From the category archives:

blogging

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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?

But let’s look a little more deeply into this problem of using the fairy tale to get your point accross. Because it’s not just that fairy tales are not-true stories, and it’s not just that they are intended for children (though that should have certainly been enough to keep “Sarah” from telling her tale of PR woe in the form of a fairy tale, or Karla from venting her Blissdom partnership woes in the form of a fairy tale).

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).

What a tradition with which to align oneself!

Have I made my point? Can we give it a rest?

Honest To Fuck, Internet

by anna on November 1, 2010

I don’t know what I’m going to do with you this time.

Here’s the deal, for people who maybe saw me ranting a bit today on Twitter and couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. There was this thing where some once-powerful daddyblogger whose url ends in xxxgonemad.com was allegedly sending Favre-inspired texts and/or DMs to several mommybloggers (and to clarify, when I say Favre-inspired, I do not mean that he sends texts threatening to retire, but then doesn’t retire, and comes back to blogging, and then says he’s going to retire, and then comes back to blogging again). I don’t know what happened REALLY, I just know what a post written by Karen Sugarpants alleges happened. You can read her post here and decide for yourself.

Come to find out that it’s not just one person who has allegedly been receiving said texts or allegedly getting unwanted attention of a sexual nature from this formerly powerful daddyblogger, but in fact it’s many many mommybloggers, or mommyblogger hangers-on, many of whom seem to know about each other, and some of whom indeed seem to have communicated with one another about this behavior after the fact. I’m sitting here trying to envision how this would go down, and I think it must be a little something like this:

Mommyblogger 1: You know what is totally fucked up? Creepy dude just sent me a picture of his junk by text! OMGWTFBBQ1!
Mommyblogger 2: You know what is even more fucked up than that is that I got a picture of his junk too! OMGWTFBBQ1!
Mommyblogger 1: You too? OMG! What the hell?
Mommyblogger 2: Yeah, and also like 24 other people! Many of whom are talking to each other about it. Now, after the fact!
Mommyblogger 1: What should we do?
Mommyblogger 2: Well, I don’t see how we can do anything. The risks are clearly too high here.
Mommyblogger 1: Yes, because if we said anything to anyone, I mean, other than each other, we would —
Mommyblogger 2: We would suffer awful consequences, clearly. Awful consequences that dare not speak their name.

STOP.

YOU DO NOT start lecturing me about victims of rape and sexual crimes and shame and the fear of coming forward. Setting aside the disturbing fact that some people are comparing receiving junk texts via DM on Twitter to real, literal, bodily rape for a moment, let’s just focus on the fact that people who are capable of communicating with one another about this cannot possibly be undergoing the kind of shame and self-blame that keeps rape victims from coming forward. Is this dude a dirtbag, assuming this stuff is true? Of course. It goes without saying. But that’s not the whole story.

YOU DO NOT call somebody a hero for posting a passive aggressive post that reveals but doesn’t reveal, but does, but doesn’t reveal alleged criminal behavior about which many, many people have known for a long time and could have done something to protect other people but chose not to because they were selfish and wanted to do something for their own gain.

YOU DO NOT applaud a woman for staying silent, after all that we have worked for — NO, what our mothers and grandmothers have worked for, to get us this far.

YOU DO NOT take cover in the language of feminism that was developed to protect rape victims from patriarchal institutions that are historically designed to silence them, and turn it against another woman who is asking you WHY ON EARTH you would choose NOT TO USE YOUR VOICE against somebody who victimized you.

YOU DO NOT use your privilege of speech only when it is convenient to you, or when it makes you feel good, or when there is a clear reward at the end of the tunnel. You use it because you have to, because it’s the right thing to do and because you HAVE to. You use it because you have an obligation to the rest of us to use it.

Asking that people take personal responsibility to protect others from being victimized is not “blaming the victim,” and you know it. YOU KNOW BETTER. Suggesting otherwise is insulting to the women who have been physically assaulted by men they have worked for, who have spoken up and lost their jobs, and not been able to feed their children, and not been able to get back to where they were in their careers even 10 or 20 years after the fact. That is harassment. That is a high risk situation, THOSE are consequences.

Heroes. What a fucking joke.

Seriously, Facebook, MYOFuckingB

by anna on August 26, 2010

Guess what, Facebook: when I want people to know it’s my birthday, I will post pictures of myself as a toddler a few days beforehand on my blog — you know, the one that is read by like a thousand people, most of whom don’t know me in real life, mmkay?

The reason I do it that way is because I don’t need everybody in the world who actually has my telephone number calling me on the telephone to wish me a happy birthday. I would rather not have to field phone calls all morning from people who would have otherwise forgotten that it’s my birthday because we are not really that great of friends.

What gives, Facebook?! I’ve seen your creator. He’s a bigger dweeb than I am. I cannot imagine he wants people who aren’t really his close friends calling him all day on his birthday. Wait.

I’m not a Facebook kind of person. You never convinced me to figure out your idiotic overly complicated interface that doesn’t make sense to people with less than ten minutes of time to kill trying to figure it out. And besides, you know as well as I do that I can’t sign off on yet another media that popularizes the institutionalization of Friends Who Aren’t Really Your Friends. I was already in a sorority and now I’m a mommyblogger — throwing in Facebook Friends in earnest is just too damn much to ask of my already overtaxed bullshit fake nice resources.

Let’s just say there’s a reason you’re the PC of social media outlets. Look, Evan Williams is not going to beat Samuel L. Jackson in a cool-off any time soon, but line him up next to Mark Zuckerberg and I think you’ll catch my drift.

Sure, just like with Apple, Twitter sometimes gets shoved a little too far up its own ass with the “who to follow aka people you’d be following already if you didn’t despise them” and “power users aka people you already know and hate,” but at least they are straightforward with their nomenclature — they don’t fuck around, they just straight up call them followers and we all bought it hook line and sinker. You know why? Because that’s what we ARE!

So cool it with privacy violations, the stupid mafia and farm games, the annoying interfaces, the I’m-not-allowed-to-block-you-Mark-Zuckerberg-haha-so-cute-because-he’s-the-CEO-get-it-haha-not-cute-dorkoff-CEOs-are-not-ever-cute-they-are-either-dorky-or-scary-and-you’re-starting-to-get-scary, and all that jazz. Maybe you’re too young to get it, I don’t know? But at some point you’re going to wake up, dude, and you’re going to think, what the hell was I thinking?

At least I hope so.

Now get off my lawn.