THIS JUST IN: Tim Rogers Probably Not a Cannibal. Nasher vs. Tower Fight Drags On.
Two things to start. 1) Don't know much about architecture. 2) Tim Rogers and his wife probably are not cannibals.
Or anything like that. You know what I mean. Rogers, the editor of D Magazine, and his wife, Christine, part owner of a public relations company that has done work for the Nasher Sculpture Center, are fine people who would never ever eat anyone.
But. It does seem like Rogers takes to the web-waves with a huge THIS-JUST-IN-style screaming news bulletin every time the Culture Mob issues another whiny manifesto in The Dallas Morning News about the Nasher and how it's being subjected to building-abuse and solar molestation by nearby Museum Tower, a new fancy-schmancy condo tower accused of being too reflective.
I think we all know this back-story. The Nasher, a museum downtown, was the generous gift to the city of the late shopping mall magnate Ray Nasher, who, with his wife, the late Patsy Nasher, was a Texas-renowned collector of sculpture. Museum Tower is a not quite yet finished glass-walled building near the Nasher. The Nasher says the tower reflects too much sunlight, harming its semi-outdoor exhibits and gardens.
It goes on. Not too long ago, a top executive for the tower handed the director of the Nasher a check for five million bucks and told him to use it to readjust the lattices over his exhibits to block out more light. The Nasher guy handed the check back and told the tower guy to cover his building with louvers.
And on. The tower guy said he couldn't do the louvers because of blah-blah-blah. Then the Morning News published a manifesto by a car dealer and the wife of a wealthy man saying the condo tower was "a bad reflection on Dallas" and "it is time for Museum Tower to put an end to the damage it is causing not only to the Nasher but also to the Dallas Arts District and to the reputation of Dallas."
Well, you get a car dealer and the wife of a wealthy man tuned in together on an art issue, Tim Rogers is going to sit up and bark like a dog, which he did, with a big World War II news bulletin on Frontburner, "Nasher's Jeremy Strick Issues Call to Action Letter." Oh my God! He didn't just write a letter. He ISSUED it! If it weren't for my shyness, I might even call up and ask which part of him it issued from. I hope he's OK. And it was not just a letter. It was a CALL TO ACTION letter. It's all so thrillingly Churchillian, what?
Mmm. Maybe not so much. Louvers versus lattices? You've got to be kidding us, right? Why do D Magazine and The Dallas Morning News keep churning it like it's Benghazi?
Well, one reason. The Nasher is a holy temple of the Art Mob, by which I mean the rich patrons whose devotion to high culture in Dallas is the ultimate aspirational consumerism. They parade around and around the Nasher wailing like a vast chorus of keening castrati, with the entire editorial staffs of D and the News clumping along behind like hired mourner hags.
Me, maybe I think, "An assault on art, eh? Cool." But the chorus wails, "Oh shame, oh shame," for art is the great unassailable and holy thing here in a city where the Baptist and Episcopal religions have been replaced by the Dallas Cowboys and the Arts District.
I want to say get a hat. But as I said at the top, I don't know much about architecture. What I do know a thing or two about is the news business, publishing and how to spot certain synchronicities. For example, I note that Rogers has issued no bulletin, no screed, no Shakespearean alarum over a very interesting chapter in all of this, a piece in the News two days ago by the paper's recent star-hire, business analyst Mitchell Schnurman, in which he more or less tells the Nasher it's time to get real. Schnurman, hired away from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is a heavy-hitter who seldom misfires. I attacked him shortly after he joined the News but that had to do with my disability. (Not for sympathy, just telling you: I happen to suffer from Bad Personality Disorder. Please, no gifts. Do not make me say it twice.)
Schnurman didn't take sides exactly. He just said Museum Tower was built within the law; it meets all the city's specs and requirements; and what are the chances they're going to cover it with louvers?
Now, anybody with half an I.Q. worth of story sense would have spotted Schnurman's piece as highly anomalous and therefore worthy of note, given the degree to which it cuts against orthodoxy at the News. I would have the thought the Rogerses might have noticed it. But nary a word did appear about it on Frontburner, not a jot nor a tittle. That's what I mean by synchronicity. It's scary the degree to which the Dallas establishment and their media horns stick together on something like this. In fact my whole issue on the Nasher question has less to do with the physical situation than the cultural/political one. It just gives me the willies when they all get lined up like that, and then they start marching, and then they start chanting, and pretty soon I'm about to hop in my pickup and head for Waxahachie at midnight.
In the end I believe it will all work out fine. Museum Tower will not cover itself with louvers. The Rogerses will survive and prosper. The Nasher will move to Tyler. Mitchell Schnurman will leave the News to spend more time with his family. I will continue my crusade to bring BPD out of the closet.
But right now I look at D; I look at the News; I see all these call to action letters and this flocking behavior. Flocking, flocking, flocking, ever closer, more and more of them. I feel like Tippi Hedren in The Birds. Please, make it stop, Hitch.
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