Michael over at ACL wrote a post about trying to find masculine (ahem) vintage on etsy. And got a whole flop-dead school of responses. But in comparing it to the assumedly masculine pasttime of fishing with dynamite, he got a lot of people kind of -- rolling over on their bellies and flashing silver. To push the metaphor right into the hook, I like ACL, but got steamed — so unlike a masculine preparation for fish. How girlish of me. So my comment became a letter became an essay. And while I wait for it to be moderated, I get to put it here. How ballsy.
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[Herewith, a most likely unecessary long comment that I nevertheless feel inclined to complete. Maybe it's the girl in me, crying to be heard... how feminine of me. Or maybe it's my response, after reading ACL for so long, to the utter (and at times blessed) long windedness of your concept with my own longwinded retort.]
I read ACL fannishly and had continued to do so with great respect until this post of a faux pas fell from the sky like a chunk of late-1950s male-attitude scrap metal and fell smack dab on my enthusiasm. I don’t think anyone would deign, or stoop, to accuse you of being too masculine, despite your penchant for glorifying the American Obvious and contributing to the New Heritage movement, in more of its maleness than its, let’s just call it non male-ness. Fine. It’s your blog. But you also are part of the grand mission to influence a new appetite for the same stuff. Aka the Plaid For Its Glorious Plaidness Should Cost a Lot of Money movement. A more obsessive AL fan may be able to point to comments #47 or #52 on a particular Sunday and show that someone has, however. And I mostly like your taste regardless, having grown up in Brooks Brothers, silly girl that I am.
All sites have their ethos and it is a nice practice, in the 21st century — for crying out loud — to accept their leanings (hello), and yet try and avoid those old retro-vintage tropes of snap-judgement and establishment sneer-age that make the flip side of vintage so sad. That would be the ‘isms. The ‘isms, as in racism, let’s just say, or sexism, let’s just say, are what smear that heritage veneer just a giant bit. Those lovely hunting shots you keep posting with such reverence for the scent of Kodachrome: scratch a fellow in a perfectly worn and faded old duck hunting jacket and ask him just what he thinks of that new family moved in down the road? Noting against the guy, but there’s a whole package to be considered here.
So the trick, as I see it, would be to avoid any leanings toward that rather unpleasant, American’s-worst-vernacular direction. Unfortunately you seem to be willing to not avoid. Are you so swayed by the beauty of a well-cut boot that you’re willing to vote the whole ticket? Which way, in fact, do you lean?
What you say about etsy (ew, girls….), you don’t even say that well. You whine about it, and then your finds are completely domestic (ew, women’s work). Perhaps what makes them masculine is that they are well photographed? Or they lack flowers? But a flour sifter? Mr. Canvas Duck wouldn’t be caught near that back in the day. And you, mr. pitch-perfect quiet marketing guy, don’t even credit the shops you found them in (unless in my fervor I have missed something, in which case I apologize). You certainly don’t offer up any information about them.
Is that for fear, possibly, of allowing the impurity of their more girlish (ew) wares of filtering into and polluting the boy’s club aesthetic of your stalwart blog? So you’re also not telling the entire truth here. How, sorry, but really — How incredibly and sadly and wrongly American heritage of you.
You should be celebrating etsy. You should salute it.