Sunday, February 24, 2008

Zen and the matter of quality

More from Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, discussing quality and modern American (ie mid-seventies) technology:

stylized cars and stylized outboard motors and stylized typewriters and stylized clothes. Stylized refrigerators filled with stylized food in stylized kitchens in stylized houses. Plastic stylized toysfor stylized children, who at Christmas and birthdays are in style with their stylish parents. You have to be awfully stylish yourself not to get sick of it once in a while. It's the style that gets you; technological ugliness syruped over with romantic phoniness in an effort to produce beauty and profit by people who, though stylish, don't know where to start because no one has ever told them there's such a thing as Quality inthis world and it's real, not style.

Written in 1974, and possibly more valid today than then? Consider my post on this blog a couple of days ago about the Brits and their need to be observed all the time, to have the finest, the newest, the most expensive. It's the triumph of packaging over content, artifice over reality.

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