Headed to my dictionary today to look up “obdurate” used in a direct quote from Liz Diller, the poor architect who had to defend demolishing the American Folk Art Museum building before a crowd of 650 people, many of them architects. See Architect Defends Plan To Demolish Museum According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, obdurate is an adjective that means 1. not easily moved to pity or sympathy; hardhearted; 2. hardened and unrepenting; impenitent; 3. not giving in readily; stubborn; obstinate; inflexible. To me, I don’t think she used it correctly. Here’s the sentence: “It’s a damn shame that the building is obdurate.” Hmmm. Can a building be stubborn, inflexible, not easily moved to pity or sympathy? I don’t think so. Perhaps, the word has its own meaning among architects, but I am not clear what she means here. With any luck, this word can now become part of my vocabulary, so thank you Ms. Diller. What do you think?
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