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Lately, scandals in the mommyblogosphere have been discussed through the use one of two equally inadequate rhetorical devices: 1) the passive aggressive “anonymous” accusation post; or 2) the fairy tale allegorical reveal. I’m fucking sick of both of these practices, and I think it’s time to let them die their natural deaths.
The passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation post makes you look like a not-nice weakling who is so afraid of being thought of as “not nice” that you will allow others to do your dirty work for you.
The reasoning behind the passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation post is pretty obvious: somebody wants to accuse someone of wrongdoing but is too chickenshit to do it by using actual names. This was the method used by Karen Sugarpants with Penisgate, and it lead to the obvious conclusion — a commenter came to the post and named who she was talking about (though because of the Jezebel post everyone will always think it was me who first revealed the name of the alleged junk texter, when actually it was not me, it was Casey from Moosh in Indy (a nice girl), in the comments of Sugarpants’ post. I know this because I had no idea who the alleged junk texter was until I saw that comment by Casey, as I would guess was the case with many people that day.
The reason I hate the passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation method is obvious: if you want to start a fight, start a fight. Or you know, don’t start a fight, whatever. I don’t care. But don’t post something publicly and then let somebody else do your dirty work. Doing this just makes you look like a chickenshit. No more explanation is really needed.
Fairy tales are not-true stories designed to make the unpleasantries of life more palatable to an immature audience who is not yet mature enough to accept them.
The fairy tale allegory method of starting an internet fight is a little more complicated. It is also exponentially more childish because it involves all of the passive aggressive chickenshittiness of the “anonymous” accusation post, but ups the ante by infantilizing both its author and its audience. Let’s talk about fairy tales for a moment: even if you don’t know anything about the history and derivation of fairy tales, you must surely be acquainted with the fact that they are fantastical, improbable tales we tell to children. This means that, if you want people to believe you were screwed over in a business deal, and you have couched this accusation in a fairy tale, you are sending two subliminal messages to your audience: 1) “THIS TALE IS SO IMPROBABLE, THAT IT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE TRUE,” and 2) “I THINK THAT YOU ARE CHILDREN.”
Why on earth would you choose rhetoric like this for something you want people to believe? Do you want people to immediately dismiss what you are saying? Why would you infantilize your audience? Have you stopped to consider any of this?
No, using the fairy tale is the worst because the history of fairy tales is one of reinforcing and perpetuating the patriarchal tradition in which women are weak, helpless creatures in need of rescue by the strong, heteronormative (and nearly exclusively white Anglo Saxon) male “prince” character. Fairy tales depict women incapacitated by their own femininity (Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty), and show innocents being capriciously cast out and/or marginalized by other women (Cinderella, Snow White). They encourage women to overlook glaring problems in men in order to fulfil the roles that patriarchy wants them to inhabit (Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince), and provide the literary precursor to what become the Mad Woman in the Attic in 19th century literature (Hansel & Gretel, in addition to pretty much every other fairy tale I’ve ever read).
Allow me to rant about Hollywood for a while, friends.
I’ve written elsewhere about how attending PR events are often a waste of time (for me) due to traffic and time constraints. I end up driving for like eighty five bazillion hours just to get across town, and then get there and I don’t know why I’m there anyway. This has led me to adopting a general policy of not bothering with the (very) few local events to which I’m invited, except when there is a very clear incentive for me to go.
But for some reason, I will never learn.
On Friday, I agreed to go to an event for an upcoming animated film (the title of which I am stubbornly refusing to mention by name, purely out of spite, even though you can easily guess it, and even though I am totally going to go see it because Mini is already begging to do so). I’m frustrated with the studio who put on this event (also not named, also out of spite) that I am loathe to do anything to inadvertently promote them, even if the promotion they receive here is totally insignificant in light of the amount of money they are throwing at the promotion of this film.
I agreed to make the trek because I was offered a chance to interview two bonafide movie stars (one with an Oscar, and another with an Oscar nomination), plus another celebrity about whom I know nothing, at a small blogger roundtable after the event. It would only have been me and four other bloggers there with each star, so I was planning to ask things like:
Did you and Tom Cruise really have a falling out over religion? (for Jett)
What is your response to critics who say that you have been miscast as Catwoman in the new Batman movie? Can you say “Oooh, Popeye?”
One of my readers informs me that you “melt her butter.” Do you have any tidbits to share on dating, or how you keep up your sex appeal?
And the like.
Problem is, I had overlooked the fact that Hollywood people tend to be douchebags, and that, regardless of how well planned an event is, you cannot count on anybody in that industry doing what they say they are going to do unless there are millions of dollars involved (and sometimes not even then). (And in that sense, it is not unlike blogging, except with less money and decidedly homelier luminaries.) So I shouldn’t have been surprised that the event ran late and the roundtable interviews (my only motive for attending) were cancelled in favor of a 40-person press conference where asking obnoxious questions was impossible. I should have realized they would figure out a way to maneuver things so that the blogger roundtable would get cancelled, but for some reason I took everything at face value.
And even as I write this, I feel like a douchebag, because 1) who cares?; and 2) it is not the fault of the PR company who invited me to attend the event that I’m frustrated, and I hate to blame them for something that I’m pretty certain was not their fault. Because in between me and the PR company who offered me a spot at a roundtable with movie stars are about eighty layers of pass-the-buck people who will figure out a means of baiting and switching me. Because if a movie star doesn’t want to sit down with six parenting bloggers, all they have to do is figure out a way to make the event take too long to allow for it. And that’s exactly what happened here.
It is definitely not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it does piss me off, because I think that the studio involved assumes that the bumpkin bloggers will be so charmed by having been invited to a press event, served gratis Brazillian rum drinks and empenadas, and been within spitting distance of Jamie Foxx (oops) that they will just go ahead and write about it anyway. Tell them they are getting a roundtable, but figure out way of not giving it to them, because they aren’t going to care in the end. And perhaps this is petty of me (ding ding!), but even if I’m not getting $12 million per picture, my time is worth something, too — and last I checked, a glass of cantaloupe punch was way below my quoted rate for an afternoon of work.
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ONLINE DATING CHRONICLES
Sure, I eventually met my husband, Mr. Right-Click, through online dating. But not before I had dated nearly one hundred of Los Angeles' least suitable bachelors. Laugh along in my Online Dating Chronicles.
Sometimes I like to muckrake. You can read about it here. Oh, and here too. Listen, if I don't do it, that muck will just keep piling up until we have to call a roto-rooter. So really, you should thank me. You're welcome.
You know, you slave away at blog posts day after day, you try to write fiction, you try to provide interesting social commentary, but at the end of the day, they come for the lists. Check out List Mondays to see what all the hullabaloo is about, because I sure as hell cannot explain it.
OTHER ABDPBT BLOGS
ABDPBT Personal Finance
Shining a light on the big business of poop.
Tech for mommy bloggers. Or bloggers who aren't mommies, but hang out with them. Or Dads. Whatever.
ABDPBT Commodity Fetishism
This is where I post stuff that I think is cool. Maybe you will think it's cool, too.
If you'd prefer to peruse the ABDPBT archives by month, you can check them out here:
Los Angeles is where I was born and raised. I always thought I'd leave, but for some reason I never did. Sometimes, I like it here. Other times, I'm not so sure. But good or bad, it has made me who I am.
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Sometimes I take the melodrama of my life and twist and turn it until it looks almost charming. I do this because I want you to like me:
Assburger: It's not just a disorder on the autism spectrum: it's also one of your relatives!
On Truth: Sometimes somebody will say something and it hurts your feelings. And then you will write a story about it and your aunt will call it "phenomenal." Everyone else will try to pretend like it never happened.
The Sheer And Unmitigated Power of Bob Mould: Sometimes you spend your formative years obsessed by an unrequited teenage crush, and then one day you realize that person is now an orthopedic surgeon who lives in your neighborhood. It kinda sucks when that happens.
Ben From Madera: For one Halloween, Ben dressed up like a bee, like that kid in the Blind Melon video. That's how I will always remember him.
He is my best friend, even if he uses a PC. And the fact that sometimes he will pretend to be a "Pancake Pirate" is only part of the reason. Arrrr!
His cutie-pie percentile group is off the charts.
If you think this is just about exercise, then you have underestimated how wildly inappropriate people can be when they undergo physical pain in a group setting.
Mini: The Fame
My name is Anna. I like to blog. ABDPBT is a creative effort at understanding my experience as a wife, mother, recovering academic, popular culture enthusiast, satirist, and unrepentant fake American.