I started watching a documentary on Netflix the other night. You know, one of those late night I’m sleepy but not quite ready to go to bed yet nights where a good, not so fast paced documentary will push you over the edge from consciousness into dreamland? The documentary was about the use of the “F” bomb, that four letter word that is by many standards considered to be the end all be all of swearing. Amid a huge variety of flowery commentary on the use of the word, including my personal favorite of Sam Donaldson saying “of course I’ve used it and i’m proud to say that I have”, was another tidbit of wisdom. A commentator, whose name I did not pay enough attention to remember said something to the effect of “there was a time when the use of the word was considered the purview of lower uneducated classes, and not something a gentleman would say. Especially in the presence of woman and children.” Furthermore he lamented the passing of such times. This reminds me of many a conversation in my own household where my husband reminds me of the very sentiment of the [[name I cannot recall]] commentator, when I use the “F” bomb. Maybe I’m of a lower class and uneducated, or maybe I’m a gentleman, but sometimes – and I will cautiously agree publicly with my husband (ARGH! that is painful!) that infrequent use is best for dramatic effect – sometimes, just sometimes you need to use very strong and potentially offensive language and tone.
With fair warning I caution you that today is one of those days and that if you read further you will be subjected to language and tone that is offensive, depending of course on your perspective. So in the non-abbreviated parlance of the, dare I say, information age…
What the Fuck?
As you no doubt recall last week I posted a letter from Steve Cibor of Tamarian that was in rebuttal to a blog post that spoke somewhat unfavorably of Tamarian and also Mr. Cibor. I posted this cautiously (and with the warning that it was and/or had become a pissing match between the two aforementioned parties) because I was asked by Ryan Higgins of Tamarian to do this, thus allowing a public forum in which they could respond.
Now to be honest I have not always treated Tamarian kindly in my blog posts, and to a small degree I was doing this favor if you will, because I wanted to make some amends. This was my first mistake. (though some could argue starting The Ruggist was the first, but I digress….) My second was posting the response without the usual, how does one say, irreverent commentary, you my dear readers, have come to expect.
I believe that I was contacted to post their, err, rebuttal (I am making air quotes with my hands at the moment) because of the credibility of The Ruggist, that is to say, my personal credibility. For you see, credibility, or rather Tamarian’s spurious at best credibility as it pertains to the use of child labour is what started this whole, as I’m now branding it, “The Tamarian Affair”. They contacted me so that I would post their response, in essence lending them credibility which they so eagerly sought to borrow. Apparently this was not good enough. It is said you have to lay in the bed you make, but to continue a rather bad pun, I will not take it laying down (no comments!)!
For you see on the very same day I graciously posted Mr. Cibor’s response, a Tamarian blog appeared miraculously on WordPress. Its extensive (note eye roll) content can be found here! We, as educated people, can only assume that the powers at be at Tamarian felt The Ruggist had not given them a fair shake. Well boo-fucking-whoo!
What The Ruggist REALLY thinks!
To be frank, I was not overly impressed by Mr. Cibor’s response to Ms. Del Vecchio’s blog. Amid the layers of baffling them with bullshit links and spurious out of date information Mr. Cibor presents in his supposed defense, he remains contemptuously dismissive (as I am being now of Tamarian) of her concerns and refers to her in a most demeaning manner. At one point in the myriad of information, he does not even use the correct form of your or as he should have used, you’re. But these are minor points distracting from what is at the root of my anger and displeasure as I write today.
I provided restrained commentary on “The Tamarian Affair” because I wanted to let you the consumer of internet drivel (this is presumably what Mr. Cibor thinks of the internet blogosphere as it were), decide for yourself whether or not Tamarian’s stance on child labour is adequate. Clearly I was supposed to have (from their perspective) lauded praise upon them for their efforts. Well ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am here to tell you with one hundred percent (100%) certainty, no praise is warranted on my part, and moreover from the eyes of the consumer, there is an appearance of indifference if not complicity to the issue of child labour.
Now of course I have never seen a Tamarian carpet in production so I do not personally know if they use child labour. I’ve talked at length with Mr. Cibor, Mr. Higgins, and Mr. Ned Baker (who has been and perhaps will still remain a good friend of mine) and I do believe they are well intentioned, and do care for the people of Nepal, and furthermore would not condone the use of child labour. I do however believe they lack any degree of credibility when speaking to the issue thereof. And that is why this post is here, so that The Ruggist can distance himself from the foolish bed he made.
Mr. Cibor’s response has an almost World War II era sounding defense of his association with TLC. To paraphrase “We don’t know who else TLC does business with and we didn’t ask. It’s not our business.” Well this has to be the most naive business decision since I decided to make carpets in North America. If I wanted to certify my carpets were free of child labour (and I do want to do that. That’s right I’m talking to you GoodWeave. Can we get on that?) I would associate myself with an organization that has no fewer than seventy-five (75) participating importers as opposed to what we can gather is one (1). Which has more credibility, or for that matter, the appearance of more credibility? Here’s a clue: It’s not the organization with one (1).
Furthermore, and this for the record is what really created a high degree of lividity on my part, the newly coined Tamarian blog, which by association with “The Tamarian Affair” is connected, if only loosly and perhaps only in my own mind, to The Ruggist, lacks any credibility, and thusly drags my good name through the muck. If there is going to be any muck on me it is going to be of my own doing! Allow me to explain. I’ve been writing The Ruggist for going on three (3) years this summer. In that time I have created fifty-three (53) posts, viewed by 3,521 absolutely unique visitors in sixty-six (66) countries, who have managed to leave a grand total of fifty-nine (59) comments. That averages 1.11 comments per post, or comments from 1.67% of my readership.
With that I present what is surely the second miraculous event of “The Tamarian Affair”. (Disclaimer: I am no internet or blogging expert, and there is a degree of hyperbole in my tone) Tamarian has achieved with one singular post an estimated readership, based on number of comments, of 838 for one post. I can assure you with 100% certainty that the readership of their blog is not that high, nor given the fact the excessively glowing praise they so eagerly sought from me is present in all but one of their posted comments, that their readership is unbiased. In fact, I will go so far as to say their readership is completely biased. Does Tamarian think people reading unqualified content on the internet are that dumb? Here’s a clue: I don’t know if they do or not, but I do know they don’t care.
Both my displeasure and the displeasure of Ms. Del Vecchio are caused by Tamarian’s complete lack of credibility on the issue of child labour and for their contempt of not only her and me, but most importantly the consumer, whomever they may be. Moreover, I feel their attempt to use the credibility of The Ruggist to make their hopelessly inadequate explanation of their stance on child labour somehow valid, has tarnished my reputation and credibility. Obviously I posted that and this post of my own free will, and I walked right into the muck they were creating. It was my mistake and my mistake alone. I don’t know that I can extricate myself from the messy bed I’ve created, but I can sure as hell try.
“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden” – Dolly Parton
Last time I said I may have written myself into never working for another rug company again. This time it may be the case that I have written myself out of a few friendships. If the other parties feel that way, so be it, but let me explain. I don’t always agree with my friends. In fact, I’d rather not. If I wanted to sit around having smoke blown up my backside, I’m led to believe from my reading of Dan Savage, that there is an internet dating site somewhere that can provide that service. But I don’t want that. No! I want spirited and lively debate and discussion. I want to not always agree, I want to grow and learn, and at the end of the day I want to sit down and have a drink with my dear friends. Sometimes they are right, sometimes I’m right, and more often than not we both are depending on your perspective.
Mr. Higgins knew what he was getting himself into when he contacted me to post Mr. Cibor’s response, so I was most displeased by a follow up email I received from him in which he states: “It actually was fair what you wrote, considering your immediate the one-degree of separation to your bosses, right Michael?” I’m not certain whom he thinks my bosses are, or who he is to question my independence. Last time I looked I worked for myself. But if by chance he is referring to some of my clients, whom may happen to share equally as strong views supporting GoodWeave, I would like to ask Tamarian this: “How high do you jump when your best clients come calling?” Given the approach of your “blog”, your response to Ms. Del Vecchio, and your generally dismissive response to valid concerns regarding child labour, I gather not very high. What great service[!] I on the other hand have a propensity to jump.
Let’s not be naive shall we? We all have vested interests and conflicts. Of course I take into account my business relationships when I write this blog, I’d be foolish not to. So as “The Ruggler” (@theruggler) on Twitter said when I criticized his approach as puerile, you can always “unfollow” me if you don’t like what I have to say. By the way, I told “The Ruggler” that though I may not agree with his methods, I do love his madness.
Thank you for reading and as always I hope you enjoy. I apologize for this slight detour from our usual, but think it was worth it. Knowing more about the mindset of an “inimitable rug industry stalwart” as Cover Magazine has called me in preview of their forthcoming feature on me and Red Spruce, is always a good thing.
The Ruggist takes great pride in what he does and though my methods may occasionally offend, our mutual net gain is a better understanding of the world we call rugs. Thank you, and good day!
P.S. In an open letter to those who may support with bias (as I unashamedly do). Please note that if you think someone is making a false statement about your cause, or organization, or what have you, take care to know the difference between libel and slander. You will sound more, dare I say, credible.