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Hatred In Architecture

October 21, 2021

Hate and the internet seems to be peaches and cream: a marriage made in heaven.

Politics is the screaming freak show of indictment, anger, accusation, insult and hyperbole, but that is not the limit.

Virtually anything anyone posts, says, or comments on anything and trolls can rise up out of anonymity and scream a fully livid scream of outrage, in righteous accusation over, well, anything. Last week IU wrote a completely benign 700 word piece on the early embrace of Modernism in the tweedy state of Connecticut. I was immediately berated for not including the racist laws of Connecticut and Nazi leanings of some of the architects that I referred to.

I said that was a terrific article, and should be written. I was then told that I was wrong in not including it, Others chimed in. A simple popular press piece became a forum of righteous indignation over my lack of sensitivity to the need to educate the world on antisemitism.

This attitude, of noble reaction against an oppressive or victimizing mainstream, of gaining control over powerful inhuman oppressors. The housing industry is fully flamed by Kate Wagner and McMansion Hell. But with no insult, shrill accusations or broader hate. Another wildly popular site “That’s It, I’m Architecture Shaming” randomly affords Facebook Friends to post images they hate. Often humorous, some even quite lovely, but no rancor or outrage beyond the image offered.

This spirit of righteousness creates hits, and justifies itself, creating its own truth in the passion of its advocacy. Of course there is some reality of every angry protest, but the extrapolation into worldwide conspiracies and unjust oppression of the victims of evil in our culture. But that is tame compared to Patrick Webb’s Facebook page. There, many times a day, the decorative plasterer posts images of nightmare development and architectural excess and says simply “This is Modernism”. Hideosities are full throated declared to be directly caused by the architecture Style of Modernism. Long screeds often follow of the literal evil of all but the ancient ways of living and making. It is a world view some have, but without the near hysteric state of hate for the world that has moved in larger interests of profit and power.

Rather that response to factual questions raised in the reactions, like every good political cite, on the internet those posting their anger summarily dismissive different perspectives as part of the conspiracy to subvert human dignity and beauty. Insults soon follow (to me, I never attack the messenger, just the message) like this exchange:

I expected nothing other than this sophistry, but the recent extension into create a worldwide boogeyman of Modernism is a natural result of the frustration and alienation many feel with the fresh sense of connection found in the internet. The tragedy is that this connection should promote dialogue and sharing, but as with politics, COVID and puppy videos, anger overwhelms.

Hate and fear found in the way a style of architecture takes an aesthetic and turns it into a symptom of the darkest parts of all humanity, ruining the world for the innocent. Absurd, if it was not sad.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2021 12:36 pm

    Just. wow.
    I can’t explain how wrong Dustin is, and how someday, when he’s headed off to dreamland, he’s going to remember those words, and a sense of shame is going to flood his brain. His sleep will be filled with nightmares. He’ll relive those words over and over, trying to erase them, but they’ll never go away. Cruelty has a way of eating at the soul like an acid.

  2. Erik Evens permalink
    October 27, 2021 9:24 am

    Modernism is a philosophy, one which is exemplified in certain styles of art and architecture.

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