Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 17, 2010 / 4 Sivan 5770

Eyesore of the Month

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was one of those perfect days in early May. At eventide. Just the right time to check out the latest version of the new fountain at the federal courthouse in Little Rock -- the latest thing in public art. Unfortunately. The "fountain" has drawn almost uniformly bad reviews from the public subjected to it. For it's nothing but a few gurgling pipes piled atop each other and called Art.

The thing has been regularly repaired, removed or just hidden in futile attempt after another to soften its impact. But the changes are about as effective as planting rose bushes around a continuing carwreck. The thing can be perfectly still, yet manage to clang.

It would be interesting to see what the redesigners had done this time -- a bit like visiting a mortician to see how he made his subjects look so natural.

By the time I got to the scene of the crime, the light was mercifully fading, and that part of downtown was as deserted as usual at day's end. All was still, empty, a frame you could walk into. The courthouse itself is a model of adaptation. The neo-classical lines of the old U.S. Post Office have been smoothly melded into a new, Romanesque addition. The way the law itself should take shape in a stable but flexible society. Continuity counts.

The birds were singing their evensong, the flowers coming into bloom, and I thought I could hear the watery sound before I got to the fountain. It was the perfect place for a cleansing pool, just outside a temple of the law. G0d knows how many lives, not to mention how much fame and fortune, had been sacrificed to the fickle gods inside those walls. I recalled attending the trial of an Arkansas governor named Jim Guy Tucker here. He'd got caught up in the ripples of Whitewater when it was but a gurgle. It would end his political career.

Yes, a fountain was just what was needed here. It would wash away painful memories, give respite, heal. Then I looked down and saw it. Like pairs of ragged claws scuttling across silent seas. It's the Jabberwock of fountains -- oh, the jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Somehow the thing had moved since I'd been here last, like a predator choosing a new ledge to hide under. But it couldn't be entirely hidden. It still looked like a pair of giant forceps some Titan had left behind after gouging into mother Earth. It lay in wait for the unwary -- zigzag, off-center, ready to strike without warning.

People come here looking for the sight and sound of cool water. Then they look down and find a pick-up-sticks pile of pipes that glare and clash even in the evening sun. I made a mental note: Don't come back to see how it looks at high noon in full, menacing glare. The thing tended to collect the detritus of the day -- fallen leaves, a plastic wrapping, clumps of dead grass … and it still leaked. Or maybe it was just spillage after the other day's storm. You want to watch your step.

Physicians bury their mistakes; architects cover them with ivy. The landscapers called in to provide decent cover are doing their best. A 2,000-square-foot section of the lawn has been resodded. A stack of benches next to the courthouse waited to be set out. Trees have been moved, and new ones -- Japanese Zelkova, they're called -- are being deployed. Flowering bushes, holly and grasses are to provide a perimeter defense. All in vain. The only thing not being done is what needs to be done: Remove the eyesore.

Imagine if a landscape architect like P. Allen Smith had been called in to do his fine thing in the first place, instead of trying to make the best of this bad idea. And not a cheap one. This horse trough of a fountain -- though to make horses drink from the jagged, metallic pipes would be animal cruelty -- cost the United States government (that's you and me) $391,000. The landscaping it necessitated is to run another $194,000. And the fountain's biggest drawback hasn't been corrected: It's still visible.

It's not just the current and future size of the national debt that strikes an observer (like a brickbat) but some of the bizarre things all that money is being wasted on.

The poor judge who'd been designated as the liaison with the sculptor took a look at the finished work, and summed up the challenge this Work of Art presents. The question, said Her Honor, "is whether an ugly picture can be improved with a nice frame." The frame is indeed going to be nice. Unfortunately, the picture is still there.

It's not that the fountain is unworthy of recognition. There's an irresistible website called The Eyesore of the Month. You might call it up if you can stand the worst examples of public art around these days. This latest addition/subtraction to Little Rock's urban landscape would fit right in.

For April, the website chose one of Frank Gehry's specials as its eyesore of the month -- a brain health clinic in Las Vegas that, appropriately enough, looks as if it's got delirium tremens.

For the website's May selection, I hereby nominate Little Rock's own Jabberwock.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles