Of Cabbages and Olympic Trademarks

I’m not really telling any reader of this blog anything new by pointing out the recent events surrounding the Ravelympics. I did tweet about it. I have noticed some knitters calling for calm. These are high profile knitters, mostly, and there’s a certain logic to their call. They kind of have to be tactful, but you know what, I don’t entirely agree with them.

I don’t really think the word ‘Olympics’ should be under trademark in the first place. It’s part of history. If anyone has the right to trademark it, it’s Greece. They could probably use the revenue. The word appears all over the place – in mountain ranges, even, as some have pointed out. The current organisation did not invent the word or, indeed, the event itself. Those who did invent the Olympics are long dead and, anyway, probably everyone now in the world can trace their lineage back to those first inventors of the Olympics. That means we could ALL claim it, right? And Ravelry wasn’t even using the word. The legal defence of trademarks is all well and good… but it’s often heavy handed, impractical and lacks flexibility or common sense. Yes, it’s the way things are until we find a better system. I don’t think that should stop anyone from pointing out that it’s silly sometimes.

I don’t think knitters are ‘hurt’ by the comments that accompanied the legal warning. I think knitters are justifiably angry and snarky about the comments. I went to a high school that produced a few Olympic swimmers. Where I knew these students, I liked them and I supported their endeavours and their commitment. What I didn’t like was how the school pandered to their achievements over the achievements of other students. Basically, these students could swim fast. Yes, faster than anyone else in the country and perhaps the world. It really is impressive and, in part, down to the luck of the genetic draw and the support of family. But it is just swimming fast. They weren’t saving lives, they weren’t making life better for everyone else. (Not that swimmers don’t engage in activities that do improve the lives of others… it’s just that that’s additional to the whole swimming fast thing.) The idea that competing to create afghans, socks and sweaters could somehow “denigrate” the efforts of athletes is silly. The knitters would have socks to show for their efforts. To be very, very glib, if an athlete could swim fast and catch a fish… I’d personally be more impressed.

I’m not anti-athletes, but come on. Seriously. Look at the sporting world. Swimmers earn huge amounts of money in sponsorships etc and governments pour money into the sport. Australian ice skaters who compete internationally have to work, scrimp and save, and at the end of it… settle for a few small sponsorship deals – if that. The sporting world is not an even playing field. Some sports get more attention than others. And in the end… it’s sport. A little perspective from the Olympic committee would be nice. Not to mention that the letter in question specifically referenced Team America, obviously ignorant of Ravelry’s international participants. The Olympics is about international cooperation. This seems to be rather a significant slip-up.

I’m not offended by the comments. I just think it’s another example of sporting organisations taking themselves far too seriously and I’m angry that this particular one is trying to impose its sense of importance upon the world in general, including knitters.

Anyway, onto happier items of discussion, I dyed some yarn with purple cabbage! Yes, there’s a reason cabbages were referenced in the title.

Cabbage yarn

It’s a purple on the pink side. I like it.

Travel Bag

I saw a neat idea for a toiletries roll and fired up Mrs Higgins for a whirl.

Evenstar

And I’m planning out travel knitting. It may be mad, but I do have an Evenstar Shawl to finish…

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One response to “Of Cabbages and Olympic Trademarks

  1. I am still annoyed by the Ravelympics thing. Iknow in the grand scheme of things it isn’t a big issue, but it’s yet another example of how law and commercialism suck the life out of, well, life. (and I say this as a former lawyer who still has a respect for the law (mostly).

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