“What kind of society is it when you can’t even buy a chair?” asks Donald Judd in “It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp” at Icon Magazine. While the Icon bills this as “Donald Judd gets grumpy about furniture from beyond the grave” (hence this as the second grumpy post of the day), it’s really not fair to call this grumpy. Judd has a point.
A pathetic idea of expression debilitates virtually every aspect of our lives. Why can’t designers, especially second-rate designers (which is most of them) simply leave well enough alone? Once I have an option of a decent chair for not much money, then I can go for a nutty chair.
There’s this strange idea out there that we have to meddle with everything. Stop! Enough already. Take the Mac OS. What is it with those stupid three buttons at the top left corner? Why are they rounded? Why are they even there? Two of the three are unecessary. The close button is obvious enough, but the minimize button is annoying to use (much more annoying that windows, which makes it relatively clear which window you have minimized and which doesn’t consume 1/2 as much screen real estate with its relatively sensible bottom bar as the Mac’s ludicrous dock does) and the maximize button is, well, just a mystery. Because of their broken functionality, I barely ever use them. Moreover, why are they round? Why are tho top corners of my windows round when the bottom ones are square? Why this infantile attempt at design? Seriously though, it looks comical. If I’ve compared the Mac OS unfavorably to Windows, rest assured, Windows looks lo awful it’s hard to know where to begin (ok, I know where to begin…with those insane bubbles that unceasingly chat with you at the bottom right of the screen.).
Does anyone seriously think that such feeble attempts at empathy actually engage the user somehow? Or is this somehow a dark leftover of post-Fordism?
If you haven’t read Donald Judd’s writing before, do so now. His punchy, telegraphic style is unique, a delight to read.