The Great Phallic Debate
It’s been seven months since Paris and the world at large witnessed the destruction of the roof and spire of Notre-Dame de Paris after the security team – who literally ‘had one job’ – failed to notice a raging fire on top of one of the most prominent buildings in the city.
The immediate rush of enthusiasm for a grand reconstruction project from the international community and the French government has since dried up quite spectacularly. On Wednesday Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army general whose natural wealth of knowledge about medieval architecture won him the job of special representative for the reconstruction project, told Phillippe Villeneuve (an actual architect) to ‘shut up’.
The debate centres around whether the spire of the building should be rebuilt identically to the original or revamped in glass and steel. Georgelin is of the latter view while the architect in charge of the project favours a traditional approach. So far advocates for an all-Lego reconstruction are notably absent from the discussion.
Speaking at a meeting, the General said “I have asked to him (Villeneuve) a few times… to shut his mouth so that we can move forward wisely to serenely make the best choices for Notre Dame”. French culture minister Frank Riester was quick to label his comments ‘not acceptable’. US President Donald Trump, impressed by Georgelin’s style, is said to be eyeing up the French General for a role in his cabinet.
Whether or not Notre-Dame will get a flashy new phallus remains uncertain as Villeneuve has made clear his refusal to compromise; the issue is likely to remain controversial.