Can there be a take about the Notre Dame fire other than being in somber reverence for the magnificent and meaningful structure? Yes, apparently, courtesy of Rolling Stone magazine. On Tuesday, the outlet published some nonsense about how the cathedral was an eyesore anyway and was actually a symbol of oppression for many French citizens.
But for some people in France, Notre Dame has also served as a deep-seated symbol of resentment, a monument to a deeply flawed institution and an idealized Christian European France that arguably never existed in the first place. “The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,” says Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at Harvard University. If nothing else, the cathedral has been viewed by some as a stodgy reminder of “the old city — the embodiment of the Paris of stone and faith — just as the Eiffel Tower exemplifies the Paris of modernity, joie de vivre and change,” Michael Kimmelmann wrote for the New York Times. (Rolling Stone)
Another historian quoted in the piece, the University of Toronto's John Harwood, says it would be a mistake to view the building as little more than a Paris tourist attraction, according to Rolling Stone.
“It’s literally a political monument," he said. "All cathedrals are.”
To make matters worse, Rolling Stone featured that awful quote from the Harvard University historian in their tweet linking to the article. The message doesn't have many retweets, but it does have plenty of comments.
"The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation." We talked to architects and historians about the significance of Notre Dame — and what should happen next https://t.co/0tulGIjwMA pic.twitter.com/pNll70pJfF— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 16, 2019
Here were some of the better responses.
Notre Dame is not just a building—it’s an 856-year-old Catholic Cathedral, built for God, inside which Christians adore Him. It can never be “overburdened with meaning”. These architects can take their slimy ideas of redesign and flush them down the toilet.— Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone) April 17, 2019
I think many French including the Parisians who were crying in the streets would disagree with your Harvard professor. Shame on you for giving credibility to such nonsense and headlining it. I’m no devout Christian but the Notre Dame is symbolic of many things. Hatred isn’t one— real_sgafan (@real_sgafan) April 17, 2019
Rolling Stone is so overburdened with irrelevance that its going out of business will be an act of liberation.— Sebastian Lopez (@Lhikevikk) April 17, 2019
To French citizens and Catholics all over the world, the 856-year-old church is a powerful place of prayer. Parisiens have sung hymns and shed some tears near the cathedral the past two days. The iconic spire and the entire roof of the cathedral collapsed, but most of the inside of the church appears to be intact. It is, however, incredibly vulnerable, firefighters warned. French President Emmanuel Macron shared his hope on Tuesday night that they would rebuild Notre Dame in the next five years.
What happened to the days when Rolling Stone wrote about rock music?