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Incalculable loss April 16, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Some grim scenes in Paris last night, and those the product of accident or possibly neglect rather than malicious intent (not that that stopped some from saying otherwise). But in terms of a loss to human culture…

The Louvre Museum has described the blaze as “a tragedy for World Heritage”.

A comment on the art museum’s official Twitter account said: “The fire which has struck Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a tragedy for World Heritage.

“The Louvre expresses its deepest admiration and solidarity with those who are currently battling the flames.”

The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, features in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.


1. GW - April 16, 2019

I think I was there twice but don’t remember the interior particularly, in comparison with other cathedrals that I do remember.

All kinds of thoughts went through my head last night, including “should you rebuild?”.

Why should Christian European culture assume that it’s going to last forever?

Why not shore up what remains and do something contemporary with it? Why this quasi-literalist reproduction rather than echoing the past in a more complex and even ambiguous way?

What is the political content of this kind of heritage culture?

The worst example of kitsch rebuilding is here in Berlin where they are rebuilding the imperial palace. A wholly political act – the CDU city and national government wanted to erase traces of the DDR and rebirth a monument of German imperial power.

But then it’ll be decades of interesting work for stone-masons, carpenters and roofers on a public space, and the labour could be spent on worse things.


WorldbyStorm - April 16, 2019

I’m agnostic or at a stretch agnostic theist but I do have a soft spot for these buildings – Cologne Cathedral really impressed me and though one of the smaller spires of Barcelona Sagrada Familia was kind of terrifying to find oneself in the interior is remarkable and I view them more as places for contemplation than much else. Notre Dame was beautiful but smaller than I expected. But that’s me and you’re right there is s political and other content. I hope if it is rebuilt it does take some chances and it’s not just a straight reproduction – I think the instinct to rebuild is quite human – it is the spot the church was on for centuries so difficult to walk away from it. My concerns are as much in a way for the artworks as anything else – I wonder how much was saved.


Jim Monaghan - April 16, 2019

The DDR and indeed most of the post WW2 eastern regimes reconstructrued quite faithfully.


GW - April 16, 2019

You said it Jim – not just the eastern block but also the west that suffered from the last (pre EU) general European orgy of internal destruction, aka WWII.

It’s possible to forget in many towns and cities that the ‘historic centre’ that we admire are more or less faithful reconstructions.


2. EWI - April 16, 2019

The interior stone roof nearly entirely held, the spire, most of the roof and the destroyed window all being 18th century additions or reconstructions from what I understand. The structure has previoisly been laser-scanned to a 3D pointcloud so exact reconstruction is entirely possible (and the spire’s statues were removed last week).

Not the first fire to be caused by the carelessness of construction workers.


EWI - April 16, 2019

(Should be ‘nineteenth’)


yourcousin - April 16, 2019

“Not the first fire to be caused by the carelessness of construction workers.”

How about we refrain from assigning blame until an investigation is complete? Since we literally have no idea what happened.

Liked by 1 person

GW - April 16, 2019

True ‘dat, YC.

I thought the following was quite fair about just how hard it is to avoid the extra risks on historic building sites.


Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 16, 2019

the Mckintosh Building would be particularly sad for me. Somewhere I’d long wanted to see.


Stan - April 18, 2019

The cause remains unknown, it was declared an accident before the fire was put out.

It probably was.

No certainty in that, hundreds of French Churches have been attacked in the last 2 years and not by French people.


GW - April 18, 2019


Nay thousands – or so I read of Facebook, fount of all truth in a post-truth world.

Our very own racist troll.

It was the Vikings what done it, you know. They have form.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 18, 2019

+1 GW


Joe - April 18, 2019
GW - April 18, 2019

Barbarians, every man jack of them.


3. Lamentreat - April 17, 2019

A not quite pedantic point… The name of Hugo’s great book is “Notre Dame de Paris”. The “Hunchback of Notre Dame” is the Disney film…


GW - April 17, 2019

Up the pedants and down with US cultural imperialism! 🙂


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