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Quality

Sunday, November 26 2006

I saw an antique razor the other day – a straight edged razor probably made in the 1930’s, and I was stunned at the quality of the razor. It was as if it were sculpted out of a chunk of metal, and no doubt took at least a day of work even with the help of simple machines and tools. I began to wonder how on earth anyone had the time to make such a high quality tool and still make a living, and I was struck with the idea that there was a time when Americans didn’t have television or video games sucking away every waking hour. People could make high quality stuff because they had the time to do it, and they didn’t pay for gas, or cable, or cell phone bills, or buy all sorts of crap they didn’t need. They could afford to take time on things and do things right and make a living out of it.

The same day I went to Costco. In order to go get our essentials (baby wipes, milk, frozen salmon, etc) I had to walk through a maze of plasma screen televisions. Lost in the maze were kids and their parents, mouth agape as they took in the high definition sample of videos of mountains and surf. All wore name brand clothing. All were overweight. All were slaves, tricked by sophisticated marketing into thinking that something that costs $3200 is vital to own, a $3200 device that is a vehicle for further enslavement. It tells all those people lost in its flashing light to buy specific things, to subscribe to specific subscriptions, to take specific political stances, to ignore family and intellectual well being. It wears people down and slots them into specific marketing tracks so they can be more easily marketed to, so that they must work harder, produce cheaper goods at a higher profit, enter into 2 year contracts for mobile phones, satellite channel packages, fast food, prescription meds, and all manner of vehicles to personal enslavement.

Carrie and I removed the television yesterday.