When I wrote the blog post below I had watched the Berning Red Video (BRV) on my phone, a tiny screen, and shut it off after about 15 minutes of partial attention. What caught my eye was the bouncing Bernie heads. I found them offensive and racist on first view and on a tiny screen. FWIW I still do and wonder if the creation was intentional or simply inartful. However, it had been pointed out to me that the head Bernie is superimposed over/combined with is Lenin and a few other Russian dictators. I went back and watched it at full screen size on my monitor. Full size it’s not as bad, not as overtly “made to look Asian.” Still gross. Mostly artless, heavy handed, and worse poorly articulated. I’ve often thought Tardiff an intelligent man and capable of much more.
So hey, I was wrong, on a number of level. It wasn’t yellow face and perhaps Tardiff isn’t capable of more.
I still don’t give a shit about what Tardiff has to say about politics/ Bernie (OMG guys he complimented him, that makes it all okay. It doesn’t). It is not so much that I disagree with Tardiff- and I do, his understanding of Massachusetts Tax and labor laws borders on delusional and at best is a simple misunderstanding.
When I buy a product I’m supporting that company with my hard earned dollars. What I don’t want to do is support someone who thinks it’s okay to make 35 minute offensive screeds while wagging his personal politics in my face and expecting me to swallow it all whole with a wink and a nod.
Even when my people I know in real life make offensive ignorant remarks, I call them out on it. Just as I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong in my initial reaction to the video, I feel it is my responsibility as an adult and a reviewer to comment when something is offensive, in poor taste, and largely ignorant.
Below this is my initial blog post, I stand behind much of what I had to “say” but I would change the racism to insensitive and heavy handed. I am still debating a warning label or removal of my reviews of his products.
I’ve been planning a post about the whole Noodler’s Berning Red racism fiasco since I first saw the Berning Red video (BRV), but I’ve been thesis-ing and too busy to do so. I’ve seen a number of reviews on the ink that outright ignore the brouhaha over the video and others that go so far as to point out that they couldn’t watch the entire 35 minute screed.
If I’m being honest here, and I am, I didn’t watch the whole video either. I watched until I saw several instances of the bouncing Bernie head overlaid with Mao’s face to realize that the BRV went way further than any of Tardiff’s previous videos. It was gross to watch and went further than any of his previous videos which you could brush off as “Oh look, Uncle Nate is going off about politics again,” in the same manner that you’d cringe when your racist tea party relative embarasses the whole family with ignorant rhetoric.
I was able to tolerate Tardiff pretty well until now. The outright racist cast of the BRV is the last straw. I will not buy another Noodler’s ink, all my reviews on Tardiff’s products are coming down*, and I won’t review another. This may seem kneejerk to some of you. I understand, but please go to Noodler’s website and watch the bouncing Bernie heads and tell me they aren’t gross. You don’t need to be a big Bernie fan to see that these images are gross and racist. I wouldn’t laugh if he’d overlaid Mao with Trump. Racism and racist behavior is gross and not something I can support either fiscally with my purchases or by providing advertising, in the way of reviews, for their products.
So, uh, that was my rant about Noodler’s, and this relates to my thoughts on my responsibilities as a blogger in this way- should I or should I not take a stand on this sort of thing? I’ve long thought that blogs are a reflection of their creator’s thoughts and feelings. I wouldn’t have started this blog if I didn’t have firm, if not passionate, feelings about the products I review. Also perhaps a little frustration at reading reviews which were so clearly wrong, or used the product for writing only one page before review, please see my screed on drive by or beauty reviews for more info on the matter. The fact is that without that passion this blog would not exist. Separating that passionate response to products from the reviews of them is a nonstarter. It can’t be done.
When I read a review in which the blogger states, “I can’t be bothered to look into the racist angle,” I react. Seriously? You can’t watch 2 to 3 minutes of a video to determine if it is racist or not? Most pen reviewers will fiddle with a fountain pen for HOURS trying to get it to work, before determining it is a dud. They’ll try ink in a dozen different pens before determining it is a dud. But yet this reviewer couldn’t be bothered to watch 2 to 3 minutes of a video to determine for himself that the BRV was racist. Chin up kid, your white privilege is showing.
Of course there is the flip side to that, completely ignoring the racist angle, as at least one other blogger did. At this point I believe that if you are a pen, ink, and pencil reviewer who is connected to the community, as I am and as I know this blogger is, there is no way you can’t know about Tardiff’s racism and political leaning. Also at this point the video is so in your face that I’m not sure you can ignore it.
My question arising from all of this is that now that I’m aware of Tardiff’s gross racism and dislike his politics, what are my responsibilities as a blogger when it comes to this knowledge? Should I delete my old posts about Noodler’s products? Should I edit them or add a header about this information? I’m not sure. The secondary question that arises here, is how far do I take this? I’ve already unfollowed (removed from my feedly) a few blogs that reviewed the Berning Red ink without mention of Tardiff’s bigoted behavior, and another that pointed out the video and ignored the racist angle. where do I draw the line?
This isn’t the first time Noodler’s has been steeped in controversy. I’d say that since it’s introductions Noodler’s have been one controversy after another. It is almost like Tardiff enjoys the limelight of controversy perhaps he believes it helps sales. In this case, it’s detracting from his sales. i’m done with Noodler’s ink forever. (Those of you who have been reading for awhile know of my recommending his inks for drawing and sketching. No more.)
Continue reading Noodler’s Berning Red and the Last Straw