Eiffel Tower: Iconic monument, critical lesson

We went to visit the Eiffel Tower again. Our fourth visit in five years. More

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Eiffel Tower: Iconic monument, critical lesson

Posted 10/15/12

We went to visit the Eiffel Tower again. Our fourth visit in five years.

What do you know about the Eiffel Tower?

When it was built it was, to say the least, the most controversial structure of all-time. Hundreds protested it, criticized it, campaigned against it, said it was a disgrace to architecture and predicted it would be the ruination of Paris.

The story is fascinating. You can read about its history on Wikipedia, where I learned, “Some of the protestors eventually changed their minds when the tower was built. Others remained unconvinced. Guy de Maupassant supposedly ate lunch in the Tower’s restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure.”

EPILOG: The tower was built to world acclaim. It’s one of the most impressive structures in the universe. It’s not just stunning to look at, it’s also inspiring to be in its presence. An estimated 10 million visitors a year come to admire its glory. It is the heart and soul of Paris and it’s the symbol by which the city has been known for more than 100 years.

At the base of his tower there’s an amazing statue to honor Gustave Eiffel. Interesting to note that NONE of the people who criticized him have statues at the base.

How much more wrong could the protesters and critics have been?

Were they trying to build up or tear down? Encourage or discourage? Encourage or disparage? In hindsight, the critics seem contrite, shallow, self-serving, prejudiced and baseless.

Kind of like today’s critics.

Call it what you will, a naysayer, by any other name, is just that.

• Is it an opposing point of view, or criticism?

• Is it a “pundit,” or a critic?

• Is it “commentary,” or just criticism?

• Is it an op-ed column, or criticism?

• Is it a “panel discussion,” or criticism?

And what are these people really saying?

• Are they debating? Or discussing and deciding?

• Are they blaming “it” or “them?” Or are they offering answers and taking responsibility for the remedy?

• Do they talk about what they WILL do? Or what someone else DIDN’T do?

• Did they talk about what didn’t happen, who’s wrong, and why it won’t work? Or did they offer their ideas about what could be?

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