Home/Rod Dreher/We Almost Lost Notre-Dame

We Almost Lost Notre-Dame

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Here’s a terrific piece of reporting in today’s NYT, about how the fire emergency at Notre-Dame cathedral came closer to destroying the medieval masterpiece than we knew. Check this part out:

The fire warning system at Notre-Dame took dozens of experts six years to put together, and in the end involved thousands of pages of diagrams, maps, spreadsheets and contracts, according to archival documents found in a suburban Paris library by The Times.

The result was a system so arcane that when it was called upon to do the one thing that mattered — warn “fire!” and say where — it produced instead a nearly indecipherable message.

It made a calamity almost inevitable, fire experts consulted by The Times said.

If that’s not a metaphor for the fragility of advanced civilization, I don’t know what is. For example: we now have incomparably more information about how the world works than any humans who have ever lived, but when we are called to the one thing that matters — produce future generations capable of doing the basic things necessary to carry on life — we are failing.

Read it all. It’s an incredible story, very well told by the Times‘s reporters. I rag on that newspaper (to which I subscribe) all the time for its biases, but when it gets something right, no news organization on the planet can touch it.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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