Homogenized Is Good For Milk
I’m privileged to be part of a round-robin group of friends who discuss the craft via email. We four share similar views but we’re also individuals working in different modeling scales and following different prototypes and subject matter. Our discussions range from personal projects to the state of the craft or the alledged lack thereof. We respect the others’ views and when we disagree, we can express ourselves fully because we’ve created a safe place do so. That isn’t the case everywhere.
Read the popular magazines or spend time on the usual forums and you’ll get a pretty homogenized view of model railroading. You know, the one where everyone is building the same kind of layout, or using the top ten amazing tricks, tips and techniques that produce the same generic results as everyone else. Dissenting opinions may be welcome or not.
Last week I started a thread to the group expressing my disappointment with the new issue of a certain annual magazine. I want more from this publication and I didn’t get it. This publication isn’t bad but it no longer speaks to my needs, yet I shelled out the money thinking this time it would be different. It wasn’t, so why waste my friends’ time with a rant about something out of my control? While I received a certain amount of sympathy from the group, I acted petty instead of accepting the obvious and moving on in a constructive way.
Why are so many of us prone to insist that our pet modeling approach is the universal solution for every taste? I like P48, others don’t. I prefer a serious approach, while others clearly don’t. This blog and my books are the means I use to share those views and people are free to take what they want or need from both. At the end of the day however, my serious approach to P48 modeling in no way prevents anyone from enjoying their laid back fun time, so why do we get our noses out of joint over such trivial things?
Our egos get in the way of course but sometimes we also feel that the values and ideas we hold dear are being dismissed in a condescending way. I’m as guilty of doing this as anyone. There are approaches to this craft that hold zero interest for me and I’ve been awfully vocal about what a waste of time said approaches are (in my opinion). Instead, I should have put greater emphasis on why they are a waste of time for me. There’s a distinct difference between the two that’s important and I can do better at clarifying it in the future.
This craft is diverse. It can support larger group activities like operations and also individual expressions of craftsmanship. The beauty of it is, you get to choose what’s meaningful and worthy of your time and effort. Ultimately, I’m free to ignore things that aren’t interesting to me and instead of belittling other approaches, I can hope that people find like-minded friends with whom they can share. In the mean time I’ll continue to refine and clarify my point of view and share it with those who appreciate it. As modelers, we don’t have to agree on everything. We all have a choice and the freedom to exercise it.