Monday, February 15, 2010

Holiday Guest Contributor -- He Just Doesn't Know It

Okay, so it's a holiday -- no school, so no chance to ponder my school day. But I've been telling you about Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft, right?  Here's his thesis, as it were, from the Intro. The italics and bold are mine:

"This book advances a nestled set of arguments on behalf of work that is meaningful because it is genuinely useful. It also explores what we might call the ethics of maintenance and repair, and in doing so I hope it will speak to those who may be unlikely to go into the trades professionally but strive for some measure of self- reliance—the kind that requires focused engagement with our material things. We now like our things not to disturb us. Why do some of the current Mercedes models have no dipstick, for example? What are the attractions of being disburdened of involvement with our own stuff? This basic question about consumer culture points to some basic questions about work, because in becoming less obtrusive, our devices also become more complicated. How has the relentless complication of cars and motorcycles, for example, altered the jobs of those who service them? We often hear of the need for a" "upskilli"g" of the workforce, to keep up with technological change. I find the more pertinent issue to be: What sort of personality does one need to have, as a twenty-first-century mechanic, to tolerate the layers of electronic bullshit that get piled on top of machines?"

He's got a great line about how you open a hood on some new cars to find a set of smooth compartments, without hoses or wires or the familiar motor elements -- basically, they put a hood under a hood. Who does that? Why?

Thank you, Mr. Crawford, for your contributions to my blog.

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