There were a number of accusations levied against the Revolution last week, and since a few hundred people read them before we were able to take them down, I suppose it’s appropriate to address them here, in a non-belligerent spirit, since we are a peaceful Revolution.
First, no, this site was not created as a joke, and many hours a week do not go into it as a joke. If some folks do not like pencils and prefer pens or computers, they are perfectly free not to be a part of our community.
It was suggested last week that we are promoting the killing of the planet’s trees through promoting the use of pencils. This is completely false. None of the manufacturers that we recommend go out and cut down trees for pencils that are not grown for that purpose and are not replaced. This is akin to claiming that meat comes from cows shot down in the forest. The fact is that some companies (like Faber-Castell and Staedtler) grow their own wood for their pencils on land where there were no trees before. Our friends at Cal Cedar are the largest pencil slat manufacturer in the world, and one would be hard-pressed to find a more responsible grower. Plainly, a pencil company that did not replenish its supply of wood would be committing corporate suicide. What some manufacturers did in the 19th and early 20th centuries is irrelevant.
No, Thoreau would not roll over in his grave because we promote the killing of the planet. Most Thoreau fans are aware of his innovations in pencil manufacturing and the fact that his family’s money came from making pencils and superior graphite. He never loved pencils but viewed them at best as tools, and usually as a way to make money for his father’s company. He didn’t sit around thinking about how great pencils are, so we could not “justify” the deforestation of the planet by how Thoreau felt about pencils. Besides, Thoreau never ventured far enough from Concord to actually see any wood that was made into pencils anyway. He never went to the South to see Red Cedar or to the West to see Incense Cedar (which wasn’t being used yet). And his ethic of simplicity would surely not shun pencils and probably not even blogs and gel pens.
No, we will not be promoting products from the likes of Proctor and Gamble, etc. First, they don’t make pencils. Second, we do not promote products from any company that engages in animal testing. California Republic doesn’t. Dixon doesn’t. Sanford doesn’t. The Germans don’t. Promoting pencils from companies that test on animals (parent companies, too) is not an issue now that Gillette no longer owns PaperMate and Parker anyway. Even Bic has a moratorium that has been in place for several years.
Our editor (me) was called a “corporate goon” and “a sad, sad corporate sellout.” While we very happily promote products we like and very gladly accept samples to review, we do not take money for our reviews. Period. This site is run out of my own pocket and never from any company. We would be very foolish indeed to take money from the manufacturers of what we review if we coupled this with the expectation that anyone trust what we say. Yes, we promote some pencils like the Palomino moderately aggressively, but that is soley because it is such a great pencil, made by great people, that more pencil lovers should try. We are spreading the word, not lining our pockets. Name-calling is just mean. If I am a sell-out because I freely promote pencils that lots of people think are great and not well-known enough, then sell-out I am.
A thousand apologies if we offend whoever anonymously posted the original list of reasons why Pencil Revolution is “stupid”; that is not our intention. However, the record must be set straight, and every effort has been made to be straight forward and not vindictive. We have no intention of being contentious.