I’m heading south for a week, and when I get back I expect to have finished reading The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce. Culture. and Consciousness by Postrel. Virginia I. ( 2004 ) Paperback and have begun McKee’s Story. In the meantime, there’s packing and remembering all the stuff I don’t want to forget, and getting to the plane on time, so this site may not be updated tomorrow.
After that, it depends on whether I have Web access where I’m going. If I don’t, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. I’m really grateful to all you folks who come around occasionally or regularly or even drop by and look it over once. I hope to give you something useful to take away.
About Postrel’s book, though, I have to follow up on last night’s post. At the place where I left off, she began making the point that content is important, not at the expense of style, but along with it. If it’s a morally neutral good, packaging can add value. If it’s a morally evil item, good packaging, although it remains good packaging, does not make the item good. Her example was Leni Riefenstahl’s ground-breaking film-making techniques that she used in promoting Hitler’s Nazi empire. Riefenstahl’s works are important in the history of film-making, and her presentation of the images is very powerful. Nevertheless, the content was evil.
That didn’t answer my question, which was whether the packaging itself could be in any definable sense “bad” or “evil.” I have to say, though, that Postrel has answered every question I’ve raised so far, and I still have a third or more of the book yet to finish. I plan to bring this continuing blog to closure.