September 06, 2008

Aim Low

Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf at Alameda, 2008

There's been a new Coast Guard cutter (the Bertholf) docked in the Estuary just down the road from my studio for the past month or two; I've taken a bunch of photos of it during that time (natch). It's a good-looking vessel, and I've rather admired what I've seen and read about it (neighbouring Alameda's a Coast Guard town and you see and hear these things as part of daily life).

So it's a little depressing to read in an article in a local rag that one of the ship's engineering officers claimed the Bertholf's "the Cadillac of cutters". The Californian in me cringes: so it's bloated, over-priced, inefficient, unreliable, proudly embodies mediocre design and engineering values, is a status symbol only for people who'll never have status — and seems to be driven mostly by old or poor people? I think I'd rather it were described as the Toyota, Honda, Porsche, or even Ford of cutters, myself.

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