Etsy's a place for artists and crafters to set up their own "shops" to sell their work online. A lot of the sellers have real talent and make some beautiful things. At the same time, a lot of people try really hard and make some...interesting things. Or...crazy...things. I mean, the internet's pretty depraved so you have to imagine that some of those people made their way to Etsy, you know? There's also a lot of people that buy things super cheaply online then mark up the prices and resell them on Etsy-- which is against Etsy's policy and those shops are shut down, but then are just reopened under a different name.
Regretsy is a blog run by voice actress April Winchell; she posts screencaps of the most...unique...items on Etsy. Recent posts include this quilt of the USA:
And this necklace:
See what I mean by "unique"? Unique. So commenters respond and mock and have a little fun at the creator's expense. Most of the crafters take it pretty well but there's always the group that takes extreme offense and threatens legal action and then they really get made fun of.
Regretsy also holds monthly sales for charity to benefit an Etsy artist in need, ones that have been hit by hard circumstances and are essentially supporting their families with their shops.
So here's the situation. One of the blogs Etsy runs is "Handmade Weddings" and it features posts by Etsy artists on handmade wedding ideas and their own handmade weddings. On August 1st, Etsy posted THIS, a post describing an Etsy artist's "Depression-Era Hobo" themed wedding.
Let me bold that for you. Depression-Era Hobo Wedding.
And the Etsy-ers went nuts! And not in the way you'd think! The comments were pouring in on this, about how cute and unique an idea it was.
April Winchell, aka "Helen Killer", posted this in response and rightfully reamed Etsy, the posters, and the commenters for the unbelievable insensitivity and poor taste shown by throwing a party with a homeless and starving theme.
I understand standing up for the couple's right to celebrate how they wish, and I understand they had their feelings hurt by a section of the internet, but you really honestly can't expect that people will all react positively to everything you say.
Oh, no, wait-- on Etsy you can. Critical comments are not allowed and if you are caught making one your account is deleted. But that doesn't stop Regretsy, and it doesn't stop me, the whole situation is disgusting. It would be like making your wedding theme WWII Refugees.
So the happy couple's family and friends turned out en force to support the theme-- on Twitter, on Facebook, maybe even other places I don't know about-- which is totally understandable, their feelings were hurt and they felt like they were protecting people they cared about. Unfortunately, those people were wrong.
On August 3rd or 4th (after removing the most negative comments) Etsy added a blurb to the top of the blog posting saying that they understand some people were upset. And...uh...that's it. Good work, Etsy.
On August 5th a news site called The Atlantic Wire posted this, an editorial detailing the battle and siding with those against the idea of celebrating poverty and starvation.
British News source The Guardian posted this, an article giving a short overview of the details above, then going on to describe the outrageous cost of weddings anymore.
Here's the real kicker: the hobo-chic wedding costed $15000. That's not a typo, that's the truth- fifteen thousand dollars. Because, according to the bride and groom, they couldn't afford to do much. Hypocrites.
I'm not sure what I want to come out of this. I sort of want the bride and groom to apologize-- which they might have, I don't have confirmation on that-- but I guess ultimately I would like people to think about what they do before they do it. No, I would love that. Think about what you're doing. Think about who it could hurt. Think of all of the possible outcomes and implications. Be sensitive.
Err on the side of kindness.