Apartment foo-nishing

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by mafoofan, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    Anyway, my point is that the forum members have created in foo an object through which they distinguish themselves from things they don't like. Of course, not every comment is like that, but I have come to believe that the vast majority of comments regarding the life and times of mafoofan need to be read as unselfexamined posturing which is taken at face value by the rest of the usual suspects, complete with multiple thumbs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013


  2. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Cyber Eliitist

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    It usually only takes one well-placed thumb to get the majority of SF members excited.
     


  3. imatlas

    imatlas Senior member

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    I'm happy to admit that I'm talking out of my ass (and apparently misusing / abusing terms of art).

    What I'm trying to understand is how is the quest for "authenticity" more than fodder for feeling superior to the mass consuming masses, in light of the specific example of Foo's rug.
     


  4. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Ouch. Now that is harsh.



    I can't speak for anyone else, but IRL, such as it is, I can assure you that I do not consider a discussion of how much you paid for your new car particularly scintillating either.



    I do not quite see where you are going with this. Yes, of course, a carpet has value to its owner and the owner is free to value any aspects of the the carpet any way they wish, including the provenance. The question is, with respect to interior design, just how important the provenance is. Foo is very focused, for example, on getting a carpet that has been made in a tent during the evening rather than a carpet that has been woven -- possibly by the same woman -- during the day at a workshop. He thinks that this, somehow, makes it a more suitable companion for his Knoll sofa. Moreover, he insists that this is, aesthetically, the only correct approach. He is, of course, free to do that from the standpoint of economics. The question is whether this is particularly tasteful, however you want to define the term.

    Consider a, hopefully, more obvious example. There is a lively secondary market in Elvis's pubic hair.

    http://perezhilton.com/2009-10-07-kinda-creepy-buy-some-of-elvis-hair#sthash.obGytaXP.dpbs

    I think there is little doubt that any value in this . . . item arises solely from its provenance. But speaking for myself, I do not think that its provenance makes the item any more or less aesthetically pleasing nor do I think that its provenance makes it any more or less tasteful.
     


  5. Hayward

    Hayward Senior member

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    If we were really aiming for authenticity, would we not be using said carpet as a wall partition?
     


  6. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Okay, let's try this again. Bounder, I am always up for an engaging debate, but half the things you ascribe to me, I never said. The other half, you have completely misconstrued.

    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.

    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.
     


  7. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    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.

    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.
     


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Your notion of aesthetics is extremely superficial. A "fake" beach can be ugly regardless of what it looks like, because aesthetics are not merely a matter of appearances.

    In this case, Wikipedia puts it quite well: aesthetics is a "critical reflection on art, culture and nature." Your evaluation of a thing's visual appearance at any given moment is merely a result of your intellect, personality, emotions, knowledge, etc., at that time. So, to the extent you believe those aspects of yourself can change and evolve, you should also believe that it is far more important to think about qualities like authenticity than to rely on gut reactions to visual cues in order to identify beautiful things.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013


  9. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    Bounder, I have been with you for the most part on the aesthetic/authenticity part of this back-and-forth, but I think you're missing Foo's point about the money. I don't think he has any desire to discuss the price he paid outside the context of this thread. He wants to have a conversation about pricing relative to various qualities. He has stipulated that he can assess certain physical characteristics, but that he is at the mercy of the dealer's integrity for the rest. Given all that, what's the range of prices one might expect to pay? That's a reasonable question, and if it had been asked by someone else (like me) instead of Foo, would this be so controversial?
     


  10. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    :facepalm:

    Foo, if you don't get the point I am trying to make -- if you cannot get the point I am trying to make -- that's fine. Enjoy your carpet, however it gives you pleasure. But the takeaway is that there are different ways to think about things and different ways to experience things, some of which are equally valid. Your rigid insistence that the theory of aesthetics you have developed over the last week is the one-and-only-be-all-and-end-all "authentic" way to think about these things make you look, well, very odd.


    That's fine. Though Foo did actually start an entire thread -- different from this one -- whose express theme was "Guess how much I paid for this great carpet!" This whole thing about cost is kind of a tangent. My original comment was really trying to point out that an excessive focus on authenticity is no more tasteful than an excessive focus on how much you paid for something. If everyone agrees that discussing how much you paid for something is slightly tacky IRL, that's fine. Actually, it's also fine if everyone doesn't agree.
     


  11. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    His rote fixation on not talking about money is reminiscent of the faux "classy gentleman" act that plagues AskAndy.
     


  12. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    OK. Everyone doesn't agree.

    It is not a "rote fixation". It is just that, as a general topic of conversation, I don't find it either interesting or impressive. If you do find it interesting, well, some people do like it, I understand. Whatever makes you happy.
     


  13. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    I think the problem here is that he 's basically saying discussing your passion in the aesthetic sphere is vulgar if a) you own the item and b) it could lead to the establishment of a hierachy of taste. I may not agree with most of your views regarding aesthetics but I definitely respect the idea that it is both acceptable and enjoyable to discuss our aesthetic proclivities and even try to build on them through stimulating intellectual exchanges.
     


  14. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    Sure, you'll note that the post I made regarding authenticity was not an attempt at distinguishing myself from Foo's (I gave a similar example with something I own) but an explanation on why "authenticity" as currently discussed lost it's meaning outside of a narrative tool when the objects arrived in our respective apartments.
     


  15. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Except in so far as it would be rude to rubbish someone's decor while you are sitting in their house, I am not saying anything like that. Discussing ideas is always interesting. What I am saying is that, in your terms, 1) I do not find that how much you paid for something is a useful element in establishing a hierarchy of taste: Cost is not a proxy for value. Rather, the thing must be valued on its own terms and in the context in which you find it. 2) While I suppose you could posit a system which fetishizes authenticity -- hipsters do it all the time -- I do not, generally, find "authenticity" an extremely useful element either, especially in the context of interior decor. Please refer to my example regarding Elvis's pubic hair.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013


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