Do I Really Have To Explain To Anyone But Gwyneth Paltrow What’s Wrong With Hiring A “Book Curator”?

Oh God, I hope not.

From Town and Country:

[B]ooks aren’t just for reading, they can also be beautiful objects in and of themselves. Thatcher Wine, a long-time bibliophile and collector, tapped into this concept in 2001, sourcing rare, out-of-print books to build beautiful libraries based on interest, author, and even color for his clients. Since then, Wine has curated the bookshelves of Gwyneth Paltrow and New York’s NoMad hotel; fans include Laura Dern and Shonda Rhimes.

One way I identify a stone-cold phony is when their living room includes a chess board on which the pieces are set up incorrectly or the white corner squares are on the left, not the right. This means that the resident doesn’t know how to play chess, but wants people to think he or she does. In my view, such a visual lie is like hanging a diploma of a school you didn’t attend, or a military decoration that isn’t yours. (I give a pass to people who have grand pianos or harps in the homes; they are beautiful, and if the owner doesn’t mind looking foolish when he or she has to answer the question, “Do you play?” with “No,” that also is useful information.)

Hiring someone to put books in your library because they look nice is exactly like the misleading chessboard. I now know all I need to know about Gwyneth Paltrow,  Laura Dern and Shonda Rhimes. Continue reading

The Unfair and Dishonest Regulation…of Interior Decorators?

Deadly in the hands of an amateur

I stumbled on this as my wife and I investigated the possibility of her setting up a business as an interior design consultant. 22 States and the District of  Columbia require a license to be an interior decorator, which technically means, as Reason so pointedly puts it, that moving a throw pillow could theoretically get you jailed or fined.

How can this be? All professional licensing creates a bar to membership, making such licenses targets of Libertarians and other critics. But at least most professions requiring a license have a plausible argument for the certification based on health and the protection of the public welfare. Lawyers, doctors, dentists, builders, electricians…that makes sense. Real estate brokers, teachers, personal trainers…er, okay, I guess so. But interior decorators? Isn’t this just an example of nakedly restricting competition, and using the sordid process of buying state legislators to do it? What other justification could there be? Continue reading