The Top 5 Why Reasons ABC Is the Worst Channel

September 14, 2010

Ann: Is this thing on? Pop. Pop. Hot mike. Quiet please.

I called this meeting to discuss something that has been bothering me. Thank you for taking time from your knitting, whittling, geranium-making, whatever your craft is, to come here tonight. I’ll try to be brief. I’ve had a few lattes so it might be hard to keep this short, but let’s dive in. We need a new charter, real bad. The charter Steven wrote in February is a mess. Sorry, Steven, but it’s true. I’m not the only person who feels this way. I would like to propose my ideas for a new one, but before I do that I will read our current charter. [she unfolds the charter and reads from it:]

What is the Bushwick Crafting Society? We are not a club. We are not a guild. And we are not a social group. We didn’t form the Society to find people to fuck, or to fight loneliness. We are crafters; we fight loneliness by crafting and giving our crafts to friends or to people whom we would like to be friends with, not by sitting around and talking about crafts.

The Society was formed as a protest. We are an affront to what urban life has become. Walk around the city and you will be bombarded by advertising and electronic messages and ugly machinery. You will be bombarded so much that you may not even notice it. The bombardment has become what you believe life to be, and it’s sickening to us. If you live with your eyes closed you may not realize that your environment is one of messages, and these messages are lies. The lies are made by people – people who work in the media and advertising. Most of them are not evil people. They  are simply doing their jobs so they can make money so they can eat and drink and thus forget about the miserable way they make money. They don’t DO anything. They don’t make anything. They don’t produce food, and for the most part they don’t produce babies. Only few of them are selfless enough to be parents.

We are not above these people. Rather, we are these people.

We are part of this non-making, non-farming world. We spend our time in ways which didn’t exist twenty years ago. We write online updates about our lives which few will read. We enjoy products of a garbage culture, a culture that has become our God. A lengthy commentary on a mediocre TV show that no one will remember in ten years: this is garbage culture. An article entitled The Top 5 Reasons Why ABC Is the Worst Channel: this is garbage culture. Most of the culture we consume is garbage, and the worst part is, we know it. We revel in it. We laugh about how terrible it all is and then we read an article with someone else’s thoughts on how bad it all is and we laugh some more and then send the article to friends so they can see that we have read the article that reiterates how we all felt when we consumed the piece of the garbage the first time around. The culture individuals make as hobbies is even worse. The average personal website is a garbage heap: pictures of famous people, pictures of pets, pictures of an unusual meal someone ate at a restaurant, commentary on commentary. Nothing is new, nothing is real, nothing lasts.

This why we began crafting. We are affront to the garbage culture. Our sweaters and birdhouses and dioramas protest Tumblr and Foursquare and TV show recaps. We are not anti-internet or anti-machine. We use machines to make crafts and we use the internet to sell them. We are however anti-delusional creators. That is, the people who think they are creating culture when they curate garbage. It used to be that everyone was a critic; now everyone is a curator. And their galleries are landfills. It would be impossible for us to turn the landfills into meadows. We’d have to buy or destroy the media. But we can rage against the landfill with needle and thread and balsa wood. We can use our hands to build tiny bombs that will damage the landfill. Our tiny bombs will explode in people’s brains and remind them that humans can make things: new things, heartfelt things, things that will be passed down to sons and daughters. Who would pass down to their child a Tumblr of pictures of obese dogs? What child would like to inherit a blog full of pictures of Back to the Future tattoos? We will give our children things they can hold, things that will keep them warm. Whereas reading the average blog only makes you colder, wearing the socks your mother knitted for you makes you warmer each time you wear them.

This is why we founded the Society. We want to help people see what their culture has become. We want to help garbage-culture curators get offline and step into the studio and create something new and real. This city has as many talented young people as any city in the history of cities. But they’re broken and aimless. They’re using their talents to make the garbage smellier and the noise noisier. They should be using their talents to make their future children’s feet warmer. The Bushwick Crafting Society will help them do that.

[she folds up the charter and places it in her purse]

I carry this with me to remind myself how much we need a new one. I read it on the train and become furious. Sometimes I can’t even finish it without breaking out into a sweat and crumpling it up.

What needs changed, you ask? For one, there is nothing in this charter about the history of crafts. We need to emphasize our connection to early Americans who passed the time by making things. Just as they were pioneers moving westward, we are pioneers in this neighborhood. We need to forge a lineage. I have other ideas, too.

I’d like to put it to a vote. If you believe we need a new charter, please raise your hand. If not, keep your hand down.

[four of the fifteen people in the room raise their hand.]

Four. Only four of you think the current charter is bullshit? Were you even listening to it? Listen. I will write the new charter. It won’t be a burden on any of you. OK. How about this: who thinks the current needs at least heavy editing? Raise your hand if so.

[five of the fifteen people raise their hand.]

I see. And you all wonder why no one comes to the openings. It’s because the Society is joke. It’s a joke society with joke members and a joke charter. [she steps away from the microphone] You know, Steven, why do you even bother bringing a microphone to these meetings? There’s only sixteen of us. Everyone can hear me perfectly fine right now. It’s like you bring a microphone to make the meetings more legitimate but really it’s just a pointless prop. Just like the charter.

A voice from the back says: The microphone was here before we started using this space. Chill out.

NEXT: She’s Made Many Mistakes But She Learned The Most From This One



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