Sunday, October 22, 2006

More Masculine Machine Messing-About

My Machine Quilting teacher told us we should keep an eye open for potential quilting patterns in the stuff we see in everyday life. So, when I saw the linguistic symbols on the cover of this book, I decided to give it a try.

What I did was photocopy the cover of the book, enlarging the pattern a little bit. Then, I pinned the piece of paper on top of the practice quilt top. You can just sew right through the paper, so after you follow the outline of the pattern, you end up with a quilt that has a piece of paper sewn to it. The paper tears off pretty easily, since it's been perforated by the needle, but it is kinda boring and time-consuming to get rid of it all. On this little practice piece, I spent as much time getting rid of paper as I did in the actual quilting. Looks kinda cool, though. I think I'm getting better.

I want to throw something in here that is not explicitly quilt-related, but maybe it's tangentially relevant to this blog. You be the judge. It is a quote from Nick Hornsby's excellent book Fever Pitch, a memoir of his obsession with soccer and, in particular, the Arsenal club. Highbury, I should mention, is the stadium in London where Arsenal play.

Masculinity has somehow acquired a more specific, less abstract meaning than femininity. Many people seem to regard femininity as a quality; but according to a large number of both men and women, masculinity is a shared set of assumptions and values that men can either accept or reject. You like football? Then you also like soul music, beer, thumping people, grab¬bing ladies' breasts, and money. You don't fit into either camp? Macho, nein danke? In which case it must follow that you're a pacifist vegetarian, studiously oblivious to the charms of Michelle Pfeiffer, who thinks that only leering wideboys listen to Luther Vandross.

It's easy to forget that we can pick and choose. Theoretically it is possible to like football, soul music and beer, for example, but to abhor breast-grabbing and bottom-pinching (or, one has to concede, vice versa); one can admire Muriel Spark and Bryan Robson. Interestingly it is men who seem to be more aware than women of the opportunities for mix 'n' match: a femist colleague of mine literally refused to believe that I watched Arsenal, a disbelief that apparently had its roots in the fact that we had once had a conversation about a feminist novel. How could I possibly have read the book and have been to Highbury? Tell a thinking woman that you like football and you're in for a pretty sobering glimpse of the female conception of the male.


Karin said...

Yes, you quilt, we discuss teaching methods and then you periodically wave your little college football fan flag. It always throws me.

michael5000 said...

Go Ducks!