politics

Paramilitary S******** Knitter Army- A Conspiracy Theory

If you go to Google and type in ‘knitters are’ and let it autofill there are probably some things that would come to mind, based on stereotype.

Old, boring, naive, cute, etc.

Something to that effect.

But if you go and type in ‘knitters are’ and let it autofill now, you get something a little bit weird.

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A couple of things leading into this post: this conspiracy theory (referred to as CT from here on out) is new. It’s about 5 days old as far as I can tell. It heavily involves fiber culture, so if you’re the type to be into CT only you may have missed a lot of the back story so I’m going to be including part of that background for clarity’s sake, not as a political statement. And that leads into the third point, this is a heavily political CT so there’s really no escaping at least an overview of the politics and is not necessarily an endorsement by the blogger.

The basic theory goes something like this: there is effectively what could be referred to as a paramilitary syle socialist leaning knitting (and crocheting) army made up of primarily liberal leaning women spurring on a great deal of the protest movements including the women’s marches, especially the march in Washington DC, surrounding the current political administration.

The CT seems to center around an actually heavily gender biased assumption about the nature of crafting: it’s about those pink hats that are exploding everywhere. Pull up a photo of the already mentioned march and you’ll see a sea of pink hats.

I found the theory via this tweet thread:

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The rest of the thread, needed for context, is here.

Basically through the discussion this original poster (op) doesn’t understand a few pivotal things about the nature of crafting-that crafters use social media, that women can actually get together to craft when they care to, that knitting doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and that pink yarn is a pretty common thing in the world. [No one tell this kid about truck days at the grocery store or how stuff is shipped en masse around the world either.]

The thing is, if you dig through the thread it’s heavily implied that this tweet isn’t an isolated thing. There was actually some sort of weird thought process surrounding how the hats showed up and why, and there was apparently some sort of theory around that all these women knew to show up with the hats all at once with no prior knowledge. It’s…also sort of implied that we can’t, like as women or knitters or both we just don’t have these thought patterns. It’s very odd.

Some of this I can get. If you were on the fiber culture related parts of Instagram or Facebook the hats were impossible to avoid. They were everywhere. I won’t use the word bullied, but there was definitely this sort of social pressure to make hats (I actually didn’t make any, for reasons that aren’t political in nature). But it does need a certain level of exposure to this subculture-I mean, I don’t follow NASCAR media and therefore have no idea what’s going on over there. It’s understandable.

This CT, or mini-CT sort of became a joke, especially some of the stuff quoted in the tweet thread, around my FB. I think as a group we sort of figured it was an isolated oddity and it would die out.

Then came the Joy of Knitting Facebook fiasco. A yarn shop came out and said that the owner would rather have feminists not purchase at her store because they’re vile, nasty people (that’s a paraphrase but not by much). I won’t link to that page but the statement and the surrounding firestorm of attention has gone national so googling it will bring you up to date. In other words, the US suddenly was introduced to what used to be called radical crafting.

So now we’re coming up on the Google thing: the search recommendations are based on part on how many people have searched for those terms. In other words, people honestly think we’re ruining the country. People honestly seem to think that we’re some sort of major political leftist leaning network (trust me, that’s deeply untrue). Just in the name of science, I actually let Google take me to the suggested results for that tag, and they’re weirdly all over the place. One of the results is about the Koch brothers so I think that’s just similar letters, and there’s a couple of things on the everlasting fight between crocheters and knitters (who’s more rude, who’s more snobby, etc). Oddly, there’s nothing in there about us ruining anything, really. Which makes me think that people are Googling and Google’s not finding anything. However…and this is important because CT doesn’t necessarily take care of tying up loose ends in terms of factuality (don’t look at me, they don’t) it’s hard to tell how long that this has been the ‘normal’ response from Google. It could have been like that forever and we’re just looking for stuff like this now because of our sudden paramilitary status.

This is easily the strangest thing to come out of an already bizarre month.

The Halloween Mask Effect

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This is a repost from 2014, but in light of it being Halloween season again, and actually an election year, I’m pulling this one out again. No, I have no idea currently which mask is selling better this year, and I would be surprised if that data is out yet-but I might check in a few weeks.

I know that we’re now in November and therefore past the point where this is relevant, but at the same time, I really like this quirk (assuming this is true, and I sort of want it to be true).

It’s claimed that you can tell who will win a presidential election in November by what masks are sold for Halloween in October. This claim holds true for American society, but I’m not sure if it’s limited to Americans, if it’s because Halloween is currently a heavily American holiday, or if no one’s bothered paying attention to anywhere other than the States.

But it’s apparently accurate with a fairly freakishly high success rate-you can tell who will win by who is the most popular candidate to dress up as.

However, that’s probably the key word: popular. While the ‘nasty’ costumes for less than loved politicians are common, people like to collect and surround themselves with images of things that they like. Therefore, they’re going to be more likely to buy a costume of someone they are more willing to vote for than those they have no interest in. It’s an extension of popular culture; the images that people like are the ones that they want to dress up as (I read that Ryan Murphy was startled to already see Twisty the Clown costumes on the street this year-and multiple of them, to boot). The trend supposedly dates back to the 1988 election, with Reagan being the successful candidate and the highest selling mask. Or 1980, depending on source. However, the basic idea is still the same-for the past 30 years or so, the American election can be predicted by the sale of Halloween costumes.

This is one of those trends that is weird enough that pop culture loves it. It makes for a wonderful headline (Halloween predicts presidents! Next it’ll rain frogs!). I like it because it starts getting into those interplays that make sociology fascinating.

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