Sharing this, because it cheered me up just now. I needed cheering up because I just watched a few (TV?) episodes of Martha Stewart “learning bookbinding” from some poor little intimidated bookbinder—who obviously agreed to work with the old bag because he couldn’t say no to the dough—and it depressed me so much…
He wasn’t explaining the principles behind anything he did (you would never really learn to bind a book by watching him), he rushed through everything, he simplified or parsed the process to the point of actually allowing bad practices to pass and doing things that bookbinders would never do…in other words, he betrayed his craft to abide by a miserly thirty-minute slot and to make some frump with her own television show look good.
And I watched her, making her own book as he made his, and you know what? She was heedless, careless, and clumsy. Even with everything prepared and pre-made for her, she slapped her book together so that it was crooked, and sticky with glue where no glue should have been. Seriously, all these years of Martha Stewart Living, and a public image that actually presents her as some kind of crafting master, and she can’t work neatly with a bit of PVA glue? Martha Stewart makes herself look good by paying other, skilled, people to make beautiful things for her, but seems, herself, to be a complete schlub. A lummox. No feel for the craft, no intelligence in her hands. Sausage fingers and the onscreen charm of a bulldozer.
She didn’t give a shit about book binding. The whole objective was to take an old and venerable craft—guild apprenticeships used to last 7 years—and render it down for material that could be used to plug up a thirty-minute crack in her program.