An intellectual blogger with a perverse taste and seemingly insatiable appetite for the low in culture whom I refuse to name and whose blog I've just removed from our Culture Blogs listing and refuse to here link, yesterday posted the following:
I just wrote a note to the National Trust for Historical Preservation. Somebody's gotta take the hard-reactionary stance, darn it.Dear All --
I'd been under the impression that the preservation movement came about in large part as a protest against what modernism has done to our environment. An anti-modernist stance is certainly why I at least am interested in supporting the preservation movement.
So imagine my dismay in recent years as the National Trust has taken it more and more on themselves to speak up for and agitate for preservation of modernist buildings. I notice in your Jan/Feb issue two major articles cryin' the blues about supposed modernist masterpieces, for example. (One of them is here.)
I'm very sorry to see that you've fallen for the architecture world's argument that modernism now deserves to be seen not as a disastrous episode in architecture history, but as a worthy-of-preservation moment.
The argument the architecture establishment is making is yet another in a series of their endless attempts to legitimize and perpetuate modernism. "It wasn't so bad ... It was well-intended ... After all, some of the buildings were great ... It deserves love and care too ... Why not embrace it?"
No no no. The current architecture establishment is the direct descendant of the original modernists, and they're doing what they can to entice preservationists into supporting their awful line of descent. They're doing what they can to co-opt their enemies.
Don't fall for it. Insist on the facts: Modernism stank, and was a destructive and totalitarian disaster.
We should be fighting these attempts to redeem modernism, not falling for them. Let's be clear: Modernism was a terrible disaster, the worst thing to happen in all of architectural history. The scale of its damage to our shared environment is on a par with what happens when wars devastate cities and countrysides.
Well, I guess you already have fallen for the let's-preserve-modernism line, darn it.
Would you mind directing me to a truly anti-modernist, pro-preservation-of-traditional-architecture organization?
I wonder if they'll print it. Any bets?
I replied thusly to the above in the comments section of the post in question:
If you can find anyone to take the "Will" side, I'll take the other side, and give 1000-1 odds into the bargain.
Why should they print your letter? It's thoroughly uninformed, and reads like something written by a zealot from the lunatic fringe with an ax to grind. It's one thing to skewer Modernist architecture for its real failures and absurd moral cast. It's quite another to blanket-condemn the architecture of an entire architectural movement that was one of the most inventive and, at its best, one of the most aesthetically satisfying in all architectural history.
My above comment was summarily deleted by the post's author almost as soon as it was posted, and I reprint it here just for the record.