Sophistic Jaundice Tuesday
1. I know HBO’s adaptation of Game Change is a dramatization of one side of one story, but if there’s even a smidgen of truth to any of it, thinking people who live in our Republic need to work together – multipartisanly – to ensure that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is never elected to anything ever again. I don’t just mean some national position – I’m saying that her particular mixture of proud ignorance and narcissism is downright dangerous, and she doesn’t deserve election even to a homeowner’s association.
2. Interesting that the Oishei Foundation, which was set up with Trico money, isn’t knee-jerkedly joining the keep it crowd when it comes to the Trico building that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus wants to demolish to make way for something as yet unannounced. There’s now a “save Trico” blog, and it has reposted something from Derek Punaro in which he analyzes what he perceives to be the arguments against preserving the dormant factory. My response to him was this:
You omitted the part about landowners having a qualified right to do what they want with the property they own.
You’re right about most of your points, but so what? Trico is gone, and hell, if you try hard enough you can come up with an historic rationale to save any building, anywhere, at any time. I’ll bet you if someone came up with a reasonable, funded plan to replace the execrable Buffalo City Court building, there’d be opposition to it. And if there wasn’t, I’d do so ironically.
A quick scan of the BNMC plan shows that the surface parking lots surrounding the Trico are already slated for development, and expansion of the campus.
So, if tomorrow the BNMC held a press conference revealing what it wanted to build on the Trico plant site, that it wanted to build it as soon as practicable after demolition, and that the funding for it was in place, you’d withdraw your opposition?
Because the question isn’t really whether Trico COULD be used as a modern medical research facility – the question is whether BNMC wants to use it as such – whether its layout comports with the way in which BNMC wants its people to work, and whether it’s economically or environmentally feasible or desirable to do so.
Just because Zemsky re-did the Larkin doesn’t mean every factory and warehouse facility that happens to be old and harken back to a long-gone industry needs to be preserved. What I tweeted yesterday was,
The Trico Building is a monument to nostalgia & the industrial abandonment of Buffalo. Hold @BNMC to a high standard, but let them build.
I stand by that statement.
Derek and I aren’t going to agree on this, and that’s ok. He’ll advocate for its preservation, and I’ll hope someone rips it the hell down and builds something new as soon as possible. To me, it’s time for the next generation of Tricos and Larkins to make their architectural mark on the city, and the BNMC has built a couple of badass new buildings lately. Knee-jerkedly keeping every old building for the sake of its oldness and some trumped-up “significance” is just tiresome.
But then local expert-at-everything Chuck Banas left a comment that began thusly:
Mr. Punaro has written an excellent deconstruction of the issue. It is no surprise, nonetheless, that Mr. Bendenko’s mindless contrarianism is on full display here. Indeed, his comments display the lack of creativity and vision — as well as the cynicism — that we’ve come to expect.
But Bedenko’s train of logic really derails when he states that Mr. Punaro is correct about most (if not all) of his points, and then glibly says, “so what?” Even a cursory interpretation of Punaro’s individual arguments reveals them to be germane and immensely relevant. The Trico buildings are exactly the type of structures that successful, progrssive cities preserve and repurpose. These are precisely the type of industrial buildings that can be reused easily and inexpensively.
The real rub, however, is not Bedenko’s sophistic argument, but that his jaundice has apparently blinded him to the obvious problems with the BNMC’s behavior. And the problems are surely obvious:
I’m pretty sure my comment was somewhat critical of the BNMC for not being as transparent as some might like. I’m also pretty sure that my comment to Derek was respectful and didn’t call him an asshole. So, I’m puzzled as to why everyone’s favorite development/architectural busybody found the need to describe me and my position as “mindless contrarianism” and deceitfully hostile.
Also, the preservationists should make up their minds over the “significance” and “BNMC isn’t playing nice” arguments. Of course, there’s nothing short of reusing that building that the BNMC could do to satisfy the preservationists, so the former argument is probably more persuasive.
Well, my argument with Derek was none of those things, and if your position is to just call me names, mischaracterize my position, and then simply re-state what Derek has already written, then you ought to piss off.
I really dislike the Trico building. I think it’s downright ugly. An eyesore that stands as a stark reminder of how far down the city has gone. Over the last decade, it’s been nothing but a headstone for a business that’s abandoned Buffalo and her people – a business that’s still making a profit, making wipers in Matamoros, paying Mexican workers pennies per day, taking away factory jobs from the working class in Buffalo – a working class that’s finding it ever-tougher to get a job in this area, which leads to poverty and flight.
I don’t care if it’s got skylights and other fin de siecle anachronistic “features”. I don’t care if its brown paint is distinctive or if its lead paint dust or asbestos are architecturally significant. It’s a monument to loss and failure, and I’ll bet if someone wanted to build an exact replica of it today somewhere, the same people clamoring for its preservation would be screaming and yelling about how ugly and out-of-place it is for that part of town.
3. Victims of child abuse at the hands of a disgraced Syracuse coach are lobbying Albany for a change to the statute of limitations for lawsuits arising out of that abuse. People often stay silent as a result of such abuse, and live a life of shame and silence. Astonishing, isn’t it, that the major opponent to this change in the law is the Catholic Conference.
Similar bills passed in the Assembly in years past but never reached the Senate floor, because the Catholic Conference is against it. Church officials said they don’t oppose the Statue of Limitations increase, rather, the one-year window.
“Just the whole concept of going back 50, 60, 70 years and bringing old lawsuits against teachers, priests, whoever the accused is, and have the institutions try and defend themselves, is just contrary to justice,” A Representative for the Catholic Conference said.
Aside from that being an inaccurate description of the proposed law, it’s astonishing exactly who‘s piping up to oppose a rather simple change in the law to enable child sex abuse victims to get their day in court. A Cardinal, of all people.