“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

06 Dec

RE: Antislick to Postslick: DIY Books and Youth Culture Then and Now

This whole idea of the subversiveness of craft was both intriguing and quite a revelation. I mean we talk of writing as a craft, and it’s certainly one which can be very obviously subversive, but I’d never heard (let alone thought) of “craftivism”(which by the way, take a few minutes to peruse Betsy Greer’s website CRAFT + ACTIVISM = CRAFTIVISM). But, even as someone not remotely crafty (more due to lack of skill and patience than anything), I have noticed the popularity of card-making, knitting, even I think you could stretch it to urban gardening and canning; that whole idea of embracing the creation of, and cultivation of, what in the past was simply “bought” or purchased. It’s the idea of connection-being connected to both what we create and share with others. It certainly explains the popularity of farmers markets and the like. I can just imagine some tony Toronto couple cooing over the fact that they just bought (irony, the bought part; but I do think bartering may be coming back too) unpasturized cheese from “the actual farmer” (sorry, I don’t know where that cynicism crept in…) And as youth culture often moves in a different direction (hmm…I guess that’s where “counter-culture” comes from…I know, I know…I’m slow on the uptake) to what would be considered the adult mainstream, then yes, it completely makes sense that youth culture would embrace and then adapt, what is the norm or the zeitgeist of the “adult” world.

-Back cover of the last (?) edition of the Whole Earth Catalogue

The reference to the Whole Earth Catalogue? That’s twice in two days I’ve read of it. Odd, for something I’ve never heard of before. Apparently, Steve Jobs (yes, Mr. Apple himself) was a bit of a fan. Here’s an excerpt from a Maclean’s article:

“But the key to [Jobs’] subversive style lay in the unique character of the Whole Earth Catalogue, an idiosyncratic publication that hit the streets in 1968 courtesy of Stanford University alumnus and biologist Stewart Brand. To the 21st century ear the WEC has an agrarian, New Agey ring, like a Farmers’ Almanacfor the organic aisle; but actually it was dominated by technology and engineering gadgetry, all packaged in a compendium as eclectic as any of the talks organized today by the non-profit TED—Technology, Entertainment, Design. (The journal’s name is an homage to Brand’s campaign to get NASA to release the first photographs taken from space that showed Earth in its entirety.) Brand notes that the WEC generation was “inspired by the ‘bards and hot-gospellers of technology,’ ” people like Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller. In its early incarnation, the catalogue was heavily committed to an independent do-it-yourself-ism in all things, from food production to infrastructure building. Added to this was a belief in the democratization of information, that ideas and disciplines should be liberated and accessible to everyone. In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, Jobs described the Whole Earth Catalogue as “an amazing publication . . . sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along.”

I thought this highlighted bit was quite interesting: sounds a little familiar, no? A little librarian-esque?

And speaking of subversiveness.

That was the point of the whole Maclean’s article: the subversiveness of Steve Jobs:

“Steve Jobs did not design software. His subversiveness was purer and more ancient than that. He made tools.”

So, was Steve Jobs the original craftivist?

(How’s this analogy: youth culture is to mainstream/adult culture as Steve Jobs is to Bill Gates?)

Teitel, J. (2011, October 17). Turned on and tuned in: Steve Jobs as a child of the sixties-The key to Jobs’s subversive style lay in technology and the democratization of information. Maclean’s. Retrieved from

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized...


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