34ae1fda29b8fe781ac8d6d32a6bc7/conversions/720p.jpg

    Esp. since we own the air and the sea. Give us Venice of a U.S. embassy!

  32. The Brits love making a huge deal about how American homes are built with “sticks and paper” as if all British homes are 16th century stone fortresses. The truth is, British homes wouldn’t pass muster in any middle-class American suburb. Cold, drafty, with insufficient insulation–there’s actually an insulate Britain protest group going around right now drawing attention to something that Americans solved in the 1920s. And if you listen to Americans living in the UK, finding a house with a dishwasher and a clothes dryer is like trying to find a virgin in a whorehouse. But they have those airing cupboards where you hang your underwear over the hot water tank.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Bragadocious

    Actually anything constructed in the UK of the 1920s is very solidly built with, as a rule, proper 9" inch brick exterior and party walls, slate roofing with lead flashings, plaster applied to all internal walls, cast iron rainwater goods etc. Might be a little poky and draughty inside, but solid as a rock.
    By contrast, whenever UK TV news shows the aftermath of hurricanes in the USA - which is often as UK TV news editors have an obsession with America - all you see is splintered matchwood for miles around.

    Replies: @Bragadocious

    , @YetAnotherAnon
    @Bragadocious

    "there’s actually an insulate Britain protest group going around right now drawing attention to something that Americans solved in the 1920s"

    Insulate Britain don't care if Brits live in insulated houses any more than you do. They're another tacitly tolerated left/green group who specialise in blocking roads. If people protesting against immigration were doing that the police would be cracking heads and the Guardian would be fine with it

    Just (very) recently the authorities have finally started to take action, in that people who were released just went straight back out and blocked roads again and again. So a few ringleaders had court injunctions taken out against them, telling them next time they blocked roads they'd be in contempt of court. Someone blocked roads again.

    They were convicted of contempt of court and jailed for a year - since when the "actions" have stopped.

    The good news from your perspective is that more and more new UK homes these days are made of timber frame, particle board and chemical foam insulation, not brick and stone. British homes were traditionally not well insulated, but wood and coal for heating were cheap.

    (I'm actually considering external insulation on my old house, but I'd like to make it look like the existing stonework.)

  33. @Verymuchalive
    Most exponents of the "Modern Movement" were poor draughtsmen or couldn't draw at all ( for the latter, see Walter Gropius). Machine architecture obviously suited their severely stunted "talents".

    But Spence was different. Before WWII he had designed a number of fine buildings in traditional or art deco styles, as at Broughton Place in the Scottish Borders.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broughton_Place%2C_Scottish_Borders

    After WWII, he jumped on the Modern Movement bandwagon and hoovered up many lucrative contracts, demeaning his reputation in the process. Most of the loons who made up the Modern Movement seemed to actually believe in the utopian nonsense they were peddling. Spence, by contrast, was an utterly cynical individual as evidenced in this article.
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/oct/16/communities

    His Queen Elizabeth Square housing scheme in Glasgow was supposed to provide a brave new alternative to the squalor of the city's tenement blocks, but they introduced a new form of concrete misery to residents.
    Many of the 400 flats had damp problems from the start and they were hated by residents. They were demolished in 1993 to cheers of delight.

    Justifying the decision to destroy the flats, Glasgow's housing chief at the time repeated the usual complaint about architects. "The trouble is they never lived in them. They were a disaster," she said.

    Spence himself helped reinforce the image of double standards in the architectural profession when it came to his own accommodation. He lived and worked in a grand Georgian house in leafy Canonbury in north London.

    Challenged about this by the Daily Mail in 1972, Spence, in his typically aloof manner, said:"My house was built then. I am being commissioned to be build now."

     
    All his post-war concrete monstrosities were shoddily built. They are too expensive to conserve and will have to be demolished sometime later this century, including the Rome Embassy. So, ironically enough, his legacy will be his pre-War traditional buildings.

    Replies: @Jack D

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people. I don’t believe the BS about damp problems – these could have been fixed. Your building looks sooty? Power wash it as necessary. Do you demolish your house if the siding gets dirty?

    But the Embassy, where presumably (although the UK was not exactly rolling in dough when the Embassy in Rome was built, what with socialism having destroyed the economy) they could have had the budget to build something nicer – for that there is no excuse.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    @Jack D

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    This is not true. In Britain, Central Government gave local authorities large subsidies to build tower blocks. When Britain had to get an IMF loan in 1976, such subsidies stopped and so did building of tower block social housing.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture.

    This is partly true. Some British Cities, such as Aberdeen, built a few tower blocks. They were near the city centre and the residents were carefully vetted - no elderly and infirm, no couples with young children and no anti-social tenants. However, this was unusual.

    E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people.

    You could say the same of thousands of tower blocks in the centre of cities in North America. But these are not social housing. High rise social housing in America is very much grimmer than its UK counterpart. Also, neither America or Britain has a population density approaching parts of East Asia, so there is little appeal.


    I don’t believe the BS about damp problems – these could have been fixed.

    You obviously know nothing about the historyof social housing in the UK.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_blocks_in_Great_Britain

    Coleman's 1985 work argues that in trying to emulate Le Corbusier's ideas, the tower-block planners only succeeded in encouraging social problems.[11] Although architects and local authorities intended the opposite, tower blocks quickly became, as Hanley sharply stated, "slums in the sky".[4] Due to demanding deadlines, complicated construction practices were rushed, and many tower blocks experienced structural decay as a result – roofs leaked, concrete suffered spalling, steel corroded, and damp penetrated the buildings.[12] Unfortunately, by replicating tower blocks across the nation, planners "disastrously" replicated design faults.[7] In many tower blocks, concrete quickly exhibited signs of decay; cracks soon formed and destabilised the buildings.[9] The partial collapse of the Ronan Point tower block is an infamous example of the hasty and substandard construction that occurred in a number of the towers.

    Le Corbusier's Unite d'habitation was in Marseilles. His other main high rise flats were in Algiers, both cities with warm, dry Mediterranean climates. Similar designs were totally unsuitable for cool, damp North European climates.
    More fundamentally, high rise, post-War reinforced and pre-stressed concrete tower blocks were built with a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years. Many didn't last that. By the late 1980s, they were demolishing buildings built 20 years previously. All the rest will be demolished by 2050.
    It would have been cheaper building prefabs.

    But I agree with you about the Embassy.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    , @Twinkie
    @Jack D


    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people.
     
    Sure, compared to American housing projects they are well-maintained, but...

    Due to the particularities of re-development regimes in Japan and South Korea, owners of such middle class buildings often let them deteriorate, so that they can more easily obtain permits from the government for demolition and new (taller) buildings. Culturally speaking, East Asians like new homes, so they tend not to build residential structures to last. They'd rather demolish and build shiny-new again every so many years/decades.
    , @but an humble craftsman
    @Jack D

    The economy was not ruined by socialism but by two lost wars.

    Ever noticed how fast the empire diappeared after the last war they "won"?

    Replies: @Art Deco

    , @Art Deco
    @Jack D

    There was no satisfactory reason for the government to take over the provision of rental housing in Britain or anywhere else. Nor was there much reason to provide meals, distribute food coupons, or ration food after the war was over (rationing was maintained until 1954). These are all mundane and frequently replenished commodities whose consumption is sensitive to considerations of amenity. The distribution of medical care, long-term care, and schooling poses some special problems. These other things do not (provided your land-use regulations are not strangling building and redeveloping). You want to help the elderly, the disabled, and low-wage workers, various sorts of cash transfer have the most bang for the buck (provided they do not generate perverse incentives).



    what with socialism having destroyed the economy)

    Britain was an affluent country in 1967. It was suffering severe deadweight loss and slow growth from a wretched excess of state-owned enterprise, an overvalued currency, a wretched industrial relations regime, a misconceived expansion in higher education, a poorly conceived welfare system, rent control, a perverse income tax system, &c.

  34. @Peter Lund
    Why were the Zionist terrorists never punished?

    Replies: @Alfa158, @Jack D, @Reg Cæsar

    Because they won.

  35. Cats of Brutalism is all the brutalism anyone needs.

    https://www.instagram.com/cats_of_brutalism/

  36. @tyrone
    Embassy?? no way ,a couple of donks parked in the street ,some brothers standing around drinking forties and you're in Detroit.....

    Replies: @Inquiring Mind, @Old Prude

    It looks exactly like our county jail.

  37. @Anonymous
    You are absolutely right about the ghastly blight of concrete that post-ww2 British architects have imposed on their long-suffering countrymen. My favourite example is this church, for when you want to worship God with a post-apocalyptic, North Korean prison vibe:

    https://goo.gl/maps/MrAZHRahb3v6a5A8A

    Replies: @Old Prude, @G. Poulin

    Holy schneiky! If the embassy looks like the county jail, that church looks like the interrogation center of the secret police.

  38. @Ralph L
    That's diesel soot, not coal.
    Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline. Next, we'll build city walls--to keep them in.

    Replies: @Old Prude

    “Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline”. There is something to what you say. If a nation were serious and vigorous in defense of its citizens, and especially its diplomats, there would be no need to fortify an embassy. The reputation of the nation would be enough.

    That’s not us. We let Libyan hooligans kill our ambassador, and our government spent its efforts lying and covering up the debacle. As far a defending it own citizens? Ha! This government is at war with half its citizens. And the half they are not at war with matter less than foreign scofflaws squatting in our cities.

    Do the Chinese fortify their embassies?

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Old Prude

    Not against American air attack. At least they didn’t in the nineties.

    , @nebulafox
    @Old Prude

    Not the ones I've been in or seen, but they were in a friendly-or at least safe-part of the world.

    , @Anon
    @Old Prude

    Why are giant embassies even needed any longer? They are wastes of money and terror targets. Does our ambassador to the UK serve any function besides for being a plum to reward to a contributor? We act as if modern communications and jet travel were not invented and it takes months to get a letter to the King. Just one more useless government money drain, among a million others.

    Replies: @Alden

  39. Anonymous[323] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    The new US Embassy in London takes an old fashioned approach to security - a moat:

    https://i.insider.com/5a32bfa34aa6b5a01a8b4d2b?width=1000&format=jpeg&auto=webp

    Donald Trump, a real estate man, despised the relocation. The old embassy was in Grosvenor Square, a top location equivalent to being on 5th Avenue in NY and the new one is in the London equivalent of Hoboken, on the wrong side of the river. This area has been redeveloped in recent years (as has Hoboken) but Trump is old enough to remember when it was the kind of grim industrial area where you would have (sooty, coal fired) power stations and docks for garbage barges.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Twinkie

    The ‘refuse transfer station’ for the London borough of Wandsworth is still there, a short distance up river, and barges laden with rubbish still pass along the Thames through the heart of London – it is cost effective and saves road space – down to Barking in Essex where it s burned to produce ‘green energy’.

    Yes, Battersea was and is a largely blue collar ex industrial area, although most of the whites fled years ago, but as the crow flies it is no more than 100 yards or so across the Thames to the appalling chicness of Chelsea, and no more than a stone’s throw from Westminster or Buckingham Palace. The problem of underground railway connectivity has been addressed by a specially built spur to the Northern Line.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Anonymous

    The Thames is more like 200 yards wide and across from the Embassy is Churchill Gardens (a housing project) not Chelsea. But that's how real estate goes - from chic Sutton Place in Manhattan to grim Hunter's Point in Queens is also only a few hundred yards and a river apart.

  40. Anonymous[323] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie
    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses, designed for physical and other forms (e.g. signal) of security.

    Replies: @slumber_j, @Jack D, @Anonymous

    The inexorable ‘clever’ tendency of the Economist whipped western elites is the ‘progressive’ abolition of all borders and entry requirements to the western nations they rule, to allow for the maximum possibl entry of third world peoples. Policies and laws are slowly but surely achieving this goal.

    But on the other hand, in stark contrast to what the elitists have in store for the contemptible peasants they rule, the general tendency amongst the elitists themselves is for more Brazilian style segregation and boundary fencing of their *own* private little enclaves in order to keep the riff raft out.

  41. @Peter Lund
    Why were the Zionist terrorists never punished?

    Replies: @Alfa158, @Jack D, @Reg Cæsar

    The Italians viewed this as being someone else’s dispute and basically none of their business. This was the European attitude to terrorism in general until recent times when terrorists started targeting their own people.

    Americans view it as their business if there is any injustice anywhere in the world and will try to bring terrorists to trial in the US if American interests are implicated in any way – a maximalist approach.

    Europeans take the opposite view – they look for opportunities NOT to get involved in other people’s disputes unless they absolutely have to.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Jack D

    It’s a shame they didn’t think that way in July of 1914.

    Replies: @Jack D

    , @MGB
    @Jack D

    yeah, keep that conservative approach NOT to get involved in other peoples' disputes in mind when your favorite minority group lets fly a hundred rounds in your neighborhood during a mutual combat event. brilliant insight, jack 'no, the D doesn't stand for dummkopf'. terrorist bombing intended to murder ambassadors in our capital city: NOT our business!

    Replies: @Jack D

    , @Johann Ricke
    @Jack D

    The Italians were extremely blase about the Achille Lauro hijacking, even after being informed that Leon Klinghoffer had been killed. It took an American operation to force the Egyptian plane facilitating the murderers' escape down for some semblance of justice to be meted out, and even then, the Italians wouldn't hand them over to the US for trial and possible execution.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achille_Lauro_hijacking

    An amusing detail - Hosni Mubarak furnished the murderers with a bodyguard composed of elite Egyptian troops.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    , @Clifford Brown
    @Jack D

    Typical nonsense.

    Italy in 1946 was still under Allied military occupation. It might be reasonable for Italians to be sympathetic to Irgun terrorists who were resisting British military occupation of their homeland, but the Italian police did investigate the bombing in cooperation with the Allied Command. Two Italians were injured in the bombing, but no British person was injured. The surrounding neighborhood was damaged by the bomb. It was the British who requested that the suspects arrested by Italian police be released.

    The bombers were granted amnesty under pressure from the British as part of the recognition of the State of Israel. Eight suspects were eventually tried in absentia by the Italian government, but it was mostly a symbolic act due to changing geopolitical concerns. The eight suspects had all moved to Israel and faced no risk of extradition.

    It was the British who made the strategic decision not to prosecute the Irgun for the Rome Embassy bombing. Times had changed and Great Britain valued Israel's political influence and support in the Cold War more than prosecuting a minor terror attack.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  42. @Jack D
    @Peter Lund

    The Italians viewed this as being someone else's dispute and basically none of their business. This was the European attitude to terrorism in general until recent times when terrorists started targeting their own people.

    Americans view it as their business if there is any injustice anywhere in the world and will try to bring terrorists to trial in the US if American interests are implicated in any way - a maximalist approach.

    Europeans take the opposite view - they look for opportunities NOT to get involved in other people's disputes unless they absolutely have to.

    Replies: @JMcG, @MGB, @Johann Ricke, @Clifford Brown

    It’s a shame they didn’t think that way in July of 1914.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @JMcG

    The two things are not unrelated. Two devestating world wars took the fight out of Europeans. The once fearsome Prussians are now as mild as pussycats.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  43. @Buzz Mohawk
    @slumber_j


    ... I don’t at all agree that all Modern architecture is ugly...
     
    I agree. Even my parents' last house would qualify as attractive, mid-century.

    What concerns me is the total disconnection between the people and their structures. How did this happen? One would think that, of all things, buildings and houses would reflect their location. Yet, that style, which still persists in various forms, denies any connection with origin or place.

    This is silly at best. Evil at worst.

    I am reminded of I.M. Pei's work in my old town of Boulder, Colorado. They are devoid of spacious windows, even though those buildings are positioned in one of the world's best places for mountain views. His love of his own, particular geometry was more important to his designs than the entire universe that surrounded his little buildings.

    Whoever hired Mr. I.M. Pei -- and whoever let his designs go forward -- is the real criminal in this case. One can't blame the architect or designer for drawing whatever he does.

    Replies: @MGB

    IM Pei had plenty of windows in one of his Boston projects, the John Hancock Tower. Unfortunately a lot of them wound up on the side walk in high winds.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @MGB

    I remember that. It's odd that he put big glass where there was no natural view (okay, sure, city view, yes) but put tiny, almost non-windows in the one place where there was a grand view of nature. This, combined with his silly pyramid at the Louvre, makes me think the man really didn't grasp or care about the places his structures would inhabit.

    Aside from that, he was great. Internationally great, and loved by the elite -- who themselves don't belong to any place, or even seem to care.

    Replies: @MGB

  44. @Jack D
    @Peter Lund

    The Italians viewed this as being someone else's dispute and basically none of their business. This was the European attitude to terrorism in general until recent times when terrorists started targeting their own people.

    Americans view it as their business if there is any injustice anywhere in the world and will try to bring terrorists to trial in the US if American interests are implicated in any way - a maximalist approach.

    Europeans take the opposite view - they look for opportunities NOT to get involved in other people's disputes unless they absolutely have to.

    Replies: @JMcG, @MGB, @Johann Ricke, @Clifford Brown

    yeah, keep that conservative approach NOT to get involved in other peoples’ disputes in mind when your favorite minority group lets fly a hundred rounds in your neighborhood during a mutual combat event. brilliant insight, jack ‘no, the D doesn’t stand for dummkopf’. terrorist bombing intended to murder ambassadors in our capital city: NOT our business!

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @MGB

    I didn't say that I agreed with this approach. Someone asked why and I explained it to them. I sure didn't like it when the Europeans let the Munich terrorists go.

  45. @Peter Lund
    Why were the Zionist terrorists never punished?

    Replies: @Alfa158, @Jack D, @Reg Cæsar

    Why were the Zionist terrorists never punished?

    Why is one of them on our money?

    [MORE]

    • LOL: Verymuchalive
  46. Anonymous[323] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bragadocious
    The Brits love making a huge deal about how American homes are built with "sticks and paper" as if all British homes are 16th century stone fortresses. The truth is, British homes wouldn't pass muster in any middle-class American suburb. Cold, drafty, with insufficient insulation--there's actually an insulate Britain protest group going around right now drawing attention to something that Americans solved in the 1920s. And if you listen to Americans living in the UK, finding a house with a dishwasher and a clothes dryer is like trying to find a virgin in a whorehouse. But they have those airing cupboards where you hang your underwear over the hot water tank.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @YetAnotherAnon

    Actually anything constructed in the UK of the 1920s is very solidly built with, as a rule, proper 9″ inch brick exterior and party walls, slate roofing with lead flashings, plaster applied to all internal walls, cast iron rainwater goods etc. Might be a little poky and draughty inside, but solid as a rock.
    By contrast, whenever UK TV news shows the aftermath of hurricanes in the USA – which is often as UK TV news editors have an obsession with America – all you see is splintered matchwood for miles around.

    • Replies: @Bragadocious
    @Anonymous


    By contrast, whenever UK TV news shows the aftermath of hurricanes in the USA – which is often as UK TV news editors have an obsession with America – all you see is splintered matchwood for miles around.

     

    Yes, because the Brits take pleasure in American suffering (see my previous post about how they never forgive countries that reject their monarchy). Brits need professional mental health, frankly. Quaint little Ciara knocked Britain on its ass, and Ciara would be a mild hurricane in America.

    You'd think a country that gave the world the Grenfell tower would be more circumspect in offering building advice to others.

    Replies: @Anonymous

  47. @Jack D
    @Verymuchalive

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people. I don't believe the BS about damp problems - these could have been fixed. Your building looks sooty? Power wash it as necessary. Do you demolish your house if the siding gets dirty?

    But the Embassy, where presumably (although the UK was not exactly rolling in dough when the Embassy in Rome was built, what with socialism having destroyed the economy) they could have had the budget to build something nicer - for that there is no excuse.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive, @Twinkie, @but an humble craftsman, @Art Deco

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    This is not true. In Britain, Central Government gave local authorities large subsidies to build tower blocks. When Britain had to get an IMF loan in 1976, such subsidies stopped and so did building of tower block social housing.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture.

    This is partly true. Some British Cities, such as Aberdeen, built a few tower blocks. They were near the city centre and the residents were carefully vetted – no elderly and infirm, no couples with young children and no anti-social tenants. However, this was unusual.

    E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people.

    You could say the same of thousands of tower blocks in the centre of cities in North America. But these are not social housing. High rise social housing in America is very much grimmer than its UK counterpart. Also, neither America or Britain has a population density approaching parts of East Asia, so there is little appeal.

    [MORE]

    I don’t believe the BS about damp problems – these could have been fixed.

    You obviously know nothing about the historyof social housing in the UK.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_blocks_in_Great_Britain

    Coleman’s 1985 work argues that in trying to emulate Le Corbusier’s ideas, the tower-block planners only succeeded in encouraging social problems.[11] Although architects and local authorities intended the opposite, tower blocks quickly became, as Hanley sharply stated, “slums in the sky”.[4] Due to demanding deadlines, complicated construction practices were rushed, and many tower blocks experienced structural decay as a result – roofs leaked, concrete suffered spalling, steel corroded, and damp penetrated the buildings.[12] Unfortunately, by replicating tower blocks across the nation, planners “disastrously” replicated design faults.[7] In many tower blocks, concrete quickly exhibited signs of decay; cracks soon formed and destabilised the buildings.[9] The partial collapse of the Ronan Point tower block is an infamous example of the hasty and substandard construction that occurred in a number of the towers.

    Le Corbusier’s Unite d’habitation was in Marseilles. His other main high rise flats were in Algiers, both cities with warm, dry Mediterranean climates. Similar designs were totally unsuitable for cool, damp North European climates.
    More fundamentally, high rise, post-War reinforced and pre-stressed concrete tower blocks were built with a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years. Many didn’t last that. By the late 1980s, they were demolishing buildings built 20 years previously. All the rest will be demolished by 2050.
    It would have been cheaper building prefabs.

    But I agree with you about the Embassy.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Verymuchalive

    Also the Barbican estate in the City of London, built by the City of London Corporation, is one the most sought after and desirable residences in London.
    It was built to the same standards and with the same brutalist architecture as the notorious 'sink' tower blocks of inner London local council housing departments.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive

  48. @dearieme
    Zionist Irgun terrorists

    I read somewhere that the Zionist terrorists were the last substantial terrorist groups to have the balls to call themselves "terrorists". Is that observation out of date now?

    postwar British architecture was remarkably bad

    Too true, and all the while the miscreant architects themselves would, if at all possible, live in handsome Georgian buildings.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon, @Almost Missouri

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/oct/16/communities

    “Sadly, few of Spence’s buildings even came close to the success of Coventry cathedral and some were almost universally loathed.

    His Queen Elizabeth Square housing scheme in Glasgow was supposed to provide a brave new alternative to the squalor of the city’s tenement blocks, but they introduced a new form of concrete misery to residents.

    Like many tower post war tower blocks, they were inspired/misguided by the utopian ideas of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. As sculpture, they had a rugged handsomeness, but as a place to live they were nasty and brutish.

    Many of the 400 flats had damp problems from the start and they were hated by residents. They were demolished in 1993 to cheers of delight.

    Justifying the decision to destroy the flats, Glasgow’s housing chief at the time repeated the usual complaint about architects. “The trouble is they never lived in them. They were a disaster,” she said.

    Spence himself helped reinforce the image of double standards in the architectural profession when it came to his own accommodation. He lived and worked in a grand Georgian house in leafy Canonbury in north London.

    As Private Eye put it in “The Ballad Of Sir Basil Spens”

    “In th’Eternal City of far-off Rome,
    He built an Embassye,
    And wi’ the gold that he was gi’en,
    He moved to Canonburie”

  49. @Jack D
    @Peter Lund

    The Italians viewed this as being someone else's dispute and basically none of their business. This was the European attitude to terrorism in general until recent times when terrorists started targeting their own people.

    Americans view it as their business if there is any injustice anywhere in the world and will try to bring terrorists to trial in the US if American interests are implicated in any way - a maximalist approach.

    Europeans take the opposite view - they look for opportunities NOT to get involved in other people's disputes unless they absolutely have to.

    Replies: @JMcG, @MGB, @Johann Ricke, @Clifford Brown

    The Italians were extremely blase about the Achille Lauro hijacking, even after being informed that Leon Klinghoffer had been killed. It took an American operation to force the Egyptian plane facilitating the murderers’ escape down for some semblance of justice to be meted out, and even then, the Italians wouldn’t hand them over to the US for trial and possible execution.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achille_Lauro_hijacking

    An amusing detail – Hosni Mubarak furnished the murderers with a bodyguard composed of elite Egyptian troops.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Johann Ricke

    At that time, Italy didn't have a significant Muslim population.

    Likely, the Italians played it cool to avoid possible terrorist reprisals.

    Now, with a massive and rapidly growing Muslim population, expect Italy to move into a more explicit and stronger disdainful stance regarding anti Israeli terrorism. The likelihood of reprisals against Italy is massive - there are just too many big fat juicy targets - and also expect the Muslim population to start influencing politics in a big way.

  50. @Achmed E. Newman
    It's probably made to resist attacks by errant hostile Humvees. Anti-terrorism beats pretty, I guess...

    I could see that Commie so-called Pope leading the charge, to clear the city for a Moslem invasion. Talk about your Brutalism - that guy is brutally stupid.

    Replies: @Alden, @Kolya Krassotkin

    When this commie Pope dies, every single Christian church in the world, no matter how tiny and obscure should hold a service of Thanksgiving and sing the Te Deum loudly and clearly. The catholic ones sing the Te Deum in Latin . As Christian Churches did upon hearing of the victory of Lepanto, turning the Turks away from Vienna and the end of the Napoleonic and 1st and 2nd world wars.

    All my life I thought the Jesuits were only interested in running their high schools and universities. Turns out the anti Jesuits were right.

    • Agree: Kolya Krassotkin
    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Alden

    I don’t think we have much to look forward to. This “Pope” is only creating cardinals out of the most liberal of the bishops. He’s creating a new electorate for his legacy.

    Replies: @Alden

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @Alden

    Yep. He's an Argentine, and lots of the "religious" men all over Latin America were "liberation theologists", pretty much meaning Communists. As it always goes with Communism, you end up having to stand in long lines for stuff, wine and wafers, for instance.

    Catholics need to find a verse in Corinthians or somewhere that can be interpreted as encouraging impeachment of traitors to the Church.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  51. @Wade Hampton
    Looks like the embassy is preparing for an assault from the Visigoths.

    Replies: @Alden

    Or what was left after the Visigoth assault. It also looks like a picture from that website Ruins of Detroit.

  52. @MGB
    @Jack D

    yeah, keep that conservative approach NOT to get involved in other peoples' disputes in mind when your favorite minority group lets fly a hundred rounds in your neighborhood during a mutual combat event. brilliant insight, jack 'no, the D doesn't stand for dummkopf'. terrorist bombing intended to murder ambassadors in our capital city: NOT our business!

    Replies: @Jack D

    I didn’t say that I agreed with this approach. Someone asked why and I explained it to them. I sure didn’t like it when the Europeans let the Munich terrorists go.

  53. @Jack D
    @Verymuchalive

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people. I don't believe the BS about damp problems - these could have been fixed. Your building looks sooty? Power wash it as necessary. Do you demolish your house if the siding gets dirty?

    But the Embassy, where presumably (although the UK was not exactly rolling in dough when the Embassy in Rome was built, what with socialism having destroyed the economy) they could have had the budget to build something nicer - for that there is no excuse.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive, @Twinkie, @but an humble craftsman, @Art Deco

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people.

    Sure, compared to American housing projects they are well-maintained, but…

    Due to the particularities of re-development regimes in Japan and South Korea, owners of such middle class buildings often let them deteriorate, so that they can more easily obtain permits from the government for demolition and new (taller) buildings. Culturally speaking, East Asians like new homes, so they tend not to build residential structures to last. They’d rather demolish and build shiny-new again every so many years/decades.

  54. @JMcG
    @Jack D

    It’s a shame they didn’t think that way in July of 1914.

    Replies: @Jack D

    The two things are not unrelated. Two devestating world wars took the fight out of Europeans. The once fearsome Prussians are now as mild as pussycats.

    • Agree: Alden
    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Jack D

    The Prussians didn't have a deeply "martial" reputation until the 1700s, and it was only with the Bismarck era (the Germans took advantage of the Industrial Revolution quicker and better arguably than any other nation, when adjusted for geographical realities) that the German military truly became the best army in the world, despite the utter ineptitude of the political leadership of the Reich during the World Wars. That militarism was a product of the period in German history as awful as 1945. I think having your ass whipped like that is an either/or thing in how you respond, with little in the way of a middle road. The Thirty Year's War led the Junkers of Prussia to decide to ensure that never happened again: just in the polar opposite way.

    One thing that I do find interesting is Germany's reversion to being "halfway" between Western Europe and Slavic Europe. This is not surprising for those familiar with German history, and how Germans viewed themselves before 1933. (Or after 1945: Adenauer's deep anti-East Elbian sentiments and Rhenish, Francophile ways, etc.) It is therefore eminently surprising to the Foggy Bottom Boys and America's media class raised on a diet of WWII pop history, akin to drinking nothing but soda in terms of historical knowledge.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  55. @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    The new US Embassy in London takes an old fashioned approach to security - a moat:

    https://i.insider.com/5a32bfa34aa6b5a01a8b4d2b?width=1000&format=jpeg&auto=webp

    Donald Trump, a real estate man, despised the relocation. The old embassy was in Grosvenor Square, a top location equivalent to being on 5th Avenue in NY and the new one is in the London equivalent of Hoboken, on the wrong side of the river. This area has been redeveloped in recent years (as has Hoboken) but Trump is old enough to remember when it was the kind of grim industrial area where you would have (sooty, coal fired) power stations and docks for garbage barges.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Twinkie

    The new US Embassy in London takes an old fashioned approach to security – a moat

    Better still would have been on an island or a small peninsula:

    Esp. since we own the air and the sea. Give us Venice of a U.S. embassy!

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
  56. @Anonymous
    @Jack D

    The 'refuse transfer station' for the London borough of Wandsworth is still there, a short distance up river, and barges laden with rubbish still pass along the Thames through the heart of London - it is cost effective and saves road space - down to Barking in Essex where it s burned to produce 'green energy'.

    Yes, Battersea was and is a largely blue collar ex industrial area, although most of the whites fled years ago, but as the crow flies it is no more than 100 yards or so across the Thames to the appalling chicness of Chelsea, and no more than a stone's throw from Westminster or Buckingham Palace. The problem of underground railway connectivity has been addressed by a specially built spur to the Northern Line.

    Replies: @Jack D

    The Thames is more like 200 yards wide and across from the Embassy is Churchill Gardens (a housing project) not Chelsea. But that’s how real estate goes – from chic Sutton Place in Manhattan to grim Hunter’s Point in Queens is also only a few hundred yards and a river apart.

  57. “All-in-all, postwar British architecture was remarkably bad.”

    Thankfully, the only places the British built anything new was where German bombs had flattened older buildings.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    @Henry Canaday


    Thankfully, the only places the British built anything new was where German bombs had flattened older buildings.
     
    Anthony Daniels, aka Theodore Dalrymple:

    Until quite recently, I had assumed that the extreme ugliness of the city in which I live was attributable to the Luftwaffe. I imagined that the cheap and charmless high rise buildings which so disfigure the city-scape had been erected of necessity in great gaping holes left by Heinkel bombers. ...

    I discovered how wrong I was not long ago when I entered a store whose walls were decorated with large photographs of the city as it had been before the war. It was then a fine place, in a grandiloquent, Victorian kind of way. Every building had spoken of a bulging, no doubt slightly pompous and ridiculous, municipal pride. Industry and Labor were glorified in statuary, and a leavening of Greek temples and Italian Renaissance palaces lightened the prevailing mock-Venetian Gothic architecture.

    "A great shame about the war," I said to the store assistant, who was of an age to remember the old days. "Look at the city now."

    "The war?" she said. "The war had nothing to do with it. It was the council. "

    The City Council—the people's elected representatives it transpired, had done far more damage to the fabric of the city in the 1950s and 1960s than had Goering's air force. Indeed, they had managed to turn it into a terrible visual ordeal for anyone with the most minimal visual sensibility.
     
    https://www.city-journal.org/html/do-sties-make-pigs-12343.html
  58. @Anonymous
    You are absolutely right about the ghastly blight of concrete that post-ww2 British architects have imposed on their long-suffering countrymen. My favourite example is this church, for when you want to worship God with a post-apocalyptic, North Korean prison vibe:

    https://goo.gl/maps/MrAZHRahb3v6a5A8A

    Replies: @Old Prude, @G. Poulin

    The ghastly thing even has barbed wire along the top.

  59. @MGB
    @Buzz Mohawk

    IM Pei had plenty of windows in one of his Boston projects, the John Hancock Tower. Unfortunately a lot of them wound up on the side walk in high winds.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    I remember that. It’s odd that he put big glass where there was no natural view (okay, sure, city view, yes) but put tiny, almost non-windows in the one place where there was a grand view of nature. This, combined with his silly pyramid at the Louvre, makes me think the man really didn’t grasp or care about the places his structures would inhabit.

    Aside from that, he was great. Internationally great, and loved by the elite — who themselves don’t belong to any place, or even seem to care.

    • Replies: @MGB
    @Buzz Mohawk


    who themselves don’t belong to any place, or even seem to care.
     
    Some of it is just territory marking behavior. “I’m dropping this load of shit in your midst because I can.” I’ve never been in the Louvre but I’ve approached the IM Pei structure, and it seems silly. Like an admission that none of the current elite could produce anything like the real works of art inside, which most people aren’t patient or educated enough to appreciate anyway. There’s a fake Eiffel Tower or whatever in Las Vegas, and a glass turd ode to Las Vegas kitsch in Paris. More race to the bottom homogenization.
  60. @Old Prude
    @Ralph L

    "Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline". There is something to what you say. If a nation were serious and vigorous in defense of its citizens, and especially its diplomats, there would be no need to fortify an embassy. The reputation of the nation would be enough.

    That's not us. We let Libyan hooligans kill our ambassador, and our government spent its efforts lying and covering up the debacle. As far a defending it own citizens? Ha! This government is at war with half its citizens. And the half they are not at war with matter less than foreign scofflaws squatting in our cities.

    Do the Chinese fortify their embassies?

    Replies: @JMcG, @nebulafox, @Anon

    Not against American air attack. At least they didn’t in the nineties.

  61. @Jack D
    @Peter Lund

    The Italians viewed this as being someone else's dispute and basically none of their business. This was the European attitude to terrorism in general until recent times when terrorists started targeting their own people.

    Americans view it as their business if there is any injustice anywhere in the world and will try to bring terrorists to trial in the US if American interests are implicated in any way - a maximalist approach.

    Europeans take the opposite view - they look for opportunities NOT to get involved in other people's disputes unless they absolutely have to.

    Replies: @JMcG, @MGB, @Johann Ricke, @Clifford Brown

    Typical nonsense.

    Italy in 1946 was still under Allied military occupation. It might be reasonable for Italians to be sympathetic to Irgun terrorists who were resisting British military occupation of their homeland, but the Italian police did investigate the bombing in cooperation with the Allied Command. Two Italians were injured in the bombing, but no British person was injured. The surrounding neighborhood was damaged by the bomb. It was the British who requested that the suspects arrested by Italian police be released.

    The bombers were granted amnesty under pressure from the British as part of the recognition of the State of Israel. Eight suspects were eventually tried in absentia by the Italian government, but it was mostly a symbolic act due to changing geopolitical concerns. The eight suspects had all moved to Israel and faced no risk of extradition.

    It was the British who made the strategic decision not to prosecute the Irgun for the Rome Embassy bombing. Times had changed and Great Britain valued Israel’s political influence and support in the Cold War more than prosecuting a minor terror attack.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Clifford Brown

    Pro-Zionist support went back deep in British political leadership long before 1945. This often led to tensions in the 1920s with local military commanders who tended to be more sympathetic to the Palestinian and Syrian Arabs. They recently fought the Ottomans together in WWI, after all.

    The British didn't have an intentional plan laid out for the Holy Land, contrary to stereotypes in the Arab world: hell, the Zionists themselves struggled to attract more than a minority of Jews* until The Obvious happened in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. But it's undeniable that one of the keys to eventual Jewish success in Palestine was having a much greater degree of familiarity and sway in the upper echelons of British society, financial or political, as well as a superior media presence.

    (To look at what early immigrants to Israel were like, look up a guy named Joseph Trumpeldor, who served the Russians-the Russians under the Tsars, of all regimes!-bravely until embracing Zionism. This sheds light on how this led to a disconnect with Zionist leaders who never actually visited Palestine, who often came from a different mentality entirely in the UK or the German speaking world.)

  62. @Buzz Mohawk
    @MGB

    I remember that. It's odd that he put big glass where there was no natural view (okay, sure, city view, yes) but put tiny, almost non-windows in the one place where there was a grand view of nature. This, combined with his silly pyramid at the Louvre, makes me think the man really didn't grasp or care about the places his structures would inhabit.

    Aside from that, he was great. Internationally great, and loved by the elite -- who themselves don't belong to any place, or even seem to care.

    Replies: @MGB

    who themselves don’t belong to any place, or even seem to care.

    Some of it is just territory marking behavior. “I’m dropping this load of shit in your midst because I can.” I’ve never been in the Louvre but I’ve approached the IM Pei structure, and it seems silly. Like an admission that none of the current elite could produce anything like the real works of art inside, which most people aren’t patient or educated enough to appreciate anyway. There’s a fake Eiffel Tower or whatever in Las Vegas, and a glass turd ode to Las Vegas kitsch in Paris. More race to the bottom homogenization.

  63. I’ve been to Rome several times but have never seen this nightmare of bad architecture. When I first looked at the photo I was afraid I would read that it’s a new construction and was relieved to learn it has been causing eye trouble since 1971. At least maybe now it inspires the same loathing as the Boston City Hall.

    But the ugly British embassy does at least reflect the degeneracy of postwar Britain, where cities and many towns have been defaced by crass high-rise slabs or warehouse-like structures, often adjacent to beautiful historic buildings. That’s one symptom, and not the least, of a culture that has lost touch with its soul.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @Etruscan Film Star

    "the degeneracy of postwar Britain, where cities and many towns have been defaced by crass high-rise slabs or warehouse-like structures"


    I have a Vision of The Future, chum,
    The workers flats in fields of soya beans
    Tower up like silver pencils, score on score:
    And Surging Millions hear the Challenge come
    From microphones in communal canteens
    "No Right! No wrong! All's perfect, evermore."
     
    From John Betjeman's The Plansters Vision, published in 1945. He wrote "Slough" in 1937, so the worm was already in the bud of English architecture before WW2.
  64. @Jack D
    @JMcG

    The two things are not unrelated. Two devestating world wars took the fight out of Europeans. The once fearsome Prussians are now as mild as pussycats.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    The Prussians didn’t have a deeply “martial” reputation until the 1700s, and it was only with the Bismarck era (the Germans took advantage of the Industrial Revolution quicker and better arguably than any other nation, when adjusted for geographical realities) that the German military truly became the best army in the world, despite the utter ineptitude of the political leadership of the Reich during the World Wars. That militarism was a product of the period in German history as awful as 1945. I think having your ass whipped like that is an either/or thing in how you respond, with little in the way of a middle road. The Thirty Year’s War led the Junkers of Prussia to decide to ensure that never happened again: just in the polar opposite way.

    One thing that I do find interesting is Germany’s reversion to being “halfway” between Western Europe and Slavic Europe. This is not surprising for those familiar with German history, and how Germans viewed themselves before 1933. (Or after 1945: Adenauer’s deep anti-East Elbian sentiments and Rhenish, Francophile ways, etc.) It is therefore eminently surprising to the Foggy Bottom Boys and America’s media class raised on a diet of WWII pop history, akin to drinking nothing but soda in terms of historical knowledge.

    • Agree: Twinkie
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @nebulafox


    One thing that I do find interesting is Germany’s reversion to being “halfway” between Western Europe and Slavic Europe. This is not surprising for those familiar with German history, and how Germans viewed themselves before 1933.
     
    The ideology of Mitteleuropa.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitteleuropa
  65. @Clifford Brown
    @Jack D

    Typical nonsense.

    Italy in 1946 was still under Allied military occupation. It might be reasonable for Italians to be sympathetic to Irgun terrorists who were resisting British military occupation of their homeland, but the Italian police did investigate the bombing in cooperation with the Allied Command. Two Italians were injured in the bombing, but no British person was injured. The surrounding neighborhood was damaged by the bomb. It was the British who requested that the suspects arrested by Italian police be released.

    The bombers were granted amnesty under pressure from the British as part of the recognition of the State of Israel. Eight suspects were eventually tried in absentia by the Italian government, but it was mostly a symbolic act due to changing geopolitical concerns. The eight suspects had all moved to Israel and faced no risk of extradition.

    It was the British who made the strategic decision not to prosecute the Irgun for the Rome Embassy bombing. Times had changed and Great Britain valued Israel's political influence and support in the Cold War more than prosecuting a minor terror attack.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    Pro-Zionist support went back deep in British political leadership long before 1945. This often led to tensions in the 1920s with local military commanders who tended to be more sympathetic to the Palestinian and Syrian Arabs. They recently fought the Ottomans together in WWI, after all.

    The British didn’t have an intentional plan laid out for the Holy Land, contrary to stereotypes in the Arab world: hell, the Zionists themselves struggled to attract more than a minority of Jews* until The Obvious happened in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. But it’s undeniable that one of the keys to eventual Jewish success in Palestine was having a much greater degree of familiarity and sway in the upper echelons of British society, financial or political, as well as a superior media presence.

    (To look at what early immigrants to Israel were like, look up a guy named Joseph Trumpeldor, who served the Russians-the Russians under the Tsars, of all regimes!-bravely until embracing Zionism. This sheds light on how this led to a disconnect with Zionist leaders who never actually visited Palestine, who often came from a different mentality entirely in the UK or the German speaking world.)

  66. @Old Prude
    @Ralph L

    "Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline". There is something to what you say. If a nation were serious and vigorous in defense of its citizens, and especially its diplomats, there would be no need to fortify an embassy. The reputation of the nation would be enough.

    That's not us. We let Libyan hooligans kill our ambassador, and our government spent its efforts lying and covering up the debacle. As far a defending it own citizens? Ha! This government is at war with half its citizens. And the half they are not at war with matter less than foreign scofflaws squatting in our cities.

    Do the Chinese fortify their embassies?

    Replies: @JMcG, @nebulafox, @Anon

    Not the ones I’ve been in or seen, but they were in a friendly-or at least safe-part of the world.

  67. @Alden
    @Achmed E. Newman

    When this commie Pope dies, every single Christian church in the world, no matter how tiny and obscure should hold a service of Thanksgiving and sing the Te Deum loudly and clearly. The catholic ones sing the Te Deum in Latin . As Christian Churches did upon hearing of the victory of Lepanto, turning the Turks away from Vienna and the end of the Napoleonic and 1st and 2nd world wars.

    All my life I thought the Jesuits were only interested in running their high schools and universities. Turns out the anti Jesuits were right.

    Replies: @JMcG, @Achmed E. Newman

    I don’t think we have much to look forward to. This “Pope” is only creating cardinals out of the most liberal of the bishops. He’s creating a new electorate for his legacy.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @JMcG

    Thanks I haven’t paid much attention. When you think it was the Popes who led the fight against Muslim invasion even after the reformation. And he welcomes them.

  68. No one can argue that brutalism isn’t a keen architectural extension of the .gov spirit.

    I forget who averred that art in general began to degenerate in the 20th century for the simple reason that all its worlds had been conquered. It thus progressed past greatness (the Hudson River school), then on to tragedy (cubism), then farce (poop smeared on cardboard with white background).

    Architecture has equally exhausted itself. Look at the high eclecticism of a young Horace Trumbauer whose masterful neoclassical meldings have stood the test of time not just in platonic beauty but in physical structure. The better part of a century’s neglect, and the long-dead magnate’s ball room would still leave any king red with envy.

    Compare that inspired architectural capstone to the insipid soul crushing monstrosity on meth that an LA developer figured, perhaps correctly, would scratch some even bigger megalomaniac’s itch for vacuous grandiosity.

    https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-09-27/la-fi-the-one-niles-niami-don-hankey-mansion-trustee-sale

  69. @dearieme
    Zionist Irgun terrorists

    I read somewhere that the Zionist terrorists were the last substantial terrorist groups to have the balls to call themselves "terrorists". Is that observation out of date now?

    postwar British architecture was remarkably bad

    Too true, and all the while the miscreant architects themselves would, if at all possible, live in handsome Georgian buildings.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon, @Almost Missouri

    postwar British architecture was remarkably bad

    To be fair to the postwar British architects, British architecture has always been pretty bad, at least whenever they try to depart from their vernaculars (e.g., Gothic, Tudor, Georgian).

    The Crystal Palace, of which the Victorians were so proud was indeed remarkable—in the literal sense. A monstrous peculiarity, while it set records for use of glass and metal, it lacked any sense of proportion or grace: just as much glass and iron as the manufacturers could spin up before the deadline.

    While Rome’s iconic dome, the Pantheon, is graceful and honest, Britain’s ionic dome, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is cramped and effortful. The interior and exterior do not align, and the resultant void robs the already sun-starved setting of even more light. A millennium and a half earlier, the Romans managed a larger domed space that is light, airy and strong. Too much to ask of Sir Christopher Wren, I guess.

    That said, when they stick to their Victorian/colonial vernacular, Britain has produced some lovely buildings, often at some remove from the imperial capital:
    https://swisscows.com/image?query=british%20colonial%20architecture%20in%20india&culture=en

  70. What are those big red things, Coca-Cola machines?

  71. @Henry Canaday
    "All-in-all, postwar British architecture was remarkably bad."

    Thankfully, the only places the British built anything new was where German bombs had flattened older buildings.

    Replies: @Almost Missouri

    Thankfully, the only places the British built anything new was where German bombs had flattened older buildings.

    Anthony Daniels, aka Theodore Dalrymple:

    Until quite recently, I had assumed that the extreme ugliness of the city in which I live was attributable to the Luftwaffe. I imagined that the cheap and charmless high rise buildings which so disfigure the city-scape had been erected of necessity in great gaping holes left by Heinkel bombers. …

    I discovered how wrong I was not long ago when I entered a store whose walls were decorated with large photographs of the city as it had been before the war. It was then a fine place, in a grandiloquent, Victorian kind of way. Every building had spoken of a bulging, no doubt slightly pompous and ridiculous, municipal pride. Industry and Labor were glorified in statuary, and a leavening of Greek temples and Italian Renaissance palaces lightened the prevailing mock-Venetian Gothic architecture.

    “A great shame about the war,” I said to the store assistant, who was of an age to remember the old days. “Look at the city now.”

    “The war?” she said. “The war had nothing to do with it. It was the council. ”

    The City Council—the people’s elected representatives it transpired, had done far more damage to the fabric of the city in the 1950s and 1960s than had Goering’s air force. Indeed, they had managed to turn it into a terrible visual ordeal for anyone with the most minimal visual sensibility.

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/do-sties-make-pigs-12343.html

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  72. Most architecture is just a bunch of publicity stunts. At least during Roman times, the stunts were meant to promote Rome and the emperor and were designed to be timeless. Today they are meant either to show that the architect is on board with the current trends or is bucking the current trends. Either way, it promotes the architect, and keeps him in the news.

  73. @Jack D
    @Verymuchalive

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people. I don't believe the BS about damp problems - these could have been fixed. Your building looks sooty? Power wash it as necessary. Do you demolish your house if the siding gets dirty?

    But the Embassy, where presumably (although the UK was not exactly rolling in dough when the Embassy in Rome was built, what with socialism having destroyed the economy) they could have had the budget to build something nicer - for that there is no excuse.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive, @Twinkie, @but an humble craftsman, @Art Deco

    The economy was not ruined by socialism but by two lost wars.

    Ever noticed how fast the empire diappeared after the last war they “won”?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @but an humble craftsman

    The economy was not ruined by socialism but by two lost wars.


    No, siree. Britain's economic problems in the 1920s were derived from an overvalued currency. Post-war reconstruction of all west European economies was complete by 1959.



    Ever noticed how fast the empire diappeared [sic.] after the last war they “won”?

    It was a country of 47 million. Not enough manpower to hold an increasingly restive British India with its 365 million people. As for their African territories, most didn't produce enough to be worth the effort to hold them. The most salient concession was the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which closed the books on an actual federation between Britain and its affluent dominions.

    It's a reasonable wager Britain could have retained its coastal and insular dependencies, as France did. By the 1970s, it seemed as if they were pushing them away rather than responding to local pressure. (Cyprus was the only such territory where there was an actual rebellion).

  74. Anonymous[357] • Disclaimer says:
    @Verymuchalive
    @Jack D

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    This is not true. In Britain, Central Government gave local authorities large subsidies to build tower blocks. When Britain had to get an IMF loan in 1976, such subsidies stopped and so did building of tower block social housing.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture.

    This is partly true. Some British Cities, such as Aberdeen, built a few tower blocks. They were near the city centre and the residents were carefully vetted - no elderly and infirm, no couples with young children and no anti-social tenants. However, this was unusual.

    E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people.

    You could say the same of thousands of tower blocks in the centre of cities in North America. But these are not social housing. High rise social housing in America is very much grimmer than its UK counterpart. Also, neither America or Britain has a population density approaching parts of East Asia, so there is little appeal.


    I don’t believe the BS about damp problems – these could have been fixed.

    You obviously know nothing about the historyof social housing in the UK.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_blocks_in_Great_Britain

    Coleman's 1985 work argues that in trying to emulate Le Corbusier's ideas, the tower-block planners only succeeded in encouraging social problems.[11] Although architects and local authorities intended the opposite, tower blocks quickly became, as Hanley sharply stated, "slums in the sky".[4] Due to demanding deadlines, complicated construction practices were rushed, and many tower blocks experienced structural decay as a result – roofs leaked, concrete suffered spalling, steel corroded, and damp penetrated the buildings.[12] Unfortunately, by replicating tower blocks across the nation, planners "disastrously" replicated design faults.[7] In many tower blocks, concrete quickly exhibited signs of decay; cracks soon formed and destabilised the buildings.[9] The partial collapse of the Ronan Point tower block is an infamous example of the hasty and substandard construction that occurred in a number of the towers.

    Le Corbusier's Unite d'habitation was in Marseilles. His other main high rise flats were in Algiers, both cities with warm, dry Mediterranean climates. Similar designs were totally unsuitable for cool, damp North European climates.
    More fundamentally, high rise, post-War reinforced and pre-stressed concrete tower blocks were built with a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years. Many didn't last that. By the late 1980s, they were demolishing buildings built 20 years previously. All the rest will be demolished by 2050.
    It would have been cheaper building prefabs.

    But I agree with you about the Embassy.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Also the Barbican estate in the City of London, built by the City of London Corporation, is one the most sought after and desirable residences in London.
    It was built to the same standards and with the same brutalist architecture as the notorious ‘sink’ tower blocks of inner London local council housing departments.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    @Anonymous


    The Barbican was never 'council housing' in the conventional sense, as flats were targeted at professionals and let at 'market' rents, i.e. for similar prices to equivalent private homes in Central London. It was, however, owned and managed by the Corporation of the City of London, considered a local authority under the Housing Act 1980. This meant that Right to Buy applied to it, and, as a result, almost all flats are now privately owned, although a few continue to be let out by the City of London at market (non-subsidised) rents.[18]
     
    In other words, the tower blocks are very similar in function to many private ones in the centre of North American cities, which similarly house affluent professionals, to which I have previously alluded. No doubt they were built to a higher spec than tower block social housing. Even so, the average life for such buildings is 60 years or less. As they were built in the early to mid-1970s. it is highly unlikely they will still be there in 2150.
  75. Anonymous[357] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johann Ricke
    @Jack D

    The Italians were extremely blase about the Achille Lauro hijacking, even after being informed that Leon Klinghoffer had been killed. It took an American operation to force the Egyptian plane facilitating the murderers' escape down for some semblance of justice to be meted out, and even then, the Italians wouldn't hand them over to the US for trial and possible execution.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achille_Lauro_hijacking

    An amusing detail - Hosni Mubarak furnished the murderers with a bodyguard composed of elite Egyptian troops.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    At that time, Italy didn’t have a significant Muslim population.

    Likely, the Italians played it cool to avoid possible terrorist reprisals.

    Now, with a massive and rapidly growing Muslim population, expect Italy to move into a more explicit and stronger disdainful stance regarding anti Israeli terrorism. The likelihood of reprisals against Italy is massive – there are just too many big fat juicy targets – and also expect the Muslim population to start influencing politics in a big way.

  76. @JMcG
    @Alden

    I don’t think we have much to look forward to. This “Pope” is only creating cardinals out of the most liberal of the bishops. He’s creating a new electorate for his legacy.

    Replies: @Alden

    Thanks I haven’t paid much attention. When you think it was the Popes who led the fight against Muslim invasion even after the reformation. And he welcomes them.

  77. @Bragadocious
    The Brits love making a huge deal about how American homes are built with "sticks and paper" as if all British homes are 16th century stone fortresses. The truth is, British homes wouldn't pass muster in any middle-class American suburb. Cold, drafty, with insufficient insulation--there's actually an insulate Britain protest group going around right now drawing attention to something that Americans solved in the 1920s. And if you listen to Americans living in the UK, finding a house with a dishwasher and a clothes dryer is like trying to find a virgin in a whorehouse. But they have those airing cupboards where you hang your underwear over the hot water tank.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @YetAnotherAnon

    “there’s actually an insulate Britain protest group going around right now drawing attention to something that Americans solved in the 1920s”

    Insulate Britain don’t care if Brits live in insulated houses any more than you do. They’re another tacitly tolerated left/green group who specialise in blocking roads. If people protesting against immigration were doing that the police would be cracking heads and the Guardian would be fine with it

    Just (very) recently the authorities have finally started to take action, in that people who were released just went straight back out and blocked roads again and again. So a few ringleaders had court injunctions taken out against them, telling them next time they blocked roads they’d be in contempt of court. Someone blocked roads again.

    They were convicted of contempt of court and jailed for a year – since when the “actions” have stopped.

    The good news from your perspective is that more and more new UK homes these days are made of timber frame, particle board and chemical foam insulation, not brick and stone. British homes were traditionally not well insulated, but wood and coal for heating were cheap.

    (I’m actually considering external insulation on my old house, but I’d like to make it look like the existing stonework.)

  78. @Cortes
    @Twinkie

    Granted, it’s not concrete, but Fort Apache, Scotland has the look of being the work of fans of the classic Injun-country Westerns:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bride%27s_Church,_East_Kilbride

    A Grade A listed building, no less. Like Buck House, Westminster Abbey and Holyrood Palace.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Verymuchalive

    It is not Brutalist architecture, even if it looks brutal. Brutalism is derived from the French beton brut – raw (exposed ) concrete. You could get away it in the warm, dry climes of the South of France, but not in damp, cool or cold climates. Dampness problems quickly followed when such buildings were built in Northern Europe, for example. Many buildings were swiftly demolished and the practice was quickly banned. However, even with cladding, reinforced concrete buildings had similar, though less severe problems.

    St Brides Church is constructed of load-bearing brick, both inside and out. Masses and masses of it.That’s why it took so long to build – 7 years (1957-64). Also, why it cost so much. In fact, it would be prohibitively expensive to build now. Unless some billionaire was to donate a large chunk, it could not be built at all.

    It has already needed some repair work. A listing doesn’t guarantee its future conservation. If it ceases to be a church, other uses may be difficult to achieve. In such cases, demolition may be the only option, though it would be better to call it dismantling. I’m sure most of the bricks could be reused in other buildings.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Verymuchalive

    I thought brutalist was derived from the Italian adjective for an ugly person. Also similar to the Italian word for witch. Or a joke. I’ve also heard the term Stalinesque or mid century.

  79. @Alden
    @Achmed E. Newman

    When this commie Pope dies, every single Christian church in the world, no matter how tiny and obscure should hold a service of Thanksgiving and sing the Te Deum loudly and clearly. The catholic ones sing the Te Deum in Latin . As Christian Churches did upon hearing of the victory of Lepanto, turning the Turks away from Vienna and the end of the Napoleonic and 1st and 2nd world wars.

    All my life I thought the Jesuits were only interested in running their high schools and universities. Turns out the anti Jesuits were right.

    Replies: @JMcG, @Achmed E. Newman

    Yep. He’s an Argentine, and lots of the “religious” men all over Latin America were “liberation theologists”, pretty much meaning Communists. As it always goes with Communism, you end up having to stand in long lines for stuff, wine and wafers, for instance.

    Catholics need to find a verse in Corinthians or somewhere that can be interpreted as encouraging impeachment of traitors to the Church.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Catholics need to find a verse in Corinthians or somewhere that can be interpreted as encouraging impeachment of traitors to the Church.
     
    Nah, we just outlast them. There were worse Pope than this one in Catholic history. They die, we the Universal Church go on.

    Matthew 16:18.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  80. @nebulafox
    @Jack D

    The Prussians didn't have a deeply "martial" reputation until the 1700s, and it was only with the Bismarck era (the Germans took advantage of the Industrial Revolution quicker and better arguably than any other nation, when adjusted for geographical realities) that the German military truly became the best army in the world, despite the utter ineptitude of the political leadership of the Reich during the World Wars. That militarism was a product of the period in German history as awful as 1945. I think having your ass whipped like that is an either/or thing in how you respond, with little in the way of a middle road. The Thirty Year's War led the Junkers of Prussia to decide to ensure that never happened again: just in the polar opposite way.

    One thing that I do find interesting is Germany's reversion to being "halfway" between Western Europe and Slavic Europe. This is not surprising for those familiar with German history, and how Germans viewed themselves before 1933. (Or after 1945: Adenauer's deep anti-East Elbian sentiments and Rhenish, Francophile ways, etc.) It is therefore eminently surprising to the Foggy Bottom Boys and America's media class raised on a diet of WWII pop history, akin to drinking nothing but soda in terms of historical knowledge.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    One thing that I do find interesting is Germany’s reversion to being “halfway” between Western Europe and Slavic Europe. This is not surprising for those familiar with German history, and how Germans viewed themselves before 1933.

    The ideology of Mitteleuropa.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitteleuropa

  81. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Alden

    Yep. He's an Argentine, and lots of the "religious" men all over Latin America were "liberation theologists", pretty much meaning Communists. As it always goes with Communism, you end up having to stand in long lines for stuff, wine and wafers, for instance.

    Catholics need to find a verse in Corinthians or somewhere that can be interpreted as encouraging impeachment of traitors to the Church.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Catholics need to find a verse in Corinthians or somewhere that can be interpreted as encouraging impeachment of traitors to the Church.

    Nah, we just outlast them. There were worse Pope than this one in Catholic history. They die, we the Universal Church go on.

    Matthew 16:18.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Twinkie

    Thanks, Twinkie. I understand that there have been "worse" ones in some aspects. I read a book about the times of the Borgia(?) Popes. There have been much more corrupt Popes, and this guy may not be corrupt at all. However, has there any more traitorous Pope then Commie Francis?

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Dan Hayes, @Alden

  82. @Etruscan Film Star
    I've been to Rome several times but have never seen this nightmare of bad architecture. When I first looked at the photo I was afraid I would read that it's a new construction and was relieved to learn it has been causing eye trouble since 1971. At least maybe now it inspires the same loathing as the Boston City Hall.

    But the ugly British embassy does at least reflect the degeneracy of postwar Britain, where cities and many towns have been defaced by crass high-rise slabs or warehouse-like structures, often adjacent to beautiful historic buildings. That's one symptom, and not the least, of a culture that has lost touch with its soul.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    “the degeneracy of postwar Britain, where cities and many towns have been defaced by crass high-rise slabs or warehouse-like structures”

    I have a Vision of The Future, chum,
    The workers flats in fields of soya beans
    Tower up like silver pencils, score on score:
    And Surging Millions hear the Challenge come
    From microphones in communal canteens
    “No Right! No wrong! All’s perfect, evermore.”

    From John Betjeman’s The Plansters Vision, published in 1945. He wrote “Slough” in 1937, so the worm was already in the bud of English architecture before WW2.

  83. @Twinkie
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Catholics need to find a verse in Corinthians or somewhere that can be interpreted as encouraging impeachment of traitors to the Church.
     
    Nah, we just outlast them. There were worse Pope than this one in Catholic history. They die, we the Universal Church go on.

    Matthew 16:18.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Thanks, Twinkie. I understand that there have been “worse” ones in some aspects. I read a book about the times of the Borgia(?) Popes. There have been much more corrupt Popes, and this guy may not be corrupt at all. However, has there any more traitorous Pope then Commie Francis?

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    If you take Liutprand of Cremona at his word (like all ancient/medieval historians, he's got an agenda and he doesn't have to hide it like modern ones), I think it is safe to say that some of the Dark Ages Popes would be the worst.

    There's some pretty R-rated in his account, even if we dismiss the more ridiculous tales like John XII running a brothel out of the Lateran...

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    , @Dan Hayes
    @Achmed E. Newman

    The previous "worse" popes were entangled with the flesh whereas this character is both subtly and so subtly undermining doctrine. He exemplifies all the bad characteristics of the jesuits without any of their good ones (that supposing they have any!).

    , @Alden
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Pope Borgia was a good guy in terms of fighting off Ottoman invasions of Italy that could have succeeded. Think about that. Italy as a Turkish territory. Like Hungary Bulgaria Balkans etc.

    Plus he did a lot of restoring the water supply and other infrastructure of Rome. Very very important function of the leader of the city government. Plus lots of archeology Roman ruins rebuilding sewers bridges roads. Full employment and useful projects. Managed to unite the fractious N Italians to fight off endless French invasions Turks by sea from the south and east, French from the north Also refused marriage proposal to his daughter from the prince who would become Henry 8 of England

    In terms of leading European civilization to keep the Turks out of Western Europe and secular ruler of Rome and a big chunk of central Italy he was excellent. It’s not the job of Popes to pray all day.

    I really admired that Polish one who led the fight to ruin the old Soviet Empire and free Central Europe from the Soviets. For what he did, not how much he prayed.

    This one is no worse than every other European politician in welcoming Muslims Africans to destroy Europe. As long as he doesn’t burn the museums libraries and archives I don’t care.


    It was his sons who the murderers

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  84. @Jack D
    @Verymuchalive

    To some extent, Brutalist public housing is understandable. They were trying to build the maximum # of units for the minimum amount of cash in order to house the poor and high rise towers without a lot of money wasted on ornamentation seemed to be the most appropriate solution.

    To some extent, the grimness is a result of the residents and not the architecture. All over E. Asia there are thousands of towers like this and they are clean and well maintained and considered to be appropriate housing for middle class people. I don't believe the BS about damp problems - these could have been fixed. Your building looks sooty? Power wash it as necessary. Do you demolish your house if the siding gets dirty?

    But the Embassy, where presumably (although the UK was not exactly rolling in dough when the Embassy in Rome was built, what with socialism having destroyed the economy) they could have had the budget to build something nicer - for that there is no excuse.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive, @Twinkie, @but an humble craftsman, @Art Deco

    There was no satisfactory reason for the government to take over the provision of rental housing in Britain or anywhere else. Nor was there much reason to provide meals, distribute food coupons, or ration food after the war was over (rationing was maintained until 1954). These are all mundane and frequently replenished commodities whose consumption is sensitive to considerations of amenity. The distribution of medical care, long-term care, and schooling poses some special problems. These other things do not (provided your land-use regulations are not strangling building and redeveloping). You want to help the elderly, the disabled, and low-wage workers, various sorts of cash transfer have the most bang for the buck (provided they do not generate perverse incentives).

    what with socialism having destroyed the economy)

    Britain was an affluent country in 1967. It was suffering severe deadweight loss and slow growth from a wretched excess of state-owned enterprise, an overvalued currency, a wretched industrial relations regime, a misconceived expansion in higher education, a poorly conceived welfare system, rent control, a perverse income tax system, &c.

  85. @Achmed E. Newman
    It's probably made to resist attacks by errant hostile Humvees. Anti-terrorism beats pretty, I guess...

    I could see that Commie so-called Pope leading the charge, to clear the city for a Moslem invasion. Talk about your Brutalism - that guy is brutally stupid.

    Replies: @Alden, @Kolya Krassotkin

    The RC movers and shakers decided they were going to get on the bandwagon and celebrate diversity when they planted (so called) Pope Francis on the throne of Peter. Not only did they decide to choose a man clearly not really Catholic to be supreme Pontiff, they chose one whose Christianity is even dubious.

    I’m betting some ecclesiastical council a few decades or even a century from now will condemn Bergoglianism, the sophistry now peddled by Francis, as a grave heresy.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Kolya Krassotkin

    I would bet on it too if I knew AnnBarnhardt would have something to do with it.

  86. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Twinkie

    Thanks, Twinkie. I understand that there have been "worse" ones in some aspects. I read a book about the times of the Borgia(?) Popes. There have been much more corrupt Popes, and this guy may not be corrupt at all. However, has there any more traitorous Pope then Commie Francis?

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Dan Hayes, @Alden

    If you take Liutprand of Cremona at his word (like all ancient/medieval historians, he’s got an agenda and he doesn’t have to hide it like modern ones), I think it is safe to say that some of the Dark Ages Popes would be the worst.

    There’s some pretty R-rated in his account, even if we dismiss the more ridiculous tales like John XII running a brothel out of the Lateran…

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @nebulafox

    Yeah, I remember the R-rated stuff, but were they out to help the Moslems invade the Christian lands? I don't remember that part, but I'm no historian, NF. ;-}

    Replies: @nebulafox

  87. @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    If you take Liutprand of Cremona at his word (like all ancient/medieval historians, he's got an agenda and he doesn't have to hide it like modern ones), I think it is safe to say that some of the Dark Ages Popes would be the worst.

    There's some pretty R-rated in his account, even if we dismiss the more ridiculous tales like John XII running a brothel out of the Lateran...

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Yeah, I remember the R-rated stuff, but were they out to help the Moslems invade the Christian lands? I don’t remember that part, but I’m no historian, NF. ;-}

    • Thanks: Alden
    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yo, I'm not either. But we share a fucking common interest in this stuff, which puts us beyond most people.

    Lol. For the Dark Ages Popes, Muslim conquest was no abstraction. North Africa pirates once made it to the outskirts of Rome. Even in the Renaissance, if Mehmet hadn't died and continued on with his invasion plans for Italy... no, no, they didn't have the luxury of thinking of armed invasion as this abstract, archaic relic. No. They didn't. The modern Pope reflects his chosen subcultural milieu. If I were a free man and I could choose Catholicism (though Orthodoxy does have its appeal to the "mystic Slav" part of my soul, I must admit, Catholicism does a good job of grounding one down), I'd take Twinkie's position. Church has survived far worse times before. It'll survive this. Far better, far worthier adversaries in the past, when you think about it.

    What comes next? Something that brings back a sense of profundity, true respect that is lacking today for what we cannot understand, and what the people *ache* for.

    Replies: @Alden

  88. I assume the architect was a wounded veteran of the Desert war and held a grudge against Italians. Something as ugly as this can only have been designed purposefully to insult the viewer.

  89. @but an humble craftsman
    @Jack D

    The economy was not ruined by socialism but by two lost wars.

    Ever noticed how fast the empire diappeared after the last war they "won"?

    Replies: @Art Deco

    The economy was not ruined by socialism but by two lost wars.

    No, siree. Britain’s economic problems in the 1920s were derived from an overvalued currency. Post-war reconstruction of all west European economies was complete by 1959.

    Ever noticed how fast the empire diappeared [sic.] after the last war they “won”?

    It was a country of 47 million. Not enough manpower to hold an increasingly restive British India with its 365 million people. As for their African territories, most didn’t produce enough to be worth the effort to hold them. The most salient concession was the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which closed the books on an actual federation between Britain and its affluent dominions.

    It’s a reasonable wager Britain could have retained its coastal and insular dependencies, as France did. By the 1970s, it seemed as if they were pushing them away rather than responding to local pressure. (Cyprus was the only such territory where there was an actual rebellion).

  90. @Anonymous
    @Verymuchalive

    Also the Barbican estate in the City of London, built by the City of London Corporation, is one the most sought after and desirable residences in London.
    It was built to the same standards and with the same brutalist architecture as the notorious 'sink' tower blocks of inner London local council housing departments.

    Replies: @Verymuchalive

    The Barbican was never ‘council housing’ in the conventional sense, as flats were targeted at professionals and let at ‘market’ rents, i.e. for similar prices to equivalent private homes in Central London. It was, however, owned and managed by the Corporation of the City of London, considered a local authority under the Housing Act 1980. This meant that Right to Buy applied to it, and, as a result, almost all flats are now privately owned, although a few continue to be let out by the City of London at market (non-subsidised) rents.[18]

    In other words, the tower blocks are very similar in function to many private ones in the centre of North American cities, which similarly house affluent professionals, to which I have previously alluded. No doubt they were built to a higher spec than tower block social housing. Even so, the average life for such buildings is 60 years or less. As they were built in the early to mid-1970s. it is highly unlikely they will still be there in 2150.

  91. @slumber_j
    @Twinkie


    Embassies have a lot of building requirements that override aesthetic concerns. They are little (or not so little, in the case of major powers) fortresses
     
    Right. Clearly this is heavily fortified: just look at the gate in that wall. When you've got the Red Brigades going nuts, fortification makes sense I guess--although it really is just awful.

    By the way (pace Steve Sailer), the building is in fact faced in travertine like just about everything else in Rome. Then again, clearly a lot of concrete was involved.

    Anyway, and further to your point, the old US embassy on Grosvenor Square in London gave it a run for its money:

    https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_nbcnews-ux-2880-1000,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2018_02/2290436/180112-us-embassy-london-mc-807.jpg

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk, @Twinkie, @Ganderson, @Dan Hayes

    It appears as if the American Eagle has disgorged the remnants of a horrific abortion!

  92. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Twinkie

    Thanks, Twinkie. I understand that there have been "worse" ones in some aspects. I read a book about the times of the Borgia(?) Popes. There have been much more corrupt Popes, and this guy may not be corrupt at all. However, has there any more traitorous Pope then Commie Francis?

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Dan Hayes, @Alden

    The previous “worse” popes were entangled with the flesh whereas this character is both subtly and so subtly undermining doctrine. He exemplifies all the bad characteristics of the jesuits without any of their good ones (that supposing they have any!).

    • LOL: Twinkie
  93. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Twinkie

    Thanks, Twinkie. I understand that there have been "worse" ones in some aspects. I read a book about the times of the Borgia(?) Popes. There have been much more corrupt Popes, and this guy may not be corrupt at all. However, has there any more traitorous Pope then Commie Francis?

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Dan Hayes, @Alden

    Pope Borgia was a good guy in terms of fighting off Ottoman invasions of Italy that could have succeeded. Think about that. Italy as a Turkish territory. Like Hungary Bulgaria Balkans etc.

    Plus he did a lot of restoring the water supply and other infrastructure of Rome. Very very important function of the leader of the city government. Plus lots of archeology Roman ruins rebuilding sewers bridges roads. Full employment and useful projects. Managed to unite the fractious N Italians to fight off endless French invasions Turks by sea from the south and east, French from the north Also refused marriage proposal to his daughter from the prince who would become Henry 8 of England

    In terms of leading European civilization to keep the Turks out of Western Europe and secular ruler of Rome and a big chunk of central Italy he was excellent. It’s not the job of Popes to pray all day.

    I really admired that Polish one who led the fight to ruin the old Soviet Empire and free Central Europe from the Soviets. For what he did, not how much he prayed.

    This one is no worse than every other European politician in welcoming Muslims Africans to destroy Europe. As long as he doesn’t burn the museums libraries and archives I don’t care.

    It was his sons who the murderers

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Alden

    Thank you for the info on Pope Borgia.


    I really admired that Polish one who led the fight to ruin the old Soviet Empire and free Central Europe from the Soviets. For what he did, not how much he prayed.
     
    Again, I'm no historian, but I do know recent history. Yes, Polish Pope John Paul II had to have been one of the best. I give him partial credit for the winning of the Cold War, with the rest going to Ronnie, Maggie, some German leaders, and millions of American and other Western engineers, technicians, and soldiers, sailers, and airmen.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  94. Anon[674] • Disclaimer says:
    @Old Prude
    @Ralph L

    "Fortified embassies are a sign of civilizational decline". There is something to what you say. If a nation were serious and vigorous in defense of its citizens, and especially its diplomats, there would be no need to fortify an embassy. The reputation of the nation would be enough.

    That's not us. We let Libyan hooligans kill our ambassador, and our government spent its efforts lying and covering up the debacle. As far a defending it own citizens? Ha! This government is at war with half its citizens. And the half they are not at war with matter less than foreign scofflaws squatting in our cities.

    Do the Chinese fortify their embassies?

    Replies: @JMcG, @nebulafox, @Anon

    Why are giant embassies even needed any longer? They are wastes of money and terror targets. Does our ambassador to the UK serve any function besides for being a plum to reward to a contributor? We act as if modern communications and jet travel were not invented and it takes months to get a letter to the King. Just one more useless government money drain, among a million others.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @Anon

    Embassies and consulates aren’t really there for communication between national leaders. A major purposes is caring for their own nationals living in foreign countries. Such as the numerous Mexican and Asian consulates in California and every state afflicted with Asian and Mexican immigrants.

    After WW2 the US state department facilities were invaded by thousands of American Buttinsky social work agencies. Determined to inflict American progress on the rest of the world. And get very very profitable contracts for companies like Bechtel Kiewit to build roads to nowhere. And massive free food giveaways for American agricultural surplus.

    American farmers got rich, the shipping companies got rich the wretched starving black and brown masses got free food. And the American taxpayers who paid for it all paid high prices in American food markets.

    Then there’s spying and subversion, fomenting revolutions and invasions, overthrowing governments. Embassies are multifunctional operations

  95. @Anonymous
    @Bragadocious

    Actually anything constructed in the UK of the 1920s is very solidly built with, as a rule, proper 9" inch brick exterior and party walls, slate roofing with lead flashings, plaster applied to all internal walls, cast iron rainwater goods etc. Might be a little poky and draughty inside, but solid as a rock.
    By contrast, whenever UK TV news shows the aftermath of hurricanes in the USA - which is often as UK TV news editors have an obsession with America - all you see is splintered matchwood for miles around.

    Replies: @Bragadocious

    By contrast, whenever UK TV news shows the aftermath of hurricanes in the USA – which is often as UK TV news editors have an obsession with America – all you see is splintered matchwood for miles around.

    Yes, because the Brits take pleasure in American suffering (see my previous post about how they never forgive countries that reject their monarchy). Brits need professional mental health, frankly. Quaint little Ciara knocked Britain on its ass, and Ciara would be a mild hurricane in America.

    You’d think a country that gave the world the Grenfell tower would be more circumspect in offering building advice to others.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Bragadocious

    No, that's not the reason that British TV news editors are obsessed with the USA.

    It's more to do with childish hero worship.

  96. @Achmed E. Newman
    @nebulafox

    Yeah, I remember the R-rated stuff, but were they out to help the Moslems invade the Christian lands? I don't remember that part, but I'm no historian, NF. ;-}

    Replies: @nebulafox

    Yo, I’m not either. But we share a fucking common interest in this stuff, which puts us beyond most people.

    Lol. For the Dark Ages Popes, Muslim conquest was no abstraction. North Africa pirates once made it to the outskirts of Rome. Even in the Renaissance, if Mehmet hadn’t died and continued on with his invasion plans for Italy… no, no, they didn’t have the luxury of thinking of armed invasion as this abstract, archaic relic. No. They didn’t. The modern Pope reflects his chosen subcultural milieu. If I were a free man and I could choose Catholicism (though Orthodoxy does have its appeal to the “mystic Slav” part of my soul, I must admit, Catholicism does a good job of grounding one down), I’d take Twinkie’s position. Church has survived far worse times before. It’ll survive this. Far better, far worthier adversaries in the past, when you think about it.

    What comes next? Something that brings back a sense of profundity, true respect that is lacking today for what we cannot understand, and what the people *ache* for.

    • Replies: @Alden
    @nebulafox

    Right you are. Around 800AD Muslims actually occupied Rome and the area. That is when the wall and gates around the Vatican were built. Before that it was like a downtown civic center. Just a cluster of buildings to which everyone had access.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  97. @Thirdtwin
    I’ve seen better-looking flak towers.

    Replies: @Right_On

    I’ve seen better-looking flak towers.

    Funny you should say that. Cultural renegade Jonathan Meades had a soft spot for Brutalism (“concrete poetry”). In his BBCtv documentary he argued that the original inspiration for the post-war style were the remains of the German ‘Atlantic Wall’ structures on the French coast.

  98. @Alden
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Pope Borgia was a good guy in terms of fighting off Ottoman invasions of Italy that could have succeeded. Think about that. Italy as a Turkish territory. Like Hungary Bulgaria Balkans etc.

    Plus he did a lot of restoring the water supply and other infrastructure of Rome. Very very important function of the leader of the city government. Plus lots of archeology Roman ruins rebuilding sewers bridges roads. Full employment and useful projects. Managed to unite the fractious N Italians to fight off endless French invasions Turks by sea from the south and east, French from the north Also refused marriage proposal to his daughter from the prince who would become Henry 8 of England

    In terms of leading European civilization to keep the Turks out of Western Europe and secular ruler of Rome and a big chunk of central Italy he was excellent. It’s not the job of Popes to pray all day.

    I really admired that Polish one who led the fight to ruin the old Soviet Empire and free Central Europe from the Soviets. For what he did, not how much he prayed.

    This one is no worse than every other European politician in welcoming Muslims Africans to destroy Europe. As long as he doesn’t burn the museums libraries and archives I don’t care.


    It was his sons who the murderers

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Thank you for the info on Pope Borgia.

    I really admired that Polish one who led the fight to ruin the old Soviet Empire and free Central Europe from the Soviets. For what he did, not how much he prayed.

    Again, I’m no historian, but I do know recent history. Yes, Polish Pope John Paul II had to have been one of the best. I give him partial credit for the winning of the Cold War, with the rest going to Ronnie, Maggie, some German leaders, and millions of American and other Western engineers, technicians, and soldiers, sailers, and airmen.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Some earlier ones that stand out to me are:

    1) Leo I. Staring down Attilla the freaking Hun. 'Nuff said.

    2) Gregory I. In many ways, he really was the last of the old school Romans. Along with the emperor Heraclius (now there's a guy whose life really does read like an old Athenian tragedy) in the Eastern Empire, the men fated to see classical antiquity die. Both came from the old aristocracy and personified their dying age, in many ways, as they both had to consciously initiate a new one. I can only imagine the inner struggle there.

    And boy, did his city need the leadership once shown by a Camillus or Fabius, and which Gregory lived up to. Not for him was the power of the medieval church or the glories of the Renaissance. He instead led a shell, decimated by war and plague, whose survivors could huddle into one section of the Colosseum's ruins. I've always had a special respect for leaders like this: it's one thing to inherit something at its swinging best, quite another to inherit a destroyed mess, and having to be both a spiritual figure, but also a de facto military dux in a hostile sea of invaders.

    3) John X. Fought in person against Arab pirates, stood against being the plaything of corrupt Roman aristocrats, actively supported the conversion of many European peoples (including the Normans) and for the Cluniac reforms. His reward was being assassinated and having his memory dragged through the mud for 1000 years until much needed historical rehabilitation.

    Replies: @nebulafox

  99. @Kolya Krassotkin
    @Achmed E. Newman

    The RC movers and shakers decided they were going to get on the bandwagon and celebrate diversity when they planted (so called) Pope Francis on the throne of Peter. Not only did they decide to choose a man clearly not really Catholic to be supreme Pontiff, they chose one whose Christianity is even dubious.

    I'm betting some ecclesiastical council a few decades or even a century from now will condemn Bergoglianism, the sophistry now peddled by Francis, as a grave heresy.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    I would bet on it too if I knew AnnBarnhardt would have something to do with it.

  100. @Bragadocious
    @Anonymous


    By contrast, whenever UK TV news shows the aftermath of hurricanes in the USA – which is often as UK TV news editors have an obsession with America – all you see is splintered matchwood for miles around.

     

    Yes, because the Brits take pleasure in American suffering (see my previous post about how they never forgive countries that reject their monarchy). Brits need professional mental health, frankly. Quaint little Ciara knocked Britain on its ass, and Ciara would be a mild hurricane in America.

    You'd think a country that gave the world the Grenfell tower would be more circumspect in offering building advice to others.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    No, that’s not the reason that British TV news editors are obsessed with the USA.

    It’s more to do with childish hero worship.

  101. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Alden

    Thank you for the info on Pope Borgia.


    I really admired that Polish one who led the fight to ruin the old Soviet Empire and free Central Europe from the Soviets. For what he did, not how much he prayed.
     
    Again, I'm no historian, but I do know recent history. Yes, Polish Pope John Paul II had to have been one of the best. I give him partial credit for the winning of the Cold War, with the rest going to Ronnie, Maggie, some German leaders, and millions of American and other Western engineers, technicians, and soldiers, sailers, and airmen.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    Some earlier ones that stand out to me are:

    1) Leo I. Staring down Attilla the freaking Hun. ‘Nuff said.

    2) Gregory I. In many ways, he really was the last of the old school Romans. Along with the emperor Heraclius (now there’s a guy whose life really does read like an old Athenian tragedy) in the Eastern Empire, the men fated to see classical antiquity die. Both came from the old aristocracy and personified their dying age, in many ways, as they both had to consciously initiate a new one. I can only imagine the inner struggle there.

    And boy, did his city need the leadership once shown by a Camillus or Fabius, and which Gregory lived up to. Not for him was the power of the medieval church or the glories of the Renaissance. He instead led a shell, decimated by war and plague, whose survivors could huddle into one section of the Colosseum’s ruins. I’ve always had a special respect for leaders like this: it’s one thing to inherit something at its swinging best, quite another to inherit a destroyed mess, and having to be both a spiritual figure, but also a de facto military dux in a hostile sea of invaders.

    3) John X. Fought in person against Arab pirates, stood against being the plaything of corrupt Roman aristocrats, actively supported the conversion of many European peoples (including the Normans) and for the Cluniac reforms. His reward was being assassinated and having his memory dragged through the mud for 1000 years until much needed historical rehabilitation.

    • Thanks: Alden, Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @nebulafox

    Comment timed out: one more thing to note about John X was, centuries before Dante and Machiavelli would shout out for it, he supported and strove for a unified Italy consciously in the image of the old Romans.

    All the more shame that he was murdered by a powered-up slut, of all things. He really deserved so much better.

  102. @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Some earlier ones that stand out to me are:

    1) Leo I. Staring down Attilla the freaking Hun. 'Nuff said.

    2) Gregory I. In many ways, he really was the last of the old school Romans. Along with the emperor Heraclius (now there's a guy whose life really does read like an old Athenian tragedy) in the Eastern Empire, the men fated to see classical antiquity die. Both came from the old aristocracy and personified their dying age, in many ways, as they both had to consciously initiate a new one. I can only imagine the inner struggle there.

    And boy, did his city need the leadership once shown by a Camillus or Fabius, and which Gregory lived up to. Not for him was the power of the medieval church or the glories of the Renaissance. He instead led a shell, decimated by war and plague, whose survivors could huddle into one section of the Colosseum's ruins. I've always had a special respect for leaders like this: it's one thing to inherit something at its swinging best, quite another to inherit a destroyed mess, and having to be both a spiritual figure, but also a de facto military dux in a hostile sea of invaders.

    3) John X. Fought in person against Arab pirates, stood against being the plaything of corrupt Roman aristocrats, actively supported the conversion of many European peoples (including the Normans) and for the Cluniac reforms. His reward was being assassinated and having his memory dragged through the mud for 1000 years until much needed historical rehabilitation.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    Comment timed out: one more thing to note about John X was, centuries before Dante and Machiavelli would shout out for it, he supported and strove for a unified Italy consciously in the image of the old Romans.

    All the more shame that he was murdered by a powered-up slut, of all things. He really deserved so much better.

  103. @nebulafox
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yo, I'm not either. But we share a fucking common interest in this stuff, which puts us beyond most people.

    Lol. For the Dark Ages Popes, Muslim conquest was no abstraction. North Africa pirates once made it to the outskirts of Rome. Even in the Renaissance, if Mehmet hadn't died and continued on with his invasion plans for Italy... no, no, they didn't have the luxury of thinking of armed invasion as this abstract, archaic relic. No. They didn't. The modern Pope reflects his chosen subcultural milieu. If I were a free man and I could choose Catholicism (though Orthodoxy does have its appeal to the "mystic Slav" part of my soul, I must admit, Catholicism does a good job of grounding one down), I'd take Twinkie's position. Church has survived far worse times before. It'll survive this. Far better, far worthier adversaries in the past, when you think about it.

    What comes next? Something that brings back a sense of profundity, true respect that is lacking today for what we cannot understand, and what the people *ache* for.

    Replies: @Alden

    Right you are. Around 800AD Muslims actually occupied Rome and the area. That is when the wall and gates around the Vatican were built. Before that it was like a downtown civic center. Just a cluster of buildings to which everyone had access.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @Alden

    One thing all three Popes I mentioned shared in common is that they all dealt with foreign invaders at a time of peak weakness for the West. And as dangerous as the Arab pirates were, I honestly think it was Gregory who faced the biggest challenge of the three. Unlike the Arabs, the Lombards were embedded throughout Italy, and as Christians, could claim legitimacy far easier over the loyalties of Rome.

    I keep thinking of Gregory the Great and his... well, old fashioned patrician (he was the son of a Senator and was himself the prefect of Rome at 30, before joining the church) leadership. In some ways, what he did strikes me as a Christianized version of something far more out of early republican Rome, the not wealthy city state manned by soldier farmers and parrying war after war, than the late empire, the dictator (old-fashioned pre Caesarian sense of the word) taking charge and leading the plebs by example rather than the warlord or emperor reclining at a villa. Gathering food supplies in the midst of starvation, for Pete's sake, which he insisted on distributing personally. This was so radically different from the wealthy, powerful office to come.

    Gregory was obviously an educated man in a time where for aristocrats, that still meant Virgil, Cicero, Sallust, and Livy as much as Scripture. Gregory did embrace the fact that he was in a new age, because he believed himself to be living through the End Times: a lot of people did at the time, because that was a rational conclusion to draw. (That's why the Quran sounds so apocalyptic: Muhammad was much a product of the mentality of the age as Gregory or Heraclius was.) But I cannot help but wonder if he understood in his gut that he was the last of a dying breed and it was up to him to decide how his class died, with decadent cowardice, or honor and dignity despite the doom for the patricians of Rome.

    Thus, he was determined to not just be Christ's vicar, but Rome's last "First Man". The kind of hero the city had not seen in many centuries of imperial security and decadence, and now needed once more. I cannot help but salute that leadership.

  104. @Verymuchalive
    @Cortes

    It is not Brutalist architecture, even if it looks brutal. Brutalism is derived from the French beton brut - raw (exposed ) concrete. You could get away it in the warm, dry climes of the South of France, but not in damp, cool or cold climates. Dampness problems quickly followed when such buildings were built in Northern Europe, for example. Many buildings were swiftly demolished and the practice was quickly banned. However, even with cladding, reinforced concrete buildings had similar, though less severe problems.

    St Brides Church is constructed of load-bearing brick, both inside and out. Masses and masses of it.That's why it took so long to build - 7 years (1957-64). Also, why it cost so much. In fact, it would be prohibitively expensive to build now. Unless some billionaire was to donate a large chunk, it could not be built at all.

    It has already needed some repair work. A listing doesn't guarantee its future conservation. If it ceases to be a church, other uses may be difficult to achieve. In such cases, demolition may be the only option, though it would be better to call it dismantling. I'm sure most of the bricks could be reused in other buildings.

    Replies: @Alden

    I thought brutalist was derived from the Italian adjective for an ugly person. Also similar to the Italian word for witch. Or a joke. I’ve also heard the term Stalinesque or mid century.

  105. @Anon
    @Old Prude

    Why are giant embassies even needed any longer? They are wastes of money and terror targets. Does our ambassador to the UK serve any function besides for being a plum to reward to a contributor? We act as if modern communications and jet travel were not invented and it takes months to get a letter to the King. Just one more useless government money drain, among a million others.

    Replies: @Alden

    Embassies and consulates aren’t really there for communication between national leaders. A major purposes is caring for their own nationals living in foreign countries. Such as the numerous Mexican and Asian consulates in California and every state afflicted with Asian and Mexican immigrants.

    After WW2 the US state department facilities were invaded by thousands of American Buttinsky social work agencies. Determined to inflict American progress on the rest of the world. And get very very profitable contracts for companies like Bechtel Kiewit to build roads to nowhere. And massive free food giveaways for American agricultural surplus.

    American farmers got rich, the shipping companies got rich the wretched starving black and brown masses got free food. And the American taxpayers who paid for it all paid high prices in American food markets.

    Then there’s spying and subversion, fomenting revolutions and invasions, overthrowing governments. Embassies are multifunctional operations

  106. @Alden
    @nebulafox

    Right you are. Around 800AD Muslims actually occupied Rome and the area. That is when the wall and gates around the Vatican were built. Before that it was like a downtown civic center. Just a cluster of buildings to which everyone had access.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    One thing all three Popes I mentioned shared in common is that they all dealt with foreign invaders at a time of peak weakness for the West. And as dangerous as the Arab pirates were, I honestly think it was Gregory who faced the biggest challenge of the three. Unlike the Arabs, the Lombards were embedded throughout Italy, and as Christians, could claim legitimacy far easier over the loyalties of Rome.

    I keep thinking of Gregory the Great and his… well, old fashioned patrician (he was the son of a Senator and was himself the prefect of Rome at 30, before joining the church) leadership. In some ways, what he did strikes me as a Christianized version of something far more out of early republican Rome, the not wealthy city state manned by soldier farmers and parrying war after war, than the late empire, the dictator (old-fashioned pre Caesarian sense of the word) taking charge and leading the plebs by example rather than the warlord or emperor reclining at a villa. Gathering food supplies in the midst of starvation, for Pete’s sake, which he insisted on distributing personally. This was so radically different from the wealthy, powerful office to come.

    Gregory was obviously an educated man in a time where for aristocrats, that still meant Virgil, Cicero, Sallust, and Livy as much as Scripture. Gregory did embrace the fact that he was in a new age, because he believed himself to be living through the End Times: a lot of people did at the time, because that was a rational conclusion to draw. (That’s why the Quran sounds so apocalyptic: Muhammad was much a product of the mentality of the age as Gregory or Heraclius was.) But I cannot help but wonder if he understood in his gut that he was the last of a dying breed and it was up to him to decide how his class died, with decadent cowardice, or honor and dignity despite the doom for the patricians of Rome.

    Thus, he was determined to not just be Christ’s vicar, but Rome’s last “First Man”. The kind of hero the city had not seen in many centuries of imperial security and decadence, and now needed once more. I cannot help but salute that leadership.

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