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Archive for January 6th, 2011

Cussed snobs and cursive stubs

Posted by Dirck on 6 January, 2011

A couple of behaviours I’ve observed lately in my fellow pen fanciers that I thought I’d share.  Both trouble me somewhat, in as much as if I’m one of the same sub-set of humanity I might act similarly.

The more troubling one, I think, is based purely in attitude.  In various discussions of the TWSBI, some have mentioned it in the same breath as the higher-end Pelikan Souveran models.  Someone finally started up a thread opening with the question “Can a TWSBI 530 really compare to a Pelikan M800“, an honest question and one which was elaborated in the direction of getting someone with both pens to share their impressions.

Bedlam.  Polarization.  Almost no comments from anyone who could actually address the matter, a rough balance of “TWSBI is great!” and “How can you mention that in the same breath as Pelikan?!” predominating, with a few peacemakers doing their usual good work.  As the links above will reveal, I don’t have one of the Pelikans, so my part in the debate was slightly in the pro-TWSBI camp, with an admission that there will be some points in the materials column that it couldn’t possibly achieve at its price.

What troubled me about this debate was the tone in several of the Pelikan boosters.  If the TWSBI costs less than $50, it’s not merely cheap (not inexpensive, mind, but cheap), it counts in their view as disposable.  This coming from people with no more foundation for their opinion than I have for any opinion I might hold about a Pelikan M1000 (that is– don’t have one).  Prejudice in a very raw form, and indicative of a way of viewing the world through money-goggles that I cannot approve of.

I have mentioned previously that above a certain amount, one is paying for the right to brag rather for the pen itself.  The M800 is very much on the edge of the line where that transition is occuring, and without one to play with I can’t really say which way it inclines.  While I’m not a huge fan of this phenomenon, I don’t decry the urge to brag within certain limits (a $600 pen is just a bit of swagger, a $6,000 pen is goofy, and a $60,000 pen is an indication that someone needs a minder).  What I do strenuously object to is someone who, in a position to wear this brag, demeans those who are not.  A few stops down the line on that train of thought is that poor people aren’t quite people at all, and the world can do with less of that.

The lesser offense (and now that I’ve laid out the other one, it seems hardly an offense at all) is the frequent cry of “I’ve just got me a {Vintage Pen of Some Sort} and I’m going to send it to {Talented Nib Shaper Person} to have it made into a cursive italic stub!”  Now, leaving aside for the moment that cursive italic points are a slightly different thing than stubs, my problem lies in the direction of how much we vintage pen owners are custodians of our toys, since they’re likely to outlive us.  I’ve got a couple of stubs, and they are fun to write with and give extra character to one’s writing… but I wouldn’t take a Parker “51” with a medium or bold point and have it reshaped.  There’s not enough of them in the world as it is.

Hmmm.  Yeah, that really does look like small beans next to the raging class-war suggested in the first part.  Especially when the effect of the grinding is to make my Parker “51” with a broad point worth more, there being one fewer of them in the natural state, and thus allows me to provoke the snobs with my inexpensive yet valuable pen.

Today’s pen of the common folk:  Parker 45 Flighter
Today’s expensive but achieveable ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku

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