I read a recent article in the New York Times magazine about the meta-marketing of Legos (among other brands), and it made me dizzy thinking about how much we are happily digesting the self-effacing, yet unapologetic strategies of big businesses. It troubled me, especially as parent, since we try so hard to make informed decisions on our children's behalf. Lego seems like an educational toy, yet it's just as ruthless in the way it tries to infiltrate our lives.
But there is no denying that Legos are a brilliant invention. And the steady recovery and success of the Lego brand is quite remarkable. As a business, there is something awe-inspiring about that. And then I also read the article in Sunset Magazine about a blind father taking her daughter to Legoland and sharing the tactile experience, and I try to comfort myself in Lego's geniune intentions to create a unique experience and learning environment for children and adults alike.
Whether the Lego empire is "Lord Business" itself, I'm happy with what Lego has brought to our household. We are often huddled around a mound of Legos, happily tackling a kit or a random inspiration. Nico's 7th birthday party consisted of such a pile in the living room (thanks to a visit to Bricks and Minifigs, where they sell loose Legos by the bag), with him and his best friends making whatever their hearts desired. And the creations they made (completely on their own with no adult help) were complex and breathtaking. And that's pretty awesome.
It seems a little strange to post about a love for wood on a day when we declare love for other humans, but maybe it's appropriate, given what we do every day. At a job site in Berkeley, the carpenters are currently constucting a newel post out of douglas fir, and the grain was just gorgeous, my heart started beating a little faster when I saw this piece.
I hope someone (or something!) is setting your heart a flutter today.
Happy Valentine's Day!