NPR logo
Beyond The Bird On It: 'Twee Is About Shopping'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/372409586/372409587" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Beyond The Bird On It: 'Twee Is About Shopping'

Author Interviews

Beyond The Bird On It: 'Twee Is About Shopping'

Beyond The Bird On It: 'Twee Is About Shopping'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/372409586/372409587" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Twee is an almost paradoxical combination of the hypermaterialistic and artisanal and crafted, says Marc Spitz, author of Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion and Film. i

Twee is an almost paradoxical combination of the hypermaterialistic and artisanal and crafted, says Marc Spitz, author of Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion and Film. Cienpies Design & Communication/iStockphoto hide caption

toggle caption Cienpies Design & Communication/iStockphoto
Twee is an almost paradoxical combination of the hypermaterialistic and artisanal and crafted, says Marc Spitz, author of Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion and Film.

Twee is an almost paradoxical combination of the hypermaterialistic and artisanal and crafted, says Marc Spitz, author of Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion and Film.

Cienpies Design & Communication/iStockphoto

Don't be mistaken: There's a powerful economic force behind the proliferation of cutesy, homespun goods that combine an old-fashioned and highly modern aesthetic.

Twee's hallmarks are handcrafted, anachronistic or vintage items — like albums on vinyl, sweaters from the thrift store and, as distilled in a sketch on the show Portlandia, pretty much anything with a bird on it. It's as much an aesthetic as it is a lifestyle, like punk or hip-hop.

Twee

The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film

by Marc Spitz

Paperback, 338 pages |

purchase

Buy Featured Book

Title
Twee
Subtitle
The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film
Author
Marc Spitz

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

"Twee is an almost paradoxical combination of the hypermaterialistic and artisanal and crafted. You literally go into the woods and forage for granola and then you sell it for $13 a pound," says Marc Spitz, author of Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion and Film.

Spitz says the point of twee handicrafts is that somebody else made them. And that can make twee pretty expensive — custom cross-stitched designs sold on the handmade-crafts website Etsy start around $50. Reproduction midcentury furniture, box sets and reissues of classic albums — it's all going to cost you.

"This isn't about gluing macaroni to a piece of colored cardboard. Twee is about shopping," Spitz says. "It fires those chemical synapses in your brain."

Now this might sound cynical — buying your way into a lifestyle and a look. But Spitz says there's also something universal about being twee: Everyone is looking for something bigger than himself to buy into — and to believe in.

" 'Purity,' I guess, is the answer in a word — and true belief is pure. You know, what's more pure than a newborn kitten? What's more pure than something that you whittled? What's more pure than like a muffin you baked with like ingredients that you gathered?"

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.