The importance of having a style

An idea I wish I would have encountered much earlier in life, but something I consider irreducibly important; having a personal style. By this, I merely mean having a consistent and to some modest degree, aesthetically considered manner of presenting one’s self to the world.

Counter to this notion, a long standing and deep source of aggravation has been the tendency to favor visual presentation over utility, i.e. things that are intended to look good but don’t work worth a shit. The idea should be to take something that is functional and efficient and then make that look good, not the other way around, but the western obsession with bigger, faster, more exciting copy trumps reason far too often.

A little style trumps a wealth of sins.

A good example of the failure of style are people who struggle to express themselves online; not the thirty year olds who sound as though they’re twelve, pathologically illiterate,  or those who type a good line but prove utter duds in person, but the ones who sound like porn actors reciting dialog if they attempt anything more sophisticated than an emoticon.

Paradoxically, millennials will struggle with this even more previous generations. A line I read recently which summarized this development was something I’d read in an article about Somalian refugees; that they “suffered from a lack of story”. I.E. with exponential growth of population size, you get exponential difficulty in differentiating one’s self as an individual.

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  • Comments (1)
    • jane
    • February 1st, 2011

    you definitely have a style, Max!

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