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An Ode to Buttons
Seriously though, when you really consider the everyday things around you, they start to seem like tiny miracles. I had a minor freak-out yesterday about spoons. Who invented spoons? I'm so glad they did! Or, consider the button. Seems like a humble enough object, right? Have you ever given a button any thought more developed than, "Oh man, looks like I lost a button, darn" --?
Jude Stewart's illustrated history of buttons on Slate will have you in love with buttons before you can say, "I don't even know how to sew on a..." Stewart writes, "The button—with its self-contained roundness and infinite variability—has a quiet perfection to it." Of course! Haven't you always thought that, maybe without realizing you thought that? This essay is a must-read for its lush attention to buttons and all they reveal, including the racy side of buttons you may have never considered. Apparently in medieval times buttons were displays of wealth; in the Renaissance smugglers hid stolen jewels in hollow buttons; an unbuttoned sleeve once signaled a love token from a lady. Today, buttons inhabit the virtual world as well, "promising to connect us to marvels with a single click," As Stewart writes. "Buttons, in short, offer everyday pleasures." Yes. Right. You bet your buttons.
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