Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I am sometimes very shocked at the low-quality articles of major importance that you see on Wikipedia.

I was updating the list of landmarks in the District of Columbia. You might not be aware, but at least 12 major memorials are built in this city every year. The National Mall is just cluttered with memorials, many of them to people or events long forgotten now.

Right near the Bartholdi Fountain, less than two blocks from the U.S. Capitol, a major new memorial to disabled veterans is going up. It's the brainchild of Lois Pope Generoso, a former (minor) Broadway singer who married the guy who owned the National Enquirer. After her husband's death in 1988, she's decided to spend his millions by supporting the disabled. She runs her own "Lois Pope Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE) Foundation" to help train disabled people, and she runs an "Unsung Disabled Heroes" award show each year (although nearly all the people she gives awards to are pretty famous already).

Pope began pushing for a disabled veterans memorial in 1997, and no one ever said no. The politics were just not going to permit it, even though the National Mall is chock-a-block with veterans memorials. (It may as well be a war cemetery over there.) Pope provided 10 percent of the funding for the $86 million memorial, far more than anyone else did. Still, fund-raising took almost a decade, despite the supposedly wide-spread support the memorial had. Although most people wanted a "landscape memorial" -- one that relies primarily on trees, bushes, and grass rather than reflecting pools, fountains, statues, and walls -- Pope did a 180 after the memorial was approved and sought a standard memorial. Lots of people feel burned by her. Her standard memorial is being built, complete with "eternal flame" (which will cost about $10,000 a year to fuel). Pope wanted, and Pope got, a "teaching memorial". So instead of just some statues and a plaque, you have lots and lots and lots of walls with lots and lots and lots of text, lots and lots and lots of modern photo-etched images, and so on. Frankly, no one is gonna stand there and read all that. Just not gonna happen. They're going to come, glide past the glass walls and their images, drift past the bronze silhouettes, look at the flame and pool, and move on. It's how they treat the FDR memorial and the Japanes-American internment memorial, and it's how they'll treat this one.

At any rate, the Wikipedia article on this memorial is really pathetic. It's nothing more than a self-glorifying advertisement for the foundation running the memorial construction project. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the board members has a bio there. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the advisory board members has a bio there. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the donors is listed.

There's NOTHING about the memorial, but plenty of laudatory stuff about the people financing it.

That will change as soon as I can get it done. What a bunch of fucking self-important jerks these people are!

(By the way, in this image of the memorial, North is at the top of the star. I don't know why the memorial's designers never orient it that way.)

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