Corruption, Culture, Knitting, Plain Speaking

Be Still, My Beating Heart: This is what Google Bard Thinks of Rightwingknitjob

I began this little blog several years ago, as a fallback position in case something happened to Ricochet, or perhaps as a backup option which I might offer to others if Ricochet suddenly disappeared.  Despite many requests for the capability, giving us the means to back up our own posts on Ricochet seems always to have been viewed as a non-starter, so–some years ago–I took matters into my own hands.  Meanwhile, and in the interim, while I occasionally mention this blog on Ricochet, and much as I love posting here, it’s just one of my several Internet homes, all of which I love.  Many thanks to the hundreds who follow it, and the several who comment now and then.

I spend a (very) small amount a year for a WordPress business account, and I have a lot of fun here.  I recognize that WordPress is (in what might be an obsolete parlance these days) the epitome of ‘bloatware,’ and–as I’ve always said–“live by the plug-in, die by the plug-in,” but still….Along the way, I’ve tried to help some worthy causes, not always with conspicuous success, but one does–with the resources one has and with the help (or not) of others, here or there–what one can.

On May 23, 2023 I discovered a post on PowerLine which asks “What Does Google Think of You?”

Full disclosure.  I have a soft spot for Powerline, which is the site that introduced me to Ricochet, all the way back in the summer of 2010:

I found out about Ricochet from what was perhaps my first favorite blog, PowerLine, where, on August 9, 2010, in a post called Moonlighting at Ricochet, John Hinderaker had written:

Ricochet is a fun site operated by our friends Peter Robinson, Rob Long, Mark Steyn and others. You can register at a nominal price and join in via comments, if you are so inclined. I’ve participated in several Ricochet podcasts, and they invited me to spend this week as a guest poster.

There’s more, but perhaps it’s not that consequential here.  If you think it might be, please read the linked post.

Now, I am almost, in RicoYears, thirteen.  Old enough, in the eyes of some, to get married with some level of parental interference.

And yet.

Rather than assuming a conclusion, I took up Hinderaker’s challenge.  I asked “Google Bard” what it thought of “rightwingknitjob.”

Given that the Bard program itself acknowledges its inadequacy, with a statement that avers that it may display “inaccurate or misleading” information, I still found it disconcerting that Google Bard’s result was:

Rightwingknitjob is a knitting pattern for a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat. The pattern was created by a woman named Erika Aurora Blas, and it was first published on her blog in June 2019. The pattern quickly went viral, and it was soon banned from the popular knitting website Ravelry. [Poster’s note: A Google (oh, the irony) search on 5/25/23 for “Erika Aurora Blas MAGA hat” produces nothing relevant.]

The pattern is relatively simple, and it can be made with basic knitting skills. The hat is made in the round, and it is worked in stockinette stitch. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, and it uses a US size 7 circular knitting needle.

The hat is decorated with a large red, white, and blue pompom. The pompom is made by wrapping yarn around a piece of cardboard, and then cutting it off. The pompom is then sewn onto the top of the hat.

The pattern has been praised by some for its simplicity and its patriotic design. However, it has also been criticized by others for its political message. Some people have argued that the hat is a symbol of hate and intolerance, and they have called for Ravelry to ban the pattern.

Ravelry eventually banned the pattern, citing its policy against “hateful content.” The company said that the pattern “violated our policies against content that promotes violence, hate speech, or racial and sexual discrimination.”

The ban on the pattern sparked a debate about the role of social media in promoting hate speech. Some people argued that Ravelry was right to ban the pattern, while others argued that the company was censoring free speech.

The Rightwingknitjob pattern is a controversial piece of knitting, but it is also a reminder of the power of knitting to express political views.

  1. TBPC, just about everything that “Google Bard” has to say about Rightwingknitjob (RWKJ) is a lie. 
  2. RWKJ is not “a knitting pattern.”  Nor am I ” a hat.”
  3. I, myself–RWKJ–have NO IDEA who Erika Aurora Blas  is.  She ain’t me. (Or “She ain’t I” as the case might more properly be. )  Here’s my pattern for a MAGA hat, the one related to rightwingknitjob, the one which appears on this website (RWKJ, in case you’re not paying attention or you’ve lost the plot) which, one might think, would be that referred to in Google Bard’s thesis here. The pattern, and the site, are pretty easy to find.  And assess.
  4. The MAGA hat is just one page here.  Over six hundred posts, hundreds of topics, thousands of (if it were printed) pages of content, and that’s the best the vaunted “Google Bard” can do?   Aver that I’m a knitting pattern?  Or a hat? And, while doing so, somehow manage to be wrong in every detail? Crimenutely.  And Glory Be.
  5. For the rest of it, and since “Google Bard” brought it up, my own travails with the fascistic (from the Left), moronic, and grovelling aspects of Ravelry over the years, y’all can find them here:

    Or here:

I was a charter member of Ravelry all the way back in 2008.  But when I dared to express an opinion they found transgressive twelve or so years later–when I dared to say that I found their statement that “support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy” objectionable and wrong, they found a way to pretend that I was an impostor.  To state that I was a bot, someone who’d never been among them and had only appeared to cause trouble.  That I was terrorizing and triggering them.  And, for all those entirely made-up reasons, that I  shouldn’t be allowed to express an opinion on their diverse and inclusive site.  So they suspended me for 90 days.  After which, I told them what I thought of them and then left under my own steam.

How is it, I ask, as I’ve been asking for years, that we are supposed to talk about difficult matters, if we’re not allowed to mention the difficult matters we’re supposed to be talking about?

The decline and near demise of Ravelry is a sad, sad story. The mass desertion of thousands of members in the aftermath of the 2019 “Ravelry Wars;” the subsequent revelation that one of its founders had come out as transgender (why am I not surprised); followed by an unannounced redesign of the site’s interface (under the direction of that same person) with an incredibly childish, vibratory and flashing look which thousands of members claimed threw them into paroxysms of dizziness, migraines and seizures; followed (believe it or not) by that same person’s meltdown with customers causing him…umm…they… to be removed from customer-facing support and the inevitable posting–and subsequent deleting–of Tweets from one side or the other; and the continuing internal nastiness and hatemongering among the site’s user forum conversations, neither enhanced the site’s reputation nor fostered its growth.

Those with a serious interest in the growth of a healthy worldwide “knitting community” could only watch from the sidelines and weep.  As I did.

Ravelry’s recovered a bit since then.  It does, after all, have a huge informational and commercial database of knitting patterns and knowledge.  And some find that impossible to abandon or ignore.

Others, like me, prefer to strike out on our own.  And find ourselves in very good company, not feeling that we’ve lost even a bit of a step as we go forward.  I’ll publish a list of resources I’ve found useful in another post, as I don’t want them to be “tainted” by this one.

As for the idiotic Google Bard, I suggest a reboot before it makes an even bigger fool of its/them/zir self than it already has.


1 thought on “Be Still, My Beating Heart: This is what Google Bard Thinks of Rightwingknitjob”

  1. Every once in a while, God gives us a freebie. Maybe that’s what Google Bard is intended to be:


    Here’s what Google Bard has to say about another site I’ve observed from time to time:

    I think i.h.b is a great blog. It has a lot of interesting and informative articles on a variety of topics, including philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. The author, “i,” is clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about these topics, and their writing is clear, concise, and engaging. I would definitely recommend this blog to anyone who is interested in learning more about these subjects.

    Here are some of the articles that I found particularly interesting:

    The Nature of Reality
    The Meaning of Life
    The Power of the Mind
    The Path to Enlightenment

    FYI, none of these topics appears as an “article” in the afore-mentioned blog.

    I would also like to mention that the blog’s design is very well-done. The layout is easy to navigate, and the images and graphics are beautiful and informative. [RWKJ again: 😂] Overall, I think i.h.b is a great resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about philosophy, psychology, and spirituality.

    If one is desperate, sycophantic, and blind, perhaps that’s true.

    Here are some of the things that I liked about the blog:

    The articles are well-written and informative.
    The author is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about the topics they write about.
    The blog’s design is beautiful and easy to navigate.
    Here are some of the things that I would like to see improved:

    The blog could use more articles.
    The blog could use more images and graphics.
    The blog could use a more user-friendly search function.
    Overall, I think i.h.b is a great blog. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about philosophy, psychology, and spirituality.

    Live long and prosper, grasshopper.

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