In our competitive society, the winners get to name the things. This is true with battles, large social movements and even furniture styles.
I think there is value in trying to think of these issues from the perspective of others – the losers, if you will. When growing up in Arkansas, some teachers taught us about the Civil War. Others taught us about the War of Northern Aggression.
If you think divergent taxonomy couldn’t apply to furniture, I disagree. About 15 years ago I worked with a guy who studied Kentucky Style furniture. When I suggested that the pieces looked like Western Shaker furniture with some simple inlay, he became testy.
“The Shakers,” he said, “were a weird religious cult and shouldn’t be remembered or celebrated. It’s cult furniture.”
Ouch. But it made me think.
So while on a walk this morning I devised alternative names for popular historical furniture styles. I know that some sensitive readers will think this list is political. It’s not. Trying to see things from another person’s perspective is an intellectually honest way of examining your own beliefs.
See if you can recognize your favorite furniture style in this list:
Mall Stall Furniture
Hopeless Idealist Furniture
Slave Owner Furniture
Royal Excess Furniture
Marketing Department Furniture
Historical Revisionist Furniture
Table Saw Furniture
Social Climber Furniture
Price Point Furniture
These are probably not good book titles. (Though I’d buy the books. Peter Follansbee said this about my library: “It looks like you buy any book with the word ‘furniture’ in the title.”)
— Christopher Schwarz