The sad state of monoculture and its particular effects on arts and crafts.

Just as with agriculture, in which you don't want the same variety of a plant grown everywhere so that one disease wipes out everything, you don't want a monoculture.

Yes, we're a melting pot, but there are distinct cultures in different regions of the nation, and within those regions, a kind of adherence to even older culture.

For example, the Norsk HostFest.

But we have a monoculture. I talked about it in a recent post on a measure that was on the ballot, and I found myself talking about it with a friend from D.C. who commented on the name of the recently elected Rep. Armstrong.

"I just noticed that his wife's name is Kjersti Høiby.  That's awesøme."

That led to a conversation about Scandinavian and German culture here in North Dakota, the unsurprising commonality of names with -skj and other variants, common foods you'll find in different pockets of the state (lefse! lutefisk. fleischkuekle! kuchen!), and so on.

I mentioned the different arts and crafts that used to be common at shows and fairs. My mom used to do tole painting, and I still have one of the items she painted back in the day. Then there are things like scherenschnitte (paper cutting), hardanger embroidery, and so forth.

What do we have now?

Monoculture. An ever growing one.

As far as the arts and crafts go, that's unfortunate.

Ever go to a craft fair, or a hipster art/craft shop or "maker" event? It's the same stuff. It's an arts and crafts monoculture compliments of social media and the internet, a kind of Pinterestization in which the traditional arts and crafts of a people group are lost while everyone clamors to mimic the look of decor seen on Fixer Upper or similar shows. Everyone is doing the same casual calligraphy on watercolor background, felt or knitted animal toys, or using wooden pallets, or whatever is trending right now. There is a serious loss of traditional arts and crafts.

My aunt Ann made me a small hardanger bookmark in the shape of a cross for Christmas many years ago, and I still use it. It is the most beautiful thing. No ironic slapped together burlap maker movement whatever can even come close to the workmanship and time it took to make. I still have the hand-embroidered dish towels that my grandma had made, though they are getting worn out slowly with use.

Monoculture is also seen in how we think and respond.

You could go online and discuss a topic and even if it was a lifelong North Dakota resident, you could just as well be talking to someone from the West Coast.