A Gilded Age

We here at Twee Affect don't generally go in for close reading of forums, since we find it difficult to follow any line of reasoning that does not contain a reference to ourselves, but oh! We have been alerted, to a criticism of our blog, by someone with a very young man's belief in the absolute rightness of his own cause and the absolute wrongness of everyone else's. This young gentleman said:

the Twee Affect as a whole i find a never ending stream of narcissistic, destructive criticism that does nothing for the community.

Now it is true that we tend to disagree to be disagreeable as much as most people in the community agree merely to be agreeable. We should not point out the irony of his criticizing us for being critics, but we will remind this young gentleman and anyone else who holds such an opinion that if everyone was in perfect agreement, there would simply be nothing to say.

And if you should only chuse to read agreeable things, we should direct you to our sister blog, The Brothers Brick! Yes, our two blogs are quite like two sisters, in a novel! A modern-day Misses Elinor and Marianne Dashwood! Or, perhaps, Miss Jane and Miss Elisabeth Bennett. Yes, we rather think this characterization is quite fitting: the Brothers Brick as the older sister, who is agreeable and complacent and is disinclined to see a fault in any body; and we flatter ourselves to compare our blog with the younger Miss Elisabeth, who is quick-witted and perhaps too quick to judge. It is ultimately, however, up to our dear readers to determine the justice of these portraits; but we shall present a bit of evidence concerning the Brothers Brick: when one of their own bloggers engages in questionable behaviour, they seem unwilling to consider that he might have less than noble motives.

We are speaking, of course, of Brothers Brick blogger Nannan's unseemly relationship with Chromebricks.com. Nannan's recent mention of them is not the first: he first posted about them last year, and let us examine the last few sentences:

If you’re making an order, feel free to drop a mention that you’re a reader of our blog. If many people show interest, we will be featuring a review of these products in the coming weeks.

In short, he wanted to impress on Chromebricks the number of readers his blog has, a number which the Brothers Brick monitors with precision. We here at Twee Affect keep no statistics whatsoever, which is just as well because our vanity is already beyond any thing! And it was a matter of course that Nannan did give Chromebricks a review, and a favorable one, and there was no mention of how he came by the legos he reviewed. And in his latest post, Nannan goes even so far as to demonstrate the quality of the product! He writes:

To show the quality of the new metallic colors, I built a vignette integrating metallic silver parts from both LEGO and ChromeBricks. I bet you can’t tell which parts are official and which ones are custom. Indeed, the new metallic colors are a perfect match to LEGO’s palette. In addition, the metallic colors are much more affordable than their chrome versions.

Such direct advertising is all very well if it is a charitable organization, but Chromebricks is a for-profit enterprise, and it would be a very odd sort of thing to do so much for them without any compensation. So the question before us: Is Nannan using his posting power at the most widely-read legos blog on the internet to get kickbacks in the form of custom blinged-out chrome legos? Are his fellow bloggers aware of such unethical patronage, but unwilling to say any thing? Or has our community's flagship blog become entirely corrupt? Is editor Andrew on the take from Brickforge and Brickarms? We here at Twee Affect would like to know, and the community deserves an explanation of the Brothers Brick's accountability practices!

So while it may seem that Twee Affect suffers from an excess of sensibility, our dear readers should be equally on guard to the dangers of an excess of sense: calculation and vulgar self-interest.


  1. If you are reading this, Big Ben Bricks, I am willing to do a review of your new XL flanged and blind drivers in exchange for a complete set of them.

  2. Great question. There are laws and disclosure guidelines for this sort of thing. They've been fairly forthcoming when it comes to review copies of books (here and less explicitly here), so they should come out and say what the case is for other items they review.

    I suspect that TBB hasn't thought this through enough to have a policy about it.

  3. I'd like to suggest a policy right now: Over at Joystiq, when they get anything for free, they generally give it away as "Joyswag" to their readers in exchange for asking a dumb answer. It illustrates the breadth of their readership while at the same time being generous toward their readership as well. That then pays for ads on the site.

    If the Bros-Brick want to accept the kick backs in exchange for not getting paid much a lick for their blogging, then they could just make that clear at the top of reviews. I usually check out reviews of LEGO sets for the photos only, so who cares how the photos were gotten (with illicit bribes, etc).

    BTW, I love the slightly ironic tinge to this whole post.

  4. Oh yeah, slight ironic tinge hmmm hmmm!

  5. I agree and I don't like it. Disclosures should be required but unless someone has released something new (making the post 'public interest') I don't think having advertorials is what I want to see on TBB.

  6. Wow...

    I understand that you guys like to take any opportunity to invoke your theme (which I honestly don't get, I see that there is plenty of sarcasm and cynicism (which I love) but I don't know the story of the whole twee thing) but once in a while I think you stretch too far.

    I understand that Nannan is not everyone's favorite guy and that he does like himself some profit from his Lego activity (Lego store employee, minifig sales on Bricklink). I also understand that you guys are not cheerleaders of TBB, but really, is their blog important enough to drag through the mud like this?

    I could see if they were raking in more money than they could spend and using that influence and power to shape the community, and it certainly is possible that they are going in that direction with all the alternative market love, but is it not possible that they are just a bunch of guys running a blog and stumbling around in the dim?

    Do you really think they are planning this stuff through for some nefarious plot?

    I think they are just some Lego fans who stumbled into something good and that sometimes they just do dumb stuff. Accepting gifts for reviews? Shady. There is no way around it. It's shady. But is it worth this kind of disrespect?

    Would not an note to some friends with a request to send emails to TBB asking for them to review their "gifting" policy? Maybe they just didn't think they needed one and now is the time for it.

    I don't know. I just think this post was a little much...a little more hate and vengeance rather than a cynical/sarcastic look into community practice.

  7. ^ There are two TBB bloggers responding here who agree with the main point and obviously aren't too offended by the post. While I do find some of what is written on Twee Affect offensive this post certainly isn't an example.

    And for what it's worth I don't take every word written here seriously. I take it in the context it is written: semi-serious but mostly dryly mocking. Although I'm not speaking for the others on that issue.

  8. I'm honored to have my photo grace the top of this excellent post. You do satire like no other LEGO blog. But I still have one burning question: who is Mr. Darcy in this simile? Alas there does not seem to be such one that can match the wit of Twee Affect. We are all poorer for it.

  9. ^ Duh! ;) Jordan Schwartz (sirnadroj) is obviously Darcy. We all know how P&P goes.

    I'm more interested in who is the looks and who is the brains of Elisabeth Bennet. 'Cause I'm struggling on that analogy.

  10. I think we should all just stop for a moment and appreciate the writing of this post. The allusions, the quips, the asides, the wordplay! I love it.

  11. I was just about to say that; I love your writing so much, Jonesy.

  12. ^^ So are you saying Jonesy is the brains?

  13. Alas I am not as versed in Austen as Jonesy, so I don't know what's what with this Elisabeth business, but I was not specifically replying to your question with my comment anyway.

  14. You may not have been responding but you answered it sufficiently. Now go read some Austen. She's rad.

  15. I'm with Tim here.

    Also, who is Wickham?