January 22, 2009

floo floo bird

from Aaron Britt's contribution to the dwell blog:
President Obama's inaugural address sent me running for William Safire's splendid compendium of great speeches (he used to write speeches for President Nixon), Lend Me Your Ears. I set out to consult Jefferson's first inaugural address - notable for those wonderful lines: "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle," but found myself wandering around inside the book until I hit upon a doozie from Frank Lloyd Wright.

Given to the Association of Federal Architects in Washington DC in 1938, Wright's speech castigates the direction of American architecture by comparing it to a floo floo bird, "that peculiar and especial bird who always flew backward. To keep the wind out of its eyes? No. Just because it didn't give a darn where it was going, but just had to see where it had been."


Obama may be one hell of an orator, but Wright had him beat in at least one category: orneriness. He closes the speech with two thunderous lines that every libertarian should have stuck to his fridge: "I know of nothing more silly than to expect 'government' to solve our advanced problems for us. If we have no ideas, how can government have any?"

In his 1957 interview with Mike Wallace, an 89-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright betrays his elitist attitudes toward architecture and society (and demonstrates a bit of orneriness).

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