(Profile Pic which proudly displayed my Captain’s Badge #101)
I started thinking about one of the exclusive groups I was part of and I wanted to share a little bit about it because it seems like there are elements of this now in current groups such as Razor and Brush and many more.
Rather than tell about how it first began, I wanted to say a little bit about how it ended for me. It ended because I got tired of handling things for a particular Vendor and Artisan. I got tired of doing an Artisan’s dirty work. Now, this was before the current talk show format this same Artisan has created and actually, it’s a great way to get things out in the open, rather than behind the curtains and sending someone out into the spotlight to deal with the criticism that goes with it.
I remember eagerly going to bat for a YouTube Blogger. That actually is how it all began. Whenever someone was trolling him, I was quick to defend him particularly on Twitter, which got me to thinking, man, there should be a monitor group to defend people’s honor, integrity and more, you know? He definitely appreciated that and I do remember him publicly appreciating me in a post about it.
So I got the ball rolling and the original group was called “The Shaving Police.” It included many of the interesting characters of the Wet Shaving Community, a “secret group” who would then participate in behind the scenes shenanigans including talking up the Artisan’s products on Reddit. It was short-lived.
(Above – International Shaving Police Logo. Looks official don’t it?)
I remember it was pretty cool to have a “Shaving Police” badge, where it was designed as a way to acknowledge membership slyly. My nephew commented that it reminded him of the movie, “Let’s Be Cops.” The premise of the movie was that a guy had a fun idea of getting a car and making it look like he was a cop with his friend. He eventually “took it a little too far” and started wearing a uniform, which definitely took it over the top.
(Above – A version of the Shaving Police Banner by Arley Canterbury)
The thing about The Shaving Police is that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. I loved it when the designer of the group logo and banner put the guys from Blue Bloods and Reno 911!. If we could have a sense of humor about what we were doing, then that was the fun of it all.
What turned into a harmless joke then turned pretty crazy.
Reddit seemed more fun when part of The Shaving Police. You could go in there with a sense of purpose and totally say what you wanted to say against all those Trollers, who really did some serious damage to the reputation of How to Grow a Moustache (which Douglas Smythe eventually changed the name to Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements).
After a few arguments within the group, it basically disbanded.
The problem of it was simply that it became a target. The very thing that we were looking to combat, we were becoming. That was a major argument within the group. We didn’t want to be Trolls ourselves, we wanted to combat the negative forces within such groups as Reddit which tends to have a specific agenda. What it is, well, they can define that. I certainly don’t want to assume anything about them, but there is a common theme within Reddit’s Wicked Edge. I don’t like it but what I can say is that it’s a free country. They certainly have the right to their opinions. You do, too.
One thing I question is having an administrator who is in charge of what is said within a group, particularly when it involves his blog. It’s a form of censorship of opinion. One thing I’ve decided to do because of this is not post links to these articles in the groups U do not monitor because of that particular issue. I figure if someone wants to find the article, they will on Twitter.
Will The Shaving Police (or the newer version: The Shave Police) ever come back? I am not sure it’s needed. It certainly never was needed in the first place. Everyone can defend themselves. We all have our own experiences and journeys, and I think what I learned from my experience in defending a particular Artisan is that he certainly has his own business and he can take care of it on his own. The Admins of the groups have their jobs and if they bias their members, that’s on them and what happens within the groups.
When I left The Shaving Police, I decided that if I was going to participate in the Wet Shaving Community, I would do it with a blog, where I controlled what I said and nobody else could censor or demand that I retract anything from it. That is when I decided to start “Wet Shaving Times.”
While writing this blog, I have been asked to remove portions of my blog or censor myself. This demand has not been considered as an option because, again, it’s my journey and my choice to write what I want to write in it. I don’t think I should be censoring what my opinion or position is. Neither should anyone else who does a blog or better yet, a video blog on YouTube. That’s why I encourage participants within the Wet Shaving Community to start your own Video Blog Channel or standard blog. Start expressing yourself in a more creative way than just posts within the Facebook Groups! That way, you have more control of your material. The danger of posting within the Facebook groups and even the old time groups like Badger and Blade is that they can deem what’s appropriate and what isn’t.
If you have a position or opinion about something that’s going on in the Wet Shaving Community and you care to share it, please do. Don’t keep it inside. If you are offended within a group, do not hesitate to approach the admins about it or better yet, go over their heads if you feel there is a bias towards that particular person or behavior. It is sometimes encouraged to just leave a group, but nobody should be intimidated into leaving a group because of a specific person within the group. This is actually unfair to the membership of the group itself.
The truth is, no person should be the sole decider on what’s appropriate, but as we’ve seen in the previous weeks within Razor and Brush, that certainly has happened. In the end, we are all responsible for our posts and perhaps that could be the most important thing to do is self-examine what we are posting about or why.
Why are you involved in Wet Shaving? What does it mean to you? Does it mean insulting others who got interested in this hobby? Is it for the sheer enjoyment of it or is it an ugly motivation?
What you put into this hobby isn’t necessarily what you put into it. I could put a hell of a lot of money into it and still come out of it with jack. What matters is how you treat people and what you bring to the table. I am suggesting that what you bring to the table just might change the Community itself for the better. Constructive criticism done in a classy way is always helpful to the Artisans. Pissy comments in a Facebook group is not.
I think what I ultimately learned through being a Shaving Police Captain is to ultimately be a leader and not follow the masses within the Community. I encourage people within the Community to bring something to the Community whether it’s a sense of Creativity (ie Creating Companies that sell Artisan Soaps/Aftershaves or other Products or Services) or Commentary (Blogs/Pics/Videos). It’s a whole lot more fun to do that then just sit in the back and heckle.
Thanks for reading, and shave intelligently my friends.