by Whet Moser
I find it a little tasteless that there is a memorial being built to the World Trade Center dead even as we watch the world their deaths ushered in slide further into chaos. The only memorial worthy of the dead--whether civilians massacred or soldiers slain in battle--is to bring the perpetrators to justice and the world to some measure of peace. That not being done, a tower and a museum and solemn observances and politicians' obeisance and everything else is just more of the cheap sentiment that has oiled the machinery of this disaster so far.
I don't think this is exactly true--the memorial isn't exactly being built. What has been achieved is, according to the veteran architecture critic and NYC native Ada Louise Huxtable, "the greatest planning fiasco in the history of the world." Which is resonant in its own way.
Though I'd caution reading too much into this from a national-culture angle; this is strictly an urban planning disaster, which is why it bears watching from this big city.