Friday, May 01, 2009

Josh Bennett

I got some mail from him today. He's unhappy about my review from Vogue Knitting's Holiday 2008 issue. Specifically, sweater number twenty-one.

This was in my in-box on Ravelry this morning.

Vogue Knitting Holiday 2008
Sent at 11:27 PM Yesterday

This is the sonofabitch moron designer from the Vogue Knitting Holiday 2008 issue. I just wanted to let you know that your comment was extemely rude and you have no concept of what happens or how a magazine works. If the editor wants unflattering ruffles on a sweater, I put them on the sweater. It is my job and I don’t need someone that obviously has a huge chip on her shoulder to criticize my work and my intelligence.

You seem to know everything about knitting, designing, and magazine publication so I am looking forward to seeing all your great contributions to the knitting world. You should publish a successful magazine or design something that is actually in fashion.

I hope that someday you realize that knitting is supposed to be about community and creativity. Reviews are great, but remember that there are people that you are calling sonofabitch moron designers and they have feelings.

Josh Bennett

To which I replied:

I assume you’re so angry because you know what I said was true. Blame it on VK and their editors if it works for you.

Always a pleasure to know the personalities behind the designs. They seem to match.

The reply I got to that was:

re: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2008
Sent at 12:02 PM Today
I am mad that you personally attacked me. I hope that your children and family never come under attack of a frustrated housewife that obviously has no talent of her own. You are the reason that people make fun of knitters and think that they are bitchy spinsters that have no social skills.

Like I said before, review the garments, don’t insult the designers.

I’ve looked at your designs and I am glad that someone is designing sweaters that look like shit and are for plus sized doughballs like yourself.

My answer:

This is all getting posted to my blog. My readers deserve to know who these designers are that I talk about.

You deserve anything I said about you, and more.

His answer:

re: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2008
Sent at 12:08 PM Today
Thank you!!!

I guess he wants to you all to know that you're plus-sized doughballs like me. I'm dropping it now. But that's my fun for the day.


Mandy said...

Perhaps he should take note of how many people agree with your reviews every time, and how many comments every issue inclued some variation on the theme of "I'm not renewing my subscription to VK because of the unwearable designs". It can't be because we're ALL plus-sized doughballs!

It would be nice if someone would just be honest (with themselves as well as us) for once, and say, "Yeah, I know it's an ugly sweater, but that's what the editors asked for, and I make my living giving them what they (the editors, who don't actually live in the real world) want."

Anonymous said...

Small people usually have big opinons of themselves...

(I think I'll need a magnifying glass to see THIS guy!)


Anonymous said...

I've read your review and I agree about the design. It was a little harsh to call him a "sonofabitch moron designer." I think that is what he is mad at and it is not his fault that the editors gave him that unfortunate design to knit.


Anonymous said...

Well Josh Bennett just guaranteed that I won't EVER knit anything that he designs. He wants to talk about rudeness? Talk about a pot calling a kettle black! Also, he seems to miss the concept that many knitters also knit for people other than themselves--so whether or not the knitter her/himself is a plus-sized doughball may very well be irrelevant. Screw you Josh Bennett. Previously, I just didn't like your design. Now I don't like what I know of YOU.

Julie said...

I agree it may have been a little harsh, though the design did suck. I disagree that it's all the editor's fault. There are ways to talk them around it, ways to reason with them, and there are dozens of ways to knit something.

And of course this totally disgregards all his other designs that I have reviewed, at least one of them I termed 'awesome' and said that it was the sort of thing Vogue Knitting needed more of.

Tanya said...

oops. didn't mean to be anonymous with my 11:50 comment. I gladly put my name to my opinion!

Amy Lane said...

I don't get it. What kind of a world do we live in when a guy like this can actually make a two-ton tizzy-throwing toddler such as myself look GOOD when it comes to taking criticism for my work. If you are creating what the system puts out, you're part of the system. There ARE ways to work around editors--and there are also ways to approach someone about a bad review. If he'd said, "Hey, I get that you don't like the design, but could you avoid the name calling?" I'm pretty sure you would have stepped up and apologized--but he had to get shitty back at you and, well, he just made himself look small. Really small. Flea's penis small.

(Okay-- my spamword is excon. No shit. All it's missing is the dash.)

Emily said...

I'm just sorry that he is so easily wounded. When your work is out in front of the public, you have to expect some unpleasantness, alas; it goes with the job. Some people avoid reading reviews for just this reason; others (like me) crawl under the bed & cry until they get over it. The one mistake you should NEVER make is to go public with your reaction. That draws attention to the negative review, which would otherwise likely just fade away & die by itself.

If his work is going to suffer because of doing what he's told, even against his better judgement, then he should definitely be figuring clever ways out of that situation. Otherwise the reputation he's trying to build will suffer badly. People will not assume the design mistakes are anyone's but his alone.

Amy Lane said...

Okay--and I'm going to add: It may be his job to kiss his editor's ass but it's not your job to kiss ANYBODY'S. (I liked that so much from my e-mail, I thought I'd add it in public:-)

Carrie S. said...

I just have to wonder what good he thinks it's going to do to start the discussion with being confrontational and aggressive.

Moving on to body-weight insults is just idiotic.

Anonymous said...

People make fun of knitters?

Anonymous said...

People, I really think that you are missing the point of this whole stupid fight. It seems Josh Bennett was upset that he was called a moron and not the design. I think that your reviews are sometimes funny, but insult the patterns not the designers. It looks like you both can't take insults very well. Grow up!

Jennifer Greenstein

Carolyn R. said...

As another "plus sized stay at home doughball" who also is a knitter and spinner - your reviews of the Vogue Knitting designs were spot on. And, while I'm not sure I would call anybody a sonofabitch moron designer, he proved himself to be one and that you were spot on with that too.


walterknitty said...

OMG! What a complete asshole. Being a published designer, I would think, he's had much worse critism both personal and about his designs. Someone like that who has a career in fashion and the public sphere should have a much thicker skin than that. What a jerk.

K Graham (off FB) said...

It's hard to type around my jaw dropping to the floor. To complain about rudeness by using bigoted and insulting comments? Repeatedly?

Yes, your comments about him personally were a statement you should have been willing to take flack over (and you seem the type who would face it squarely), but for him to insult a great deal of his potential readership in such a childish and vindictive way shows he needs a different income source.

This is one doughball who won't be buying his work, reading his contributions to the "community" or purchasing any magazine who pays him. Thanks buddy, but tell us what you really think of us as your customers...

Bells said...

Doesn't he know that by definition you can't be a spinster?

Let's face it, your reviews are not to everyone's taste - but it's your blog and people don't like it they don't have to read it right?

But I think we are all smart enough to realise that you don't actually mean that he is a son of a bitch moron. You are smarter than that. You don't know him. No one thinks that's what you're calling him personally.

I'd say no one reading that about 'themselves' would like it and would be within their rights to take issue with you.

Hate mail is just not cool.

Candied Fabrics said... it wrong of me to think that this is hilarious? I hope not!

Bride of Chucky said...

I agree with Bells, he needs to look up "spinster" in the dictionary. And this plus-sized doughball will not be purchasing any of his designs in the future, even if I was interested in making something for a skinny friend.

Sarah said...

My hubby would like to say "I'm not a knitter or a housewife but the pattern looks retarded, and he's an asshole, he just insulted my wife and every one i know" "being creative and making a buck arent the same thing always, especially if you're told to do it" "and maybe he should grow a pair instead of attacking criticism" he also stated "at first look at your original statement it looks like you're being snarky, but from his responses he's obviously a moron and jerk"

I would like to say, i find it odd that creativity is coming from the editor. and fully agree with my husband, you go girl. Power to the Housewife!!!!

Jen Anderson said...

Honestly, I don't think a personal attack on a designer is out of line. The fact that the editor wanted unflattering ruffles and he just threw them in there actually adds to the argument that his personal character is at fault.

If your boss asks for something that is a bad idea, then you educate and explain until they stop asking for a product that the customer will not be able to use.

The doughball comments is incredibly offensive and indicative of the attitude that goes behind designing for a small range of sizes. I remember a few years back, I read an article about how knee high boots were back in style, but women were having trouble finding ones that fit over their calf muscles, which had been enlarged by exercise. One designer was quoted as saying that he designed for "more fashionable" body types and therefore had no intention of modifying his designs for skinny women who work out.

It amazes me that these people think they can stay in business/employed when they have such contempt for their potential customers.

Anonymous said...

Josh (and Vogue, for that matter) ought to go read some statistics on what sizes REAL people actually are--and it isn't skinny as a model. I rarely ever buy Vogue because most patterns (that aren't outright just too ugly to make EVER) are too small for me or nearly anyone I'd knit for. Other knitting mags are wising up and publishing extended sizes. And I spend my money on those mags... because they CARE what knitters want. I do have teenage grandchildren and THE?Y don't like Vogue designs, so I wonder just who makes any of that stuff. May some resentful doughballs give Josh the reaction he SO deserves!


Roxie said...

Well, at least you know how wide your readership spreads.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't have to like being called a moron and what not, but his response made him look like a moron.
1 project on ravely in progress that has :( and 3 in queues. Hmm, that does show something. And his profile says "I love dogs and hate kids." Right-o!
Plus-size doughballs, love it! It's my catch phrase of the day!

Alwen said...

I grew up in the Drama Zone, so I've had enough to last out the rest of my life. I read the Verbal Self-Defense books in self-defense. What's that thing Suzette Haden Elgin says, something about feeding the loop you want to grow? I can see which one he's feeding.

Straight from "remember that there are people that you are calling sonofabitch moron designers and they have feelings" to insults. No, wait. How did that work again?

(My verification is exCIA.)

WikiBobo said...

Touchy, touchy. I've always wondered about what really goes on in the minds of men who design women's clothes.

More specifically, I've always had what I thought was the irrational belief that there was some misogynistic and control-freak tendencies at work in the minds of said male designers.

At least in Mr. Bennett's case, I don't think my belief is all that irrational.

Tip from someone who's in the public eye thanks to her job: it doesn't matter what they say about you -- what matters is that you're getting attention. No such thing as bad publicity. Clearly he didn't get that memo either.

And can we mention that Mr. Blackwell made a decades-long career out of insulting women's fashion choices -- and by extension their intellect? (See my thought about men designers and the way they view women above...)

And in what has to be the best expression of my state of mind right now: "unterag" -- pronounced in bad German as "oon der rag." :-D

Judith Grant said...

This is great! I love that this Josh kid did the SAME EXACT THING that this Kung Fu Panda Knitter did and everyone is up in arms. All his remarks are on par with every remark that you did and you are upset. I really hope that you don't have kids because you are teaching them some really bad lessons. Maybe if you have nothing nice to say you should keep your mouth shut. If you do have children, maybe you should be called a "stupid twat that should have her cunt sewn together." Doesn't feel great huh? Maybe if someone has a problem with you, you can deal with it yourself without posting it so other people can fight for you.
Just want you all to know that I don't like a lot of Vogue patterns but this type of slander and hate is stupid from both ends.

Anonymous said...

Shrug. I'm a plus size knitter who mostly knits for her adult kids - who run from size two to six. In other words, I am looking for patterns in the sizes that Vogue caters to. So the reason I haven't bought a copy of the magazine in years.....
Could it be the unflattering designs?
Or something.

I enjoy your reviews. One or two have tempted me toward buying. Hasn't happened because I've such a long list of stuff I am already working on. Nobody likes bad reviews. Professionals don't cry in public. And no, I haven't published knitting designs. I have, however, published. Same principle.

Be well.

Amy Lane said...

To Judith Grant-- whoever you are:

Samurai was tearing down a bad design--she was being snarky, but she was, in essence, critiquing something that was set out for the public eye and that flat out didn't work.

Josh Bennett, instead of behaving like a professional adult in public (as you MUST if you are putting stuff out in the public to be criticized) resorted to the 3rd grade tactic of name calling to get back at her. Any man who can make a size 2 model look fat, has obviously forgotten what designers are supposed to do--and insulted the poor girl in the design, and I say that as a REAL + sized doughball, not a standard size 10 real woman. If I worked as hard as you have to to be THAT thin, I'd be PISSED to be made to wear something that made me look wide. This is all professional critique, mind you, from people who support the profession of knit design-- we've got a stake in this too.

So in response to this-- a valid critique that went overboard on the snark-- we've got Plus Sized Doughball (which I may have put on my headstone, just for kicks) and, oh yeah... your charming remark about sewing someone's twat together so they can't have children.

It's pretty clear to anybody reading that while you and Mr. Bennett may delude yourself that your zip code and your professional connections make you more qualified to wear clothes than the rest of us, real class, education, erudition, and creativity are qualities that don't come from the epithet 'Vogue'. They from hard work and real people making real garments from the creative, industrious wells of their souls.

You both may have the degrees in histrionics and pretension that the rest of us plebes lack, but I think in the soul department, the Samurai Knitter had you both beat before you walked through the door.

In the soul

Alacaeriel said...

so... does he disagree with designs for plus-sized doughballs, or people who are plus-sized doughballs? Either way, he can't win.

Louiz said...

I'd just like to agree with the majority of the comments that Mr Josh Bennett is right OFF my purchase list. I was not aware of his name before, but I am now. Since Julie *buys* the magazine that the editor works for that commissions designers like Mr Bennett she is in effect his customer. Talk about customer service. If I behaved by swearing at someone who had a problem with my work or swore at me at work, I would be so unprofessional if I behaved in the same way as he has. I had already not renewed my subscription to VK (or whatever they've changed the name to in Europe) but I will actively make a point of avoiding Mr Bennetts work as it's presumably only sized for models not real people. And my body weight mass thingy tells me I am my perfect weight for my height. So not a doughball. Or plus sized.

K. Graham said...

Judith Grant... Who urinated in your All-Bran?

"I really hope that you don't have kids because you are teaching them some really bad lessons."
Like critical review and analysis, instead of mindless consumerism?

"Maybe if you have nothing nice to say you should keep your mouth shut."
Because, of course, this is purely a social interaction, and consumers should never have the freedom to critique the things they are sold?

If you do have children, maybe you should be called a "stupid twat that should have her cunt sewn together."
Hmm, can I mention you have a unhealthy focus on genitalia and violence? I sincerely hope you don't have access to children yourself.

"Doesn't feel great huh?"
This, cupcake, is your crowning glory of hipocrisy. Last time I heard this, a mentally unbalanced woman was arguing with, and losing to, a 5 year old in public. You remind me of her in many ways.

"Don' bring none, there won't be none." Men In Black

Have a nice day.

K. G. said...

'Scuse me, I meant "Hypocrisy".

Anonymous said...

He forgot to add pompous windbag, dilettante and egomaniac. Otherwise he's quite totally correct.

Shea said...

OH my, he is sensitive, isn't he? And he said that you had a chip on your shoulder? I think the gentleman needs to pull up his big girl panties and grow a thicker skin. If he can't take criticism of his work, he shouldn't be putting it out there in front of the public.

FeyRhi said...

What I find funny is all the talk about the ruffles but absolutly nothing has been brought up about the 'nipple vents'.

He can blame his editor all he wants but, take out the nipple vents,the ruffles and, as far as I'm concerned, it's still a butt-ugly sweater.

I have not bought a Vogue Knitting in ages. It's not worth weeding through all the ugly designs just to find that one gem.

Lola said...

I'm so grateful that he wrote to you, thus making it memorable enough to remember his name so that I will be extra careful should I encounter any of his designs.

Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised that people like that can get through design school and not be criticized. I wonder how he reacts when a design of his is rejected?

As for Judith Grant... her comment seems very troll-like. Either that, or it could be the same person. Either way.

Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, and Julie's is always fairly spot on with her IK analysis of patterns. So much for your beloved country's 1st amendment.

Good on ya Julie, thanks for bringing this into the open. I look forward to many more honest, intelligent VK reviews.

Cindy said...

"plus-sized doughball" - I will NEVER buy anything with a Josh Bennett pattern in it.

Anonymous said...

I looked up his designs on ravlery, and noted that you've all out complimented some of his other designs in other years. It's too bad he took issue with one bad design.

Anonymous said...

Josh Bennett is a drunk and a pain in the ass. I've worked with him in a previous yarn store and all I can say is he is a diva-wanna be.

He is rude and is an expert "dream-seller". He tells you the things you want to hear in order to get what he wants: attention and free yarn. His only goal in life is to be around the beautiful glamorous people (aka those with loads of $$$$). He's the complete opposite of what a knitter should be.

On another note, I just came across your blog and loved it.

Your latest Doughball

John Poyser said...

Wow, I just ran across this while looking for "josh bennett" patterns and all I can say is: I love Josh Bennett. I would hate to get my feelings steppe on like that. It's hard to put your creativity out there in the first place.

Jeff Bobick said...

I happen to be a big fan of Josh's design patterns. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Did you stop, even for a second, and consider that there might have been a grain of truth to what he said? I'm not attacking you, I'm just asking a simple question. He does have a point -- your piece was carefully crafted to elicit a response. You chose words for their bite and their wit, knowing they would offend. You can own that or not, but you did. They were your words. There are many interesting, kind ways to say "It is not to my taste." You chose none of them. And you got upset when you got called on it.

As a writer, I might be able to put this in a context you can understand a little bit better. I spent a year writing a novel. It's pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good. Shopping it to literary agents, I had one who loved the first fifty pages, wrote about how it made her feel, and asked to read the rest of the manuscript. (!) Six weeks later she wrote that the dialog in the next 80 pages made her want to give up on life; in 2 years of reading manuscripts, mine had been the most disappointing. She wrote, "My second grader couldn't have delivers more synthetic characters."

You are a writer. Can you imagine what that felt like? Yeah. Sucks donkey dick, doesn't it?

Not a single word of what she said was actually meant to be helpful. It was meant to hurt. Even my literary agent friends were stunned when I called and read it to them. (It made my wife cry.) I let myself feel bad for an hour and then sat back down at the laptop, seeing what positive message I could glean from her hateful e-mail. But I still think about that letter every time I'm asked to beta read a manuscript -- every time I'm asked to review a book or a story. Because we are the writer whose work we are reviewing; we are the knitter; we are the artist; we are the chef. We should write the criticism we would want to receive.

To quote Elwood Dowd, "Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she'd say 'In this world, Elwood, you can be oh so so smart, or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart... I recommend pleasant. You may quote me."

Anonymous said...

Having had to be around Josh Bennett several times, while I'm not going to speak to his design or execution skills, I'm not remotely surprised at his attitude. Still today, he's the penultimate fake your way to the top with a sh*t-eating grin and claws out. Work with him and you'll find he hugs you shortly before the knife goes in.