Sunday, June 23, 2019

When crafting gets political.

b0red | CC0 | Pixabay
Some weeks I'm scraping for a blog post subject, and some weeks I'm spoiled for choice.

Take this week, for example. We're getting close to the release of Treacherous Ground, book 2 in the Elemental Keys series, so I could talk about that again. I could also talk about planning for book 3 (assuming I'd gotten started on it, which I kind of have, but not really).

Or I could talk about an article I read a couple of days ago about the ages at which people begin to experience a performance decline at work. In fact, that's what I intended to write about this week -- but I'll keep the idea in my back pocket for another week or two, because just today, I got a better one.

Alert hearth/myth readers know that among the websites where I'm active, if sporadically, is Ravelry. It's a free website, privately owned, where eight million fiber artists from around the world get together to talk shop. Mostly I'm there to post photos of my completed knitting projects -- partly for the kudos, but mainly so I can keep track of which yarn I used for what so I don't machine wash something that isn't machine washable.

The Ravelry logo, sporting a rainbow flag for Pride Month.
The site includes message boards, and of course people go off-topic. And just like on every social media site, sometimes people start talking politics, and sometimes things get ugly.

Now for those of you who still think knitters and crocheters are all little old ladies who sit in their rocking chairs, sipping tea, while their G-rated work flies off their needles or hooks, let me point you toward the graphic up top. It's a pussy hat. Knitters around the country made thousands of them to protest the election of President Trump. I made several of them myself -- and I found the pattern on Ravelry.

Today Ravelry posted a new policy, effective immediately:
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry.
This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content...  We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.
  • You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here.
  • We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans.
  • We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.
  • We are not banning people for past support.
  • Do not try to weaponize this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support.
  • Similarly, antagonizing conservative members for their unstated positions is not acceptable.
In their announcement, the moderators at Rav reference a similar policy enacted last October by, an online gaming community. That site posted a list of Trump-related links supporting their decision. If you need anything more, I'd refer you to the most recent coverage of the way this country is treating migrant children at our southern border: separating them from their parents and putting them into #Trumpcamps where the kids aren't even allowed access to soap or toothbrushes. This isn't a political issue anymore. It's a moral issue.

For anyone complaining that these sorts of policies violate the First Amendment, let me take this opportunity to remind them that the First Amendment protects your right to speak freely without being censored or sanctioned by the government. Private enterprises like Ravelry -- and for that matter, Facebook and Twitter -- are free to set any rules they like.

That is, until their rules allow foreign governments to illegally influence our elections. But that's a whole 'nother topic, and anyway I doubt very much Rav has attracted many Russian bots.

Anyway, kudos to Ravelry for their new policy. And let's make sure the migrant camps become known far and wide as #Trumpcamps. I can't take credit for the term, but I'm happy to do my part to popularize it. After all, he loves seeing his name on stuff.

Sorry -- I still don't have a firm release date for Treacherous Ground. Stay tuned.

These moments of subversive blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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