Wednesday, October 05, 2011


After my jaunt to the National Building Museum, I went over to the MLK Library.  Hadn't been inside there since senior year of high school.  I am going to use that as a perfect segue to the MLK Memorial, which I visited a few weeks back.  

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

I know there was a bit of controversy over the MLK Memorial for the "socialist realism," but I think that critique was a bit overhyped.  I have seen plenty of socialist realism statues in China, Vietnam, Central and Eastern Europe and other places and this really doesn't feel like comrade architecture unless you want to nitpick.  I really liked the statue and thought it gave an interesting perspective of MLK that was unique from other statues around this city of monuments.  I also liked the way he was coming out of the stone mountain, I thought it was an interesting rendering that got bonus points for originality.

The location of the memorial is also nice.  I was there on a steely-grey day, and the backdrop of the tidal pool and Jefferson memorial made for great scenery.

I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America.

I also thought the crescent of quotes was a nice touch.  There were some very moving quotes from Dr. King, but that brings us to the other controversy: the paraphrased quote.  That I will accept as a legit concern.  Given that the memorial has a number of direct quotes from the good Reverend, it is not proper to have a paraphrased quote on the actual statue because it leads the audience to think it was actually something he said.  Those behind the memorial did a great job on the whole, but should have known better on this count.  Prof. Rockower will deduct points and bestow an A- on the endeavor.  

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