Link Love: What’s in a Name?

Link Love

This past week there was some scuttlebutt about Noodlers Ink. I wasn’t sure how to to approach the subject because it hits so many hot buttons for so many people but since Inkophile tackled the topic, I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss the matter.

If you’ve been a part of the pen community for some time, you’ll know that Nathan from Noodlers Ink often includes his political views in the naming and design of his inks. Overall, I’ve always been of the opinion that Nathan was trying to draw attention to social and political issues but I know some of his choices have really bothered people. I just choose not to purchase Noodlers Ink both because of the politics and because of some issues with the ink formulations (Bay State Blue, I’m looking at you.).

In light of the announcement that Noodlers was renaming and rebranding many of the ink colors, as well as an apology and charitable donations will hopefully help to improve the public opinion of Noodlers.




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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I think you should also at the very least link to the reddit thread re: the Noodler’s controversy. Inkophile doesn’t really explain the topic and the comment section is fairly one-sided and problematic as well.

    1. If I understood correctly, the reddit thread dates back to 2012 — while that suggests that the issues with Noodlers have been long standing, since changes are being made now, that seemed to be more important.

      1. The current controversy is due to a thread made 1 or 2 weeks ago where someone called out Noodler’s for their antisemitic labels.
        Goulet and some other retailers responded in the thread and announced that they are dropping Noodler’s, which finally got a response from Nathan and led to the changes.
        The context matters here and that’s why just mentioning the changes and “social and political issues” isn’t really enough to understand the situation.

      2. There have been multiple Reddit threads over the years, but it was a recent thread that gained more traction and support and led to these changes.

        “Scuttlebutt” is a really poor choice of words for a discussion about antisemitism and racism. It’s a whole lot more than just water cooler-like gossip.

  2. I’ve been waiting to see if any bloggers would chime in on the issue. While I appreciate you not ignoring it, I have to say that I’m quite disappointed in you not actually saying what the issue is. Some of his labels are antisemitic. Others are racist. Those shouldn’t be brushed over as “political views.” Honestly, I think it’s that kind of framing – rather than naming the specific problems – that has allowed Tardif to get away with being antisemitic and racist for so long.

    1. I was not trying to evade the issue but hoped that folks would click through to the article for more details.

  3. I think Ana approached this in a responsible way. If she went all out, that would cause problems for her blog. I already saw a negative comment to Inkophile, who was only trying to indicate what names she would use for the inks. Plus she shared a list of previous names of inks to new names.

    Calling out bloggers, and blaming them for letting Tardiff prevail with his views for so long is a simplistic reading of the situation. Some people are so wedded to their political views, it is nearly impossible to get them to see the troubling and cruel parts of their philosophy.

    I would have liked to have supported an American ink company. I only have 3 bottles of Noodler’s inks because I didn’t appreciate his labeling of Massachusetts as Taxachusetts. He could move to a lower tax state as there are plenty of them. Other inks made by individuals avoid wading into politics, and just make and sell ink. De Atramentis is one. I think Robert Oster named an ink with a troubling name once.

    I appreciate pen, ink and paper blogs that give us so much information about our hobby. I do not begrudge them when they occasionally make comments about Black Lives Matter or Mr. Tardiff.

    1. I don’t think anyone expects Ana to go all out, but if you bring up the issue at all, you can’t leave out the crucial parts and that’s exactly what happened here and on Inkophile’s blog (where it seems like Noodler’s had to change the names of lots of their ink due to “wokeness running amok” when in reality this has been about one specific ink and issue (anti-semitism) that isn’t or at least shouldn’t be a (purely) leftist issue at all). Calling an ink “Taxachusetts” isn’t really in the same ballpark at all.
      I also think it’s fair to call out bloggers and readers/users for ignoring Tardiff’s views for too long, but agree that this should be done in a polite and constructive manner.

      1. In my haste to get Link Love out this week it slipped my notice that Inkophile had not specifically linked to the Reddit article. Apologies for the oversight.

      2. I’m glad that Noodler’s is changing some of its names and labels. The anti-semitism and racism isn’t just people “getting their knickers in a twist”, but is a serious issue. I’ve felt uncomfortable for a long time with Noodler’s branding. Thank you for bringing up the topic, Ana, so others will be aware.

      3. It wasn’t calling an ink Taxachusetts. It was enclosing a piece of paper where that was mentioned. I’d heard other things about him, and decided my ink money would go elsewhere. Sorry for the lack of clarity on that. My reasons don’t matter in this discussion. I actually know Ana, and feel the need to defend her blog post.

        I hope we can all agree we appreciate her blog as a good place to see new inks, pens and paper. We are all together in that.

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