Just some thoughts...

This off topic area is a place where, while you are visiting the Crispin Colloquy, you can talk about beer, whiskey, kilts, the latest WWII re-enactment, BBQ, grandsons, shoes in the media, and even the odd meandering essay on "why we make shoes."
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Re: Just some thoughts...

#101 Post by das » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:37 am

DW,

I share your frustration with all that, but it's nothing peculiar to our time and culture.

Remember the heated Forum discussion years ago on "toe box", "toe puff", "toe stiffener", "toe case", "toe lining"? All perfectly legit terms for the same thing more or less, just different regional variants over the last 200 years. T'would be nice if language stood still, but it doesn't.

With our students it's our job to teach them, show them each term but beg that they just pick one, stick to it, and blame their choice on their teacher :old&wise:

What bugs me more is how marketing "catalogue lingo" has dumbed-down the general population to the point they can barely discuss footwear. My pet peeves are:

Many can no longer distinguish between heel and sole, because of unitized bottoms

Many conflate instep with arch

Most can't tell a mold from a form (last)--it's all a mold to them

We're losing proper English "boot leg" for the German "shaft"

Good old thread has become "twine", "string", etc., and sewing/stitching is now degenerated into "lacing", "thonging", "binding"--anything but sewing/stitching it seems

Insoles are now cushy things you buy and insert inside your shoes--not the structural first sole everything's built to

Shank-pieces devolved to just "shanks", and now to "arch supports"

Heel stiffeners and counters are now "rear foot stabilizers"

Fewer and fewer can distinguish between a boot and a shoe, or are too lazy to try, hence "tall riding shoes" for top boots

Leather no longer has the flesh and the grain--it has the "suede side" (apologies to the Swedes) and the "smooth side"

And just because L.L. Bean didn't want their backless footwear to be restricted to indoor wear, they renamed good old slippers (mules is French), "slides" in marketing. Now backless slippers are generically called "slides". WTF :brickwall:

Don't despair, it's much worse in other trades. Ever stand at the service counter at an auto repair place and listen to a customer trying to describe what they think is wrong with their vehicle? "It sounds to me like the metal dohickey that holds the rubber gizmo is lose and rubbing on the big round thingie." "Sure Mr. we'll get right on that." :cool:

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#102 Post by dw » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:13 am

+1

Most people don't know the difference between a sock liner and an insole.
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Re: Just some thoughts...

#103 Post by das » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:25 am

BTW, this map illustrates why Germanisms like “shaft”, for boot leg, have gained currency in the US.
german population.jpg

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#104 Post by das » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:43 am

And I should point out that "German" often meant German-speakers, not just ethnic Germans. Take Texas for example. It was a German "colony" of sorts, but lots of the immigrants came from Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European states (where heavily embroidered "shafts", and colorful, higher heeled boots were in vogue), they just happened to speak German too.

Yup. Pretty soon we're going to lose shoe and boot altogether, and footwear will just be called, "them things there that go on your feet".

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#105 Post by homeboy » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:51 pm

das wrote: "them things there that go on your feet".
Martha.....heck, makes perfect sense to me!
What one man has done....another can do.

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#106 Post by das » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:57 pm

I bet it do--to you.

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#107 Post by dw » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:20 am

I don't know if I've posted this before but here is a little monograph I posted on another forum...

To set the stage, we were talking about the potential rancidification of various conditioners and at one point, the complaint was voiced that there was a lot of bogus information being bandied about by the industry and by those selling product. And should we modify our own definitions just because the public doesn't know the correct meanings of words?
As far as bogus information coming from the Industry...I agree with you 100%. But JP, this is our heritage...it is the Art and Mysterie, the Gentle Craft, the Traditions...that have been passed down to us from generation to generation time out of mind. The words we use carry all the weight of those generations and that Tradition. It is up to us to preserve the lexicon just as much as we preserve the techniques. It's a given that the Industry won't...and if we don't, "the terrorists win."

What I'm saying is that if a customer comes in the door talking about handsewn Goodyear, it is incumbent upon us to gently correct him and tell him that there is no such thing. If an amateur starts talking about making holes in leather with a drill press, we have to deplore it. We have to instruct...simply because we were instructed--it's a pay-it-forward kind of deal. If we don't, everything that was passed down to us is diminished.

When the language...the lexicon...is dumbed down, the knowledge itself is dumbed down simply because the language is specific and refers to specific concepts. Dumbed down language is non-specific...that's what makes it dumbed down. Using a word like "rancid" without noting its specificity regarding fats and oils is dumbing it down.

The same is true for techniques...like punching holes with a drill press. Pretty soon the average customer not only doesn't value the work, but more importantly, it becomes difficult to find anyone, even among practitioners, who understand it....what it was or what it can be.

And to paraphrase Albert Einstein, "if you don't understand it, you can't explain it"...and if you can't explain it you can't teach it. So the knowledge is lost.

Again, coming back to Steven Dutch's essay on Experts:

"And I don't care about "common usage. Common usage is just plain wrong and the fact that too many people are too illiterate to know any better doesn't make it right. You do not get to redefine words just because you're too lazy to use them correctly."
Just food for thought...
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Re: Just some thoughts...

#108 Post by dw » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:31 am

Riff on a theme and food for thought...maybe?

My old dad used to say that if you wanted to make money the only way to do it was to make it off someone else's labour. But it all comes down to each person deciding what he wants to do...what is to be "job one": Make money or make shoes. I know most of you don't agree with me on that but I've made my living and career believing that you could. And that, at every turn, you had to...were forced to...make that choice.

The key to surviving as a shoemaker is not, in my opinion, making more, but making better. It can work, it does work, esp. when you come to grips with the concept of "global village."

That and understanding and embracing the concept of "enough" in terms of what we aspire to with regard to material things. That in itself is almost unheard of in our cultures. Yet is, I think, nothing short of, the key to happiness.

Learning anything...shoemaking, wood turning, auto mechanics...is like swordfighting. :tinfoil:

The first time you see a sword fight the only thing you take away is the noise and the chaos and maybe who won. Subsequent viewings may increase your knowledge and understanding of the more obvious parries, etc., but it isn't until you pick up a wooden practice sword and actually set-to that you really and truly begin to comprehend the complexities.

And when you switch from wooden practice swords and all the attendant bruises, to real swords and serious danger you have to virtually re-learn everything all over again.

Actual combat adds an entire other dimension and level of understanding. If you survive, eventually you may get to the point where you can look at your opponent's stance and know at a glance whether he knows what he's doing and even what possible moves he can make from that position. Similar to chess...for the master player.

Time and hands-on experience are the only factors that matter. Without them the larger picture is never seen. The swordsman who has put his time in...sweated, bled, mastered....develops an almost ineffable sense of how it all works together, of how it seems to aggregate and become more, much more, than the sum of its pieces. And how often it manifests in unlooked-for insights and comprehension that the facts and experiences...by themselves...don't necessarily reveal or recommend.

Time and experience are all that matters. Nothing else will give a person command or understanding...and without it the individual is destined (maybe even by choice) for the rear echelons (REMF).

I'm not a swordsman, but I can relate....

Simply because shoemaking is similar in that over time, doing it, actually experiencing the difficulties and complexities of every operation and the way they are interdependent and critically influenced by tools, materials, weather, etc., creates a synergy that cannot be duplicated by observation, talking to masters, nor even dabbling in parts of it, much less working at someone else's behest. This is no small thing--it is the difference between a master shoemaker and a mediocre shoemaker (I'm no master either...except in the most mundane sense of the word--the owner of the shop...but I can relate.)

IMO...
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Re: Just some thoughts...

#109 Post by Herr_Leeb » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:53 pm

dw,
it is such a bummer that this forum does not have a facebook style "like" button or the option to comment on posts in a polite and structured way.
I read this whole topic and must say that I really, really enjoy your insights, not only about shoe making but specially your philosophical remarks. In so many cases you express exactly my thoughts, just in a very eloquent way. Very glad I became a member here.
A.

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#110 Post by dw » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:51 pm

I appreciate that, Alexander.

That said, it is, and has been pretty much the consensus among those responsible for this forum and the Guild that if the Trade is worth preserving, it is worth protecting from the superficiality and inanity of the FB style of discourse. I'm not sure what a "like" button would do that a comment such as yours doesn't do better.

Beyond that, I see myself as "the Guild's man." I wholeheartedly subscribe to the philosophies and vision of the bona fide leaders of the Guild and willingly follow the course they have set out.

If my writing and ideas are of any worth it is, in a large part, because of their influence.

:tiphat:
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Re: Just some thoughts...

#111 Post by Herr_Leeb » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:27 pm

dw,

no,no,no, that was not what I was suggesting.
One of the big challenges on the web is to express your thoughts in such a way that they will be received as you intended them. Since english is not my first language I might be a bit clumsy.
I would not want this forum to go "facebook".
What I was trying to communicate was that I really liked a lot of the side remarks you made and regretted to not be able to express my delight about some of the thoughts...

Posting replies to 20 off topic remarks made years ago which I enjoy reading now feels a bit awkward, that's the bummer :)

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#112 Post by dw » Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:13 am

Herr_Leeb » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:27 pm wrote:dw,

no,no,no, that was not what I was suggesting.
One of the big challenges on the web is to express your thoughts in such a way that they will be received as you intended them. Since english is not my first language I might be a bit clumsy.
I would not want this forum to go "facebook".
What I was trying to communicate was that I really liked a lot of the side remarks you made and regretted to not be able to express my delight about some of the thoughts...

Posting replies to 20 off topic remarks made years ago which I enjoy reading now feels a bit awkward, that's the bummer :)
Alex,

I know what you mean...and please don't think I was disagreeing with you or "chiding" you.

But I post to other forums and one of the things I have found to be nearly universal on them is that "like buttons" tend to be...for lack of a better term..."divisive." They are used to "approve" opinions in preference to other opinions...all to often without much in-depth thought or comprehensive reading. Even in the absence of a "flag" or "dislike" button, they introduce an element of factionalism and ranking...simply because someone's posts/opinions, etc., get get "liked" and others do not.

They also, all too often, encourage people to lurk rather than to join in. If only because they are, for all intents and purposes, both anonymous and requiring no further thought or engagement.

In my opinion, your extended remarks are far more welcome, than a dozen "likes."

It's not just Facebook that I'm on about...although that medium, almost by default if not definition, embodies an aspect of triviality and impermanence that runs counter to everything the Crispin Colloquy was designed to be (as an archive, essentially)--the way this forum was conceived and structured is pretty deliberate.

And admittedly, it may not be for everyone, or to everyone's taste.
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Re: Just some thoughts...

#113 Post by Herr_Leeb » Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:44 am

dw,
I absolutely agree with you, as usual.
Having said that....
facebook like button.jpg
facebook like button.jpg (8.06 KiB) Viewed 680 times
A. :devil:

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Re: Just some thoughts...

#114 Post by DesertRose » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:07 am

why, in an age of computers and nanotechnology and the nearly culture-wide expectation of “instant gratification,” pursuing a vocation that has roots and traditions and essential skills that go back literally centuries—a process that can never be made “fast,” only faster...and then, objectively, at the expense of quality—why this might seem like a viable career option.
Call me an old soul, but it's becoming increasingly rare for a millennial such as myself to agree with this statement.
I work in the news business - one of the best indicators of this "instant" society - and I've noticed that we're trending more toward reporting via social media, before we report from more traditional mediums. Reporters are now being told to post updates to Twitter before reporting back to the newsroom. Breaking news becomes a race: which news outlet can post something online before the others? Of course, there are serious underlying ethical liabilities here, but that's for another discussion.
Unfortunately, that's what our society expects and demands from us. Impatience comes quickly these days. No one wants to pause and appreciate the little moments in life anymore...if it can't be Instagrammed, or if it won't gain some "likes" on Facebook, then it's considered irrelevant.
It's certainly becoming information overload. All day, every day, we're inundated with useless information. And it's no wonder folks don't have the time or energy to devote to things once considered important. They're too busy swiping through a quagmire of information.
I am certainly an anomaly in my profession. If I'm not at work, I'm not watching the news or reading about it. It's overwhelming.

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