“What are the Seven Wonders now?”

“As Having Life”: Reflections
on the Gem of the Mall

If you are walking east from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, along the walkway bordering either side of the Reflecting Pool, you will cross paths with the World War II Veterans Memorial that abuts the pool at its southernmost edge. In fact, you cannot stroll along the historic pool’s perimeter without intersecting the broad configuration of fountains, pillars, and pavilions, known somewhat popularly as the “Gem of the Mall.”

If you find it, as I did, wandering southeast from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, you will pass through a tall, granite archway into a pavilion marked by the inscription “,” designating the Western theater of the war.





From The Straddler Archives

Muddling Towards the Next
Crisis: in Conversation with
James Kenneth Galbraith

“We are going to come to a point of decision fairly soon as to whether the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society survive.”

The War on Contingency
“To forestall the untoward vicissitudes of Chance, commerce now deploys its energies increasingly into categories of activity that fall broadly under the rubric of Data-Mining.”

Both Sides of the Camera
“Let Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond as Salome, in a scene in which she descends the staircase for Cecil B. De Mille in a movie directed by Billy Wilder, be a stand-in for what we mean to convey by the term document.”

“But leisure. Yes, to be allowed leisure, to dispose of time to one’s mind’s content.”