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For Every iPod, There Is A Pair Of Hammer Pants

American design isn't perfect. Some of the country's most classic designs share a sensibility with its most grievous offenses.

  • <p>The <strong>Dodge Challenger</strong> is a throwback design done right; the <strong>Chrysler PT Cruiser</strong> is a parody.</p>
  • <p>For drapey, iconic comfort, there's the <strong>DVF wrap dress</strong>; for drapey, iconic disaster, you can't touch this pair of <strong>MC Hammer pants</strong>.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>Eames Lounge Chair</strong> and the <strong>Barcalounger</strong> are icons of comfort: one immortal, one hideous.</p>
  • <p>Carbon fiber is key to both the <strong>Flex-Foot Cheetah</strong>, a prosthetic that allows paraplegics to run, and the absurd <strong>Oakley C Six sunglasses</strong>, which cost $1,500.</p>
  • <p>NASA's <strong>old logo</strong> summoned astral ambitions; its new <strong>"meatball" logo</strong> summons tangled bureaucracy.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>Golden Gate Bridge</strong> will stand forever. Its neighbor, the <strong>Bay Bridge</strong>, collapsed.</p>
  • <p>Harley-Davidson's <strong>1957 Sportster</strong> influenced every Chopper after it; its <strong>Buell line</strong> was an eye-melting sideshow.</p>
  • <p><strong>Herman Miller</strong>'s proto cubicles fomented creativity--and then a <strong>sea of cubicles</strong> fomented white-collar malaise.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>Hoberman Sphere</strong> wows you instantly, while the world-famous <strong>Slinky</strong> rarely works as advertised.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>iPod's</strong> gestural genius made music libraries easy; <strong>Segway's</strong> gestural genius made easy commutes embarrassing.</p>
  • <p>Not since <strong>Warhol</strong> has anyone walked the high-low line with the grace and god-awfulness of <strong>Gaga</strong>.</p>
  • <p><strong>Leatherman</strong> put all your tools in one neat package; the <strong>Rambo knife</strong> couldn't keep its few pieces intact.</p>
  • <p><strong>Levi's</strong> rugged jeans are still a staple--which is no excuse for parents buying <strong>denim-printed diapers</strong>.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>computer mouse</strong> made office work intuitive; endless office work made us fat, which led to the <strong>dreaded treadmill desk.</strong></p>
  • <p>The <strong>iPad</strong> begat Flipboard's genius interface . . . and the <strong>flip-down desk chest.</strong></p>
  • <p><strong>Nike's Air Max 90</strong> made high tech fashionable. <strong>Skechers Shape-Ups</strong> use "high tech" to tout a weight-loss fantasy.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>Gem paper clip</strong> was a miracle of industrial efficiency. <strong>Microsoft's Clippy</strong> made every day less efficient for Windows users.</p>
  • <p>Even <strong>Scrabble</strong> geniuses can't unscramble the letters in today's <strong>CAPTCHAs.</strong></p>
  • <p>The <strong>Seattle Public Library</strong>: hyperfunctional logic. <strong>Seattle's Experience Music Project</strong>: barely functional expressiveness.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>IBM Selectric</strong> hid high tech in a sleek case; the <strong>modern printer cartridge</strong> hides high user costs.</p>
  • <p>Burt Rutan developed <strong>SpaceShipOne</strong> for a few million dollars; the multibillion-dollar <strong>Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey</strong> exemplifies military bloat.</p>
  • <p>The <strong>bendable drinking straw</strong> once represented plastic-age ingenuity; now it enables the <strong>bottomless Big Gulp.</strong></p>
  • 01 /22

    The Dodge Challenger is a throwback design done right; the Chrysler PT Cruiser is a parody.

  • 02 /22

    For drapey, iconic comfort, there's the DVF wrap dress; for drapey, iconic disaster, you can't touch this pair of MC Hammer pants.

  • 03 /22

    The Eames Lounge Chair and the Barcalounger are icons of comfort: one immortal, one hideous.

  • 04 /22

    Carbon fiber is key to both the Flex-Foot Cheetah, a prosthetic that allows paraplegics to run, and the absurd Oakley C Six sunglasses, which cost $1,500.

  • 05 /22

    NASA's old logo summoned astral ambitions; its new "meatball" logo summons tangled bureaucracy.

  • 06 /22

    The Golden Gate Bridge will stand forever. Its neighbor, the Bay Bridge, collapsed.

  • 07 /22

    Harley-Davidson's 1957 Sportster influenced every Chopper after it; its Buell line was an eye-melting sideshow.

  • 08 /22

    Herman Miller's proto cubicles fomented creativity--and then a sea of cubicles fomented white-collar malaise.

  • 09 /22

    The Hoberman Sphere wows you instantly, while the world-famous Slinky rarely works as advertised.

  • 10 /22

    The iPod's gestural genius made music libraries easy; Segway's gestural genius made easy commutes embarrassing.

  • 11 /22

    Not since Warhol has anyone walked the high-low line with the grace and god-awfulness of Gaga.

  • 12 /22

    Leatherman put all your tools in one neat package; the Rambo knife couldn't keep its few pieces intact.

  • 13 /22

    Levi's rugged jeans are still a staple--which is no excuse for parents buying denim-printed diapers.

  • 14 /22

    The computer mouse made office work intuitive; endless office work made us fat, which led to the dreaded treadmill desk.

  • 15 /22

    The iPad begat Flipboard's genius interface . . . and the flip-down desk chest.

  • 16 /22

    Nike's Air Max 90 made high tech fashionable. Skechers Shape-Ups use "high tech" to tout a weight-loss fantasy.

  • 17 /22

    The Gem paper clip was a miracle of industrial efficiency. Microsoft's Clippy made every day less efficient for Windows users.

  • 18 /22

    Even Scrabble geniuses can't unscramble the letters in today's CAPTCHAs.

  • 19 /22

    The Seattle Public Library: hyperfunctional logic. Seattle's Experience Music Project: barely functional expressiveness.

  • 20 /22

    The IBM Selectric hid high tech in a sleek case; the modern printer cartridge hides high user costs.

  • 21 /22

    Burt Rutan developed SpaceShipOne for a few million dollars; the multibillion-dollar Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey exemplifies military bloat.

  • 22 /22

    The bendable drinking straw once represented plastic-age ingenuity; now it enables the bottomless Big Gulp.