That’s not a totally perfect title for this post, but it’s approaching what I want to say.
Caitlin recently got a few trial pairs of glasses from a site called Warby Parker, who send people sets of non-prescription test glasses to wear around and find which ones they really like, before committing to a purchase. I tried one of the pairs on, and I really liked it.
I’m honestly a big fan of the glasses-as-accessory thing. But it’s got such a bad image, tied to pretentiousness, condescension, and hipster elitism. It’s a huge bummer. Wearing glasses with non-prescription lenses, that don’t have some other function, like sunglasses or eye-strain-minimizing computer glasses, is kind of like wearing a fedora: no matter how much you think you’re conjuring Frank Sinatra or Indiana Jones, you’re actually projecting “I’m a misogynist and I think little girls aren’t real fans of My Little Ponies.” And it doesn’t matter how much I just like the look of glasses on my face, wearing them will generally read as “I think I’m smarter than you and your taste in music sucks.”
So, the thing about Google Glass: However glasses come off as a fashion choice is sort of negated by their actually having a function, right? So if Google Glass hadn’t accumulated the mass of its own socially awkward prejudice, we’d probably be on our way to cool smart glasses, which I could get.
A while ago, Wired did a cover about wearable tech (pictured, right) and they had a product design company come up with concept art for the glasses and watch in the picture. It looks way better than Google Glass, doesn’t it? I mean, I wouldn’t want those exact ones, but as the article explains, you would with that device just get a pair of whatever glasses you wanted and clip that little brass thing onto the side.
I think this is probably a flawed premise, altogether. Basically what I’m saying is “I wish that objects didn’t accumulate meaning.” And there might be a lot else wrong with my premise — for example, is it appropriation for a person with adequate unaided vision to wear an object that communicates visual impairment? I’d like to contest its being tied to hipsters, but isn’t hipsters’ main thing taking significant objects from other contexts and using them as cheap accessories? Would that appropriation actually be diminished or negated if the glasses were functional for some other purpose?