Federico Escobar federicoescobarcordoba at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 28 02:23:57 UTC 2010

I took it to be remarkable in the same way "natural," "fresh," and other
terms were remarked upon by Dwight Bolinger in "Language - The Loaded
Weapon" (especially chapter 10: "Power and deception"). Bolinger's take
rings true in JL's analysis of "handcrafted": the word's connotations are
stretched to situations in which they would no longer logically apply
(especially not if we follow Ron's hand+craft analysis), with the aim of
making people feel the whiff of those associations even when the root
meaning is no longer applicable. It is not merely figurative, either,
because what's at stake is appropriating those warm associations. Others on
the thread have said something quite similar, with which I agree.

"Organic" has become less pliable in that sense, because of regulations, but
"natural" remains maliciously malleable.


On Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 9:52 PM, Ronald Butters <ronbutters at aol.com> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ronald Butters <ronbutters at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: handcrafted
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> Well, yeah, since "handcrafted" basically means 'skillfully made', any
> number of things could be called "handcrafted"; that is not the same thing
> as '(entirely) hand-made'. If Ghia used :"stamps and presses" to make there
> products, they are scarcely 'handmade'. Likewise suits made on any kind of
> assembly line.
> My point is this:
> "Handcrafted" today and "handcrafted" in 1952 do not appear to mean much
> different things, though it is certainly possible that means of "crafting"
> things may have changed owing to technological innovation and different
> cultural perspectives on "craft."
> JL began this thread by implying (or so it seemed to me) that the OED was
> missing some new definition of "handcrafted." I say no: the commercial use
> is not all that different from 1952, and in any case the meaning that JL is
> looking for is derivable with no leap of the imagination from the meaning
> that the OED has already given.
> On Dec 27, 2010, at 8:02 PM, James Smith wrote:
> > Unless you mean "handcrafted" denotes made without tools, I have no
> trouble accepting that the 4 items listed could have, in fact, been
> handcrafted in 1952.  It may not have actually been so, but it is not beyond
> credible belief.  Even today, a cheap man's suit is still largely
> handcrafted.  Sure Ghia would have used stamps and presses to shape the
> carrozzeria, but producing a finish worthy of the Ghia name would have
> involved a lot of hand work, a lot of crafting by hand.  Same with the
> crystal and watch.
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