Handmade, Artisanal Plungers

Before you throw up your hands in disgust: this is a joke. Re Made does not exist. It's an elaborate lampoon of Best Made, a company that makes ridiculously expensive tools, most famously axes. Re Made's website, you may notice, is almost a clone of Best Made's.

(Video Link)

Prof. Rebekah Modrak of the University of Michigan created this satire. In an interview, she explains how her project explores a popular desire for authenticity--one that, it turns out, is often fake:

I was introduced to Best Made Co. (BMC) by The New York Times in their puzzling 2010 article about founder Peter Buchanan-Smith and his urban axe. The gist of the story was that BMC purchases the axes from another company, and then sands, brands, paints, and resells them for between $162 and $350. The Times described the axes as “useful, manly objects.” They also noted that celebrity executives were purchasing them, and that art galleries had been exhibiting them. So they gave a wide berth for these axes to exist in this incredibly free-floating space — luxury item, useful tool, sophisticated design, New York City-styled, outdoorsy, artisanal movement, art object — without noting any of the contradictions in these terms.

Here we were, just coming out of what they’re now calling the Great Recession, and the Times features an article about a tool symbolizing work, real work. Manual labor. For sale in the Prada “gallery” for $350. And all the symbolic properties of this tool are not lost on Best Made – they’re selling the mythical blue-collar working man identity with every axe. Yet there’s not one word in the article about how bizarre this is… Unintentionally, the article reads like parody.

The video embedded above is an almost shot-for-shot parody of one by Best Made. Here they are side by side:

(Video Link)

Perhaps Neatorama should offer a premium service with handcrafted posts. We'd have to charge quite a bit of money, of course. But that's how you know that it's authentic and wholesome.

-via Nag on the Lake

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Oh, indeed that is true. I think that Mondrak is objecting to the fetishization of making things or intentionally using older tools because they are old rather than because they are objectively superior in some form.
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