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DIY will save us all.

By Karina | March 24, 2008

I’m a little late to the party, but there is a great article in wired magazine called “Clive Thompson on how DIYers Just Might Revive American Innovation.” It briefly discusses how the emphasis on hands-on-DIY has lessened over the years in favor of more academic careers, and he argues that as we lose our ability to trouble-shoot, repair, or create items on our own, we also lose larger problem-solving skills and fail to understand how the world works. Also,

If you can’t get under the hood of the gadgets you buy, you’re far more liable to believe the marketing hype of the corporations that sell them. When things break, you toss them and buy new ones; you accept your role as a mere consumer. “I think it makes you more passive as an individual,” says Matthew Crawford, a former motorcycle repair-shop owner (and postdoctoral fellow in cultural studies) who’s writing a book on the demise of mechanical aptitude in America.

We’ve talked about the value of repairing items and also about how I feel that we should producing be smarter and more dynamic solutions than (lazy) industry argues we can. And above all we are constantly talking about buying less, making smarter, longer-lasting choices when we do buy things, and reusing as much as possible.

What’s great about this article is how it emphasizes that the DIY movement may save us all!

The good news? A counterrevolution is afoot. The past few years have seen an uprising of DIY hobbyists, people who’ve realized that making stuff is not only cognitively empowering but also a lot of fun. …

Notably, all this is happening outside our broken educational system. America is healing itself at the grass roots — rediscovering the mental joy of making things and rearming itself with mechanical skills.

I know there’s a lot of DIYers reading this blog – stand proud! We’ll all bring innovation back into the picture!

Topics: Activism, Crafts/DIY | 2 Comments »

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Comment by sg
2008-03-26 17:12:56

I totally agree, though I sheepishly own up to buying an ipod. I think it worked for me, since I didn’t buy a car to get to grad school, but having something to block out the world on the 1&1/2 hour to two hour one way (!) commute really, really helped. I make my tiniest of choices by setting the backlight to off (I can read the screen anyway).

I also got some more use out of the ipod when the folks at the Apple store told me it was broken beyond repair. I read online somewhere that if I whacked it against a hard surface just at startup that I might get the hard drive to read again. Viola! It worked! Take that, apple store!

That’s just to illustrate the point that you don’t have to be completely skilled in fixing your electronic to get them to come back to life. As long as you’re careful (safety first), you can fix quite a lot & keep it out of the landfill.

Comment by Karina
2008-03-27 10:29:40

I’m pretty sure, sg, that by doing the very scary and whacking your broken ipod in order to bring it back to life you are entirely redeemed for owning it! no sheepishness required!


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