Six Machines

Posted in Fortune Magazine by DCroy on 16 April 2009
Something Ironic

Something Ironic

My first impulse is to write something funny about training the boy for an unrewarding life in the factory (of all the cool tools in the machine, they pictured the lathe?), but then I got to thinking about irony and pre-irony. And then I was wondering if – and granted this is a limited view for the purposes of this half-baked blog entry –  the US is now sort of both. Or, not both, but ironic and anti-ironic, perhaps as a component of the (such as it is) red state/blue state divide.

Not to get all Bordieu on your asses, but I’m wondering if irony is (unconsciously or not) a kind of cultural capital that exists on the coasts, while the middle (consciously or not) rejects irony for a more straight-ahead view of things (most obviously in entertainments where things like NCIS and Two and a Half Men win frequently) as a symbol of their own kind of cultural capital.

I mean: I could view this ironically as an image showing a bullshit relationship (do fathers and sons do this anymore? Did they ever?) or as a sly sales pitch for an unrewarding goal (a future of dull factory work disguised as a “toy”). But at the same time, someone else could view this as a legitimately aspirational or nostalgic image (a genuine relationship moment, happily free from complications of media and technology). I suppose it’s not knowable to what extent I’m forcing my irony, or they’d be forcing their anti-irony, essentially for the same purposes.

You know, I’m not sure any of this makes any sense.Maybe I’m just killing time. But at the end of it all, I do know this: I would’ve loved to’ve had a toy like that! Six tools in one!


5 Responses

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  1. Rick Cogley said, on 19 April 2009 at 8:43 pm

    The thing that struck me first was the obvious safety issue with the necktie. Sheesh!


  2. David Croy said, on 20 April 2009 at 11:03 am


  3. loungelistener said, on 5 May 2009 at 6:45 am

    Yeah, the tie. I remember in school shop class, one of the first things you were warned of was anything loose or dangly when on the lathe, even shirt tails were dangerous. Since this was the early ’70’s, and long hair was really in (especially with me), even long hair was dangerous around these things, or anything that spun. (Drill presses, lathes, etc)

    I also remember ads like this when I was a kid. Your own lathe with all sorts of add-ons. I SO wanted one. Now, in our “I’ll sue you!” society, in our “got to protect you from yourself” society, would anyone dare to sell this marketed to the “Dad & son” market? Probably not, and that’s sorta sad.

    • David Croy said, on 5 May 2009 at 7:12 am

      Yeah, nowadays it’d be all plastic, rounded corners, and you wouldn’t be able to do anything with it. Here’s hoping that dads are still finding ways to be dangerous with their kids, even if we don’t have frightening/awesome toys anymore.

  4. Rick Cogley said, on 7 May 2009 at 10:34 pm

    “But, but, plastic has carcinogens!”

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