Skip to main content

Neat freaks

Salt and pepper sets are arguably among the most mundane and ubiquitous of gifts. But this particular set, the Taste of Talking, sums up a lot of what can be wonderful about products that are idea-driven -- inspired by thought and creativity.

The part with the holes? Those parts are mouthpieces and earpieces from old telephones. They are NOS (new old stock), not used. There are stockpiles of such product left from the days when we all used such phones. They're repurposed here to pour seasonings at the table.

[. . .]

There are a series of progressive values reflected in the Taste of Talking. It's green: It uses recycled (and non-biodegradable) parts that might well otherwise truly end up in a landfill. And in using these mundane, disused materials, a wholly unexpected result is achieved, which, I think, changes your perspective on the materials themselves, causing you to look differently at some of the castoffs of our industrial culture. Beauty in a telephone mouthpiece, or an auto sidelight lens? Yet, viewed through this lens, these things are indeed beautiful.

And, these shakers are -- in a word that a lot of my design community colleagues use -- democratic. They marry thoughtful and even groundbreaking design with simplicity and affordability. My favorite corner of the design world is democratic modern design: great and elegant principles applied to create affordable objects. My family and I live in an Eichler house here in Marin. Joe Eichler built subdivisions in the Bay Area in the 1950s and 1960s, and was truly a Utopian. He hired some of the finest modern architects of the times, and they created stunning prototypes, and he put up hundreds of small houses, with groundbreaking architecture, that were affordable for families of very modest means, buying their first home. (John Pound, “Taste of talking,” Salon, 4 December 2009)

Neat freaks

If they were used stock but were really well cleaned, would it still be possible to get AIDS from them? Is that the problem? 'Cause I think you'd probably be okay.

I think the problem is that unlike most recycled goods, where the story behind the materials gets sort of scrubbed away in the process, this doesn't really work with spit. You'd be using your shaker, and lifetimes of human interaction / distress / would assault your food, with the dash of salt. Interesting that. Same thing would probably happen if we knew car parts were owned by dead-enders -- the sort that all too visibly are drifting into insanity right now; or bike parts, from the kinds of kids we progressives are probably going to *sigh* off to war. This could be compensated if we knew who designed them, maybe -- clean, neat, super smart but never exposed, is what we want to welcome into our souls.

Link: “Taste of talking” (Salon)


Popular posts from this blog

Full conversation about "Bringing Up Baby" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…

"The Zookeeper's Wife" as historical romance

A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.

The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …