I was poking around some of the knitting lists this past week as I am wont to do, and I came across something that made me stop and think. It was a posting on either the Knitlist or the Socknitters list, from a woman who had started a group on yahoogroups for Catholic knitters. When I read it, I remember thinking, "Oh," and moving on. I didn't sign up, because even though I was raised as a Catholic, and still consider myself one (though I'm sure the Pope wouldn't think so. But don't get me started on the Pope!), I just wasn't interested.
But oh, the tongue lashing the person who started the group received from the others on the list! All kinds of posts about how *real* knitters are inclusive, and starting a religious themed group was exclusive, or a couple of snarky remarks like, "Hey, why don't we start a Protestant knitters group, and see how people like that," and lots of other posts by people who were completely bent out of shape by the idea, and the fact that the posting had even been ALLOWED in the first place.
And I thought to myself that it was ironic that those claiming to be more "inclusive" were in such a tizzy over this. I mean, it wasn't like the post said, "I am starting a Catholic knitters group because Catholics are intrinsically better than anyone else, and if you don't join, it proves you are evil." Having grown up in the religion, I know that Catholics are not necessarily better than anyone else - and not just the clergy (i.e. pedophile priests), but the everyday, average Joe Catholic. I currently work for one of the Protestant denominations, and guess what? They aren't a bunch of halo-wearing Christians either. And I'm guessing that there are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and other individuals who identify themselves as part of a religious group who have their faults as well.
So why should knitters be any different? When I read or hear things like "Well, knitters are special people, they would never [fill in the blank]," it makes me want to scream! Even though people in general drive me crazy, I truly believe that most people are as good, sincere, considerate as they can be, most of the time. My friends and acquaintances who are knitters are really great people, but honestly, everyone has their moments.
Someone at work once pointed out to me that it was ironic that the word "catholic" is synonymous with inclusive, but "Catholic" is not. This person said it like it proved some great universal truth, though I have to admit it was lost on me.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that knitters are no better or no worse as group as anyone else, nor do they have a corner on the market of inclusiveness, friendliness, and consideration. I know that my knitting experiences have made me a more patient person, and in some ways more social (I mean, geez, I have a BLOG, people). But I don't like every knitter I read about, or meet. And I don't kid myself that everyone likes me, and why should they?
A couple of years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Ireland as an anniversary gift to each other. We were there for a week, and travelled to several places, and ate in a lot of pubs, cafes, and tea shops. We saw landscapes that took our breath away. We were amused by some things, mostly those that reminded us that we were foreigners, even though we were surrounded by people who could speak English. We took LOTS of pictures, and couldn't wait to tell people about our trip. But on more than one occasion, I had someone say, "So did you drink the whole time you were there? Are they really all drunk most of the time?" (Sadly, they were being serious.)
And guess what? Some of the people who asked me this were ... KNITTERS!! For all I know, they may have also been Catholic. Or maybe they were always drunk, I don't know.
To paraphrase a Stephen Sondheim lyric, maybe we all need to develop more catholic tastes, try to become catholic knitters ... whether or not we are Catholic.