Friday, October 03, 2003

Virginia Postrel

Fellow blogger, albiet a way more famous one, Virginia Postrel was at the campus bookstore last night to give us a talk and read some passages from her new book The Substance of Style. Although I haven't read the book and after a day of heavy spending for text books I was not inclined to make any more purchases I found her talk quite interesting. Although I think, on the surface, I disagree with the hypothesis that over emphasis on style and the aesthetic imperative is 'not a bad thing'. I am inclined to be of the opinion that *over* emphasis on asethetics can crowd out more useful (socially and personally constructive) things to do with one's time or energy than spend x amount of hours choosing colour schemes and agonising over beige or light brown for certain house fittings that no-one will notice anyway. It could be said that acceptance of the asethetic imperative can lead to greater 'dumbing-down' of the population by validating it and allowing pursuit of such to be undertaken at the expense (as mentioned) of more usefull stuff.

Hoever, I should clarify my expression of "over-emphasis". I certainly agreed with her comments of us as sensory creatures who notice difference much more astutely than we take in sameness and our desire and need to be changing and expanding our ideas and that vision and asethitical means are a channel of such. Therefore I would guess that there is minimal substance in style and something that should not be neglected but to say that it is "not a bad thing" may not always be true. I think it can, in some cases, be a bad thing. Also in the sense of the amount of waste that is produced due to making things more stylish and to offer more choice.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui