January 15, 2001 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Entropy in action, or a covert maneuver in the ongoing American war to implement anti-intellectual, low-culture values and destroy anything perceived to aspire to any qualities beyond the strictly utilitarian?
posted by rushmc (11 comments total)
posted by rushmc at 10:11 AM on January 15, 2001

I can hear those black helo's coming in now; quick: someone toss the that roll of tinfoil!
posted by baylink at 10:18 AM on January 15, 2001

Bad enough when things like this are deliberately torn down. Worse when they've survived but succumb to accident or other mishap.

Still, it's clear this is a structure that will be eligible for special funding to reconstruct it, and that there's probably popular will to support it. Maybe even private donations -- does anybody rich live around Seattle?
posted by dhartung at 10:59 AM on January 15, 2001

A lot of the money is going to come from the trucker's insurance company. I think he or the company he works for can be sued for the rest. He did the damage, so they can pay to correct it. (I have a feeling he'll be looking for work soon.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:03 AM on January 15, 2001

Some pre-accident photos.
posted by Aaaugh! at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2001

Funny how if something in the states survives just 90 years it's a landmark. I've known people that are that old. Are they part of the Seattle tour?
US = culture free zone
posted by greyscale at 1:03 PM on January 15, 2001

i forgot, thus this followup: the stadium was a planned replacement!
posted by greyscale at 1:05 PM on January 15, 2001

I walked past that pergola every day for several years - and am amazed that nobody got hurt, there's always someone under there. I'm sure they'll rebuild it. Maybe they'll even reintroduce the cool old underground restrooms that it originally covered.
posted by kokogiak at 1:29 PM on January 15, 2001

Funny how if something in the states survives just 90 years it's a landmark.

There's so many things wrong with this statement, I don't know where to begin lambasting you, greyscale... ;)

Considering that Seattle was only founded 150 years ago (or thereabouts, I couldn't find an exact date), and that most of the city's growth has occured since the late 1890s, a structure that is 90 years old certainly has some distinction based on age alone.

Secondly, the assumption isn't that the pergola was a landmark only because it was old, but rather because it was visually distinctive, as well as having served a unique and valuable function in its urban context. If something as useful and beautiful were built today in Seattle or any city, it too would be a landmark.

US = culture free zone

Is "World outside US = elitist snobbery zone" a fair comeback?
posted by daveadams at 12:06 PM on January 16, 2001

I grew up here in Seattle and am both disturbed and pleased bya lot of the changes taking place in my hometown. Change in a fact of life but
you get used to certain things being there: Mt. Rainier, The Space Needle, Henry Moore's 'Veritbrae'. They add meaning to your life in small and subtle ways, maybe helping to anchor you to the place.
That pergola was a beautiful and singular work. To see it destroyed was almost like a slap in the face! I hope it can be restored.
posted by black8 at 3:49 PM on January 16, 2001

Greyscale: I grew up in Portland, Oregon, which is about as young as Seattle, and in that part of the country works by European immigrants more than a hundred years old really are rare. Then I moved to Boston, and had a bit of culture shock. Initially I lived in Salem MA, and in the middle of town is a 400 year old cemetary. It was quite strange to walk in the place and read the dates on the tombstones. There are cemetaries like that all through New England. The house I lived in was originally built in the 1820's, though it had been remodeled more than once. Harvard University was established about 400 years ago, though I don't think there are any buildings there which are that old. However, there are many buildings in the Boston area which date back to the 18th century. In New England, something 90 years old is usually not considered noteworthy unless it has other important features.

The definition of "antiquity" varies depending on where in the US you are. I sometimes wonder what it must be like living somewhere like Greece or Turkey where you can find things which are thousands of years old.

There are actually a few such in the US. In SW Colorado state is Mesa Verde National Park, which preserves the cliff dwellings there. They were abandoned by the Anasazi over 700 years ago, probably due to climatic changes associated with the "Little Ice Age" which may have made the rains stop (it's extremely arid there now). It appears to have been a tough area to live in, because they built their cities where they did to make them easier to defend. (Pull up the ladders, then laugh at your enemies and shoot arrows at them.)

Even older, though less spectacular, are the "mounds" in the US MidWest, created by those who are called the Mound Builders. The later mounds are huge. Because of their clean geometric lines and terraces they are very clearly not natural. Those date back a couple thousand years.

Here in California, we have things built by the Spaniards which go back maybe three centuries, since California was only taken from Mexico in 1848 (and became a state in 1850). Oregon only became a state in 1859, and they were the two earliest ones in the far western US. The rest came much later. San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco were all founded and named by the Spanish.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:08 PM on January 16, 2001

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