Here are a few early passages from the book so that you can read some of Crawford's own words...
The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth.
Craftsmanship means dwelling on a task for a long time and going deeply into it, because you want to get it right. In managementspeak, this is called being "ingrown." The preferred role model is the management consultant, who swoops in and out and whose very pride lies in his lack of particular expertise. Like the ideal consumer, the management consultant presents an image of soaring freedom, in light of which the manual trades appear cramped and paltry.
|Locally sourced rippling forearms|
Interestingly, mass-producers have recognized this trend, and have adapted their marketing strategy accordingly. Marketers have tried to latch onto the idea of the personal investment of time in the creation of their products. They don't want their goods to seem generic, made over and over again with no thought or passion involved, easily forgotten and easily replaced. Thus it is that we have the increasing presence of "artisan" goods on the market. For example, you can now get an artisan kitchen mixer, an artisan evening bag with rhinestone accents, and an artisan deluxe wooden backgammon set. And better yet, you can get them all in one place: at WalMart dot com. Go ahead and check for yourself, just in case you are suspicious that I randomly came up with "deluxe wooden backgammon set" by myself.
Before getting too critical of marketers, it's important to look at what it actually means for something to be "artisan" in nature. According to Merriam-Webster, an artisan good would be something produced in limited quantities, often using traditional methods. Although I haven't done extensive research into the issue, intuition tells me that while you could argue the meaning of "traditional methods," the products available at WalMart at least fall short of the standard of "produced in limited quantities."
|You know something is really artisan when you can poke it|
Indeed, it is not clear to me why some products warrant the label of "artisan" while others do not. But obviously everyone is taking the label, so this year when your family asks you what's for Thanksgiving dinner, make sure they know that the turkey and dinner rolls are being accompanied by artisan mashed potatoes, and get your due credit.