PunkconformityLife, history, and the pursuit of knitting.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Notes on a Scandal: My take on the USOC event

+ 1 comment

 I know this is late, but I have to say it.  After the brouhaha that occurred earlier this summer, I wasn't sure I really wanted to participate in Ravel-Greek-Suffix-Which-Happens-to-Also-Be-the-Suffix-in-an-Important-Sporting-Event-s this year.  I admire the athletes, and I appreciate any excuse to wave my Anglophile flag as high as it can go, but the whole thing left a pretty bad taste in my mouth.  While I appreciate what Stephanie said as being fairly logical, I also feel like she missed the point about why at least I, personally, was so outraged.  It wasn't that we had to change the name (although it seems incredibly stupid to me that anyone can "own" a five-letter suffix).  It wasn't even that they said we were denigrating the work of the athletes.  Though that was very, very offensive, I understand that is their standard C&D, and based on their behavior in all other arenas, I wasn't surprised to be denigrated myself by a company who represents the worst of corporate America.  What bothered me the most was how the media commenting on the fiasco spent most of their efforts poking fun at us for being knitters, rather than commenting on the ridiculousness and the injustice of the USOC's claims.  During the whole event, there was only one major article written that did justice to the knitters' side of the argument, and that was on NPR, and even that only really got the point after a knitter commented to correct the initial version of the article.

It bothers me that something that is, for many of us, such an integral part of who we are is still considered by society at large something that makes us odd, bizarre, or objects for derision.  They called us "little old ladies" or "liberal hippie leftists" (conflicted, much?).  They made terrible puns at our expense.  They generally treated our legitimate outrage as a hysterical temper-tantrum by a quaint and clearly unhinged, pre-feminist-movement granny.  Even once the USOC apologized, the tone taken by the media was, "Wow, who knew all those weird old ladies knew how to use social media!"

I am not a little old lady.  I am not a liberal hippie leftist.  I am not denigrating Olympic (can I say that word without permission?) athletes.  And I am not okay with being mocked for what is and was a legitimate complaint against the USOC.

You mock me because I am a knitter, but knitters make, with our own two hands, things that are useful, things that comfort people and keep them warm, things that fit their recipients in a perfect way no high street garment ever will, things that are beautiful.  We make complicated, three-dimensional, intensely mathematical art.  And we do it all with two pointy sticks and some string.

I am a knitter.  I knit in public, in movie theatres and in waiting rooms, at my desk (when I can) and in meetings.  I am not strange or hysterical.  I am not setting the feminist movement back in any way.  I am participating in a proud tradition of hand-crafters that stretches back at least to the 16th century, and in which I am joined by (at the very least) two million people worldwide.

I am a knitter.  What are you?

1 comment

devin howard
July 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM

"things that are useful, things that comfort people and keep them warm, things that fit their recipients in a perfect way no high street garment ever will, things that are beautiful. We make complicated, three-dimensional, intensely mathematical art. And we do it all with two pointy sticks and some string." - Truth!

Anybody who knits, sews, does food preservation, makes chain mail armor (while I was at Chapel Hill there was a guy who would sit and make chain mail armor in the pit all the time), leather working, home made textiles, and basically craft work of any kind is performing a valuable service and keeping important skills alive. Luckily, thanks to people like you and Laurie and all the other communities of people, interest in activities like these is on the wax. (not sure if that's a correct usage of 'wax')

Anyway, cool post! About the controversy: kind of ridiculous USOC. Especially ridiculous are the attempts to marginalize knitters by calling them names.

Edit: I originally had 'wane' instead of wax, and not knowing how to edit my comment, I just deleted the first one.