4.15.2015

The Infantilization of our culture and the loss of function for form.

I recently made a joke-comment on someone's facebook feed (which is something I should stop doing apparently).  The comment was in response to a picture of a gun that was decorated hot pink and another that was pastel green.  The comment went something like this:

"why stop there?  why not make the bullets pink and make it go 'pew, pew, pew' ..."

Ok, not exactly polite but I was just joking.  The other user took offense, albeit mis-directed.  They thought I was attacking the femininity of the design and their knowledge of firearms.  Next, they (almost too) quickly responded that perhaps my masculinity was being challenged.  Then, as to offer further 'ammunition',  they reassured me that they had been trained by a Marine in the use of firearms.  Ok, so they're an experienced marksman who happens to like pink guns.

I quickly got out of the commentary but here's jist of what I was trying to say:  Our culture is being infantilized. And an example is a gun that looks like a child's toy.  Other examples might be grown men & women at cosplay events, or people reading books meant for young adults (Harry Potter).  I'm not saying you can't enjoy them.  Go right ahead!  What I am saying is that, as a culture, I find it disturbing that our tastes in such things aren't growing and aren't maturing. It's non-growth, almost a regression.  Is that where we're at? Barbie & Ken pistol set?  Is the phrase "time to put away childish things" even relevant anymore?  Can you have refined tastes and be in perpetual childhood ?

I guess the argument is 'why do I have to stop being child-like' ?  What's wrong with a gun designed to be pink?  I guess specifically, for me, a pink gun doesn't scream that you're fully mature enough to handle it, I don't know.  Or, you have to make it out to look cool.  That's the most likely thing.  BUT, the other, more complicated explanation might involve someone who's so advanced (or thinks they are) in the use of said object, that they're trying to display some sort of secret irony in the use of such a ridiculous looking object.  Just the fact that I think its ridiculous could the be the whole point.  Trying to look like a child, as result of subconscious intentions or not, is another topic.

Here's the thing (for me):  I'm a function guy.  I prefer function over form.  That is to say that if something works very well, then who gives a shit what it looks like.  A lot of people are the opposite:  they want shiny things.  I get that to a certain degree.  I like my stuff to look good, but it's never more important that the functionality.  And the functionality should be respected on many levels.

  • The object is a tool that provides a service:  how well can you use it to deliver?
  • the ability of the object itself to deliver, based on how you use it.
Ok, so maybe it's just as simple as that.  It occurred to me that the respect you have for something, could be equal to how well you use it.  And serious respect does not mean making yourself or your things look childish, nor does it mean an attempt at irony (through a childish design or decoration). another topic that's related might be how the use of irony is killing our culture.  

 My thoughts are changing on this as I think about it, but feel free to add to the topic.  


Here is a good article on the death of adulthood.