As some of you may have already noted from my previous posts, I got a Karas Kustoms Ink fountain pen recently with a Bock Titan (titanium) nib with a fine point. I've been very happy with it, and I've been trying to point it out as an option whenever the topic of flex nibs comes up. However… I feel like something strange is going on, that I don't really understand. So let me elucidate my thoughts, and see if others feel the same!
I've been on FPN for several years now, and it seems like during much of that time there was a lot of pent-up demand for modern flex nibs. At some times it seemed almost like a mania. At the same time there were explanations for why no contemporary pen company would ever issue flex nibs again. There was "no demand" beyond a small handful of enthusiasts (i.e. seemingly everyone on FPN!), and ham-fisted ballpoint-trained writers would ruin them and cause a warranty nightmare that no company would ever risk.
Now, after all these years of wanting and wanting, and the object of our desires being out of reach, here's the Bock Titan! It's a modern, off-the-shelf, new-with-warranty nib that writes like a vintage flex pen. OK, it doesn't write like the very finest or the very most flexible of vintage flex pens, but it's in the right ballpark, it's very decent. And it's been greeted with a big yawn here on FPN. What happened? I thought we'd all be celebrating now. This is what we asked for, year after year.
I've been looking through the topics, and it just doesn't seem like there's the interest in flex nibs that there used to be. I wonder if Bock just missed the boat? They gave us what we wanted after most of us stopped wanting it. But why? What happened to cause this change in attitudes?
So here's where I get into speculation.
Culprit #1: Noodler's. There was enormous excitement for the Noodler's flex pens when they first appeared. I think a lot of those FPNers who were interested in trying flex bought them, quickly discovered that they are (bleep), and then decided that flex nibs are (bleep) that they don't want. Been there, done that, didn't like it. Yes, I've heard all the excuses for Noodler's pens. They're not intended to work right out-of-the-box; they're for tinkerers! They flex if you mash down on them hard enough! What do you expect for $16 anyhow? True, true, and true, and yet somehow it all sounds to me like excuses for a pen that is basically (bleep).
Culprit #2: YouTube. We've got people on YouTube "demonstrating" flex pens by using them like calligraphy nibs, making the tines do splits that will pretty soon ruin the nib. I've never seen anyone on YouTube *ever* review a flex-nib fountain pen properly and show the right way to use them. So, a lot of people have gotten entirely the wrong idea about what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to work. A lot of them come away with the false idea that using a flex pen is some special skill that they would have to put in a lot of time and work to develop.
Culprit #3: FPN Experts. That's you and me. (But specifically, YOU. Yeah, you over there, you know who I'm talking to.) When the topic of flex comes up, there are certain people who chime in with pages and pages of complex and often contradictory opinions, and its very intimidating, and I think it scares away anybody who just has a casual interest in trying a flex nib. Also, we've repeated the myth so often of "There are no good modern flex nibs," that this has become dogma, and it's hard to recognize that maybe the situation has, in fact, changed.
So… Am I right? Am I off base?