“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’” Marie Kondo Regular readers of Sprue Pie With Frets might have deduced that real-life disruptions have impacted my modeling and regular posting to this blog for the past […]The KonMari Method™ and Hobby Joy — Sprue Pie With Frets
Steve over at Sprue Pie with Frets has penned a thoughtful piece and I highly recommend taking a look. Like any good blog post, Steve expanded on a simple concept and offered an interesting perspective on simplifying things hobby related. There is a lot to unpack in his post and, to be honest, he discusses a topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately, more on that below.
Paring Down Old Projects
This concept of simplification and ridding one’s self of things that do not spark joy got me thinking. Over the course of some ten or more years, I’ve acquired a lifetime of scale model projects. I have purged quite a few kits in the recent past but the object there was to rid myself of things I bought because they were a bargain.
I was still left with mounds of un-started projects. Now, each of these projects would be nice to complete. However, if I am being honest, I doubt the desire to complete each one is still there. Will that desire come rushing back someday? Maybe it will. Does it make sense to store dozens of models in the hope that day might return? No, probably not. I suppose that is a prime example of Steve’s point on balancing “past joy” with potential “future joy”.
Paring Down the Social Media Noise
Steve also had a lot to say about the scale modeling social media scene and much of it was not nice. It seems to me that more and more contributors like Steve have become somewhat dissatisfied with their social media experience. Spencer Pollard has publicly stated that he will be focusing his efforts away from the regular social media sites and devoting more time to his website. Steve has decided to simplify and pare down his social media involvement.
As for his thoughts on what sparks joy in the social media sphere, well, I have been thinking about that one for a while. Through this blog and facebook I have met many friends and I have found a lot of historical and model related information as well as inspiration. In some instances I have found or I have been given photographs and explanations that I would have never found on my own. So, overall I’d say that I have benefitted from this social media thing. That said, I have always limited my use of social media to hobby related things by muting all the political nonsense that often sneaks in.
But there are some aspects of this social media-hobby nexus that definitely do not spark joy. Starting with the banning of second world war German iconography on scale models. I am reasonably confident this ‘crack down’ is nothing more than a business decision by Facebook and is not a crusade to guide some sort of worldwide moral compass and rid the world of evil. On one hand, I can see the logic in it. Advertisers (the actual customers of Facebook) do not want their brands, logos and messages being associated with actual extremist content. But on the other hand, is a picture of a plastic model posted to a hobby oriented group some form of objectionable political statement that needs to be banned?
I think not.
I suppose this is the cost of using facebook; It is their platform and their rules. What sparks less joy is that a business decision by facebook has bolstered a form of moralized opinion from a very small but very loud swath of scale modelers on social media. For example, the debates about the morality of building German subjects has been around longer than I have been in the hobby. They always boiled down to a personal decision which may have been publicized to signal some virtue.
Now these vocal modelers are making serious accusations towards those who build subjects they don’t like. At best this new ‘approach’ is infantile and at worst it is trivializing the Holocaust. Either way, I’ve been tuning out the most vocal ‘accusers’ along with the other enfants terrible and the self-styled “disrupters” of the scale modeling social media scene. And I will continue to do so whenever this attention seeking noise pops up. That kind of content won’t ever spark hobby joy for me.
I am going to follow Steve’s example and I am going to move on from a few of these old project ideas. I think it will be nice to set these kits free in the wild and let others have a crack at them. Marie says is ok to move on from ten year old ideas if they no longer spark joy. That’s good enough for me.
I suppose the influx of politics into our hobby was as inevitable as it is disappointing. One astute commentator, speaking about politics seeping into gaming culture, put it far better than I ever could:
“Politics have become disproportionately important in this culture we have constructed, in our social lives, in our schools and in just about every interaction we have with others… it can lead to unnecessary strife…There’s a fine line between political awareness and an unhealthy obsession with politics…”– Erik Kain
At the end of the day we are talking about making plastic models and sharing pictures of plastic models. So, yes, it is ok to build whatever you want and finish it however you want if that’s what sparks joy in you. Anyone who screams otherwise can and should be muted with the click of a button.
We are all facing this dilemma… What to keep and what to see free .
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Sorry for the typos…
We are all facing this dilemma… What to keep and what to set free .
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Great synopsis of a fantastic post. I like much of what both you have stated, but your last paragraph is exactly how I feel! I have always had a love affair with WWII German armor and planes, might have something to do with my German-American heritage, might just be that the German’s always build weapons of war that just look like weapons of war. I will continue to build what I enjoy!
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Couldn’t agree more. I enjoyed this and Stephen Lee’s initial blog very much as well. Both of you are excellent and thoughtful writers. I’m more of an armour builder than an AC builder and my two areas of interest are WWII German subjects and Cold War Soviet subjects. I build them both because I think that they look neat, and because I like the constant upgrading of the engineering, not because I’m “fetishizing the enemy” as it was referred to on another modeling blog. The model subjects that one builds are very much a personal choice. To suggest that it infers some sort of nefarious political agenda is just silly. If I build a Lancaster or a B-17 does it automatically mean I support the fire bombing of Dresden in 1945 by the English and the Americans? Of course not. If I build a Chi Ha tank does that infer that I support the rape on Nanjing in 1937 by the Japanese Imperial Army? Nope, nobody would assume that. But if I build a German WWII subject, the virtue signaling Antifa that are infecting our hobby automatically consider me at best, a card carrying member of the former German Nazi party and at worst some sort of Aryans Nation neo Nazi supporter. Again, it’s just silly. Furthermore, if enjoying German models makes me a Nazi, then enjoying Soviet models should make me a Communist, therefore leaving me right in the middle of the spectrum.
There’s no politics to be seen here fellows. In the words of Terry Gilliam, “It’s only a model”
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Well said Chris! Kudos. Andy
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Sadly because covid I cant do my hobby 😦