This is NOT about coral

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Original Post

Today was Monday when I started writing this. But with my proclivity to be verbose and windbaggy and regarding the actual time zone in which I live, it will likely technically be Tuesday by the time I finish typing this article. I tend to have something of a literal streak, so I will disclose that this is satire, in case anyone doesn’t “get” that.

Sarah Knight began drawing when she was two. Apparently, her mother left pens and paper hanging around the house where a toddler could reach them… and well, Sarah was a grabby-pants two-year-old. Seriously, Mom took her outside and sat her down on the ground, and the first thing Sarah did was pick up a leaf and stuff it in her mouth. Sarah would later take many semesters of ceramics in college, embarking on an epic project of making ceramic leaves; perhaps this was an omen? Anyway, Sarah continued drawing through out her childhood, rejecting notions that she should only color in one direction with her crayons, or that “fashion plates” were where it was at. In retrospect, Sarah realized that her sister wasn’t so good at drawing, and perhaps her mother was compensating with doohickeys. Sarah’s sister would subsequently acquire a masters in Math…

Anyway, Sarah was never enamored with things in museums. She always found portraiture to be particularly boring. She is probably the only illustrator with an art degree who isn’t a nihilist who can state with perfect honesty that Frida Kahlo holds no interest or charm for her; not the art, not the story. She’s just not into it. Ansel Adams? Meh. Sarah is very right brained, and while sometimes anal like an autistic, she’s a free spirit who has never understood why anyone would have an idol or aspire to be exactly like anyone else. Sarah wrote a lot of book reports about Frank Zappa, but can openly admit to not being fanatically in love with all of his music. Damn you, free spirited nature.

Anyway, Sarah got an art degree, and Sarah makes art. At some point in time Sarah was told about this site called Etsy. So, ironically, she googled it (and actually found it — ha!) and she registered an account. She thought it was weird that there was all this “crap” all over the website about taking the “handmade pledge.” In fact, she thought it was downright cult-like. Pledge? I am a free spirit, I pledge to nothing. The universe is wide and open and filled with all sorts of things, I am not solely allied with one of those things, let alone this “handmade” pledge. Pledge? No. I pledge to nothing.

I enjoy the advantage of not being an established quasi-famous person that most people would have to google if they read something that I wrote on a blog on an ecommerce site so that they could wonder who the fuck I am. In fact, if you search my name on wikipedia, then you get an entry about an 18th century lady. That’s not me. I’m not dead, at least not in the physical or literal sense.

Now, as a non-celebrity I have an art degree, and I make visual works that range from illustrations to sculpture to utilitarian objects. When I make these things, I don’t focus on the materials or where they came from. Yes, I am a maker of things, and I don’t so much think about the ingredients of the things that I make, unless, of course, I need to buy juice, in which case I like to try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, which seems to be an ingredient in much of the rest of the food items that I buy… high fructose corn syrup seems to be ubiquitous. But high fructose corn syrup is not why I am writing this. As a non-celebrity posting a comment on a forum on an ecommerce site on the internet I am here to tell you that:

The world is, in fact, full of things. Some of those things (like portraiture or the work of Frida Kahlo) will not appeal to some people (like me). Now, just because something sparks utterly no interest in someone does not mean that by default that they “hate” that thing. Just that their reaction might be: “meh.” We can thank the internet for that word, right? Just like pwned…

Yes, the world is, in fact, full of things. Some people like some thing that other people don’t like. There is always going to be someone who dislikes or is disinterested in something that you like. And likely, you are disinterested in or dislike things that other people like. For centuries, things that some people like have been disliked or the source of disinterest to others. What many people may not have realized throughout the history of humankind is that disliking something that someone else likes or other people disliking the things that you like is not the end of the world.

There are general consensuses, and there will always be iconoclasts who insist that a general consensus has a pretentious air of status quo and thus should be rejected (even if that general consensus is something universal like “human genocide is wrong”). When you are part of that status quo and you know the iconoclast dissenters are dissenting just to dissent, well, then you know they’re attention whores with ulterior motives.

But what the fuck do you care about large, vague overarching concepts like that anyway? You registered an account on etsy because you want to sell things. You looked around at the site and probably said: “arts and crafts, supplies, and vintage.” Because that’s what it’s supposed to be.

What we would all hope is that the employees tasked with running the entire enterprise would be omniscient enough and responsible enough to realize that the world is, in fact, full of things: some of those things will not appeal to some people. And when an opinion is expressed and the community as a whole has a reaction, that it is best to listen to your constituency at the very least.

Perhaps Etsy has changed? But as a user on this site, the only options I seem to have available are to spend money to try to sell things. It is one things to have a blog that is just a continual list of glorified advertisements for specific products of specific shops as brought to you by paid staff members. It is also one thing to interview the vendors here (etsians who have shops) and get to know them more thoroughly and understand their personal points of view or opinions. It’s one thing to shill for things that are for sale on this site.

But it’s another thing to shill against things that are for sale on this site with a blog that is basically a glorified advertisement for products from vendors who use this site. And that is what people seem to be pissed about.
What I really wanted to write was a satire about beige / gray / taupe and staff favorites and how beige / gray / taupe is a limited resource and we should be mindful and take efforts to conserve it… and something similar about the limited product range of the 35 or so people that the staff are so enamored with the products of that they repeatedly “Find” them and show us these things they have found all the damned time. But somehow, the truth just slipped out.

I am a free spirit, and far be it from me to repress my almost autistically anal proclivity for the truth over all other gimmicks.

Having a blog that expresses opinions is always going to anger some people. If you do not care at all about commerce or the ability of your paying customers — the etsy sellers — then by all means, damage the site’s reputation and integrity to the broader community of consumers and go ahead and make this a forum for opinions that anger and outrage people into NOT spending money.

From a business standpoint, I must tell you: that is insanely stupid. And I mean that honestly as a seller.

Posted at 12:45am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

Responses

HA OMG BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!

Posted at 12:51am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

BRAVO!!! BELLISSIMO!!!

Posted at 12:51am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

*reading, reading*

Posted at 12:55am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

*pawprint to read later*

Posted at 12:57am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

well said :)

Posted at 12:58am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

Very Long, but point Very well made.

Posted at 1:01am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

I don't think they see the sellers as their customers. I think they think of the buyers as their customers because they are the most difficult to replace. Etsy thinks of sellers as replaceable---just go on Martha Stewart and you have 100,000 new sellers virtually overnight.

I also think they are greatly attracted to the concept of the blog itself as a magnet for outside readers, as some type of social meeting place drawing people in from all over the web. I think they will have more "outsiders" featured there in the future--they probably see it as "limiting" to just focus on their constituency. Like a politician who wants to be president, they're trying to go beyond just being a big fish in a small pond to become a social media player.

Not expecting that to be real successful with this cockamamie plan, but that won't stop the investors from trying.

Posted at 1:02am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

Long read, but a good one.

Posted at 1:10am Oct 19, 2010 EDT

marking to read

Posted at 1:13am Oct 19, 2010 EDT