Friday, October 5, 2007

Quotable: Herbert Muschamp

On visiting the Dachau concentration camp:

"The small size of the gas chamber comes as a surprise," he wrote. "There is nothing to see besides four walls, a floor, a ceiling and the door that leads outside."

"It is when you cross the threshold of that door that you grasp the reason for visiting Dachau. You walk out into daylight, but part of you does not leave. The doorway divides you. The part that is free to walk through the door feels disembodied, a weightless ghost. You feel lightheaded, as though you have broken the law, as indeed you have. Your passage through that door has violated the design. The room was not meant to be exited alive."

On the proposed "Freedom Tower" memorial where the WTC towers once stood:
"Even in peacetime that design would appear demagogic," Mr. Muschamp wrote. "As this nation prepares to send troops into battle, the design's message seems even more loaded. Unintentionally, the plan embodies the Orwellian condition America's detractors accuse us of embracing: perpetual war for perpetual peace."
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