Thursday, June 21, 2012

Listen up to Gene Harris' rendition of 'Summertime'

The first day of summer is a good time to give a listen to the late, great Gene Harris do his thing with "Summertime." It's HERE.

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Artisan THIS!

You may not have been aware of it, but you are now reading an artisan blog.

Now doesn’t that make you and this blog seem special? Well, actually, not really....

So what’s with this “artisan blog” claim? Realize that these VERY WORDS are being handcrafted by a “craft-artist” with more than 45 years' experience in the journalism!

If you do the math, you know I’m old. Artisans are often old — and exceedingly experienced.

I also wear bifocals. Artisans wear bifocals.

Now the truth. All blogs are artisanal, namely hand crafted. And so, apparently, is nearly everything else these days: bread, cheese, wine, gelato, coffee, tea, sausage, pottery, landscaping....

Why stop there? Why not artisan police, parents, clowns, thieves and politicians?

Face it, only robot-made or assembly-line produced goods and services aren’t “artisanal.”

It's pretty clear that the “artisan” explosion is marketing chicanery designed to raise prices in an increasingly desperate economy.

Interestingly enough, well educated, prosperous (smart?) folks seem most inclined to fall for this non-sense...perhaps because they can afford to. That may be the point. They can point to themselves as “successful” discriminating types who can afford “artisan” wine, cheese and hedge trimming.

It’s a form of what Thorstein Veblen called “conspicuous consumption.”

But when everything is “artisanal” the add-on snob-appeal vanishes.

That’s why companies like Mercedes Benz and Gucci protect their brands. The names have value. Imagine a plain brown-wrapper car that happened to have the Mercedes star plastered on it. How much more could that car be sold for? A lot, at least until the brand is cheapened by awareness or over use.

If everyone owned (or, in reality, leased) a Mercedes, a Mercedes wouldn’t be a Mercedes.

And that’s what’s happening to artisan: artisan bread, artisan cheese, artisan wine...and artisan blogs.

An artisan blog? Big deal.

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