Dennis Kucinich used a pie chart to illustrate a point during yesterday's radio debate. He was challenging Howard Dean's contention that the Pentagon budget does not need cutting.
"Congressman Kucinich is holding up a pie chart, which is not truly effective on radio," [Neal] Conan told his listeners.
Kucinich was not deterred.
"Well, it's effective if Howard can see it," he replied.
(Apologies to Ogged, who's more or less on hiatus to volunteer for the Kucinich campaign.)
Duh. Global warming will almost certainly have gigantic consequences for biodiversity. (This sort of thing gets you a paper in Nature? Maybe I'll publish my latest result: 2+3=5.)
The too-bad thing is, biodiversity has never been easy to sell to anyone but biologists and nature-lovers. Conservationists have tried pushing the entire utilitarian spectrum from the intrinsic rights of species to potential cures for cancer. The public just doesn't get engaged by the number of bee species in North America, no matter that agricultural productivity (and things downstream like petroleum consumption) depend directly on biodiversity's so-called ecosystem services.
Greg Allen blames Maya Lin for the worst design's being chosen for the World Trade Center Memorial. I have no strong opinion about the chosen design. Yes, it's a bit sterile and derivative, but given how many different audiences it has to serve, sterility might be the way to go. My lack of strong opinion is probably the intended effect.
I do agree, though, that some Maya Lin skepticism is a good thing. I love the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the NPS doesn't use an apostrophe, so I don't) despite how its success has spawned an entire industry of mini-Walls and the steady conversion of the National Mall into a military statuary. Lin achieved the intellectual's dream when she fought off the flag-waving patriots and prevented the planting of soldier statues and half-staff flags on the wall: she showed the world that space can be eloquent and that contemplation can be as powerful a response to war as boosterism.
But the power of the VVM is as much in its originality as in its design, and quiet spaces for guided reflection are now just too common. The VVM defamiliarized the experience of visiting a memorial, and it did so by eschewing all the traditional memorial markers (e.g., flags, bronze soldiers, military emblems) and placing the visitor's own emotional space at the memorial's psychic center. The Lin derivatives (including, I have to say, some of Lin's other stuff) just rearrange the new memorial markers (e.g., reflective surfaces, spaces below ground level, juxtaposition of inorganic materials and vegetation) to create more familiar examples of the new memorial traditionalism. They can't defamiliarize the memorial experience now: visiting the WTCM will almost certainly invoke in the visitor the experience of the VVM, with all the prescribed emotions and behaviors that come with it. And because the design does partially prescribe emotional responses, there's much less room for a truly private memorial experience.
But like I said, the WTC memorial has to serve many constituencies, and I'm just a minor member of the geographically distant abstract esthetes. People who lost loved ones in the attacks should and no doubt do prioritize things other than the global state of memorial architecture.
Congratulations, Ogged, on your exciting new adventure. And don't worry -- even though the blog is likely to see a new entry only every month or three, rest assured that it'll be as interesting and relevant as Unf and I are. (For a taste of what this might mean, check out this, about which I've been itching to blog for days.)
And for those of you who will miss Ogged's incisive political commentary (and who for some reason can't find anywhere else in the blogosphere that has that sort of thing), you might pass the inter-Ogged intervals here or with this.
(Thanks to Jill for the game links.)
How to say this? There have been some very sudden (and very exciting) developments in my employment and I'm about to move to start a rather intense new job. Posting will be extremely light for the foreseeable future.
If I may say so, I think we have one of the smartest and most fun blogging communities on the web, and I'm grateful and indebted to all the people who read and comment here. You may now direct your wit and abuse more exclusively at Unf and Bob.
I'll still be reachable at the ogged email address. Write anytime, and I hope I'll see you all back here.
Gary Farber needs help, and now he's set up a PayPal account so that you can help him out with just a few clicks. Go ahead, do a good deed for the holidays. Send him a buck if that's all you've got.
I'll leave this up top for a few days; new posts below.
You can just click this button...
"'If you know much about the Bible — which I do — to see and be in a place where Christ was and understand the intimate history of what was going on 2,000 years ago is an exceptional experience.'"
"An hour after his comments, Dr. Dean returned to the clutch of reporters, saying he realized he had misspoken because Job is not in the New Testament."
"Asked again about his favorite part of the New Testament, Dr. Dean said, 'Anything in the Gospels.'"
Look out George W. Bush, Howard Dean is going to steal the religious vote right out from under you.
And what the hell is this "which I do" crap? To paraphrase the immortal Chandler Bing, could this guy be any more insecure?
The Invisible Adjunct carefully considers Britney Spears's marriage and decides that the whole mess could have been avoided with just a bit more...college education?
To which I can only say: wedding pictures!