A few months ago I read a lot of Ha-Joon Chang’s pretty riveting book 23 things they don’t tell you about capitalism until I felt I should return it to the local library, having renewed it an embarrassing number of times. In one the early chapters he argues that The Invention of The Washing Machine is of far greater revolutionary consequence than the advent of the internet and all the visibly earth-shattering changes it brought along.
Being an ardent defender of hand-made and home-crafted solutions to life’s challenges and opportunities, I have been conducting my own personal enquiry into this matter and I will now readily agree : if one has to wash clothes by hand, there is so little energy or time left for any other activity that one feels no more able of artistic or intellectual achievement than a beached mollusc would probably be, so much energy needed, so much time expended, so little satisfaction or reward.
So today I send my love and admiration to all the women who came before this era and have painstakingly ground their palms on washboards, I send a soothing balm to their skin, I take my hat off to their skills and achievements. And I call for even more love and admiration to reach the women who to this day, although The Washing Machine is a distinct possibility, still do the job by hand out of necessity, and I hope that some mechanical if not electrical relief come to each and every one of them. Each. And every one. Of them.