Blogger Sissy Willis dissents from the condemnation of the design for the United Flight 93 memorial. In an email message this morning, Sissy writes “that visual illiteracy on the part of otherwise smart and knowledgeable opinion shapers like Michelle [Malkin] may be the problem.” Sissy has posted items defending the memorial design here, here and here. Because I didn’t understand how a design named “Crescent of Embrace” could be understood as something other than a crescent, I asked Sissy to reiterate her argument in a straightforward statement. Sissy writes:
As I see it, the crescent is in the eye of the beholder, a projection of what Michelle and others want to see in the design. I agree with Dean Esmay, who says in his most recent post “it seems to me to point to a growing trend of the right to be as shrill and perpetually indignant as the PC mavens most of us grew to hate so much in the 1990s.”
Re the design itself: A crescent like the one that is a well known symbol of Islam is tapered at both ends and swells toward the center, in imitation of the shape of a crescent moon, as the root of the word — from the Latin crescere for grow — suggests. By contrast, the curved shape on the Flight 93 plan is of equal width throughout — more like the rim of a pie plate, as my play on Michelle’s/Zombie’s animated giff illustrates. The color on the plan is a mixture of red and orange, representing the fall colors of two deciduous species — red maple and sugar maple — that will be planted on the site.
As a person who recognizes the power of words to win or lose hearts and minds, I fault the architects for their insistence on retaining the potentially provocative and inaccurate title “crescent of embrace” rather than the more abstract and descriptive “arc of embrace” recommended by the jury, and as a landscape architect I blame their artistic failure to convey through their graphics — to the average person not accustomed to interpreting topographical plans — a sense of the place they envision.
The Baltimore Sun fails to shed any light in its article on the memorial: “Honoring the dead, seeking meaning.” Reader Jean P. observes:
In today’s Baltimore Sun, the article about the Flight 93 memorial very deliberately does not use the phrase “Crescent of Embrace.” Instead it twice talks about the “Tower of Voices,” which seems to be just one part of the memorial. However, the article makes it seems as if that is the only name for the memorial.
The Sun apparently wants to help its readers avoid beholding the crescent.