Some women are obsessed with scrapbooking, making the hobby a $2.6-billion industry. Built around, you know, cutting and pasting. But it's serious business, as you know if you've heard about the scrapbook smackdown. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, it all started when 28-year-old "scrapbooking rock star" Kristina Contes won a contest sponsored by Creating Keepsakes (?!?) magazine. Ms. Contes' entry — pages featuring pictures of her feet and of her hairless terrier, Chloe — included a photo that — gasp! she didn't take herself. Ms. Contes actually called the magazine to request that her friend receive a photo credit. And when a "Hall Of Fame" book came out in October, with the photo credit, "disgruntled scrapbookers" caused an uproar, threatening to cancel subscriptions, boycott and sue. (On scrapbooking messageboards, a comment thread about "KC" reached 1,250 posts.) Because, you see, the rules stated that submissions had to be solely the contestant's work. Whoops!
As the positive attention turned negative, "I, seriously, was like the Lindsay Lohan of scrapbooking," Ms. Contes says. But she was in the new generation of scrapbookers: young women who used the books like diaries; to express their feelings and document their lives. Old-skool scrapbookers, who usually documented children's birthdays or weddings, found the new kids to be narcissistic and hi-falutin'. As one blogger says: "We didn't consider ourselves 'life artist[s]' or 'designers.' We were just plain ol' scrappers." In any case, eight months after she'd won, Ms. Coates was disqualified from the Creating Keepsakes Hall Of Fame. She got depressed and didn't feel like scrapping for a while, but she's back at it, phew.
But what is with these crazy scrapbookers? Isn't scrapbooking supposed to be, uh, fun? Something you turn to when you'd like to alleviate stress, relax, unwind, etc.? What's the point of having a hobby with rules and infuriating scandals? (And I'll admit, I've made a scrapbookish thingy or two in my day. And non-original material was the point! I saved postcards, ads from magazines, pictures from friends, funny quotes, fortune cookie slips. Pasting crap in a book gives you a bizarre sense of accomplishment; you feel you've captured and documented inspiration and a certain zeitgeist. Or maybe that's just me. Anyone? Anyone?)