21 June, 2012

By any other name...

What is in a name?
Do you live in the south where all sodas are called Cokes? Do you live in an area where a vacuum is called a Hoover? Have you ever thought that a name is not just a name? Vaseline is petroleum jelly, Kleenex is a tissue and Coke is a cola. How often do we use a trademarked name as a general name for something?
That is what has been blowing up the social media sites that I go to everyday, for the last two days.
Some background.
I have posted in the past that I am an avid watcher and supported of the Olympic games. This has always been a family event here at Casa Coggie, where we plan the weeks of the Olympics around the games we will be watching. I love to cheer for the athletes and watch the "best of the best" compete with each other to see who will show up on the newest Wheaties box in the end. I have seen the games go from being amateur only to having professional athletes participate. These changes were, in my opinion, not the best for the games, but necessary as the athletes did need to get sponsorship and paid in some way.
As a crafter I used the watching time of the games to do my craft. When the Yarn Harlot put out a call for the Knitting Olympics, I joined in and felt a part of the community in finishing my project during the time allotted. When I joined http://www.ravelry.com/ (an international social networking site for crafters) , I joined up with the Ravelympics and again felt part of a community that not only knitted, crocheted, spun or wove, but also watched and talked about the games as they were held. I remember talking about Michael Phelps as he took his gold medals one year and about Shaun White when he took his 2 years later. The other crafters knew what I felt and we were supporting them in a way we understood. As a part of Ravelry and as a part of the Ravelympics.
Casey has been asked to have the name changed from Ravelympics by the USOC this is a Ravelry link. if you are not a member of Ravelry, you can see the letter here .
I know that the letter was based off a form C&D (cease and desist) letter. However, the writer had to have joined a member only social networking site to gain the information that was given in the letter. Not only that, but the writer also decided to insult a group of crafters. Crafters are not just little old people. Crafters who are online are known for being Internet savvy and intelligent (well, mostly) and we did not take this sitting down, with needles in our hands. The Ravelers decided to do what they could and started talking about it not only on Ravelry, but also on Facebook, Twitter, Plurk and other networking sites. They also went straight to the source and emailed the USOC. This has grown even bigger with NPR, TheScetchydetails, and Hotair (to name a few) site picking up the news of what transpired. The USOC tried to make a PR apology , which to me was more form letter than the original C&D from them. What they didn't get was that it was not the C&D that the crafters were talking about. It was how they implied that sports are more important than the art we make. The crafters are asking for a real apology.
Where to go with this? I love the Olympics. I love crafting. I will continue to watch/do both. However, I do not have to support the USOC in order to do this. I will on the other hand support the athletes that deserve the support. I will watch the opening ceremonies and I will be knitting. I will also challenge myself to finish what I have started by the closing ceremonies, because that is what I enjoy doing. The USOC cannot stop me from enjoying my time as a family.
I am not sure what will happen to the name Ravelympics, but to those of us who have used it for years, it will be called that, I am sure. It is like calling a tissue a Kleenex or a latex bandage a band-aid. They may be trademarked names, but they are also general terms in the American language. For us Ravelry members, that is how Ravelympics is also thought. To paraphrase Shakespeare many years ago, "a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet." Craft on!


dnaprice said...

Well said. I don't think they understand that no one is making millions of dollars from using Olympics in their pattern name or modeling some of their designs after official Olympic clothing. Its all usually free or for a nominal fee, generally in the spirit of sharing....doesn't that honor the spirit and unifying nature of the Olympics?

Natalie Martinez Rush said...

Great post! i'm with you! :)

Margaret said...

You're right. YarnHarlot also makes some very good points on this subject in her post from yesterday.

Michelle said...

Well done Coggie!
Your friend on Rav