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Please let me begin with agreement that this is tragic. It was a gorgeous Gothic cathedral.

Seriously though I am struggling so much with how everyone is reacting to this. How CNN and Fox and who knows who else live-covered it all day.

I was heartbroken when the Brazil National Museum burned to the ground last fall. 2 million artifacts destroyed. The destruction of the only recordings of dozens of now extinct tribes’ languages. We know as much about the imaginary groups in Gulliver’s Travels as we do about those tribes basically. It’s like they’ve been erased from history. We can’t fix it. There’s no where to go to get information about what those languages sounded like. All the cultural heritage destroyed in the fire. Those tribes are gone. I sat at my desk at work and cried when I learned about it.


Massive losses to fossil collections and biological specimen collections with massive biodiversity. I’m sure some of those species have since gone extinct. A bunch of other important collections, like Egyptian mummies, but at least there are mummies in a ton of other collections.

2 fucking million artifacts. Apparently they’ve recovered 2000 items since September. Mostly geological specimens (not surprisingly a meteorite can survive a fire).

You know what was lost at Notre Dame? Architecture. The beautiful spire. Some beautiful stained glass. Bronzes - moved out previously for restoration. Artwork and documents - thankfully removed by firefighters. It’s not like the fucking Sistine Chapel where the ceiling was a masterpiece. It’s smooth stone. Angry protestants already defaced a bunch of statuary in the 1700s already. In short - it’s basically a beautiful building. We haven’t lost knowledge of medieval France. We don’t suddenly not understand Catholicism anymore. It’s probably the best-studied cathedral in the world, with all those scans and imagery. Oh! And there are other Gothic cathedrals still standing. So it’s not like we don’t have any other ones to see while it’s restored.

I had a handful of people I knew posting about Brazil’s National Museum loss. But I went to grad school for Anthropology, with people in my program researching in Brazil.


News didn’t live-cover it. It was discussed after the fact. I learned more about the losses from FUCKING twitter than CNN, NPR, etc etc. I don’t even know if Fox News spared a sentence for it, probably only to blame it on Socialism.

My facebook feed and everyone I know is just so upset about Notre Dame’s burning. All damn day I heard about it. From people who don’t even go to Church and aren’t French. Who never were there to see it in person. I know it is beautiful. I know it is a major world site. But it was just a cathedral. And the best part is no one died in the fire. It could have been a horrible fucking tragedy and thankfully lives weren’t lost.

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