It was interesting to read Ross Douthat’s column in the NY Times this morning who noted that most people that bash George Bush don’t take note of the nuance of the situation–Saddam’s evil nature, the W.M.D.’s, the United States desire for some sort of action to avenge 9/11. “The Abyss of Human Illusion” by Gilbert Sorrentino, takes note of how multiple characters see each other in decidedly different manners than which they either think or expect. Sorrentino understands that nuance, at least within the minds of his characters, is almost impossible to clearly understand.

Nuance in furniture making is about the craftsman’s effort. A craftsman who understands this is one that makes the effort to make his furniture special be it through the quality of the timber, the proportions, the carving, finish or even form. For example, Windsor chairs are more valuable when they are made of yew wood. The same could be said of walnut pieces that are made with burr rather than straight grain timber. Such nuance is quantifiable, albeit to a practiced eye and it is, most decidedly, what separates antique from modern furniture.

Political positions like George W. Bush’s reasons for starting the Iraq War are certainly not black and white, even though it is likely that the ultimate assessment of the war will be black or white. That is the historian’s revenge or triumph depending on which side of the line they want to fall. Oddly, it is the Republicans who fault Obama for his nuancing of issues, his alleged inability to be absolutely black or white about anything. Whatever he does is socialist and wrong. Irony must be a conservative pundit’s secret vice.

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