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by on August 12, 2010 at 4:56 am in Economics | Permalink

Artisanal pencil sharpening:

David Rees, the man behind the popular political comic Get Your War On, wants to sharpen you a pencil. Slowly. Attentively. And with a carefully selected sharpener or blade that suits the pencil best. If there are movements for slow food and slow reading, why not for slow writing implements? 

"With an electric pencil sharpener, a pencil is meat," Rees said. "It's this thoughtless, Brutalist aesthetic. For me, it's almost a point of pride that I would be slower than an electric pencil sharpener."

This is how Rees' artisanal pencil sharpening works: You might send him your favorite pencil, but Rees more often selects and sharpens a classic No. 2 pencil for his clients, he promises, "carefully and lovingly." He slides the finished pencil's very sharp tip into a specially-sized segment of plastic tubing, then puts the whole pencil in a larger, firmer tube that looks like it belongs in a science experiment. Throw it at a wall, he says, and it won't break. The cost? $15.

For the pointer I thank Ellen P.

1 prior_approval August 12, 2010 at 5:55 am

One of his generation’s most savage critics of how America operates decides to blow off a bit of steam while still savagely criticizing how America operates by simultaneously participating in it – and lo and behold, people notice the cost as the most important point.

‘mit einem lachenden und einem weinenden Auge’ – laughing in one eye, crying in the other

2 techreseller August 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

There are many signs that a person has much more money than sense. Purchasing this service is another one of those signs.

3 Steve R August 12, 2010 at 9:53 am

With the exception of prior_approval, this seems to have gone over the heads of most commentors on that site and this one.

You guys do know what a “comic” is, right? Didn’t you notice he is doing this as part of a show with the “I’m a PC” guy?

And C, ironic comedy only works if the performer can convince the audience that he is serious.

4 John Jenkins August 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

It *has* to be a joke. It’s too absurd to be legitimate.

5 Cliff August 12, 2010 at 10:53 am

Taylor, how can you possibly draw a conclusion like that from a naked quote with no commentary?

6 prior_approval August 12, 2010 at 11:25 am

‘and you start to feel a lurking suspicion that he might actually be taking the whole thing seriously, and maybe the irony is just a facade’
Well, he is the man responsible for Get Your War On – for a sample, start at

Here is the text of the three panels of the very first strip, 10/9/01 (he uses a stock figure approach which highly recommends actually viewing his work if you wonder about his perspective on the society we live in) –
1. Oh yeah Operation: Enduring Freedom is in the house!
2. Oh yeah Operation: Enduring Freedom is in the motherfucking house!
3. Yes, Operation: Enduring Freedom To Bomb The Living Fuck Out Of You is in the house!!!

7 Trey August 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

“for the POINTER”!!! Ha!

8 Yan August 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm

This reminds of me of the Japanese dorodango (shiny mud balls).

9 prior_approval August 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

‘”Get Your War On” is popular?’
I have no idea.

‘I took one look at it 9 years ago and dismissed it as not only trite, but boring and trite.’
And to think since then, many Americans are still able to dismiss our torturing, bombing, and borrowing to finance war as boring and trite. Oh well, at least he seems to be earning a bit more money sharpening pencils than he did with a free web comic strip published on an irregular basis.

10 fineng August 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm

tried to go to this link at work. The filter blocked it as “sexual” I think the artisAnal component of the url got picked up!

11 Andrew August 13, 2010 at 5:06 am

I, Pencil…Sharpen.

Is this some civil disobedience against division of labor?

I’m not sure what the objective is, but I’m sure his customers will get the point in the end!

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