It was so lovely to re-listen to the NedTalks podcast I was on this past summer. Afterward I found myself revisiting many of the same emotions I had when it was initially published, or is that aired? Presented by Tamarian Social, it is produced, edited, et cetera by my friend Ned Baker who also runs the Tamarian Social account (@tamariansocial on Instagram) along with other staff at Tamarian. I specify this for it is important, more on this momentarily.
Listening to another person’s edit of my own normally rambling self made me realize I do ramble. And hence the recent months long silence on social media. The cacophony, divisiveness, and ever increasing speed of it all – in many ways read: social media with a bit of pandemic induced isolation and screen fatigue – is in direct contrast to everything I love about handknotted carpetry and handwork generally. Too fast, too dishonest, too disconcordant, myself included in this all as well of course; this is after all broad commentary. Add in various actors – malicious, benevolent, or otherwise – and the conflation of information veracity is something I view as an inevitability. This returns me to the mention of who actively operates the social media account. I think it is imperative to maintain this connection to who we are, not, if I’m being poetic, and I am, our cog-like role in the mechanizations of modern society. How essential is the work? I ask this deliberately and intentionally.
In short, I’m a modern day luddite of sorts fearing not technology, but rather the manner it which it is implemented. The ephemeral nature of so much of it at odds with my evolving and increasingly progressive social and environmental ideals and goals. We need concrete solutions to real world problems.
‘…and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.’John F. Kennedy, ‘Address at Rice University on the Nation’s Space Effort,’ 12 September 1962
Included in this as I feel it must is developing wares and the manufactories which produce them in a manner working toward or if possible already achieving the various goals of preserving craft, artistry, and quality in handwork generally. And moreover doing so in a manner concordant with the aforementioned social and environmental goals. Not in some romanticized pure form that no longer (and perhaps never) existed, but rather as handwork reïmagined with the technology of this era. And not just digital technology, but things oft taken for granted in more privileged and developed regions, such as clean water, schooling, and the like. In short, while we must reckon with our past inequities and injustices if we are to find (or make) a path forward, we must not be bound by tradition, particularly and specifically if its relevance has wained.
‘For some people tradition is a path to glory, for others it’s peer pressure from dead people.’Rainn Wilson, Netflix Documentary ‘We are the Champions,’ episode ‘Cheese Rolling.’
Humans overdevelop, but we need not any longer. We can start down a new path, for there is not enough time to return as Robert Frost more eloquently said. We know this. We just aren’t brave enough to discuss it. As I learned at the outset of this year when I wrote about the Unimatic Coffee Maker and the ‘Brave Conversations | Over Coffee’ of firm owner Elisabeth Cardiello, we just have to have the talks. This is that talk for me. My own unedited, but totally edited and polished, NedTalkTE(X)T if you will. Please don’t sue me Ned (or Ted 😉).
‘Conventional wisdom seems to be that we must not trigger people by discussing radical ideas like universal health care, civil rights for the L.G.B.T.Q. community, reckoning with police violence and the carceral system, protecting women’s bodily autonomy, and, of course, student debt forgiveness. Somehow, compromise has come to mean not doing anything to upset anyone who is completely fine with ignoring the most urgent problems of our day.’Roxane Gay, ‘Is This Where We Are America?,’ New York Times, 20 November 2020
This is the reflection I’ve been having since the podcast. Add in a completely rational fear of the state of geo-politics as well as as the uncertainty of the pandemic, and forgive me for being overwhelmed. Writing about rugs and carpets in the boisterous and rambunctious media platforms that are in aggregate called ‘social media’ has become almost paradoxical and at times seemingly anachronistic, almost quaint. Most certainly not a necessity – whatever your situation permits you to perceive that to be. It has – unfortunately for me – lost its charm. I want to reclaim the charm that has been lost, and discover newfound charm in the profound possibilities of this time. For me, it can no longer be as witness to the ridiculous lies, conflated expertise, and destabilizing nature that is the false notion of unvetted democratized information.
So with those bloviating and screed words I close the book on what The Ruggist had grown into, for it is time to reïnvent as I’ve written about much in recent issues of Rug Insider Magazine. It is time to reëxamine and not pine for the paths not taken, but rather look with excitement toward the possibilities ahead.