Water in the Desert: Muscular Americana Edition

From our trip to the New Mexico State Fair a week ago. It’s a scale model of Hoover Dam, the great monument to America’s confidence in its ability to tame the great Colorado River and make the desert bloom. I’ve always loved the triumphant architecture of Hoover Dam, along with its downstream sibling, Parker Dam. Those were the days when we Americans could do stuff. The doing and the stuff are both too complicated to be summed up in a simple icon. In fact, like many icons, the triumphant architecture misleads, because the big dams aren’t as simple as all that, as we’re still coming to understand. But the model eschewed such political and moral complexity. It honors men building big stuff, and I liked it.