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Shop Class As Soulcraft has me thinking I should pick up a manual and fix my own damn bicycle the next time it breaks instead of taking it to an overpriced wrench. Author Matthew Crawford, a philosopher and a lifelong tradesman who balances a fellowship at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies In Culture with his independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Va., tends to inspire these kinds of feelings in people who sit in cubicles all day. He argues that “virtualism,” the movement of industry to the Internet out of the physical realm, robs us of the “well-founded pride” that comes from knowing how to fix our cars, repair our homes, and create beautiful things with our hands. Not only that, Crawford says, but the skilled trades are safe jobs, even in times of economic uncertainty: Your toilet can’t be fixed from half a world away, and while people may be dumping their local papers in droves, it’s unlikely that they’re going to up and stop using the bathroom.

CRAWFORD READS AT 7 P.M. AT POLITICS AND PROSE, 5015 CONNECTICUT AVE. FREE. (202) 364-1919.