Architects of Victory
Presidential grade inflation reaches a tragic apotheosis with the unveiling of an exciting new Frank Gehry design for DC’s long awaited Eisenhower Memorial.
The scheme accomplishes so many goals:
– obliteration from sight of DC’s only recognition of Lyndon Johnson.
– dimming if not completely blocking Education Department views of the Capitol, giving Department employees the experience of life behind a billboard.
– further destruction of L’Enfant’s Washington street grid.
– bringing to DC more of the Stalinist bombast we’ve all so enjoyed at the World War Two Memorial.
The thing is huge. Tiny people will cavort amidst giant topless pillars to nowhere strewn about the plaza, with vast metal mesh screens blocking the Department of Education’s Lyndon Johnson Building from sight. These jumbo-trons in steel will portray scenes from Ike’s career, “amplifying the setting and creating an ideal background for the memorial experience.”
Or, as greatergreaterwashington said, ” It’s like we’ve taken the tarps that are supposed to hide the parking garages at Nationals Ballpark and turned them into a monument.”
Beneath the masses of metal a collection of stones will be arrayed in a semi-circle. This half-assed Stonehenge may host the memorable quotes we all associate with the Hero of Anacostia Flats.
The Memorial Commission presents as almost a done deal its land grab of Maryland Avenue, with the street and the triangle northwest of it already absorbed into Ike’s lebensraum.
We can look forward to further retrospective attempts to position Eisenhower as a quiet force for Civil Rights, stepping briskly past Ike’s view that “All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes.”
Also perhaps best avoided is his only gotten son, Richard Nixon.