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walmart, big business, "aaht" vs. craft , or rather,

updated thu 4 sep 03


pdp1@EARTHLINK.NET on wed 3 sep 03

amentia verses aesthetics, deference and 'presence'...

Hi Steve,

What I have noticed is this...

The vast preponderance of manufactured 'Goods' in all
Catagories, had,
from about the 1760s through approximately the 1930s,
enjoyed various encouragements of progress and and increase
in facility, and
increase in
variety of excellence and design...had enjoyed various
noteworthy and different pinnacles of excellence as
fell off badly after that, fell off badly in all Catagories
in the last
seventy or eighty
years of our cultural (thence, cultural-revolution's )

Certainly all Wood Working Tools and stationalry Machinery
declined in
every way from the early 'twenties through 'thirties on, and
many smaller versions of these Machines were already
declineing in the mid
'thirties. The Electric Saws, Routers, Drills and so
on, generally were as good as they were ever going to be by
the mid 'thirties, and since then have merely become silly
or gee-gawish with themselves, with some earnest examples
still to be had...or some features as are very good, (as
variable speed controll and reverseing switches) applied
to a lack luster whole.

Certain applications of materials or method allowed abstract
improvements, often in a diminishing aesthetic and reduction
of overall quality. OR with rare exception, anyway.

We have 'Carbide' tipped Router bits now...and a ubiquity of
noisey, cheap, sloppily designed Routers to use them on.
We have ( and have had for fifty years now) Carbide Tipped
Saw Blades, and a pandemic of ungly, noisy, ill concieved
contemptuous, silly, shakey, shoddy, Stationary electric
'Novelty Saws' or
so called 'Table' saws to enjoy them on.

Piston Driven Air Compressors have not improved at all in
about eighty years, unless shoddy, noisy, silly looking,
gee-gaw and 'cheap' to a point of instant nausea to behold
them, is considered 'progress'...

My (circa 1929) 12 CFM 'Curtiss' and my previous Ingersoll
Rand, were very 'quiet' and you could stand next to them
while they were running and converse in an easy normal

None of my friends or acquaintences have Air Compressors you
can do that with...

Have some new forms and inventions come about since the
'twenties? Of
course...and they function as-they-may, and they are 'good'
enough, in their way, when they are (so far as function
merely, is narrowly concerned)...
And too, they may not usually be very much IN the continuity
of some elusive
earnest and intrinsic quality as had predominated before.

Was the 'Market Place' more discerning do you suppose?

Or, were manufacturers more intelligent and deferential to
some notion of self respect so far as 'what' thEy made and

Or both...?

Clothing (and it's use) declined as well, terribly overall,
as did Shoes
and all accessories...

The 'quality' of Automobiles, while seemingly a confusing
notion for most people, declined badly after 1934...horribly
after that.

Fountain Pens...

Time Pieces...

Appliances...Housewares...of all kinds...

Vacuum Cleaners ( My 1923 'Hoover' works splendidly, cleans
the Carpets 'better' than any 'new' one I have ever seen
used, and is so quiet, one may have a 'normal' conversation
with a near standing acquaintance, while Vacuuming the

My 1933-'34 'Hotpoint' Refridgerator has been running
continuous for 69 or 70 years now...and does so 'silently'
and sweetly and happily...whilst my friends buy a 'new'
tinny, shaky, noisy, silly one every five years or so for
lots of is ugly and has nothing whatever to
redeem it other than maybe, MAYBE it 'uses' a little less
electricity...and looks bad useing it, too...

Houses - 'Homes'...their features and details and overall

On and remourselessly on...

Almost everything we use or own...


On and endlessly remourselesly on...

So these things 'function'?

...of course...

Do they function well on as many 'levels' as they once did?

No...not at all...

comprehension...all declined has public hygene,
controll of disease transmission and election of
'Quarenteen' for virulent infectious persons...

Public Transportation declined horribly...

Manners...tolerance...notions of the Social Contract...

All Leather Goods declined horribly...


All Plumbing fixtures...Lighting Fixtures...

Rail Travel as well as Passenger Ships...a horrible

A horrid decline on all Uniforms and apparel of various
personell of all
services, whether public or private or Military or Law

Firetrucks, the uniforms of firemen...the 'stations'
themselves...all of it...

Style and ergonomics...OF the things we use...declined so

The decline originated and progressed I think...'in' our
proprioception...IN the qualities of our presence and
attentions and sense-of-self, in our relations with our
selves and how we
live and what we live...IN the mediacies as we then elect
for our
Work and our doings and our interests in 'how' these things
shall be mediated, and thence, inexorably, in the election
or discernments or taste in those things as mediate our
relations to our
environment(s) and our tasks and our roles...

How people 'think' and how they people
make-sense-of-things and how they express
themselves...declined badly...

There has been, to my appreciation anyway, a huge and
pandemic decline...punctuated with abstractions as may be
isolted as to say 'how' something ( in isolation) is

It was obvious to me when I was in grade school...

I mourned...even 'then'...(latter 1950s)

I hated the 'fifties' at the time, for everything they were
and everything they were not...and everything they were
anxiously heading to and into...and more anxiously betraying
and abandoning...

Can no one else see this but me?

Any Comments? Rebuke? Expansion of your complimentary or
divergent view of the matter?


Las Vegas

----- Original Message -----
From: "S Slatin"

> Ooh, are we off-topic now.
> There is some randomness to much of our era's art. I used
> to make jewelry by heating wax in a spoon and dripping it
> onto a bowl of water. I'd pull off a few dozen drip-forms
> in a day, select those that had potential for shapes, cut
> or melt away and excess quantity of wax, cast them in
> add findings for stones, mount, polish, and sell them.
> fun, and it took no real artistic skill (planning,
> etc.) at all. I used to tell myself there was an element
> connoisseurship in the selections I made, but most likely
> was lying.
> Now these little baubles (pins, earrings, pendants) sold
> hotcakes. My clients saw more there than was there. But
> is always viewed, in a small sense, as art, even when it's
> factory made. So as far as your question of how anything
> be better than the person doing it, I'd say ... by
accident, or
> by perception of the individual evaluating the worth of
the item.
> One man's trash is another's treasure ...
> The industrial revolution changed everything, by making
> numbers of hand-workers obsolete. The agricultural
> did the same thing. By the '50's, Galbraith pointed out
we had
> again changed everything in the US by solving the "problem
> production" (working out how to make constant progressive
> efficiencies in production until we had the capacity to
> feed, and house the entire population).
> 150 years ago the key issues in the industrial revolution
> things like what to do with weavers who were out of work,
> how to deal with the massive amounts of newly-imported
tea, which
> could now be drunk cheap from hundreds of routinely
produced cups vs.
> the probably cracked bowl a workingman might have used 50
> earlier, if he'd been able to afford the tea to begin
with, which
> he couldn't.
> The IR brought us inexpensive, readily available food,
> clothing, cutlery, china, glassware, transportation,
> even computers. What we do with this abundance of
material goods
> is our own business, but if we buy hundreds of cheap
WalMart mugs
> we probably aren't going to be too happy. If we use our
> to buy enough to live on of what's inexpensive and
serviceable and
> factory produced, and expend the rest on things that are
> special and give us great satisfaction, we are leveraging
> advantages of the IR to improve all aspects of our lives.
> But this is ClayArt, right? Here's my OOTR --
> I need a white or near-white stoneware base, cone 6 or
thereabouts, for
> when my wheel arrives and I get back into throwing. I can
get to
> Seattle Pottery or Clay Arts in Tacoma, and does anyone
have any
> suggestions" I want to get a pickup-load of probably not
more than two
> clay bodies, and don't want many boxes of unuseful clay in

the shed.
> -- Steve S