Monday, February 10, 2020

Beautiful Settings for Ugly Policy

I like 'classical' architecture, the sort exemplified by the James A. Farley general post office in midtown Manhattan, itself the homely little sister to the late, lamented Penn Station. I like the idea of public buildings being 'civic temples', resplendent with Tuckahoe marble. I'm not married to the aesthetic, though, and there are examples of modernist architecture which I find appealing. I'm adamantly opposed to Trump's plan to issue an executive order mandating classical architecture for new federal building projects- the plan, dubbed Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again (PDF) , seems tailor-made for corruption, for no-bid, cost-plus projects awarded to connected contractors who will deliver kickbacks. It also smacks of fascism- the Nazis were big on a particular national aesthetic. Trump really should butt out of the minutiae of government projects, especially considering his tastes run to a parody of the rococo. He can't even perform his current job functions, why even bother getting involved with construction projects across the country?

'Pretty courthouses for ugly policy' would be one hell of an aesthetic- he wants to expand upon the death penalty for drug dealers (excepting the Sackler family, to be sure). With the gloves off now that his impeachment was quashed by a corrupt senate, he's looking to go full Duterte. So much for criminal justice reform!


The New York Crank said...

Well, although I see your point, I kind of like the idea of an official aesthetic for prison cells of former presidents found guilty of serious crimes.

"Cells shall measure no more than four feet by four feet. Walls shall at all time portray streaming videos containing testimonials of people who were harmed by said President, stating exactly what they think of him and why, in such a manner as to resemble a victim impact statement. The in-cell toilet shall be rigged to a timer that prevents it from flushing more than once a week. No heating or cooling device or vent shall be present to impinge on the design aesthetic. ..."

And so on.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

For Trump and his cronies, I'd prefer a rustic prison camp. Make Donald work raking the forest floors during blackfly season.