Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Design and social strata-

I know by reading that the social divisions in England were quite strong, and even in the early and mid 20th century there were abundant evidences. It reflects even in such works as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Though the relationship between Frodo and Samwise is relatively close through the course of the adventure, there remains the sense that Sam is in a separate class. This, a fantasy in an imaginary world still reflects something of Tolkien's culture.

In the United States we do not have as strong a sense of social class defining us as persons. However, the service jobs tend to still be looked down upon by "professionals." I have done some of this service work, having been a janitor at various times in my life.

I was thinking on how such things as plumbing in our modern houses may well reflect a lack of regard for plumbers. When plumbing was a new thing, it was added to houses on the outside. That, of course, was necessary. Accessible, easy to work on. I have to imagine that the exposed plumbing was a point of pride for the new owners.

Sensibilities changed. It would be more attractive to place the plumbing inside the walls on new houses. It would be less apparent, and look better. However, now the task of plumbing was more difficult. This, however, was a lesser consideration. Plumbers were "working class." They were paid to bend and crawl to do their work.

Or so it seems to me. It is quite possible to design things to be easily serviceable. It is quite possible to respect the professional that must perform the services. After all, they really are

Of course, I have an ulterior motive for such changes in design. User serviceability. I would love to have my plumbing and electrical be modular and accessible. I could then do the work myself. The same with the design of my car, and other elements of my life that can wear out or break down.

In the end, perhaps I have the least respect for professionals. I would rather keep my money, and be able to take care of the things in my life myself.

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