Markets in everything

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.


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