Metal Head Mama at the Mall (and Miscellaneous Monday Mayhem)
I’d wish everyone a happy St. Patrick’s Day, but I’m not Irish and I’m not Catholic and I definitely don’t need an excuse to drink a bunch of beer…so I don’t really give a damn. I am, however, a die-hard Muppets fan, so for all of my Irish-Catholic readers…this one’s for you.
Metal Head at the Mall
Yesterday. Blech. Sure it was sunny, but the wind was blowing in 50-mph gusts. Construction and land development firms across ‘burque (pronounced burr key) were running in fear lest their less-than-effective fugitive dust mitigation tactics attract the interest of local law enforcement. The kids couldn’t play outside. The DH was edgy. So, I did what all good (?!) suburban moms do…took them all out for lunch and a little retail therapy. And, when Eddie meets Godzilla…
Miscellaneous Monday Mayhem
I still haven’t laced the new skids, but being who I am, I didn’t get out of the mall’s brand new VANS store with just one pair of shoes. I happily put on my new navy and orange coi-designed classic slip ons and got the kids off to school. Got home, sat down at the desk to
start work catch up on my blog reading and what do I read??? This post by Wendi Aarons, which indicated that some reader/commenter had complained about Wendi ‘complaining all the time’ on her blog (uh…that’s sort of what Wendi’s blog is about you dolt!). This post reminded me of a recent post by Laurie over at Crazy Aunt Purl where she feels it necessary to respond to a bunch of idiots readers/commenters who apparently took it upon themselves to diagnose her as an alcoholic and offer advice lecture her on proper treatment. Thinking about that post reminded me of the Yarn Harlot’s February 7th post where she also felt it necessary to respond to some thoughtless (literally) comments about some socks she made.
Rant Alert! If you’re easily offended, you might want to stop reading now.
Disclaimer: None of the above-listed bloggers asked for me to defend them and all have done a delightfully entertaining and thoughtful job of defending themselves.
I’m not sure how many of these commenters have ever written anything for public consumption other than their inane comments. A blog? A magazine article? anything that you actually got paid for? Do you know anything about writing at all? Let me fill you in. (Yes, I know what rule I just broke and I did it on purpose.)
Blogs are public documents. The best bloggers with the most popular blogs know this. They choose and edit the material they post to reflect their blog’s message or style. That doesn’t mean that the content can’t be personal, it just means that it rarely reflects the entirety of the blogger’s existence. Why? Because even if your daily life is freakishly entertaining (what…now you’re Paris Hilton?) hearing nothing but unedited lists of exploits day after day makes for boring reading in short order.
So, if you think they (or I for that matter) are putting all of themselves out there in public for a bunch of semi-literate, anonymous “readers” to judge, then you are seriously fuckin’ deluded. They (and I) don’t just randomly dump whatever’s in their heads out into the blogosphere (even though we all are capable of making it seem like that is what we are doing). (Most of the time) they choose what they are going to write about and edit it until it reflects the online persona they are presenting (that ‘professional’ word rears its ugly head again). Professional writers know their blog is part of their resume. Blogging is fun, but serious blogging is work. And some of us take both our fun and our work seriously.
But, it’s your blog, do whatever you want with it. If you want to use your blog to publish every little thought that ever entered your pea-brain and all the emotional baggage that was subsequently attached to it, fine. If you expect readers (other than your mama) to care, however, well…wish in one hand and sh!t in the other and see which fills up faster.
If you want readers to actually ‘tune in’, you better write on an idea worth reading about and write well. Wendi and Purl (and The Knitting Curmudgeon, who pretty much invites commenters to air their ignorance for the entertainment it provides) are respected writers and blogging professionals not just whiners who keep an online journal. They write their blogs for their own personal reasons, but they are also fully aware that they are writing to entertain an audience. All three use humor regularly…if you don’t ‘get’ their particular forms of humor, you might want to consider not reading (or at least not commenting).
That doesn’t mean that your comments have to agree with the post. In fact, it’s fun when they don’t. But you should at least be aware of whether or not the post was meant to be taken seriously. Comments don’t have to be non-judgmental either. But, as the Harlot mentioned, they should have some thought behind them. If you’re going to say the socks are ‘fugly’, be prepared to back it up with why (bad colors? too much ’stuff’ on the cuff? what?) and try to do it with both brevity and wit.
If, on the other hand, you’re feeling compelled to make a judgmental comment on the blogger’s personal life (you drink too much, you should cut down on your carbs) or about the blogger’s personality (you need anger management classes) as ‘revealed’ in the blog ask yourself this first…”Do I know as much or more about this person than I do about a good friend?” Then, if the answer is yes, ask yourself “Would I offer this same bit of advice to my good friend in the same words? In public?” If all answers are yes, then by all means proceed. If the answer to the second question is no, then maybe you need to figure out exactly what (if anything) you would say to your friend (and in front of whom) before you post the comment.
If the answer to the first question is no, then put a little more thought into what you’re about to do. Do you really think the blog persona is an exact reflection of the author? If you answered yes, then you are a dumbass and the blogger is a great deal smarter than you are. S/he has created a highly-successful (and perhaps profitable) blog as a means of coping with (and perhaps capitalizing on) a ‘problem’. Someone this smart does not need advice from you.
Do you really think that the blogger doesn’t have any real-life friends and needs your advice? Then you are a double-dumbass. Word to the stupid…if a professional blogger wants your advice, she’ll ask for it. Otherwise, shut the fuck up unless you can offer advice without being judgmental. Another word to the stupid…if you can’t figure out how to offer the advice without being judgmental then you are not capable of clearly communicating a rational thought without adding your own emotional garbage. Shut up and let someone else who is capable do the advising.
Which brings me to the final point of this (overlong) rant. The blogs I mentioned, unlike this one, are high-readership. If you think you are the only person who has thought X about post Y you are not only stupid, you’re a narcissist. In any of these blogs, most of the ideas in the comments are redundant; what distinguishes the best comments from the noise is the quality of the writer.
Blog what you want, comment what you want, but if you’re gonna be a judge, prepare to be judged in turn. I’m prepared…are you?