My Architect

I just watched My Architect, courtesy of Netflix. The son of architect Louis I Kahn goes on a journey to know more about his father (whom he knew only a little at a time before Kahn’s death in 1974).

You know, I keep wanting to run down architecture that seems to be about the spectacle, the shape and light and mass, instead of the usefulness of the structure. But I think this is the first time it has really clicked for me how *useful* the spectacle can be.

When an architect from Bangladesh is brought to tears explaining what Kahn’s incredible design for the Bangladesh national assembly means to the people of that country, and when you see its image on their money and in the graffiti of their streets — somehow that makes it click.

Not that it’s always justifiable if it makes buildings unusable — thousands of poor Bangladeshis carried concrete on their heads to make that building. What if it had turned out to be hard to use for its purpose, and had gotten in the way of the people’s government instead of supporting it? Its visage wouldn’t have meant nearly as much.

I think I’d just about fly to Bangladesh to see that thing. It’s phenomenal.

Flavia nicely disses the 9/11 movie.

Philadelphia Daily News | 09/12/2006 | Flavia Monteiro Colgan | ABC’s ‘9/11’: Clinton was right

The tragic events of 9/11 are not something to be trifled with. Putting words into people’s mouths and showing them doing things they never did is not acceptable.

The docudrama portrayed Clinton as a president who didn’t care about terrorism, but his record tells a different story. He had daily briefings on al Qaeda and meetings three times a week. Compare that to a president who couldn’t break away from clearing brush to read a memo that said, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack America.”

The fact is that Clinton proposed an additional $1.1 billion in anti-terror efforts. Clinton was acutely aware of the financial aspects of terror and wanted us not to do business with international banks that held al Qaeda money. A bill that would have mandated that was called totalitarian by some Republicans – and they gutted it.

It’s incredible to me how blatantly people can manipulate the record in the public mind and get away with it. I’d like to think that all the voices that have said this movie is wrong will keep most people from being affected much by it, but I’m not that optimistic. Narrative storytelling is always more powerful than logical exposition. Always. I even find myself sometimes believing a particular ‘fact’ that my intellect should know better than to think only because the story was so compelling.