Disappointment, Expectation, and The Internet

by anna on May 5, 2010

Disappointment is a weird emotion. Parents have it for their kids. Kids have it for their parents. You get disappointed when somebody fails to meet an expectation you have for them or their behavior. There’s always some kind of power differential involved. Usually it’s kind of fucked up and convoluted.

Me, I’m not big on disappointment. I know people are going to disappoint me. So I don’t expect much from them usually.

Because expectation, that’s on you. When you expect something from someone, and they aren’t that, and then you get disappointed, that’s your problem. That’s why I don’t do it.

Expectations are premeditated resentments, they say in 12-step meetings. You keep your side of the street clean, they say. Have expectations of people, and then you’re going to end up resenting them.

Internet, I don’t know what kind of expectations you have of me. I’m not even going to hazard a guess.

But I can tell you right now I’m going to fail to meet them. Some of you I’ve already failed. Some of you I’ll fail tomorrow. Some the day after that.

Look elsewhere for somebody with the answer to all of your expectations without the complications of humanity, though, because I’ve only just begun disappointing you.

{ 75 comments }

Kader May 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I had never heard that saying about premeditated resentments. It’s perfect. I probably need to work a 12-step program. I can only imagine how much more pleasant my daily existence would be with less expectation and less disappointment.

anna May 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I think anybody can benefit from a 12-step program in moderation. There are some overzealous types that you have to avoid, but there are also some gems of wisdom that you pick up. I got a lot out of it, and I should get back to meetings.

Mary P (Barnmaven) May 6, 2010 at 11:31 am

When I first started going to CODA meetings, the whole expectation thing really threw me for a loop. I still have issues with it, clearly, because my desired expectation is that everyone get along and not lose their frosting everytime some does something they don’t like. But then it turns into a chicken/egg argument, and I have to scuff my toe in the dirt, look down, and mumble to myself something about having shoulda kept my mouth shut and let people be people.

Besides my own terribly messed up personal relationships, the blogosphere was the second biggest place the CODA stuff really smacked me upside the head. For me it started with CL. I was absolutely aghast at the dynamic that started there – and not just from her. But from every end. Serious codependency and control issues. Pathologically codependent. People feeling they needed somene’s permission to say what they wanted to say. People afraid to blog. And there I went again, trying to play peacekeeper. As I find myself doing now. This stuff really brings my own codependence out in ways I do not like.

hannah May 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Well, to be fair, there’s different kinds of expectations. I can heap all kinds of expectations on my husband, reasonable or unreasonable, and yes, his failure to live up to them are going to lead to resentment.

But I also have expectations of authors- whether they be bloggers or novelists or essayists or filmmakers. And yes, they aren’t always going to meet those expectations, but when I feel they throw a curve ball I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say it. I mean, what else can you do? Stop reading/watching/listening in case not everything is in line with what you liked at first? I think personal bloggers fall in the middle, and while I’m not disappointed in you, whatever that would mean, I do think the narrative of your blog has gotten sidetracked.

anna May 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I just think people are projecting so much onto me here. What did they think I was? Not capable of making mistakes? Not capable of making emotional responses? I try to do my best in every situation. I try to be the best person I can be. This is more than most people do. I am more honest than most people. I still fuck up sometimes. I still make some missteps. The difference for me is that when I make them I admit them and take my lumps. That’s what I’m doing right now. It’s not very pretty. And it dissappoints people. That’s what life is about. I write about my life. That’s what blogging is about. Documenting your life, learning about yourself. Not about packaging the version of yourself that you think will sell the most diapers.

jonniker May 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm

This is one of the best things about you. You look as hard at yourself as you do other people. Harder, even — which means you have the right to say what you do. Yes, it’s ballsy, but it’s really not hypocritical. (I would even say you’re too hard on yourself, but you won’t believe me anyway.) And you admit when you fuck up, or when things are wrong, or when you’ve made a mistake, and you say it. It’s something I really admire. You’re not perfect, sometimes you say/do the wrong thing. Sometimes you’re flat-out wrong, but you take the shit like a (wo)man when you are. We are all horribly imperfect and prone to fucking up, big-time. But you’re more honest with yourself about that than anyone I’ve ever met.

Annie May 6, 2010 at 8:40 am

Yeah, I’m with Jonniker on this. Your honesty is what first drew me to your blog and it’s what keeps me reading. You *own* your shit — every multi-layered, contradictory bit of it — and I have real respect for that. I wish I could do it more in my own life ; I’m working on it.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Thanks, Annie.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Thanks, J. ;)

hannah May 5, 2010 at 7:06 pm

(Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing- I’m not wringing my hands saying, “Oh, no, this blog has gotten terrible!” It’s just taken a turn I didn’t expect.)

anna May 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm

You shouldn’t have expectations for where it’s going to go — it’s my life, and I don’t know where it’s going or how I’m going to act from one minute to the next. I cannot even believe I’m saying this. There are four different blogs, and they all intersect. There might be new ones added at any moment, or I might discontinue. A blog is about life. Do you know how your life’s narrative will play out? Me either.

Sara May 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I already stated that I wan’t disappointed in the lawsuit or the letter, I just found it to be douchey, which you copped to. So ok, that was basically the end of the discussion for me.

However, now I do feel disappointed in your reaction to your readers. I agree with everything you’re saying about this is your life and your experience and we shouldn’t have any expectations of you, yes, you’re correct. But you reacting to your readers who, I think, I are basically trying to say, I’m worried because I think you are more capable than this, by commenting that maybe this is a good “weeding” and we should just go elsewhere directly contradicts the advice you recently wrote to other bloggers telling them to treat their audience like gold.

You are documenting your life, yes, but you are also leaving it open for comments, and by your own standards for blogging, and blogging successfully, our comments, barring hatred or cruelty, should be treated as gold rather than being dismissed so quickly.

In this regard, I feel like that’s an expectation that you set for yourself, not that was projected upon you by your readers.

Eh, disappointed is still too harsh of a word for me. I like you and your blog and plan to keep reading even though I’m not smart enough to understand all the legal jargon. I just couldn’t help but notice that one glaring inconsistency. I’m sure you understand.

anna May 5, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Sara, that actually makes sense to me. In my head, when I was reading words like “disappointed” I was thinking this is just out of line. There’s no situation in which someone has a right to be disappointed in me, in this context, in my mind. I am not a politician or a religious leader or something, I just don’t get where people were coming from with that word choice. So when I said the weeding stuff and parting ways stuff, yeah, it’s frustration, because I was thinking, really questioning, am I the right blogger for these people? I am not sure that I can provide them with what they need. It was a result of frustration, but it wasn’t because I don’t value my readers, all of them, or want you to go.

Alison May 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I agree with Sara. And as someone who used the word “disappointed,” I used it because I thought that was a politer/nicer word than “put off” or “taken aback” or whatever. It was more of an attempt at a polite euphemism, for me… apparently a failed one! (In retrospect, it sounds like what a high school guidance counselor says to a misbehaving student, and it’s condescending.) I definitely didn’t intend to imply the sort of personal disappointment you’re talking about here, and I can see why that would really rub you the wrong way.

Katy May 7, 2010 at 6:56 am

Allison, it’s called “hyperbole”. It’s a tool that writers use. Google it.

You’re welcome.

Alison May 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

Oh, please, Katy, way to inject hostility into this when people are trying to sort of differences in perception calmly.

hannah May 6, 2010 at 5:46 am

What Sara said. Yes, this is your life, but it is the part of your life you’ve courted an audience for. (And advertisers for…) To dismiss the fact that said audience has expectations seems naive- it’s something people have struggled with as ling as I’ve been reading blogs/online journals, anyway.

I’m not saying you have to tailor your every action and post to your audience’s expectations- but that you should be aware you’ve built a certain brand (honest, coolly analytical, willing to rattle anyone) and when you veer from that, whether it’s a post that includes a letter that seems petty and emotional (which was what most of us reacted to) or, say, a post that you’ve decided to convert to Mormonism an will now be profanity free but with lots of Jell-o recipes– you may alienate some of your audience. You may gain them back, you may get a new one, I’m just saying it’s likely to happen.

(The fact that you allow an open discussion of this in your comments is a big plus in my book. The fact that this post was a “You’ve got a problem? Well, that’s your problem” instead of, perhaps, your analysis of what worked and what didn’t in this whole big brouhaha, though…. I get that you’re being pretty viciously attacked and I don’t know that I could do an honest accounting of what criticism was valid and what was not under those circumstances. But I do think a first person blogger/brand/audience analysis would be interseting someday esp if it would look at the responsibilities of the blogger- who is the one courting the audience, after all.)

hannah May 6, 2010 at 5:47 am

Ling? Long. It’s early, sorry if that was incoherent. Incoherent rambling comments are my brand, though.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:30 am

I think at some point I’d be able to do a more detached analysis. But bear in mind that either way I get hammered — if I’m too detached, I get told I have Aspergers. If I make an emotional response, then I’m no longer credible. I don’t blame people for being surprised that I reacted emotionally when they’re not used to seeing it from me, and I don’t blame them for being surprised for not getting 100% transparency when they’re used to getting it from me. But what I’m reacting to is . . . I think that people seem to have the impression that I’m either 100% super hero or (more often) 100% supervillain. I’m neither. I’m just a person, and even the person you see on this blog isn’t the whole picture, not because I try to not present the whole picture, just because, uh, it’s not. It just isn’t.

Like, I’m kind of quiet in person. Not shy. Just reserved. People who know me in real life are like, “I never knew you thought all that STUFF.” And it’s like, “Yeah, because if I told you all the stuff I think, you wouldn’t like me.” People think I’m nice. But I’m not. I am just polite in social situations. On the internet all the stuff I think in real life but don’t say comes out. So if you met me first in real life and then saw me on the internet, you’d have a totally different perception of me, and vice versa.

Similarly, if you met me as a PF blogger and then came to my personal blog, you’re going to have a jarring experience, and vice versa. It’s not because I’m being dishonest. It’s because they are different sides with different priorities. Journalists with editors don’t have to worry about shit like that. Somebody steps in and keeps them from revealing something that will conflict.

Social media is more complicated. We are all still figuring it out. Give us some room to do it. All of us, not just me. I say that knowing that I’ve given lots of people shit for this in the past and I’m saying now, I am learning where I’ve been right and where I have been wrong in my criticism of people doing just that. Some of it I was on the right track. Sometimes I was wrong. We are all still learning.

Sara May 6, 2010 at 9:02 am

1. This is so graceful.

2. I will never stop giggling about that Asperger’s comment.

Alison May 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

I mean this in the kindest way, but do people really consider you 100% super hero? That seems … deranged, about anyone. When people write stuff like “you’re amazing” or “I love your writing” or whatever, they don’t mean “you walk on water”; they’re just expressing appreciation and admiration for what you do, and there’s a difference. I wonder if you’re being too literal in your interpretation of those comments and it’s creating pressure on you. (Similarly, I think you might have been too literal re: the “disappointed” comments.)

I love your blog and think your writing is fantastic (and I will continue to read and appreciate you despite disagreeing with you on that letter), but I certainly don’t think anyone is 100% superhero. I wonder if the unnatural boundaries of the internet make it too easy to take words literally, leading to you feeling more pressure than you should.

I also want to say that I totally get reacting in the heat of the moment, especially when you’re dealing with the kind of crap storm you’ve been dealing with, and you’re bringing real grace to the discussion of it in your comments here.

Chelsea May 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Perhaps when I first started reading ABDPBT it was because I saw a link on a ClueWagon post and thought your blog was funny. But this isn’t a weekly newspaper column. It’s a blog. We have no expectation that it will remain in the same tone or “narrative” one day as it did the last. We cannot even expect it will continue on from one day to the next. Given the legal (and I can only imagine emotional) issues you’ve been dealing with recently, I think it’s impressive that you are finding the strength to blog at all, especially as graciously as you have been doing. I no longer read this blog because it is “funny”, but rather because no matter what you write, I am always interested. You do not owe us anything, but thank you for continuing to give us yourself.

anna May 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Thank you, Chelsea. So much. You have no idea.

Denora May 5, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Well, I had this great response all written in my head, and then I made the mistake (or not) of reading the comments and found everything I wanted to say had already been said by Chelsea. I haven’t been reading your blog for long, but I like it because it’s different and it makes me think. I don’t come expecting humor, but am happy to read it. I don’t come expecting info on how to make my blog better, but I get that too. I come because I expect to learn something, whether it be just a little about how you live your life, or what random item caught your eye today, or how you think mommyblogging can be improved, or just anything new to me. I’ve never been disappointed in you or your writing, or the choices you’ve made. Maybe I wouldn’t have had the courage to do or say what you have, but I respect that it’s your life to live and not mine to judge. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

Thanks, Denora. So much.

J. May 6, 2010 at 12:14 am

Well Anna, I started reading you pretty early on, and I still find what you have to say interesting. As long as I feel that way, I’ll keep reading.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:32 am

Thanks, J. You have been here an awfully long time, haven’t you?!

Kerry May 6, 2010 at 5:01 am

No one likes receiving a performance review. Especially in public.

Chelsea and Jonniker have already said everything else I think.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:48 am

That was what it was like, wasn’t it? But then, now you are confusing me, because technically speaking my readers ARE my employers, which means they do get to give me a performance review. In public. Whose team are you on, again?

Kerry May 6, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Dude. I hate performance reviews. I am perhaps the only HR professional in America who things performance reviews are stupid and useless.

I think part of the issue here is that some of the commenters here are not aware of some of the unbelievably vicious things that people are saying elsewhere on the internet about you. If I were reading just this blog and maybe Twitter and ShePosts, that would be one thing…but knowing some of the other shit that’s been flying, I would be 972 times more pissed off and defensive than you are.

People are really, really ugly and hateful, and there’s only so much one person can be expected to take.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I was/am assuming that they are aware of it, actually. But perhaps you are right.

Michelle May 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I was linked to cluewagon by a relative and came to ABDPBT through there – other than that I only read blogs of friends, so you can count me as a completely oblivious reader. Well, oblivious to what the Internet At Large thinks of you.

The Internet At Large seems very divisive. People who feel strongly one way or the other post. People who are along the more reasonable end of the spectrum stay out of the drama. So it paints a very Good/Evil picture; when, really, it’s much less polar than it’s made out to be.

Either way, as my gram says, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

hannah May 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Oh, I saw one other website where a guy’s been writing about you for a few days now. But that guy’s so clearly on a weird, deranged vendetta I didn’t think anyone was giving much credence to his rants.

Alison May 7, 2010 at 9:20 am

I’ve seen nothing. The only thing I read that mentions you is this blog.

beth aka confusedhomemaker May 6, 2010 at 6:36 am

My brain is all mush from the end of the semester & kids running around while I attempt to read anything right now, so my ability to add anything constructive to the whole discussion is pretty much nonexistent. But I do hope this all calms down Anna.

remember if it’s a rough day then *hugs* all around ;)

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:50 am

Thanks, Beth. It will.

Kate May 6, 2010 at 6:57 am

Anna, this is such a great post. I had an epiphany one day about unrealistic expectations causing so much angst, of course now I can’t remember what caused the epiphany. But here is another perfect example.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:51 am

Thanks, Kate.

Alias Mother May 6, 2010 at 7:15 am

Much of what I want to say has been said above, mostly by Sara. And I’m glad to see your comments have actually moderated my initial reaction to this post, which was strong. Because, if I remember correctly and I ain’t going back to check, very, very few people used the word “disappointed.” In fact, many of us went out of our way to clarify that we not at all disappointed, just confused. So your insistence that we must be disappointed in the face of all of us saying, “no, no, that’s not it” sounds a bit, oh I don’t know, like a petulant teenager building their own version of reality.

In other words, I think maybe you were projecting onto us.

(I vowed a month ago to stay away from Internet bile. Clearly it’s working well.)

anna May 6, 2010 at 8:55 am

This post is a reaction to that word in particular. I get being surprised or confused. I think people who have read me longer and/or who have had more email and DM convos with me know that I am anything but calm and collected on occasion, so they are less surprised if I fly off the handle on occasion. I try to be collected on my blog, though, so I can see if that’s the only text you know, or if you’ve missed previous rants, you might be surprised.

But disappointed still troubles me, it sounds like something my father would say. And let’s not go down that road. Please.

Alias Mother May 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

We are totally agreed on that. No one has the right to be disappointed in anyone about whom they know essentially nothing. I reserve disappointment for those closest to me in order to heighten its guilt-inducing power. Concentrate it, if you will.

Susan Tiner May 6, 2010 at 9:20 am

The readers aren’t your boss, they’re your customers. You’re the boss, so you have to give yourself your own performance review. It’s your choice whether to do that in public.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

That’s true. I get the metaphor mixed up kind of.

patois May 6, 2010 at 10:58 am

I do like Kerry’s point about it being a performance review. In public. Like some kind of performance art even.

Others have said it far more articulately than I can, but this is how I see it: you seem to have no fear about what you tackle. Wait, no, you likely have fear but you do it anyway. I’m not seeing you as a superhero, but that’s certainly a heroic way to live your life. In public. My only “expectation” is that I get to glimpse it.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

The thing about the hero or villain thing is that no, most people know that I’m neither, (though your description does really flatter my ego and when I’m really feeling down I’ll come back here and read it over and over again and flatter myself, naturally). But — yes — I do think there are some people that follow blogs like books or movies or whatever and we are characters which is totally fine and normal except when you try to attach too much to our actions because we will disappoint you. That’s all I’m saying. A character in a traditional text has one fatal flaw, and that flaw is worked into the narrative, often with a happy ending. I’ve got a ton of flaws and there’s no guarantee there’s going to be a happy ending for me, much less for you. And if you’re following me like a character, this can cause problems.

Do I think most people know the difference? Yes! Do I still think some people get over invested? Maybe. Less so with me than with people like Dooce. But I’ve started seeing some things that make me think it might happen to me, too — admittedly more on the villain side, but still there. Just something to talk about nothing to be like, “Oh get over yourself, Anna.” I’m just saying.

Mr. Right-Click May 6, 2010 at 10:59 am

Honey, the only time I am disappointed in you is when I fall asleep at night, laying on my left side staring at you, and then drift off to sleep and you don’t come to me in my dreams. But really that’s not your fault so even then the disappointment is in me. Most nights,though, I do dream of you and us together. Then I wake, alas, to find my sweet wife next to me confirming that no, it was not all just a dream, but in fact sweet reality.

Sure, Mini is standing there next to the bed, the cause of my waking. I see it’s 5:50. I see he’s wearing (comfortably) pj’s soaked in urine. I see he is shaking his Lightning McQueen empty milk sippy cup demanding an immediate refill. And then, again, I look over to you and know everything is going to be alright.

I roll out of bed and creak upright knowing what a good, well intentioned person you are, knowing what a good mother you are, and that’s a sweet anodyne. You are smart, beautiful, witty and loving. What more can a man ask for? You are a terrific mother and Mini loves you so much. When he and I are alone at night, talking about this and that with only the little red rocket ship night light wedged between our pillows, he tells me many things as his eyes grow heavy and sleep slowly comes. But always, every night, he talks about Mommy and the fun he has with you and what you two did together that day.

Sweatheart, you are on the right track. You are doing the right things. Your blog is amazing and fantastic. The writing is top shelf, the design exquisite. And, yes, the journalism is cutting edge. People don’t react to boring or insignificant. You proved there are tiers and you paid multiple prices. I know the internet world can be absorbing and it truly is an alternate reality. Perceptions and projections and prejudices and expectations are unique in this realm. Just keep staying true and honest to yourself. Keep writing about those things that interest you and that you think are important. You are the best, Anna, and I love you so much more today than yesterday and the day before. My life with you is far better than the dreams I have of you and that (if you only knew–don’t ever tell anyone your dreams, right!?) is saying a lot.
Love on a Thursday morning,
–MRC

Annie May 6, 2010 at 11:01 am

And there you have it.

Mary P (Barnmaven) May 6, 2010 at 11:36 am

Anna, your husband just made me tear up. That has to be one of the most loving, sweetest things I’ve ever read.

Now go hold hands with the rest of the internet and sing Kumbaya for me, wouldja? My codependency demands it.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Thanks, honey.

Though, with that thing we talked about. I still maintain that if we’re in the same situation, you have to leave me in the sinking submarine and go back for Mini.

danish May 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

Ok, the note from Mr, RIght Click just did me in! Aw!!

I have been reading your blog for several months now but have never commented. I don’t have a blog nor a Twitter account, but I have been reading a TON of blogs for years and keep up with everyone’s Twitter streams too.

This whole thing has been FASCINATING to me. Your posts, people’s reactions to you, your reactions to them…. I am spending way too much time thinking about it all. I cannot imagine what the last week has been like for you.

I just wanted to tell you I’m a fan. I am so impressed at your tenacity and keeping up the fight.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Hi Danish, thanks for commenting. It means a lot that you delurked now to let me know this, really. Thanks.

Ginger May 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

And Mr. Right-Click steals the show.

I guess because I’ve been reading you so long I don’t have this expectation that you’re a totally cool and detached persona. You’re a blogger, with opinions, and yes you approach a lot of things analytically, you’re still human. I may not agree with all your thoughts, posts, reactions, but that’s to be expected (and frankly, I think it would be a little creepy if someone ALWAYS agreed with someone. That’s just not thinking for yourself).

Actually, I think the only expectations I’ve come to have are 1)that you’ll post 2)more often than not, those posts will be interesting/funny/thought-provoking/informative/witty 3)that I’m always interested to see where you’re taking your blog. It’s very different in some ways now than when I first started reading you, but this isn’t any more or less Anna than that was. It’s just..now, and that was then.

anna May 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Thanks, Ginger. I agree, it would be creepy if people always agreed with me, on every single thing and in exact ways. I see that happening on some blogs in the comments and it makes me wonder if people are even reading the posts anymore. I mean, yes, sometimes people read a post and it just hits them the right way, but every single time? Seems unlikely. But maybe it’s just that they have so many readers that every time there’s a ton of readers who feel strongly, I guess.

Mary P (Barnmaven) May 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Personally, I don’t usually leave comments if I find something disagreeable in a post. It has to hit me pretty strongly between the eyes for me to leave a negative comment. Otherwise, I just shrug and walk away. Not everyone has the need to debate, KWIM?

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Yeah, but you might leave a comment that sort of says, “I liked this, but it made me think of XYZ that was different,” so you’re not really disagreeing, but you’re sort of adding to the conversation. I’m more talking about about the pages and pages of comments that are like:

YOU ROCK, XYZ!

AWESOME!

SOOOO TRUE!

Those comments kind of annoy me. Just my own weird thing, I guess.

Mary P May 7, 2010 at 6:16 am

I’m not a big fan of the YOU ROCK comments either. They seem so trivial and mindless as to be nonexistent. If a person can’t find a few words to show, reflectively, that they actually read a word you wrote, why comment at all?

Pauline May 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I’ve been reading and silently cheering you on for having the courage to speak up. Not everyone is going to agree with you. You might be completely wrong. You might be right. I don’t know.

One thing I do know for certain is that you are courageous. A quality so missing from many people. It’s something I wish for my children to have. I hope that they can create a intelligent conversation based on something they believe.

I’m glad you wrote this today. Because I too was “taken back” by the lawyer’s letter. As you know, I came to you – you were the only person I approached – when someone had directly threatened me about suing me over what I had written. You advised me not too. I wanted to prove that my blog post had merit and blog about the person’s character. I’m gad I listened to you. Because in the end, I know that I did nothing wrong. I didn’t need to prove it.

But this is on a much greater scale. Anyways, just wanted to make sure that someone today told you “Thank You.” Right or wrong… it takes a special person to stand up to what they believe.

anna May 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Thanks, Pauline. I’m flattered.

LC May 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Wonderfully said. I was surprised at the tone of your lawyer’s letter but I applaud your transparency and courage throughout this whole situation. I hope your days improve in the wake of all of this.

anna May 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Thanks, LC. I will be fine. I’ve already weathered much bigger storms than the BlogHer Blizzard of 2010, even on the internet, despite what people may think.

Accidents May 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I can’t presume to find one analytical position that fits all the permutations of this business, but: It seems to me that people aren’t disappointed in you, Anna, they are disappointed in your failure to perform for their generic pleasure. “You” are a character in a narrative they have preconceived expectations for. But they don’t realize they are conflating the two, so in they *think* they are disappointed in you, real person.

The narrative is supposed to be you, perfect underdog, vs. big creepy corporation. If you show yourself to be fallible in that narrative, if you don’t always appear to be on the high road OR the perfect victim, well, then you have failed. And they generalize the you from that narrative they are expecting to you, Anna, real person going through this crazy situation.

Are you completely off the hook for sensationalizing, or for the strong-arming letter? Not necessarily. But it seems judgment of you so far has been pretty unfair (though judgment itself wouldn’t necessarily be so, as you encourage critique here of all many or persons and actions in the blogosphere). It’s unfair because people have that expectation that you will appear one way and BlogHer another. And that you will stick to THEIR script. The thing is, BlogHer doesn’t perfectly fit their role in this either–they’ve clearly done something sneaky and arguably unethical in terms of transparency, and taken advantage of you, others. I don’t really think anyone can dispute wrongful termination, based on the facts. There are of course other things that fall in grayer areas. But do they conform to the role of the uber-villain, no.

So then it’s rather unfair, I think, to ask you to behave always as victim to that villain, rather than to stand up for yourself in ways that make others uncomfortable.

I’ll cop to being made uncomfortable by some things in the letter you rightly published for us to see–but I understand this as, hey, when people get into debates, it can be uncomfortable! That’s how it works! People are complicated! Situations are complicated!

And like you worried from the beginning, the focus has turned to a side-show that is clouding the real issues here, re: if there is something going on with tiers and if so, what is BlogHer’s responsibility?

In any case, I hope you hang on, and continue to be who you are, as far as you can in this place, where you represent yourself (I feel) with honesty and integrity (even if that honesty runs counter to expectations of your “character”).

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm

This is excellent analysis. Are you in academia by any chance? I like the part about me not ending up being the perfect victim . . . because that’s exactly it. I cast myself in that role by my own post, so I have to own that, I set myself up, but that’s the thing, when everyone found out I had a lawyer it was like, “Now. Wait a minute.” David does not have a lawyer. Only Goliath has a lawyer. REFUND.

Kerry May 7, 2010 at 5:45 am

If David had been a Californian he totally would have had a lawyer.

(Hi, my name is Kerry, and I’m an ex-Californian. It’s been 43 days since my last snide remark about California…)

anna May 7, 2010 at 6:27 am

A lawyer, a therapist, a colorist, a manicurist, a personal trainer, a spiritual health consultant . . . what am I forgetting?

Snarkoleptic May 6, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Your posts and the ensuing kerfuffle remind me of why I decided I no longer had the stomach for blogging. I have to give you major props for not running away, not password protecting, and not trying to rally your minions to fight the battle. Actually I think you fight the battle pretty well all on your own. I’m sober too – has it crossed your mind how much more drama and nastiness would have gone down if you were sucking down vodka in that Lightning McQueen sippy cup? (I don’t know what your drink of choice was). When the shit hits the fan in my life, I always remember that that it actually could feel worse if I was still drinking. I’m in agreement that your lawyer’s letter was douchey, but I have to give you credit for posting it here. That took guts. Or balls. Stay strong!

anna May 7, 2010 at 6:30 am

My drink of choice was usually six Sierra Nevadas and then whatever was cheapest after that. If I drank hard alcohol, then yeah, vodka, because it was easiest to hide the taste, was never a fan of the taste of alcohol. But yeah, I would drink to escape feeling stuff like that and wake up to a mess far bigger than I would have had, if I had just faced it in the first place. Maybe that’s why I just face it now? Never actually thought about it that way. Thanks.

Heather May 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I hope that this “disappointment” thing doesn’t stem from what I said, because I believe I was the first one to use the word in the comments section of that post. I was/am not disappointed that Anna somehow failed to play the superhero (supervictim? I don’t know anymore?) role I’d assigned her in my personal internet soap opera. Or that she didn’t ask our permission (!) before hiring an attorney.

My main point was this, and then as – I think it was Susan – rightfully said yesterday, I will stop beating a dead horse:

I used the word disappointment to express how I felt seeing what I feel was a kind of crazed, juvenile email to BlogHer that would perhaps undermine the credibility of the evidence Anna had worked so hard to uncover.

And I used the word to describe my feeling that she hadn’t been straight with us regarding the letter. I fully expected her to sue for breach of contract and wasn’t surprised to learn she had. I admit I was surprised that she kept it from us (particularly once I saw the letter) ONLY because she publicly chastising her supporters on Twitter for not publicly voicing their support, and leaving her to weather BlogHer’s persecution alone when we’d asked her to take this on. I would have liked to have known all of what I was being asked to support/defend. And when I saw it (the email) I felt a bit confused and – yeah – disappointed. At where this had gone (off the rails, in my opinion) but not at the fall of the great mythic hero I’d built up in Anna. Personally, I find that a little disturbing.

I expect truthfulness from a person who wants my public support in forcing an organization to be truthful. If that’s an unfair expectation, so be it. I realize she has copped to mistakes in handling this, and it’s admirable that she’s a big enough person to do that. But I wanted to clear this up (my part in it, anyway) before we move on.

Kerry May 7, 2010 at 5:50 am

I am not psychic, but I interpreted the tweets about people not supporting her that one day to apply to the people who had expressly asked her to investigate what BlogHer was doing. It sucks for people to ask you to do something very risky, and then run away (or even trash you) when you actually do very risky the thing they asked you to do.

So I didn’t feel like the tweet about lack of support applied to me, because I wasn’t one of the people who did that. I’m not sure if you were or weren’t one of them, but if not, I don’t think that was meant for you.

Heather May 7, 2010 at 7:11 am

Kerry, looking back on it probably wasn’t. I felt bad because I was the one who brought the initial post about PW to her attention, which started the questions way back at the beginning of this drama.

And I agree 100%; it is complete bullshit that these people abandoned her.

anna May 7, 2010 at 7:27 am

Heather, that tweet wasn’t directed at you, and I never meant that people needed to support me in my termination of contract claim. Nobody knew about it at that point, but even if they had, I wanted to keep the two matters separate, which is why I didn’t mention it. I didn’t want it to turn into a circus, and now it has. There were many people who asked me to look into the BlogHer situation. Most of them do not know about each other. Most of them have not publicly spoken about it. On Friday, when I said the thing about the BlogHer attorney’s letter, I did it, I think, because I was upset that I was fielding this on my own. It was immature. I did it because I wasn’t thinking and I had been fielding it on my own for over a week and it was stupid.

I wanted to keep the whole thing separate because I knew once people knew that attorneys were involved that nobody would ever pay attention to the important part again. Of course, nobody paid attention to it at all without the lawyers. But this is hardly better.

Katy May 7, 2010 at 7:03 am

I think you like to stir the pot… I don’t think that is a bad thing. Veiled threats of lawsuits on the internet are uber lame, so getting your second cousin, twice removed to send a legal threat is pretty douchey…… But I love that you owned up to it.

But, if you are going to stir that pot, be prepared for it to boil over.

I happen to think you are the kind of asshole that, myself, being a major asshole, can jive with. Also, fuck the unicorn humpers and their butthurt. Satire isn’t all too subtle and if they want to get their panties in a bunch about it, laugh and let them…. So they won’t let you into the Special People’s Club…… Who wants to be a part of that anyway?

Party on, Anna.

anna May 7, 2010 at 7:30 am

It wasn’t a veiled threat of a lawsuit. It was a threat of a lawsuit. But otherwise, thanks.

Katy May 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

I know.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Maybe not, but, eh. Body guard? Do you think? I’m not sure.

anna May 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm

That’s a good way of looking at things. Usually I try to adhere to it. I had bastards coming at me from a few too many different directions for a few days there, though.

Comments on this entry are closed.