Thursday, April 29, 2010

A knitting Community

Tonight's episode of Community begins with Britta, played by Gillian Jacobs, knitting what turns out to be an eye patch for her new shelter-rescued kitten. I have no idea if the actress knits, but whoever arrived at the decision to make the character a knitter couldn't have found a better hobby for her.

Britta defends herself against charges of being an old cat lady by saying that knitting is hip--and yes, fellow knitters, we know it is enjoying renewed popularity--but this character also tends to be tone deaf to how others outside a subculture perceive things. This defense struck me as similar to a sentiment I've run across every now and then on Ravelry threads: don't people know that knitting is cool now? (Answer: not really.)

What makes the hobby such a perfect fit for the character is that she is a feminist and progressive who can be painfully earnest about saying the right things and living the right way. If Britta had said something about the yarn being cruelty-free fiber, then you would have had proof someone had done their research. (Again, I'm just saying I've read some stuff on Ravelry.)

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that younger knitters are humorless, liberal feminists. What I am getting at is that the knitting resurgence started, in part, out of a feminist impulse to reclaim traditional women's activities.

It's in such a spirit that it makes complete sense for Britta to be a knitter. She would see knitting as a political act and appreciate the self-sufficiency the craft allows one to demonstrate by making things. I could easily envision her making small knitted gifts for the rest of her study group.

See, knitters get excited about seeing their hobby depicted and even write crazy blog entries about something that amounted to thirty seconds at most of TV time.

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