A Brutalist Building for a Bureau of Brutality

To beautify a house of sin is to bless the perpetuation of certain sins. That these sins violate not only the laws of man but the commandments of God reminds us that these sins are of a covetous nature and that the nature of this house, the J. Edgar Hoover Building, is to covet and collect the entirety of a neighbor’s house—to listen, record, and transcribe everything a person says or does.

This is the house of Hoover, Mueller, Comey, and Freeh.

This is the house of blackmail toward a black leader of the civil rights movement.

This is the house of Waco and Ruby Ridge.

This is the house in which the worst spirits of another house, the White House, thrive.

And that White House is the house in which the words of two men of two presidencies—one a presidential aide and wordsmith, a White House ghost named Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the other a haunted president named Richard M. Nixon—speak to the crimes of the government. Because when the government lies, when an agent of the government must lie, that means that it is not illegal.

But when a citizen lies to an FBI agent, of course it is illegal.

Even a declaration of innocence is criminal if the government wins a conviction against a citizen.

Under such a system, the architecture of law and order is incidental to justice. The architecture itself is an injustice to our temples of law, language, culture, institutions, literature, history, and tradition.

The architecture is the concrete expression of doublespeak, of illusions that produce facades, of spaces that go nowhere, of files that contain nothing but negative space.

The architecture is a building without the scaffolding of rhetoric.

Neither pleasurable to the eye nor agreeable to the ear, the architecture continues to crack; the cracks continue to widen; the concrete continues to crumble.

The building may collapse, but the blueprints permit the architects to rebuild.

The fortress they build threatens to imprison us all.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

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