Monday, January 17, 2011

Bedroom: Population 1000

As part of the aftermath of my trip to the LEGO Store over the weekend, I've been updating my LEGO census--which is to say, the spreadsheet list of my minifigs. (We should note, however, that although saying "spreadsheet" makes it sound complex and mathematical, it really is just a list.) According to the census, I now have 994 minifigs in my possession. This total fails to take into account the approximately 10 figs I still have back in Alberta, buried in with other things at my parents'. It also fails to consider the bucket of mismatched "leftover" fig parts, out of which I could probably construct... five or so figs.

In any case, it is probably fair to say that as a result of the trip to the LEGO Store this weekend, as a result of which I now possess an additional seventeen minifigs, which boosts me over the 1000-mark. It's been a long time since I started accumulating figs--good old Dr. Freestyle from set 525 will be 18 years old on my birthday, coming up in a few short weeks. Not that the good doctor was my first minifig... but he was my first non-Fabuland fig, my good first real fig.

The world of LEGO fans can probably be divided into those who are construction-focused, who if they have an interest in minifigs see them as a dressing for the construction. In other words, though they may like a well-populated creation, it's the creation that's the important noun here. On the other hand, however, there are LEGO fans who focus on the minifig, for whom the creation, while an engaging and important task, is subordinate to the minifig who inhabits it. It's a subtle difference, but it's there: the first kind of builder will desire to build a pyramid, and then will want to add mummies and explorers to make the pyramid better. The second kind of builder will love the mummies and explorers and build a pyramid to put them in context.

Of these two kinds of builders, I fall solidly into the second category. Among other things, that's WHY I have a census of my minifigs and keep it updated. Not that I wish to denigrate the bricks themselves, or in any way indicate that I don't enjoy them... but to me they are subordinate to the minifigs. I think every AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) falls into one category or the other, regardless of what some builders may say about "being both." I don't think you can be both. I think you can appreciate both, enjoy both, collect both... but one comes before the other, even if it's only in some lightning-fast mental equation that can scarcely be measured.

Personally, I have to wonder if my preference for minifigs is tied to my philosophy--I've been soundly identified as a Thomist, and among Thomist ideas that make sense is the great Chain of Being... and in the LEGO chain of being, the minifig definitely seems to sit closer to the builder than the basic brick. Not that this is a rejection of the Aristotelian material-is-more-important-than-ideas shift that started a centuries-long argument with the Platonists... because bricks are still more important than the idea of bricks. Each instantiation of a 2x4 red brick is more primary than the idea of 2x4 red bricks... but, by the same token, each individual minifig is more important than an individual 2x4.

Anyway, my point is that it's a somewhat personal thing, and in my case I'm a fig-fan. This is probably why I've been following the online LEGO community for seven years and have scarcely ever posted a MOC (and the last was a long time ago), while at the same time I've been willing to step into LEGO webcomics, and tend to see this is as natural progression of the kinds of involvement I have experienced.

Although there's no rush to get there... here's to the next 1000 figs I acquire. May they be as well-loved and well-known as the first.

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