Someone– the Dwight Eisenhower Memorial Commission, to be precise– decided there should be a monument to Dwight D. Eisenhower. This committee met and decided: who the hell needs an architect or sculptor or designer?! We’ll do it ourselves! People will be so impressed. Years from now, they will wonder, “how did they come up with that brilliant design?!” And so it was done.
It was not, of course. Well, why the hell not? Because not one person on this committee has the ability to design a toilet let alone a monument. So they hired Frank Gehry.
The Eisenhower family is not happy. They feel that the dignity of the man has been compromised by a statue of Eisenhower as a young boy, “looking out on his future accomplishments” (in the words of Gehry). They want something more authoritarian and imposing at the center of the memorial complex. How about Dwight holding a bazooka?
Gehry must need the money. He is making all the smooching noises you need to make to keep the well paid commission. You want an older Eisenhower? You got it. Want him to be bigger than he was in real life? You got it.
Want me to emphasize the humility and unpretentiousness of the guy? Oh ho! We can make it ten feet tall!
Everyone remembers Ike as the man who warned us about the military-industrial complex. We all took note of this sage advice then devoutly ignored it: the modern military-industrial complex, and the infinite cost of the F-35 Fighter (at a time when the West really has no formidable enemies) is something that Eisenhower could only have imagined in his worst nightmares.
If the Eisenhower Memorial seems monumentally dull, the new Martin Luther King Memorial is positively Stalinesque. In fact, King looks a lot like Chairman Mao emerging from the solid rock…
The King Memorial is positively the most miscalculated, dumbest monument I have ever seen. It’s something you imagine being erected to Kim Jung Il or Ho Chi Minh.
There is no end in usefulness to the famous “Spinal Tap” sequence about the amplifier with a volume settings that go up to 11. You can try to impress people with beauty, subtlety, elegance, and imagination… or you can just make it bigger or louder.