metaphortunate: (Default)
metaphortunate son ([personal profile] metaphortunate) wrote2017-01-16 04:59 pm

you want it cheaper

In "Steer Your Way", the second to last song on Leonard Cohen's last album You Want It Darker, Cohen (the Jewish king of Christian allusions, always reminding me of Asher Lev) sings "As he died to make men holy/ let us die to make things cheap". Which, yes, irony, This Modern World, etc., but I also think about this statement which has been floating unattributed, yes I looked, around the internet:
If it’s inaccessible to the poor it’s neither radical nor revolutionary.
In my experience, the only real way to make things accessible to other than elites is to make them cheap. I'm not here to say that people should die to make things cheap, I find myself unqualified to say what people should die for, this is not a pro-Foxconn post, but it does seem to me that making the good things in life cheap is, in itself, a good thing. Worth pursuing, anyway.

Incidentally, I'd been worried that I had been losing some of my enjoyment in music, I'm sick of everything I've heard recently, and then I thought to pull up You Want It Darker on Spotify. It's wonderful. It's all I've wanted to listen to recently. The Junebug made me turn it off in the car because "It's too scary for me!"
jedusaur: Stephen Fry as Jeeves with his hands held to his face. (jeeves facepalming)

[personal profile] jedusaur 2017-01-17 01:20 am (UTC)(link)
A five-year-old kid I babysat made me turn off the Vitamin String Quartet cover of Black Hole Sun for similar reasons of scariness. He said it sounded like a stone dragon statue coming to life. *hands*
kalmn: (Default)

[personal profile] kalmn 2017-01-17 01:26 am (UTC)(link)
You Want It Darker is too scary for me, almost.
likeadeuce: (Default)

[personal profile] likeadeuce 2017-01-17 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for the rec! I pulled up Anthem on repeat the other day but had forgotten about the new recrd.
brainwane: The last page of the zine (cat)

making the good things cheap & the cheap things good

[personal profile] brainwane 2017-01-17 02:28 pm (UTC)(link)
There was a period in the middle of 2014 where my spouse had just begun his job at the New York Public Library and I was still at the Wikimedia Foundation, where the entire paid work of our household was to make infrastructure for sharing high-quality information, for free, to the general public. I left WMF but he is still going to work every day and making it as pleasant and easy for a NYPL patron to browse their catalog and check out an ebook, for free, as it would be for a more well-off person to browse an online book retailer and buy an ebook from them.

In my experience, the only real way to make things accessible to other than elites is to make them cheap.

I am nodding over here, with the added proviso that if attention counts as a cost, then rearranging the user experience so it takes genuinely way less attention to get the thing will also spread accessibility to non-elites. But maybe you are only talking about objects and not experiences. Or I might be misunderstanding you, or talking out of my hat.
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)

Re: making the good things cheap & the cheap things good

[personal profile] the_siobhan 2017-01-17 05:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm always reminded of a piece I once read about how highly valued spices were when they were hard to get. Once trade outside Europe became reliable enough that spices became affordable to middle- and working-class people, the fashion in high cuisine turned to "embracing the natural flavours" of food or some such twaddle.

So as soon as you make something accessible to the poor, the rich will try to convince the poor nobody wants it any more.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

Re: making the good things cheap & the cheap things good

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2017-01-19 06:59 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, goodness, yes.

Every industry that needs serious attention and training in order to access means that there are gatekeepers; sometimes the gatekeepers are expensive and/or abusive.

Attention means energy; if you're exhausted from whatever job, you may not have the energy.

Attention means time; if you're spending more than 35-40 hours a week working, you've still got housework and such, and time you spend to understand things is time you're not actively earning, even if it may pay off later.