Shop Class as Soulcraft: On Using Our Hands


24 September 2010

I’ve written a piece about Matthew Crawford‘s Shop Class as Soulcraft over at The Millions.  Crawford was an academic philosopher/director of think tank before realizing he hated the abstraction of his work, and so he opened up a motorcycle repair shop.  I really enjoyed the book and find myself more and more aware of my relationship with things – a different kind of materialism from mere ownership, but rather stewardship.  This is not to say that I am especially handy (though I can handle a power tool or two), or that I will necessarily become more so.  But there is something to be said for curiosity; for paying attention to how things work, and to longevity of function in an increasingly short-term society.

My essay was positioned in the header next to an article called “Coffee With James Franco.”  Well, heck: you can guess which article most folks are clicking on when they get to the home page (though I’m sure it wasn’t intended that way).   But I’ve been seeing Mr. Franco everywhere lately, and so does he really need to appear next to my essay about slowing down and paying attention and focusing on concrete work?  Oh, the irony.   Protest clicks in favor of Shop Class welcome.


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