Thinking of a topic for this last post on Democratic Principles has been difficult. Thus far I've talked about the importance of individual contribution to the whole, and the importance of the whole supporting all the individuals. I suppose what's left is individuals helping individuals. The trick is, wouldn't that be more anarchy and less democracy because then there is no whole? But then could that be seen as the democratic ideal? Just individuals contributing to each other, with no need to a governing body? I'm not sure, but we'll go with it for this post.
This Christmas I am buying only things created by individuals, a sort of handmade + indie pledge. I developed through this decision since last holiday season. I appreciate spending a little extra money to help out someone who has a small business, or no business. I like anything that decommercializes and personalized the holiday season. Shopping handmade feels like leaving a large tip at a restaurant, it uses a small amount of money to create a connection with a person and makes both of us feel better.
The trick is, what is handmade, what is indie? Sure something bought off of Etsy.com or Poppytalk is fine. Anything website with a handmade pledge patch is in the green. Ten Thousand Villages was an obvious yes. But what about, say Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? It was made on a very small budget, independently marketed, but at the same time in mentioned in tons of magazines and is sold through Amazon.com. I ended up voting yay, but there was some unease over the decision. Still, the purchase made me feel as if there was a connection formed. Perhaps that was only because of the Dr. Horrible twitter feed or other things that feel so intimate despite being mass produced.
The Dr. Horrible purchase made me, however, question the whole handmade pledge. It made me look at the underlining hypocracy. Sure if feels like decommercializing, but it is still me purchasing products, even if I get a hand written note by a jeweler on etsy, but I still don't know her. The connection is weak at best and delusional at worst.
Then I listened to some Mates of State and Santogold and decided I needed to be less cynical and problematic. Shopping handmade is still shopping, but that's unavoidable and I might as well make the best out of the situation that is Christmas shopping.