We need a Great Pyramid.
August 13, 2000 2:15 PM   Subscribe

We need a Great Pyramid. I mean, come on, what is America's great constructional feat? The Empire State building? The Sears Tower? What relative pieces of shit. We need a pyramid to show we're at least as good as the Egyptians!
posted by muffin (17 comments total)
I'd be content if we built the damn space station, which is the Great Pyramid of the 21st Century. It will be for governments and for the rich, just like the pyramids were. It will be a large construct intended to be elegant but instead will prove awkward and frustratingly obsolete soon after its made, and will remain an eyesore of mankind's ignorance for a long time to come. I just hope it doesn't become someone's tomb. Again though, like the pyramids, the space station is being built by the lowest bidder.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:41 PM on August 13, 2000

I thought the Panana Canal was not too shabby for a construction feat. The pyramids construction was just practice over and over. The Canal was completed three years ahead of schedule, not like the pyramids.
posted by Almac at 5:04 PM on August 13, 2000

The Golden Gate Bridge, the St. Louis Arch, the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building, it's all good. I always thought pyramids were terribly ugly structures, however. We're better without them.
posted by tomorama at 5:35 PM on August 13, 2000

IMHO, America's greatest strength is not in sheer construction (living in Chicago, I can confirm for you that the Sears Tower may be tall, but it is easily one of the most unattractive buildings ever built); our strength lies in our devotion to engineering. I'd suggest, therefore, a structure of sheer engineering genius. The Brooklyn Bridge or the awe-inspring Hoover Dam spring to mind as good candidates... Both outstanding engineering, both highly functional, both standing well the test of (relatively short) time, both beautiful in their execution. (FWIW, I think a pyramid is a silly idea, since it would serve no purpose other than self-aggrandizement).
posted by m.polo at 5:47 PM on August 13, 2000

This planet has over six billion human beings on it. I think the last thing we need is yet another gigantic awe-inspiring structure taking up precious property better suited for.. oh, say apartment housing or something.

I'd go for a pyramid, if it was used to house the homeless instead of burying the wealthy dead, but a pyramid is a poor structure design. Rectangles may not be as interesting to look at, but as polygons go they're very useful. More floorspace to put more people.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:01 PM on August 13, 2000

Well, you could move into the Luxor in Vegas. Mighty be a bit pricey, though. :-)
posted by BoyCaught at 8:38 PM on August 13, 2000

World Centre for Vedic Learning

here's the modern day, over the top, extravagent pyramid. I don't think it'll ever get actually built (and I don't know the status of this, as it is out of date.) But it's amazing that it was actually planned.
posted by mkn at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2000

If you drive along Lake Shore Drive here in Chicago, you'll eventually notice a conspicuous pink building - the old Edgewater Beach hotel, now an apartment building.

If you're observant, you'll wonder why in the world the place (and the community around it) is called edgewater. After all, it's pretty far from the edge of Lake Michigan.

It didn't used to be, however. Almost all of Lake Shore Drive, and much of Lincoln Park resides on landfill - the rubble left over from the Chicago fire. When you imagine the scope of the project, it's pretty monumental. Yeah, they had a bunch of rubble they had to get rid of, but it's still an impressive feat.

We Chicagoans also went against the laws of nature and made our river flow backwards. That's pretty neat, if you ask me.

Oh, and the Sears Tower is still the tallest building in the world, at least in terms of habitable space.

Second city, my ass . . .

posted by aladfar at 10:04 PM on August 13, 2000

This planet may have 6 billion people, but we've plenty of room. I know. I come from North Dakota. You could fit half of India in that state and none of the current residents would notice.

Incidentally, the notion that the pyramids were the apotheosis of autocracy-gone-mad has undergone some revision in recent years; given the religious nature of the structures and their importance to the Egyptians' cultural identity, some say it was an honor to work on them, like being a bricklayer for St. Peter's in Rome. At least it was a job - perhaps they were just gigantic WPA projects to keep the peace.
posted by lileks at 10:07 PM on August 13, 2000

I suggest that Muffin fly to Portland, Oregon, and rent a car and take a drive east on Interstate 84. Take a look at Bonneville Dam, and the Dalles Dam, and the John Day Dam, and several others along the way. I believe you'll find them quite impressive. But if you REALLY want to be impressed, drive up into Washington and see the Grand Coulee dam.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:23 AM on August 14, 2000

I was in Mexico a month or two ago and saw the largest pyramid in the world. Wasn't that built by the people who lived there?

Oh... you mean people from the USA? Isn't the term "gringo", not "american"? ;-)

posted by andrew cooke at 2:35 AM on August 14, 2000

There were plans to build the worlds tallest building in downtown Melbourne last year, but they were scrapped when it was calculated that the shadow of the damn thing would extend about 10kms.

The worlds biggest sundial, ladies and gentlemen?
posted by cheaily at 6:27 AM on August 14, 2000

lileks: This planet may have 6 billion people, but we've plenty of room. I know. I come from North Dakota. You could fit half of India in that state and none of the current residents would notice.

Yeah but how habitable would that land be with a few hundred thousand people taking up residence there? Hanging off Georgie's nose? Playing ball off Abe Lincoln's chin?

There are parts of Texas that are like that too. However it's all owned by somebody. I doubt there is a single inch of property anywhere that someone doesn't have a title to. We haven't come very far from Feudal Europe in some ways, have we?

We couldn't just take the population of India and move them to South Dakota. Whoever owned the 'unused' property would figure it out eventually, and want exhorbitant rent due. Besides that whole "bring me your tired your poor your huddled masses" routine at the Statue of Liberty? A lot of people wanna take that down and hang a big red "KEEP OUT" sign from Libby's neck.

posted by ZachsMind at 8:18 AM on August 14, 2000

At Siggraph I got a peek at the model of Danny Hillis's 10,000 year mechanical clock and it seems to me a better thing to spend time on then a pyramid. Can we say "been there, done that." They were also displaying their rosetta sphere, another interesting item.
posted by john at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2000

I said North Dakota, not South Dakota. Can't speak for the SoDakians, but if you put a few hundred thousand people in North Dakota, it wouldn't be any big deal. Fargo has a hundred thousand people, and it occupies about .00001% of the state.

As for how far we've come from Feudal Europe, well, in the case of North Dakota, the land is occupied by the people who own it and work it, not impoverished serfs who till the king's land for pennies. Big difference.
posted by lileks at 12:25 PM on August 14, 2000

We have a great pyramid, here in northern Illinois. Gold plated. No, really.
posted by eamondaly at 2:27 PM on August 14, 2000

jeesh eamondaly,

I dunno, but shows like wild Chicago really make me think that Chicago is the sleeper town of all the world's lunacy. It's conveniently spread throughout the subburbs to avoid detection.
posted by john at 11:29 PM on August 14, 2000

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