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Why I am kind-of a Maker

Deb Chachra has a great article ‘Why I am not a Maker’ If you bother to read this site, I suggest you all go read it now, since this post is a continuation of that conversation. It’s a good and fast read, bit a bit scatter-shot. Done? Good!

My first take at adding to the discussion was mostly a list of sections of her article I disagreed with. But that was pretty crappy to read, and a crappy thing to do. Especially given how much of her general idea that I agree with, even if I disagree with the details.

My second take was to outline where I agree and/or disagree, or just don’t know where I stand yet. That was very long and tired and kind of hair-splitty for my taste. Really, just a bunch of overly complicated footnotes to the article.

This here is my third take at contributing to the discussion, and I’m going at it in a totally new (to me) way. I’m going to assume for the rest of this article that Deb is 100% correct, and is a perfect reliable witness. Take that, mix it with my own political/social point of view, and what conclusions would I then draw? I come up with 3 idea:

  1. Maker culture is deep into the late cycle of co-option by market system(s).
  2. Maker culture is American sub-culture, and by trying to be ‘apolitical’ is just generic./li>
  3. Maker culture is has become a self-aggrandizing big-tent Evangelical culture.

Co-Option: Put a ‘Maker’ on it !

The ‘Maker’ culture is being ‘green’ed. By ‘Greened’ I mean, it’s reach the point where it’s meaningless in it’s generality, and is just glued onto crap by people trying to sound like they have a clue. Glued into job posting, events. Stores cough Radio Shack cough using it to sell crap, it’s flavor of the month, like weird eggplants a few years ago, and the ‘Green’ label that is slapped on anything and everything. Thank you marketing and the desire for social/cultural capital for sucking the meaning out of a once useful term!

Politically: Generic American Flavorless.

Look, we live in a country with less female representation in congress (19%) than Saudia Arabia. We are the only ‘1st world industrialized’ country without paid paternal leave. For whatever reason, despite a pretty radical ‘left meets right, had some drinks, and fights, and then makes out behind the bar’ hacker community, ‘Maker’ community is politically and socially just a crappy rusted mirror of general American society. So like the US overall, it’s a great concept that got off to a good enough start that in success, it’s forgotten as it started core, and it’s weirdo’s and screw-ups that created it in the first place.

Evangelical : YOU MUST LOVE JESUSCODE

I love the section on the forced embrace of ‘I make BLAH’ nametags. It reminds me of the you-must-hug-us greeters at a lot of Evangelical churches growing up. It’s imagined as an attempted to be welcoming. It turns into a giant awkward turn-off, and in reality provides more comfort the hugger than the victim. Everyone must Code. Everyone must love Jesus. Democracy Will Work For You, Or We Shoot!

 
 
In reality, I don’t agree with a lot of what Deb said. I think a lot of her specifics are wrong, and that she mashes maker culture into startup culture. But for all the details I disagree on, don’t want to invalidate her overall point, or to undermine her experience, both of which I agree are spot-on. (And her awesome advice-to-younger-self is also spot on).

The Maker movement has shifted away from it’s scrappy rebellion stage, and large sections of it are building Start Destroyers, or just too busy buying TARDIS trinkets at Barnes and Noble to notice as the local mom&pop PC store is bulldozed over.

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Diversity and Anti-Harassment

I’m working on a couple of conferences and events this summer, and along the way it was suggested that ‘Diversity Statement’ and ‘Anti-Harassment’ policies can’t hurt, and in some cases they help. I created the two boilerplate’s below, and would like feedback from folks on them. I’d like to use them for some events if there are not too many flaws in it.

Draft Diversity Statement:

You who want to make things, We welcome you. All and any of you*. We support maximum freedom of creative expression, and only restrict that when we must for the safety and sanity of other folks. We think creativity is one of the greatest accomplishments of the human mind, and we want to enable that creativity in everyone from pro to amateur. We think neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug. We believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community. We think accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority, not an afterthought.

*By that we mean any ability level, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, neurotype, religion, elder status, family structure, culture, subculture, and political opinion.

(CC BY-SA 3.0) inspired by dreamwidth.org

Draft Ant-Harassment Statement:

ORGANIZATION is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, including users of Windows and/or emacs.
We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the area if necessary. If you are being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. We are here to help make a space where everyone can create without hassle.

(CC BY-SA 3.0) – inspired by geekfeminism

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