Tag Archives: Park51

Wag of the Finger

Yes, I got a “wag of the finger” from Stephen Colbert last night. Unfortunately, I was watching “My Fair Lady” at the time and didn’t know about my new pop-culty cred until this morning. But it’s just as good as a rerun web clip. He singled out my review of the Park51 community center for attention. It starts around 3:50.



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Love from the Wall Street Journal

My review of the Park51 renderings made the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web Today column by James Taranto. Make no mistake: by “best of the web” they don’t necessarily mean things they love, but rather, the best material to lampoon in the BOTWT column. Here’s Mr. Taranto’s assessment:

Mass Murder as ‘Parody’

Philip Kennicott, an architecture critic for the Washington Post, wades into political criticism in what is ostensibly a review of an architect’s drawings of the Ground Zero mosque:

“[The mosque planners] face a groundswell of hostility whipped up during an election season that feeds on primitive emotions directed at a parody of a supposedly primitive religion.”

What is the source of the emotions Kennicott snottily disdains as “primitive”? Nine years ago, two blocks from where the planners want to build the mosque, Islamic supremacists murdered nearly 3,000 people and destroyed a portion of New York City. Kennicott’s characterization of an atrocity as a “parody” is an obscenity.

I added the quotation marks to distinguish my words from his. I’m still trying to figure out how he can claim I characterize the events of 9-11 as a parody. Never did it. Never would. But they spelled my name right.


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Can a Rendering Change the Debate?

The drawings released by SOMA Architects, who are doing the initial plans for the controversial Park51 community center, make a strong statement. The design isn’t necessarily the newest of the cutting edge (Jean Nouvel might recognize a few these moves), but it is completely conversant in the leading trends in architectural design, elegantly executed and powerful in its assertion of modernity in the face of ugly and primitive religious anger. Michel Abboud, a French architect with Lebanese roots, is smart and has executed a bold and confident design that is transparent and dynamic, with a savvy incorporation of “Islamic” design ideas into a confident contemporary plan. I reviewed the plans for The Washington Post.

Image courtesy of SOMA Architects

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