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Pinterest-worthy artisans

Are there any rules for throwing snarky shade at somebody’s Instagram?

Step one: knit. Step two: profit?
  • Step one: knit. Step two: profit?
  • Photograph by Markus Spiske

Note: a friend of mine, whose name I cannot reveal, from a city somewhere in the United States, the location of which I cannot reveal (but I assure you, wherever you’re thinking, you’re wrong), heard through the local grapevine that Stephen Malkmus might be staging a pre-reunion Pavement reunion under a pseudonym at a small, local venue, the name of which I cannot (of course) reveal. Although I would give this tip an approximate 99-percent probability of falsehood, I consider myself duty bound to follow up, and I hit the road post haste. As such, for this week’s column, I have asked my maternal cousin twice-removed, Lance, a kindergarten teacher, to cover for me.

Truly yours,

The Hipster

Dear Hipster Kindergarten Teacher:

I have been into yarn crafts for years. I knit and crochet gifts for my friends and family. I enjoy it, obviously, or I would not have been doing it for so long. Recently, a few friends have told me I should try to capitalize on my skills. They think I could have a successful Etsy page, or something like that. I don’t know. Sure, we’d all love to be Pinterest-worthy artisans making (or supplementing) a living by our various crafts, but it seems to me like it’s more of a hipster pipe dream doomed to disappointment than a realistic option. Tell me, is there any trick to making it in the world of hipster handicrafts?

— Evyn

I always tell the kids the most important thing when you do any art is to make what you want to make. It’s easy for them. When we’re little, our Art Bones are huge in comparison to our Profit Bones, so we just create whatever comes into our imaginations, and we don’t worry about the rest.

If you want to knit, you knit.

If you want to paint vaguely tribal designs onto the bleached skulls of exotic ungulates — an actual Etsy page I found after about four minutes of looking around — well, you go right ahead and do it if that’s what gets your little imagination fired up!

I can’t promise anyone will ever pay you for your knitwear any more than I can promise the kids their stick figure family portraits will someday hang in the Louvre, but if they wanted to start a gallery, I’d surely urge them to go for it.

Dear Hipster Kindergarten Teacher,

Are there any rules for throwing snarky shade at somebody’s Instagram? If so, what are they?

— Shanna

I suspect the real hipster may have been better able to help you on this one. Snark is his department, whereas my department skews more towards preventing kids from eating paste (and cleaning up the puke when they inevitably do). Five-year-olds seldom have more snark than a casual, “I know you are, but what am I?” Although they will surprise you every now and again. I have heard some sick little kid burns in my day, like the time one kid told another kid nobody liked him like a pop-up ad, which maybe means they have been watching too much YouTube.

Here, I would probably tell the kids, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” which also happens to be probably the best advice I could give an adult in the same situation. It’s funny, because we like to tell ourselves that we have an excuse to act as we were forbidden to act when we were five years old, purely because we are no longer five years old. That’s not strictly true.

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