As I watch progress on the demolition of the Brecht Butcher Supply Company buildings, I hear music in my mind:
I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it's all, it's all for nothing
I know the barricades, and
I know the mortar in the wall breaks
I recognize the weapons, I used them well
This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the wall and I will be the one to knock it down
- R.E.M., "World Leader Pretend"
I think: A priceless cultural treasure falls to the folly of a mortal vision?
Why do I shed a tear? Why do I take offense? Why do I dare publish an opinion on a matter ignored by most every upright citizen?
Let me put it this way: Imagine that you live in a world with limited resources. There can only be so many beautiful things, so many bricks made, so many walls built. The beautiful buildings have aged and show imperfection, but are still lovely and give you great joy. Then, all of a sudden, one of the buildings disappears. You miss it as you pass by its site, but you quickly look at the other great buildings. Later in the week, another building falls. Then another, and another until your walks through your own neighborhood begin to seem like intrusions into a forbidden world of darkness. The world is newly strange, and a bit terrifying. When the remaining buildings begin to breathe life again, and find new owners, you catch a goog look at hope that this dark world will be transformed.
Then, all of a sudden, an intruder arrives. Although the old cycle of destruction is over, this person doesn't seem to care. He takes the remaining buildings -- the ones eyed by your friends as future homes -- and he evicts their occupants, allows their ornament to be stripped, lets them fall over. Strange fires happen, and uncertainty returns to a reborn landscape. You cry out, but no one pays you heed as they navigate their comfortable landscapes. The intruder wears a mask and laughs at your plight. The worst part about all of this is that this is the finite world. When the last beautiful building falls, so goes the beauty in this world.