The Poor-trayal

It is some sort of conspiracy.  I blame the media.  This job, the profession I’ve chosen, has a serious public relations problem.

Again, some guy wrote an overly complicated law, fessed up and said it was intended to fool us, and instead of calling him an ECONOMIST or a POLITICIAN, they called him (what?) an ARCHITECT.  Why, why, why???

So Called Obamacare Architect:  Jonathan Gruber

You cannot, by PA State law, call yourself an architect if you do not meet a certain set of predetermined requirements.  This is a good thing as the main responsibility of an architect is to defend the health, safety and welfare of those that are served.  So why is it that anytime someone gets their hand caught in the cookie jar, the press renames the scoundrel “the architect of greed”.  You remember Enron, don’t you?  Or do you remember them simply as “the architects of fraud”?  Or Adolf Eichmann, who is often referred to as the “architect of the Holocaust”?  Even Adolf Hitler’s real architect, Albert Speer, went to jail for twenty years charged with war crimes.  Where the heck are the architects of good things?  Where is my Mahatma Gandhi, the “architect of peace”?  At this point I am looking for anything; Mother Theresa, “the architect of empathy”?
The Quintessential Image of the Architect
It doesn’t stop there, of course.  It bleeds into popular literature and film.  Most architects are portrayed as fiercely egocentric figures, like Howard Roark (The Fountainhead) and Stanley Kracklite (The Belly of an Architect).  If architects are not portrayed as tragically self-absorbed characters, they are shown to be buffoons.  Certainly some sitcom writer dropped out of architecture school after about six weeks, went into writing and made some real money.  Early on in the television rendition of Dagwood Bumstead in Blondie, Dagwood is a bumbling architect, working for the overbearing J.C. Dithers.  Move to more recent presentations in According to Jim, Jim Belushi (a contractor) rides roughshod over his brother-in-law, Andy (the inept architect).  Think about syrupy sweet Mike Brady (The Brady Bunch), desperate romantic Ted (How I Met Your Mother), or sorry Woody Harrelson as David Murphy, who couldn’t keep Robert Redford’s character from scoring on his wife in Indecent Proposal.  Even the forlorn yet lovable character from “Sleepless in Seattle” (Tom Hanks) gets outsmarted by his nine year old son multiple times throughout the movie (and he lives on a boat).

Sappy Tom Hanks Architect

With every rule, however, there are exceptions.  For some reason, those in the information technology industry have taken to the term of “architecture” as the series of complex systems that runs their digital landscape.  I get this from one point of view, but they should really have their own title.  This concept of architect as creator was complete, when Bill Gates donned the title of Chief Software Architect.  It must be like a Medical Physician when he or she sees “Dr. Rooter, The Plumber” advertised on TV.  To me, it is a little unnerving.  I think of when Neo of the Matrix movies meet his landscape’s creator, The Architect (as he is known) explains away his lack of compassion by simply stating, “What do you think I am – Human?”

The Architect who Messes with Neo

As a postscript, another alarming fact is that all of the characters mentioned above, real or otherwise, are exclusively Caucasian and male.  This shall provide fodder for a future lesson learned.  One notable exception is Wesley Snipe’s character in “Jungle Fever”.