spending new year's in my hometown, dc, with the lovely jane irish. we took a tour of the capitol, because irish is working on baroque ceiling-type paintings and she wanted to see the dome. when i was a kid, you could just walk in and wander around (indeed, when i was 15 or so we cased the joint as thoroughly as we could; the plan was a thorough stinkbombing, making the place uninhabitable.) now it's most regimented and security-oriented experience you could imagine. i really am a knee-jerk anti-authoritarian, and walking with me around downtown dc, i'm afraid, is listening to me make nasty cracks, vicious historical observations, and hostile remarks about each organization/building as we pass.
all the classical temples and the pseudo-classical concrete agency monstrosities have an 'ideological' quality, harped on continuously in our capitol tour guide's tribute to the greatness of our republic and its amazing institutions. but, it's quite like imperial rome: republican decoration and the overwhelming reality of worldwide deathdealing empire.
the headquarters of the fbi, however, is a classic piece of brutalism, and not pseudo-classical at all. it is the most repulsive building near the mall. and it is the only honest one.