Know what inspires me? A good book. THE good book. Kindness. Humor. A great example of selflessness and/or productivity. My fam and kiddos. New democracies. A good visit full of controversy and interruption. An awesome book...did I say that already? I could go on all day.
Know what doesn't inspire me? Random stuff you hang up on the wall. And chairs. And wallpaper. And so on. Is it pretty? Yes. Is it cool? Sometimes. But it's also just a thing, the only purpose of which is to sit there for people to behold it. So I am puzzled and a little saddened when I bump into blog after blog and snicket after snicket saying stuff like "That pillow is so INSPIRING" or "your living room INSPIRES me" or "design INSPIRES me" or "that self-portrait of you sipping out of a straw at some restaurant is so INSPIRING" or "your bangs INSPIRE me" or "the new kid's line at this store is so INSPIRING." Seriously? Those are pieces of children's clothing, not Mother Theresa.
I kind of get it, because of course, everyone likes to go out to eat, and to find a cool trinket once in a while. But those are things you do now and then as a side dish to the main course of your actual life. WE ARE GROWN UPS. It seems like we should things to do, like BE grownups, and realize that a lamp is a lamp, not headline news and definitely not "inspiring." IT IS A LAMP. Maybe it's cool, and we can high-five you for finding a cool lamp, but it is not a show-stopper. It is for lighting up the room. No? Our whole life can't (and shouldn't) be primping and getting dressed and decorating your house, right? It's fun and everything, but those are things you do TO FACILITATE living the rest of your life, you know, being a decent friend/spouse/parent/sibling/neighbor, working at your job, doing all the unglamorous but productive or at least necessary stuff like wiping bums and tables and comforting people or making beds and whatever else, contributing to society, reading a book, doing some basic grown-up critical thinking, blahblahblah. And I guess I can kind of see how a cool painting or something really arty is inspiring if it motivates you or sparks something in you, but that's actual art, or real design, not a trendy rug or whatever. I am totally puzzled by all of the stuff I've seen lately about people being "inspired" by "design," which seems to be code for "I don't have real hobbies or interests so I shop."
Agree? Disagree? Am I missing something that would make all of this make sense to me?
Addendum 11/5/10: I think creativity is cool, and I realize this tone is a little harsh. I am pro-creativity. I just think stuff is taking over the world and the internet and our thoughts and our hearts and our time, at the expense of more important and more substantive things. And my rage is directed less toward actual designers and more toward those who spend a lot of time and energy on hypothetical redecorating or other stuff that bugs me.