Several years ago the review of fifth-year NDSU theses in architecture drew upon the skills of three faculty: 1) a primary critic connected with the project from its inception; 2) a secondary critic involved as often as the student found useful (perhaps two or three times a month); and 3) someone appointed immediately prior to the final presentation, someone presumably unacquainted with the project’s substance. We called them “the deaf, dumb and blind.” The least comfortable thesis review during those years was one where I was blind as a bat.
The project type was baffling, but apparently only to me: it was a Catholic center for abortion. Don’t ask how it negotiated the approval process. That horse had long since left the barn, and I had become the third rider, clinging to its ass for dear life.
The student was male; the primary critic female. I sat motionless, totally absorbed in the project’s unfolding rationale and its evolving physical form. My difficulties as a commentator relate to the current political rhetoric, with its gay Republicans and Black Supreme Court justices on the wrong side of social justice. After an hour of discussion involving everyone in the room but me, I cautioned an observation: “I can imagine this project as readily as I can a kosher pork chop.” I then went on to speak toward the psychological issues involved with the termination of a pregnancy and how I believed the circulation within the design could be improved to minimize the patient’s exposure in public spaces; that this reinforce the intimacy of an ultimately intimate procedure.
Parenthetically, I should say the primary critic took considerable umbrage that a person with my genetic equipment could have an opinion on reproduction, let alone the cojones to express it. I was comfortable; she was furious. My point here, however, is simple: regarding Agincourt’s story, I am careful to accommodate the contradictions I cannot conceive; to entertain the gay Republican and the Black social conservative–if not the kosher pork chop.