Friday, December 30, 2016

Magazines, solitude and the appreciation of craft

If you have a few minutes to spare – well, plenty of minutes actually – this piece by Andrew Sullivan is an excellent read.

His theme is how smartphones rob us of the space to appreciate silence and practise contemplation but along the way he also observes:
The writer Matthew Crawford has examined how automation and online living have sharply eroded the number of people physically making things, using their own hands and eyes and bodies to craft, say, a wooden chair or a piece of clothing or, in one of Crawford’s more engrossing case studies, a pipe organ. We became who we are as a species by mastering tools, making them a living, evolving extension of our whole bodies and minds. What first seems tedious and repetitive develops into a skill — and a skill is what gives us humans self-esteem and mutual respect.

This made me think of why magazines like Ernest Journal 

and Hole & Corner 

achieve the appreciation and success they do. Their raison d'être is to celebrate the craft of making a chair or a piece of clothing or a pipe organ, or to show us places we can go where mobile signals do not reach.

Sullivan's piece itself is published in a magazine – New York – and it is not pushing things too far to say that the craft involved in creating and publishing a magazine can itself provide the space for silent contemplation, as well as the haptic pleasure of holding and feeling the printed artefact.

When you have the minutes – and they will repay you – here is the link:

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