Loosely apropos the experience and leadership theme of this morning is Aaron Haspel’s excellent post on the Trading Spaces television show, which he dubs, the Apotheosis of the Expert.

Along with the glories of the division of labor comes, perhaps necessarily, the worship of the specialist. The deference accorded physicians, scientists, and experts of all sorts never ceases to astonish me. Of all specialists the artist gets the best deal: physicians lose face if their patients die, scientists if they produce bogus results, and artists never, so long as they can continue to intimidate their clients, which, aesthetic criteria being notoriously ineffable, is a relatively simple matter. Nice work if you can get it, and unsurprisingly sub- and sub-sub-artists, like interior decorators, have begun to muscle in on the racket.

As a rule, the worse the artist, the more insistently he drapes himself in artistic trappings. So it is on Trading Spaces. The decorators are not decorators but “designers.” Talk of “themes” abounds and inevitably precurses disaster. Novels have themes. Does your bedroom? Would you prefer it if it did?


Aaron does a superb critique of the eight designers on the show that is dead-on.

(Hat tip: Craig Henry)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.