I have been puzzling for some time over the matter I call the 'Logarithmic Shadow'. It is the observed phenomenon that people an order of magnitude more capable than you, generally don't condescend to compete in your arena and steal all your goods and glory. In peacetime.
It should seem rather obvious to many of my readers why this is somewhat puzzling even though we understand the converse prejudice. It's obvious why we pikers don't want to play in the big leagues. We don't want to get our asses handed to us. On the other hand, there are many things that the slightly above average Joe can do that will rank among the best. That is when it comes to consumption.
So this morning I discover that the boots I've been wearing for the past two years have spontaneously and literally become unglued. I thought Johnston & Murphy boots were some of the best that could be bought. It turns out they don't even sew the sole to the bottom of the last. Glue! I'm rather disappointed and pissed. So I've started looking about for a new boot vendor.
I started with Keen and then as I read the reviews, ended up at Carhartt. My latest Keens are not as nice and comfy as my old ones, and I still have an appetite for tactical cools. But really I want to replace the nice J&Ms. So the commenters at GQ Magazine remind me of Church's wingtips. I crawl through a few other clickbait top 10 boots and discover somebody called John Lobb. So I check out this English shoe manufa.. wait what? 1800 bucks for what? Oh no.
Does anybody on the planet know the difference between $500 shoes and $2000 shoes? Evidently so, but I ain't going there. Neither are you. Common sense, right? Yes, exactly that. Common sense does not demand extraordinary quality. Most of the time it cannot discriminate at that level. OK that's our side of the Shadow.
This resonates with some survey I read here or there regarding the outlook of countries like Vietnam. Even though they run under a nominal communist government, the economy is capitalist, and 95% of Vietnamese think things will be better for their children than for them. If you want to hear some awesome anti-communist rants, listen to Hanoi.
But were the shoes in America better in the good old days of wingtips? Or did we just spend more money on good shoes? If we think our kids are not going to be better off than we are, by what standards are we judging? Maybe they don't want the $500 shoes we take for granted, or cars with > 200 horsepower. Maybe kids who can't throw a football 60 yards still enjoy the game. Maybe common sense and a decent life is all anybody needs and our habits of trying to be a better than average Joe with our fascination with 'Top 10' whatever clickholes is just a little bit aberrant.
I'm thinking about my next vacation. Perhaps I should go to Delhi. But what kind of shoes should I wear?