Shop & COVID info.

Smeg, Contempt and the "Outrage Industrial Complex"

4th June 2021

Andrew Bluett-Duncan
Director 

Arthur Brooks

My brother, Jim and I, were brought up to always see the other persons point of view, and I feel that this attitude, when I've applied it, has generally served me well, over the years. But of course I would say that because I think it would only be a small exaggeration to say that Mum and Dad drummed this into us from an early age. And the stuff "given" us by our parents in those formative years is, I think, what Freud referred to as the "Superego", or maybe it's what Eric Bern referred to as "Parental"? Either way it's something that normally I don't even question, it's the "Right Thing To Do"! In fact I find myself wondering from time to time what I might be like if they'd said to do the exact opposite... anyway this preamble is to set the scene on a book I've recently read which reinforces this aspect of my upbringing.

Love your enemies
Arthur Brooks is a musician, turned social scientist and until recently was in charge of an American think tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). A couple of years ago he wrote a book called "Love your Enemies" and I first came across him on You Tube, being interviewed, by one of my favourite thinkers, Simon Sinek.

Now the one proviso I'd say about this book is that it is written from an American perspective and has some political bias, so you may be asking yourself "is this of any interest to me, living 4000 miles away reading what purports to be a sales newsletter for a cookshop?". Well, hapless reader, I like what Brooks has to say very much. In a funny sort of way it validates the values that my parents brought us up with. But I also think that what Brooks observes about human nature and about the times we live in, apply to us all(?) as individuals, as sons, daughters, husbands, wives, as people from a particular town, or country, perhaps regardless of where we are in the world. So I feel it is relevant to talk about here.

Brooks' premise for the book is that much of what is wrong with society today is not that we disagree too much, it's not even incivility or intolerance of others . The heart of the problem he says is "contempt". The habit of treating people with whom we disagree, not just as wrong or misguided, but as "worthless individuals, as morons". His view is that we see this everywhere in public life, in television interviews, in Parliament, in newspapers and on social media, so many arguments are discussed in black and white terms, with both sides just dismissing, out of hand, the other side as ridiculous or stupid, as if their ideas had not an ounce of merit *. He refers to these influences as the "Outrage Industrial Complex" (Rabble rousing for fun or profit) ..! He further argues that contempt is bad for us, and cites two reasons. Firstly being contemptuous of another is rarely going to help change their mind (telling someone that they are an idiot probably isn't going to do the trick) and thus it effectively leaves them unchallenged and so, in dismissing another, we are also missing an opportunity to persuade them otherwise. Secondly, he says contempt is really bad for us as individuals, increasing anxiety, depression and jealousy, it harms our sleep quality and causes a comprehensive degradation of our immune systems. And this, perhaps surprisingly, applies whether you are being held in contempt or holding someone in contempt. Next week, time allowing, I'll elaborate a little more on how Brooks sees an effective response to those behind the Outrage Industrial Complex, including a charmingly simple approach suggested to him by the Dalai Lama of Tibet. More down to earth than you might think!

Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Blue - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Blue - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Blue - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Blue - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Blue

£128.50
View Details
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Matt White - Art of Living Cookshop (6554460487738)
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Matt White - Art of Living Cookshop (6554460487738)
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Matt White - Art of Living Cookshop (6554460487738)
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Matt White - Art of Living Cookshop (6554460487738)
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Matt White - Art of Living Cookshop (6554460487738)

Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Matt White

£169.00
View Details
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Green - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Green - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Green - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Green - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Green - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg 2 Slice Toaster Pastel Green

£128.50
View Details

Smeg
Ok enough of my recent reading matter for the moment, and if you are still with me (thank you) then let me tell you a little more about what is fast becoming one of my favourite brands. Smeg, are still very short of stock on many lines and frustratingly their loan machines for us to try out, are still lost somewhere, either in the ether or in a warehouse. However the sales have been buoyant and they have risen to be in our top ten suppliers report which is quite impressive in so short a space of time, helped no doubt by the awful lack of Kitchenaid stock at present.

Anyway, be that as it may, arguably the most exciting addition to our stock has been the Smeg Stand Mixer, for which we've had to wait quite a while (having originally ordered in March), but now we've just had a few in, in Blue, Black, Red and Cream. This looks like a very capable machine. It's quite weighty, at 8 Kilos and this despite having an aluminium cast body, but I suspect it's the copper windings in the not inconsiderable, 800w motor that is at least partly responsible for this**. It has a smart 4.8litre stainless steel bowl, a splash guard that sits a top of the bowl with a generously long funnel, a Flat Beater, a Whisk and a Dough Hook and when we switched it on this morning we fancied it was a touch quieter than the Kitchenaid. £399. Like the KitchenAid you can add extra kitchen Tools to the front of the machine where there is a covered power take off. And available to order (not stocked at present) are a Pasta set, a Slicer/Grater, a Multi Food grinder and an Ice-cream maker..

Smeg Stand Mixer Red - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Red - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Red - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Red - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg Stand Mixer Red

£399.00
View Details
Smeg Stand Mixer Black - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Black - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Black - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Black - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg Stand Mixer Black

£399.00
View Details
Smeg Stand Mixer Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Stand Mixer Cream - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg Stand Mixer Cream

£399.00
View Details

The other things that have arrived recently include the "Filter Coffee" maker which personally I could take or leave, but then I've been spoilt by having either Nespresso or Jura coffee on tap for more than 20 years. An extremely business like "Coffee grinder" with a proper Burr grinding mechanism that is finely adjustable as you might expect at £200, and lastly a "Citrus Juicer" that is well designed, will hold the juice in the body or pour as you juice, and is easy to clean, even if you do spill juice over the machine in the process, is a neat design and unmistakably Smeg, at £129.95! 

So in summary we currently have a good selection of most of their products, now although, not all of them in all colours.

The other things that have arrived recently include the "Filter Coffee" maker which personally I could take or leave, but then I've been spoilt by having either Nespresso or Jura coffee on tap for more than 20 years.

An extremely business like "Coffee grinder" with a proper Burr grinding mechanism that is finely adjustable as you might expect at £200, and lastly a "Citrus Juicer" that is well designed, will hold the juice in the body or pour as you juice, and is easy to clean, even if you do spill juice over the machine in the process, is a neat design and unmistakably Smeg, at £129.95! 

So in summary we currently have a good selection of most of their products, now although, not all of them in all colours.


Here's a photo I took on Thursday of the shop display in Reigate, to give you a flavour...

Smeg Citrus Juicer Black - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Citrus Juicer Black - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Citrus Juicer Black - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg Citrus Juicer Black

£129.95
View Details
Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg Drip Coffee Machine Cream

£179.95
View Details
Smeg Coffee Grinder Black - Art of Living Cookshop
Smeg Coffee Grinder Black - Art of Living Cookshop

Smeg Coffee Grinder Black

£199.95
View Details



That's it for this week, I trust you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Kind regards

Andrew 

Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Director

* This has often struck me when watching programs such as "Yesterday in Parliament". The complete dismissal of the opposing sides point of view. But this doesn't always happen. I also recall watching Matt Hancock in February or March last year making announcements about the government's plans for the impending Covid epidemic, and by contrast the very adult nature of the debate, where MP's on both sides were either in harmony with him, or asking intelligent questions that he could answer rationally, and was indeed thanked for his endeavours at the end. Quite a contrast.

**And incidentally compared with KitchenAid's 300w motor, that does sound like a lot, especially when you consider that 300w is more than enough to make dough for a 2lb or 3lb loaf of bread, surely one of the hardest jobs a machine like this is asked to do. By way of some background here, both machines (Smeg and KitchenAid) share a direct drive system to the business end (no power losing belts here) which, I believe, is an important factor in what power is needed to do a job (although I'm not clear as yet as to why Smeg need 800w when KitchenAid make do happily with less than half). But, for instance, Kenwood, a market leader, use a belt drive system because many of their models have the motors are in the base (unlike Smeg and KitchenAid who put theirs in the head) and they employ belts to take the drive to the business end. In so doing, it makes sense to me that this is a less efficient method when compared to direct drive. They therefore employ higher wattage motors to compensate. So my message is "don't judge the efficacy of the machine solely by its wattage!"

Leave a comment