PROTECTION RACKET

There’s something weird in the neighbourhood. And no-one to call.

A new tenant moved in nearby. The car is longer than each of the little terrace houses is wide.

Several of these big beasts have appeared recently.

On the underground, a backpack took down a young passenger.  Nothing serious, just that the backpack appeared to be fortified with some tank-like material.

A small trampling incident on a station platform. Again, nothing serious, except that the trampler’s sandals appeared to have soles not unlike car tyres in size and heft.

These are but tiny examples of a pattern of super-strong military grade defence design of everyday objects: where no proportional threat exists.

Leonard Lauder (Estée Lauder Companies) used to hypothesise that lipstick sales were an economic indicator.  When confidence ebbs and everyone feels that the economic future looks bleak, then small luxuries or indulgences – eg lipsticks – are purchased, rather than high price items.

Is this ‘fortress design’ pattern an indicator of something significant?

It’s fear, isn’t it?

A general level of anxiety about stuff, the world, and everything may be unconsciously influencing this trend towards over-sized, robustly made, ‘don’t mess with me’ design.

And there is an organisational version too.

Have you noticed how acceptable / common it is for meeting attendees to place an open laptop between themselves and others?

And to ensure their personal supply of coffee / water etc is maintained independently of anyone else’s needs?

There is something weird going on.

No one is an island, none of us self-sufficient; and no one (really) needs an armoured vehicle or accessories in a city.

Yet a pattern of protection is visible everywhere.

Protection from what, we wonder?

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