American Values Now in Question at Ground Zero
First, anyone lame enough to involve themselves with a "cultural" institution in New York City called the International Freedom Center deserves what they get. It was a moronic (not to mention redundant) idea from the get-go, and, although I'm repulsed by the rhetoric some family members of 9/11 vicitms have used to argue against it, I'm in no way sorry to see it gone. We have Disneyland to fill our need for that sort of sentiment.
Secondly, as I noted here, I never thought it was a good idea for the Drawing Center to consider moving to Ground Zero either. There was no way family members of victims were not going insist that anything exhibited there first consider the location, so there was no way the Drawing Center wouldn't be constantly fighting or curbing their curation. Believe me when I say there is nothing cited among the examples of "anti-American" work already exhibited by the Drawing Center that I would agree was offensive to the victims, but there's just not enough time to educate those who would find offense in anything that challenges their worldview, so it was, again, never a good idea.
Thirdly, I full expect the Joyce and the Signature Theaters to have their programs examined under a red-white-and-blue microscope, and editorials in the tabloids to decry them as unpatriotic, as plans to build the performing arts center there progress too. Despite what Gretchen Dykstra, president of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, said about the commitment to the performing arts center being "strong and deep," it's clear that from Pataki and Hillary on down, the "commitment" to culture at Ground Zero takes an immediate back seat to political aspirations. In New York City, no less.
As I noted in my previous posts on this topic, my visceral response to the complaints of 9/11 victims' families is "Hey, leave those folks alone. Whatever has prompted them to speak out, they deserve to be heard."
HOW-fucking-EVER, I will rant and rave against them like a banshee on acid if they don't demonstrate the same passion and united front against the other plans being rolled out for that location:
A day after evicting the International Freedom Center museum from the memorial area at ground zero for being too controversial, officials described a plan yesterday for a half-million square feet of retail space elsewhere on the World Trade Center site. [...]That's right. Pataki and his culturally bankrupt cronies won't fight for an independent celebration of art at Ground Zero, but they will climb in bed with Wal-Mart to develop it for retail (so help me God, if they build a Wal-Mart at Ground Zero, I'll never shop south of Canal Street again). I expect the families of 9/11 victims to write and call and visit the Governor, en masse, to prevent this desecration of that sacred ground. I'm serious. If they don't, I'll consider all their complaints thus far mere hollow prattle and as such an insult to their loved ones' memories.
Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by Crain's New York Business, [John P. Cahill, Gov. George E. Pataki's chief of staff and the top-ranking downtown development official] said: "I have met with many business and community leaders, and they have told me firsthand about the need to expeditiously restore retail at the World Trade Center site. I could not agree more."
A table full of Wal-Mart executives also seemed to agree. "It would be a wonderful opportunity for any retailer to have that access to all those potential customers," said Mia Masten, Wal-Mart's director of corporate affairs, after listening to Mr. Cahill's speech.
But Ms. Masten said that she and her colleagues were at the breakfast simply to meet other executives and demonstrate their commitment to building in New York City, where Wal-Mart has faced a great deal of opposition.