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[Crazy] Eyes Back To Me

[Crazy] Eyes Back To Me

crazy eyes

It’s pretty typical that, in the weeks following a big kerfluffle in the mommyblogosphere, we will then have a backlash of a few days or weeks where everyone acts certifiably insane. Apparently the backlash to the New York Times article (which was a BIG DEAL for reasons that are still unclear to me) is going on right now. A bunch of people have dramatically quit the internet, others are publishing their hate mail on their blogs, prompting others to retaliate by publishing their own hate mail on their blogs, then the parents of bloggers are being enlisted to get into their hate mail, more people are quitting the internet, people are guest-posting on the blogs of the internet quitters to alert everyone to the fact that somebody has quit the internet, Twitter postings are continuing in the face of that internet quitting, home addresses are being published on the internet for everyone to see, and people are cheering. At least, the people who are actually commenting. The rest of us, presumably, are at home rocking back and forth in the fetal position.

Phew. That’s a whole mess of crazy to deal with at one time. I have a theory about bloggers, and you’re not going to want to hear it. But I’m going to tell you anyway. My theory is this: many bloggers, particularly those bloggers who started their blogging early, before the masses descended, pretty much have to be narcissists. Here’s why: there’s just no other reason to have started blogging back in the day, unless you are an artist or a photographer who wanted to share your work. I’m talking about a long time ago, before people even realized blogging could be a business, or before people realized it was a way to keep in touch with people. Because why on earth would somebody have thought, “Yeah, I’m going to just start saying what I think out into the ether, and see what happens?” You wouldn’t! Unless you were a narcissist.

Now I’m not saying that YOU are a narcissist, or that I am a narcissist. I’m saying that some of us must be. And when I’ve witnessed some of these stunts lately, so many of them are akin to screaming out “EYES BACK TO ME” that it’s starting to make me wonder. Maybe you are a narcissist, and you’re cool with everyone knowing it, I don’t know. But if you aren’t one, or if you are one and want to keep it on the D-L, here’s an thought: how about we all relax for a bit? How about we all take a few deep breaths and NOT DO ANYTHING for a while?

Last week somebody asked me if I had Asperger Syndrome on my blog. Did I fly off the handle? No. And before you ask — it’s not because I have Asperger’s (at least, I don’t think so). I didn’t fly off the handle because there’s not a lot of good that can come from flying off the handle on the internet. I’ve done it many times — even here on this blog — and every single time I’ve regretted it. Even those times when I was writing about something I truly believed, allowing myself to vent my anger about an internet issue ended up being a mistake. It messes with your credibility, and it almost never leads to anything positive. That’s why you don’t see me screaming “taint-face!” at people in comment sections (usually), not because I don’t think, “WOW WHAT A TAINT-FACE!” or worse, on occasion, but because I don’t want to be that person, the one who dropped the taint-face in the comment section for all to see.

Other things I don’t want to do: publish somebody’s home address on the internet, regardless of who that person is, unless they want me to do it. Because, umm, why? Why? What good is going to come out of that for anybody? And don’t tell me it’s a crazy person or it’s somebody who deserves it, because guess what? Even if that’s true, why are you poking the crazy? Step away from the crazy — that’s what sane people do. They see crazy people, and they cross the street. They don’t go looking for trouble, unless there’s a really good reason for it. (Note to self: make sure there’s a really good reason for it next time.)

Internet quitters: I know some of you might have legitimate real-world concerns that require your immediate absence from the internet. Understood. Here’s a thought: how about you just . . . go . . . next time? How about we dispense with the dramatic departures? We’ll be here when you come back, no need to worry.

About the hate mail pissing contests: listen, I understand the impulse. Getting hate mail sucks, and you want to have people reassure you that you’re not as much of an asshole as the hate mailer would have you believe. But the problem is, readers hate reading that stuff. They hate being forced to give you HUGGERZ. Even more, they hate reading 502 comments that are all HUGGERZ. And, worst of all, the publishing of the hate mail lets the hate mailer know that they got to you, and encourages them to continue, because what they want is attention, more than anything, that’s what they need even more than for you to stop exploiting your children for Disney. I know we all know this. I’m just reminding everyone for posterity’s sake.

To the new bloggers who are wishing they had hate mail to publish: don’t worry, you will. It might take you a year or two, but eventually somebody, somewhere will decide that you’re an asshole and, what’s more, that you need to be told so. Why rush things? Try to enjoy the prelapsarian blogging bliss in which you now reside. Once you get your first IP-address-stripped email, you can’t go home again.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have some lemonade to drink on my porch. So get off my lawn.

Comments (43)

  1. Mar 23, 2010

    That is the best marriage of photo and post in the history of blogging.

    Also, I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Mar 23, 2010

    This is what 2 weeks in The Void (Wyoming) gets me. I missed all the interwebs attention whore dramas!!! ::panties on head::

    Seriously, people need to just calm the flip down. The whole ‘I’m taking my Barbies and going home’ attitude is so sad.

    Nice post Anna. I totally agree.

  3. Mar 23, 2010

    Wow…I was blissfully unaware of any of this (other than the NYT article). Now I’m going to wonder all night who quit the internet…

  4. Mar 23, 2010

    I actually totally get the desire to quit the internet, or components of the internet. I take breaks from it regularly.

    And I get that at some point you have to tell people to leave you alone. Back in the days before blogs and Twitter and Facebook, I was a member of a forum and was pretty active. Long story short, I got sick of it and stopped going. Some of those people hounded the crap out of me wanting to know where I was, why I wasn’t there, etc. Eventually I had to say that I was fine and just taking a break.

    But when you *start out* by announcing it…well, except under rare circumstances, that’s not going to achieve the desired end (if the desired end is being left alone). People are just going to buzz around you even more. You’re better off pretending you have the flu or something.

  5. Mar 23, 2010

    OMG I am so mad at you!!!1! I am going to quit the internetz!!!!1!!! Don’t look at me! Look at me!!

  6. Mar 23, 2010

    You would think, with all that money, there would be something Ramona could do about the crazy eyes.

  7. Mar 23, 2010

    The great part about the internet is that it’s all still up there to see! You just have to do a kind of reconstructive virtual paper chase to get to it.

  8. Mar 23, 2010

    I get it, too! Totally. It’s the *announcing* part I don’t get. Why call attention to it? Especially if you’re just going to come back, and you’ve done it before, so you know you’re going to come back? Just float away! There’s no reason to announce it, unless your need for reassurance is enough to outweigh your own sense of shame, which is just, wha? I don’t get it.

  9. Mar 23, 2010

    Well, to be fair, I don’t think anyone has actually quit the internet. There are people who have threatened to, or said they’re quitting blogging, but they’re on Twitter, or said (or had somebody say) that they’re taking breaks, but then they’re on Twitter. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the whole story, but that’s kind of my point — if there’s a giant story to piece together, then the terrorists have already won.

  10. Mar 23, 2010

    Don’t quit the interwebs, Heather! Don’t let the HATERZ win! You’re a big cup full of teh AWESOME!!1!!

  11. Mar 23, 2010

    I just found you, but I think I love you. How have I not read you before? Consider me a new… um, stalker. For lack of a better word. Seriously, the internets do love a good pissing match, don’t they?

  12. Mar 23, 2010

    Those of us that grew up in the drug-infested 70s have a hard time understanding all the angst. Blog or don’t blog but shut the F up about it. Seriously, no one is going to bleed to death if they don’t blog for awhile. Not that I pay much attention to this sort of thing. In fact, I’m getting all my intel from you.

  13. Mar 23, 2010

    Yes, yes they do. Even when it’s over something nobody in their right mind would ever want.

  14. Mar 23, 2010

    That is pretty much guaranteed to be a bad idea, getting your intel from me. I am like the last dude trying to find weapons of mass destruction in a Bhagdad toilet factory.

  15. Mar 23, 2010

    OMG THANX RT: Anna: Don’t quit the interwebs, Heather! Don’t let the HATERZ win! You’re a big cup full of teh AWESOME!!1!!

  16. Mar 23, 2010

    Wow, you’ve got balls. You said everything I have been thinking, but didn’t want anyone to call me a taint face for saying on a blog. Besides, like most things I read it was while waiting at one of my daughter’s activities and I forgot all about until the next day when I read yet another Tweet or blog about it.

    I did get all pissy and quit Twitter. I didn’t tell anyone, but a friend called and asked what happen. Mainly, PMS out of control. I have thought about deleting my blog, but never said anything about it, because who wants to be known as giving a hairflip. And I have like 50 readers. Yes, I regret all of this, so I understand that part of it, too. Mainly, it is regretting that stupid people on the stupid Internet said something stupid and I was stupid enough to let it get to me.

    Love everything you said about the crazy.

    P.S. Got my first hate comment, does that count? I felt so warm and special and then I deleted it, because my world and I don’t need you pissing on it. Also, I felt very A-list blogger as I deleted it. Oh the power. 🙂

  17. Mar 23, 2010

    I didn’t think you could top the first comment, but yes, retweeting it definitely upped the ante. Touche.

  18. Mar 23, 2010

    See you think being called a taint-face is the worst, but really it’s not that big of a deal. Like the first time, it’s kind of a big deal. Then after that, it’s kind of galling, sure, but it kind of loses its power. And with the negative comments, I like to let them through. I think I probably have a limit somewhere, there’s got to be something I wouldn’t post, but in general I like to leave them up because they end up being funny usually. I think this is what is commonly called a “coping mechanism.”

  19. LC
    Mar 23, 2010

    Another reason not to post your hate mail is that it gives your haters a platform to be heard. There’s plenty of room on the internetz for the haters to set up their own crazy shop, I personally wouldn’t give them a space to rent on mine even if my intent was to get HUGGERZ back or just to say “wow, this is some Grade-A crazy right here”.

  20. Mar 23, 2010

    Thank you! The NYT article was no big deal at all. Patronizing fluff with a title clearly designed to ensure a million mommybloggers blogged about it and linked back? Sure. But beyond being a publicity stunt that can’t even rank the title of snarky (since that implies clever…to me anyway) it was really nothing to give a hoot about. I know that wasn’t really the point of your post, but it was a major “Amen Sister!” moment for me. Anyway, I am totally a narcissist and that is why I blog. In true narcissist vein, I love that about myself…joking, but only kind of. As many have said before blog, or not, make money, or not, but really, just get on with it and chill the eff out!

  21. Mar 23, 2010

    Yeah, that’s another downfall of the hatemail printing. Of course, if the hatemail is really good, it might be worth it to publish it. Sometimes you get things that really belong out in the world, and you’re just an instrument for their brilliance, you cannot keep it all to yourself.

  22. Mar 23, 2010

    I really didn’t see what the hubbub was about, and I empathize with the author, because it’s hard to write about this community in *any* terms without being misconstrued. And here it’s an article in the NYT, she should be thrilled, but they wouldn’t let her have it. I mean, yeah, I get that the article was not what they wanted to have said about the community, necessarily, but I think that the point got lost in all the histrionics, and also, since when do we get to ensure that all PR is exactly what we want it to be? I would guess I would have written a similar article — if not MUCH snarkier and probably cruel — had I gone to that conference. It’s unfair to ask a journalist to write something that doesn’t match what she saw.

    Oh, and GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELVES is the other part I felt like people needed to be saying about that whole thing.

  23. Mar 23, 2010

    Pfft, the early adopters really need to let it go. They act like all this negative attention is OMG SO UPSETTING!!11!!! Well, shit, ladies; I never get any hate mail, and I’ve been blogging for over five years. I’d love to get a little hate mail. It would validate me. Come on, people. I’m a narcissistic attention whore. Come tell me how much I suck!


  24. Mar 24, 2010

    Oh God, that’s hilarious!

  25. Mar 24, 2010

    I guess I get to be the one to do you the favor of a hate-filled comment. On my way.

  26. Mar 24, 2010

    No hate comments after five years? You’re clearly DOING IT WRONG. Or right. Or something.

  27. Mar 24, 2010

    I have been blogging for over 5 years and yes, I do see some Narcissistic Whore lurking in the depths of my soul. Hey! Guilty as charged.

    What is killing me is that in over 5 years of blogging, I have yet to receive hate mail and I have received less than a handful of nasty comments (so few, I remember all TWO of them.) Yet! I have a few supposed “real-life” friends who leave steaming piles of shit on my Facebook wall. The mind boggles that blogging has been gentler to me than fucking Facebook.

  28. Mar 24, 2010

    Let me ask you this: in those five years, have you:

    *initiated a boycott of a multinational corporation;
    *written sarcastically about your child’s potential diagnosis with autism;
    *become involved with a recently separated man;
    *nursed another woman’s child; or
    *mentioned the idea that there were unpaid writers at MamaPop?

    Because, if not, you should get on one of those tout de suite, and you’ll have hate mail in no time!

    Also, by the way, if Monetizing the Hate taught us nothing else, it was that the hate mail stories are grossly exaggerated by everyone, IMO. People get it, but not in the multitudes that they would have you believe, is my guess. Most of my own actually isn’t mail, it’s in comments — though I do get some actual hate mail as well, and had my site hacked once. Go me!

  29. Mar 24, 2010

    No, none of the above. I also failed to mention that my blog is a total Snore Fest, I suspect that contributes to my lack of hate mail.

    And to be fair, getting hate mail sometimes can mean the recipient is writing something actually worthy of attention. I do not read many of the blogs you mentioned and in general, I do not read an inordinate amount of the “A-listers”. However, I do read a few of them and some of them do make me think, even when I do not agree with them.

    I feel comfortable saying this, because I have told her personally, but Her Bad Mother is one of them. Sure, some of the things she writes do make me angry, but she also is a good writer and makes me think. There is value in that, in particular with some of the stupid crap out there these days. Agree or not with her, but I prefer to read someone who makes me THINK.

  30. Mar 24, 2010

    Agree, hate mail is often a sign of respect. That’s how you know you have a following. I think there are some people who manage to have a following without hate mail, but it’s very difficult.

  31. Mar 24, 2010

    I really hate the indiscriminate use of the word “hate” in the blogosphere. It brings out a real edge in me, and I want to encourage peopel to talk to some gay, black and/or disabled people about hate from the public before calling negative attention “hate.” I also wish negative attention wasn’t seen as a milestone of success to many, but it is and probably because so many bloggers (myself included) love to run down the stupid celebrities we adore. Deconstructive equals po-mo love, we sick like that. But so much negative stuff in the blogosphere isn’t even personal, it’s class bias issues exploded, evenn one reading of a thread in Poops on Peeps or of Monetize the Hate shows that. Complaining about trolls always reminds me of teenagers complaining about hickeys. Yes, we see you have an attentive someone who is all over you. Let’s cover that up with a bandana and not make me think about it, okay?

    But all that said: good GOD your feud is epic. Epic.

  32. Mar 24, 2010

    I agree: the use of “hate” is problematic because it tends to make people think that special rules apply, as they do with hate crimes, etc. For instance, it’s “OK” to publish real names and addresses because it is the name or address of a “troll” or somebody who “spews hate.” eh. Not the same as racial or sexual-orientation hate, or whatever, yet the use of “hate” suggests it does.

    Also, people fail to see that they are doing the same thing to others, by declaring what and how they should write about a community.

    Re the feud, I’m becoming a parody of myself, aren’t I? Is it like the Jacob/man in black thing, only I might be Jacob to some, and the black smoke to others?

  33. Mar 24, 2010

    Oh and resounding yes! to class struggle issues being projected onto blogger/”troll” relations. Absolutely. And when I say “class” I include education level and “refinement” for sure. I’m guilty of it myself more often than I’d like to admit.

  34. Mar 24, 2010

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entirety of this post and then devoured the comments. I was going to be quietly on my way when I got stopped in my tracks by the “Lost” reference. And now, in a total non sequitur, I must say “Wha!?” Are you suggesting Jacob and the black smoke are one on the same? Intriguing. Man I need to watch this week’s episode STAT. Anyhow, this blog is new to me and I’ve enjoyed exploring it (and reading about Tanya)!

  35. Mar 25, 2010

    Doesn’t blogging require a bit of narcissistic whoring? Otherwise, we’d still all be scribbling in journals with fountain pens then hiding them under our mattresses.

    I read the NYT article. Don’t understand the hubbub but I’m a guy. We only get worked up about sports, music and why the Hooters girls aren’t paying more attention to the dwindling amount of beer in our mugs.

  36. But Anna, if The Internets publish home addresses we can go to people’s actual houses to give IN-REAL-LIFE HUGGERZ! <3 <3 <3 IRL HUGGERZ!!!!

    Don't be a HUGGERZ hater. Gawd.

  37. Mar 25, 2010

    No, no. At least I don’t think so. They are setting them up as separate people, anyway. I meant that if you asked people in the community who was Jacob and who was the black smoke monster, you might get different answers based on who you asked.

    Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the Tanya stuff.

  38. Mar 25, 2010

    Well, it requires on the one hand the whoring, if you want to keep people reading. And it CAN involve the narcissism, yes, but I think there are varying degrees of it. I think the dramatic quitting of the internet is like saying, “THAT’S IT! WE’RE BREAKING UP!” to a room full of people, and expecting them all to get up and run after you, when really we’re all just saying either, “What?” or “Who was that?” or “Again?”

  39. Susan Tiner
    Mar 29, 2010

    I thought the Asperger’s comment was really weird. I got my first bad comment after closing my blog. It had to do with my poor taste in naming it Brain Dead Simple! Financial Organizing, because it is offensive to twist a grim medical situation into a funny geeky phrase. I wrote a thoughtful note back explaining that computer science people use “no brainer” and “brain dead” to refer to super easy solutions. The commenter wasn’t familiar with computer science.

  40. Mar 31, 2010

    Nodding. Neck cramps. I know that doesn’t say much to my physical fitness. Whatever.

  41. Apr 5, 2010



    Great post – nail, head, all that jazz.

  42. Amanda
    Dec 15, 2010

    Re: Avitable’s tweet about ‘dead horses’ I don’t agree whatsoever. Last night I was very curious who he was referring to, thanks for posting the url. I also don’t agree with him. This hardly seems specific to Redneck Mommy, though I do remember the fare the well (for now) post.

    I wonder why he brought the dead kid into it? And it hardly seemed like you were picking on her (again, specifically) at all.

    Frankly, Anna, I think they’re out to get you. 😉 I thoroughly enjoy your blog!

  43. Dec 17, 2010

    Some days I am a narcissist. Mostly I have always “blogged” because writing is like breathing and I need to do it. And I found out that when I put it out there I found out people felt the same, or had even had the same thoughts. I think, or I guess I started blogging because I was lonely.
    So maybe it “has to be narcissism”…. or maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe sometimes it began from a place of reaching out.

    Granted, I understand the type of people you’re talking about. I’d say a large portion of bloggers certainly do have narcissistic tendencies. But really, even in the world where you can see blogging as business and this and that…. It’s still about narcissism. You have to think you’re pretty dope to brand yourself and your thoughts. So I guess if it had to be narcissism then, I believe that it would still have to be narcissism now. I just don’t think in absolutes. People do things for a multitude of reasons. The bulk of it now is probably the idea of easy money.
    I like the posts you write. They make me think.

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