Originally Posted by mafoofan
On the matter of authenticity: you are confusing my meaning of the word for wanting to use my rug just as the Beni Ourain would use it. That is not the sort of "authenticity" I value or have been discussing. It is also a completely ridiculous and untenable goal. Rather, I value things that are genuine with regard to what they purport to be. That sort of authenticity is crucial to my aesthetic enjoyment of things, as I consider aesthetics fundamentally intertwined with intellectual exploration. The more I understand something, the more it makes sense to me, the more it intrigues me, the more beautiful I find it. Fake things don't go very far down that path.
I have never suggested you intend to use your carpet "just as the Beni Ourain would use it". How you use it is irrelevant in this context. Or perhaps not. If you were using it for the precise purpose and in the same way as the Beni Ourain, you would actually have a better case for being obsessed about whether it is "authentic" or not. In that case, you could at least argue that authenticity is in some way related to functionality.
You will recall my story about the guy using an ancient spearhead as a letter opener. He, too, is obsessed with "authenticity". But I don't think he somehow imagines that the Romans were using spears to open their letters from home.
Once again, the issue is whether an item is fit for a particular purpose, whatever that purpose may be. In this case, the purpose is aesthetic. Does the carpet look nice with your Knoll sofa? Is it a pleasing object? If it is, then it is beautiful, regardless of whether it was made in a factory or not.
Now you say that authenticity is not extraneous to function for you. Fine. But you should recognize that you have a particular mental kink. You cannot generalize this mental kink into a theory of universal aesthetics and certainly not one that is obviously true. There are, beyond a doubt, other ways of looking at things and these other ways are at least as valid as your personal approach. Indeed, they are far more valid and certainly far more widely held. Other people do not view the world the way you do and, moreover, it is no way necessary to view the world the way you do.
Beautiful things are beautiful. If something is beautiful, it is beautiful whether it is "authentic" or whether it is "fake." For example, you go to the beach to enjoy the beauty it offers. You do not disregard that beauty just because some of it might be fake.
Don't get me wrong. I think interesting things are interesting too. But whether something is interesting is a separate issue from whether it is beautiful or "authentic." There is nothing wrong with inserting a "conversation piece" in your decor. But a conversation piece has to be interesting on its own terms and, ideally, it should be a springboard for an interesting discussion. Earlier in this thread, I suggested that you create a coffee table around your shoe collection -- well, I'm not sure that it technically qualifies as a "collection" but you know what I mean. I am sure that would have been an entree into many, many discussions.
The bottom line is that it is perfectly possible -- indeed, often necessary -- to appreciate things for what they are in the context in which you find them. If a carpet is intrinsically pleasing in the context in which it is displayed, then it is beautiful. And if you think that it is less beautiful just because you find out it is from Pottery Barn rather than some carpet dealer in Morocco, then it is you who have the problem, not the carpet.
Your sanctimonious ranting on cost is even more misguided. The point of discussing our budget was to frame the realistic options available to us, not to brag about how much we are spending or to insinuate that the price of a thing makes it better or worse. The point of trying to value our rug was to find out if we under or over-paid, not to titilate the forum with a tale of big-buck spending. If you don't understand those distinctions, you're a social idiot and there's no helping you.
People do all kinds of awful things on this forum, things -- I hope -- they would never dream of doing in real life, such as calling someone sanctimonious or a social idiot. I am sure I have done some terrible things myself on SF. That is the nature of the internet.
All I can tell you is that in most of my social circles, telling someone how much you paid for something will not get you any points and "Guess how much I paid for this!" is not an interesting topic of conversation. By the same token, they are not generally going to be impressed by your decor just because you tell them, "You know, that is a genuine Beni Ourain carpet! I sent away to Morocco for it and everything!" If the thing is nice in itself and blends harmoniously with its surroundings, they will think you have good taste. They will not think you have good taste -- quite the opposite -- if you feel compelled to go on about how it is "authentic."
Think of it like a tie. If your tie is nice and complements what else you are wearing, then you are tastefully dressed. Telling people that your tie is a genuine pink cashmere Attolini is not going to make you more tastefully dressed.
Now I know perfectly well that for some people these are perfectly acceptable conversation topics. I know a lot of them myself. Some of them are quite interesting in particular areas. But generally, outside of these particular areas, I personally find them kind of boring so I tend not to hang out with them too much. But they certainly have lots of friends and an active social life so de gustibus.