January 11, 2009

No True Scotsman

In a rather over-the-top and unintentionally-funny article for Design Observer, the great Murray Moss flails away at design windmills with whole paragraphs of things like:
"When he says 'come down a notch or two,' does Mr. Cannell [in an NYT article on design and recession] mean that Design should retreat from its current expansive, ambitious, fearless, exploratory, guild-breaking, all-encompassing plateau, from its hard-won re-positioning in the Arts? And revert back to what? To the perceived mid-century notion of efficiency and comfort?"
Those words seem almost, well, designed to set off the puffery detectors; "fearless, exploratory, guild-breaking, all-encompassing…"? Lordy, it's just design, dammit; and what is design but art harnessed for commerce and / or practicality? Self-importance? Moi?

"Designers and their true supporters have fought hard over the last fifteen years to expand the definition of design, not shrink it." And I guess that those of us who haven't fought hard for quite the same things — the expansion of the Design empire, for one — or bought any of the $10,000 designer chairs Moss mentions as exemplars of Design — just aren't True Supporters. Oh well. It's back to the drawing board for me, I guess….

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