“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

just like king Nebuchnezzar's blues

Well, LI is on a tight schedule due to work this week. So we are going to have to be uncharacteristically close mouthed. We do recommend the Peter Popham article about Venice – since, obviously, the aim of this site is to highlight every fucking depressing fact we can cull from the World disaster and howl before it – or at least low, like Nebuchnezzar among the grass blades.

“The only practicable way to keep out the high tides, engineers decided, was to have gates fixed to the lagoon floor that would hinge upwards to close it off to at times of emergency. And so the Moses scheme was drawn up, envisaging 78 massive gates, each 28m wide and 18m long, fixed to the lagoon floor.

The politicians then sat down and chewed the idea over. For the best part of 30 years. There were a hundred different views on the project, and the damage it could do. It wouldn't work at all. It would cause the lagoon to fill with stagnant water, it would kill of the lagoon's ecological diversity. It was a scam by capitalist corporations to make a killing at the city's expense. Governments in Rome came and went - at the rate of about two per year - without taking the difficult decision.
Finally, three years ago, then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi cried "Basta!" and set the project in motion. The first stone, bearing his name and ceremonially set in place by him, is now at the bottom of the lagoon.”

Popham gives his undivided support to this project to save Venice. Things are bad in several ways in Venice. For instance, the population in the city of Venice proper is at the lowest point since –well, the 13th century? Unfortunately, the object of ire in Popham’s article, the new mayor of Venice and his opposition to Moses, isn’t properly described – he is only decried. Popham concedes that 20th century ‘improvements’ have played havoc with Venice:

“The man-made Venice Lagoon has three inlets from the sea. The industrialisation of the lagoon during the 20th century, the destruction of sand banks and their replacement by concrete ones, and the digging of canals to allow big ships to enter, have made the lagoon far more vulnerable to floods, experts say. Conditions inside and outside are today more or less the same.”

However, he seems to view the Moses project as unquestionable. We wonder. We do think that John Kay’s proposal that Venice be turned over to Disney – much as Times Square, at least in spirit, has been – must be making Ruskin turn over in his grave. This is the way the world ends/not with a bang but with Goofy, Pocahontas and the Lion King. As Eliot might have said – although, stuffing his pockets with cash from Cats, who know what he would have really said.

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