Capitols, Arabs, Wind Turbines . . .

by Jay Nordlinger

Today concludes my “North Dakota Journal,” on the homepage, and I’d like to share some odds and ends here on the Corner. (Actually, the journal itself is composed of odds and ends.)

In this final installment, I say that the North Dakota capitol, in Bismarck, is not quite an eyesore — but it is certainly untraditional. “No rotunda and whatnot.” At first, the capitol struck me as sheer Soviet bloc. But then it kind of grew on me.

A reader in Tallahassee writes, “If you think North Dakota’s capitol is ugly, take a look at Florida’s embrace of modernism” — here ’tis. Yup. As an old southern friend of mine used to say, “That’s not just ugly, it’s oogly.” To behold the capitol in Bismarck, go here.

Also in my final installment, I mention the Arabs of North Dakota, and South Dakota. There is a long tradition. A North Dakotan writes, “Did you know that the first mosque in North America was in Ross, N.D.?” I did not. But I’m not surprised.

Another matter — and let me quote a little (again, from my final installment):

It’s funny what people . . . get upset about. What they choose to be offended by. A lot of people don’t like oil drilling. The sight of it turns their stomachs.

But consider: These days, a derrick is up for 20 days, 25 days, 30. Then it goes away, leaving a simple, unobtrusive pump — which in any case is painted to blend in with the landscape. When the well is dry, the land is quickly back to normal. There’s no way of telling that drilling ever took place.

Contrast this with wind turbines: They have to be up for as long as they’re producing energy (a fairly pathetic amount).

I, for one, don’t like these flocks of turbines that appear across the country. At first, they look kind of cool — like an installation by the artist Christo. But then they grow tiresome, in my opinion.

How about highways, railroads, telephone poles, telephone wires? Oh, telephone wires! A blighter of the landscape if there ever was one.

Remember how Lady Bird campaigned against billboards?

Okay, a reader writes, “Listen, wind turbines can be around long after they stop producing energy.” He attaches a photo of “a wind farm on the road to the southernmost point of Hawaii. Lovely, isn’t it?” Here. Yep, gross.

Finally, I wish to praise the mainstream media — the dread MSM. An NBC show, Rock Center with Brian Williams, did a piece on North Dakota and the boom that is taking place there. It is superb. Go here. Very much worth nine minutes of your time, if you can spare them.

You know one way to judge the worth of a piece? Cover the same story yourself, and do your own piece. My piece on North Dakota appears in the current National Review. After completing it, I saw the NBC segment (which a North Dakotan forwarded to me). I thought, “Yes — that comports with what I saw, learned, and know.”

So unused am I to praising the MSM, I think I have to sit down and rest . . .

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