Hey Philadelphians — riddle me this. What is this guy’s deal?
I should stress here that knit-Nazis are in no way like real Nazis (apart from being really touchy and big fans of the films of Leni Riefenstahl). I use the term because it’s an astute parody of the way the crafts most associated with brain-dead, soul-destroying pre-feminist housewifery—knitting, beading, stitching and crocheting—have been re-packaged and successfully sold to smugster sheep as radical, alternative and edgy.
I have two books on my desk right now, both pushing the strange idea that twiddling about with bits of wool is totally punk rock. And they’re just the tip of a huge knitted iceberg. There are entire sections containing metric shit-tons of these knit-Nazi manuals in every book barn in America.
First up there’s Alter Nation. There’s a rad-lookin’, crazy blue-haired rebel chick on the cover alongside a boast that it contains “25+ DIY fashion projects.” Be still my punky heart.
Then there’s Anticraft, subtitled “Knitting, beading and stitching for the slightly sinister.” One can only assume they’re using “slightly” here to mean “not at all.” And that “anti” is a misspelling of “auntie.”
Wow, he’s awfully edgy, isn’t he? Oh wait. He fancies himself a “punk poet” according to his Wikipedia entry. Awww, I guess we’re not PFR enough for him. (“PFR” = a term from my high school days usually applied to the trying-too-hard punk rock types, and I’m sure you can figure out what the F in the middle stands for).
Since when are crafts “associated with brain-dead, soul-destroying pre-feminist housewifery”? I suppose if you took up spitting as a hobby instead, as he recommends at the end of the review (which isn’t much of a review — more a chance for him to play punkier-than-thou), you’d be so much cooler.
Does he know anything about the fiber-as-art movement embodied in, say, the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit, or the work of Lisa Anne Auerbach, Jenny Hart, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Lexi Boeger, Whitney Lee et al? Nah. It’s easier, and lazier, to mock a book that encourages people to avoid cookie-cutter mass culture and create their own style. It’s simpler to make fun of the model on the cover for having blue hair and plead ignorance about the wider world of craft-as-art. Lame.