August 14, 2005


I'm having this problem lately, where someone will write something I want to object to, but they'll write it on a so-called personal blog. where I know if I object to it, I'm just going to get a bunch of their fans whining "Oh my God, how could you? You are such a troll! Where do you get off criticizing Saint Personal Blogger, I mean do you have any idea what she's been through?"

I've thought about this a lot and this is what I've decided:

I don't mind if someone mixes the personal and the political. If you ask me that's normal. I don't equate the personal with the political, but I think expecting someone to choose one route or the other and stick to it is just dumb, and really says more about your expectations as a reader, and perhaps your inability to switch mental gears, than it does about the weblogger.

But this is what I'm not down with: This thing where someone switches tacks into the political and the minute he or she encounters any disagreement at all, squeaks, "I'VE GOT TROLLS! HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? I THOUGHT WE HAD SUCH A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY!"

And maybe you do have a supportive community with respect to the personal stuff. Good for you! Everyone likes a supportive community.

But if you get into the analytical, I expect you to bring some, uh, analysis into it. That is, thinking. I'm going to laugh if your idea of expressing your political stance is sentence after sentence beginning "I just feel that . . . ." I just feel an acute pain in my posterior when you run amok just feeling everything instead of using the brain God gave you for half a minute, okay?

I say all this because lately it seems every third site I visit is drowning in feelings, and I don't mind that so much as I mind the part where all this drowning in feelings is leading the writers to try to argue shit based on, yes, their feelings. Maybe it's just my view, but argument seems to be more effective when engaged in as dispassionately as possible. Or maybe that's not even what I mean--as I think I've mentioned numerous times before, Andrea Harris is one of my perennial favorites, yet I wouldn't say she writes dispassionately most of the time.

I think what I mean is that strong feeling needs to infuse the thought, yes, but damnit, there must be thought. A lot of folks I'm reading lately seem to be skipping the "thought" part and just suffering emotional incontinence in HTML. Which is fine, if you're talking about personal, subjective stuff, but it just loses me when you cross into more conceptual material.

And yeah I know I know "maybe you should read other weblogs." No kidding. I think everyone could stand to branch out more, but me especially.

I don't know. Maybe it's the heat? Everyone hates the hell out of this time of year.

YOU PEOPLE ARE EVEN WORSE THAN I AM: Let's just clear this up right now: It is not Helen. It is not Margi (I love that you blog about your pregnancy, Margi! Sheesh!). It is not Carol! It is none of y'all. I can't decide whether to sign you all up for confidence-building exercises or to berate myself because apparently, my reputation as something of a vicious bitch is so cemented that many of you fear I would actually dis a site I have linked.

For future reference, everybody: If you're linked, you're cool, and I have nothing bad to say aboutcha. I read vastly more blogs than I actually provide links to and it's these other blogs, many of them very fine sites, don't get me wrong, that nonetheless sometimes give me dyspepsia.

Again, it's not because I disagree with something I read. It's not the ideas, not the concepts--it's the delivery.

And, it's this foolish, foolish notion that somehow a weblog is a "safe space" where everyone nods in agreement and supports you. A weblog is a lotta things, but it's not a safe space unless you make it one--which, incidentally, I am all for. If people want to lock down or password-protect their blogs, by gum that's their perfect right and hear hear, etc. If they want to implement a crush-all-dissent comments policy, go them--that's what Andrea's got and I love it.

I believe site owners need to do whatever it takes to guard themselves. It's the only logical conclusion: Ultimately if you, the site owner, aren't happy, then what on earth was the point of your having a web site to begin with?

I get irked, though, when people make public their varied opinions and then CRY when a few readers come along and go, "Wow, that's dumb." I'm not even talking anything that mean--I've seen blogs where if you even timidly suggest that there might be another way to look at something, it's up in flames you go. But don't cry when people call you dumb; ban the assholes! Insult them! Gang up on them! Make them wail for Mama! Send me over to them! Come on, you know I've got those anger management issues; I can always use another outlet for my rage.

I don't care what you do, but do something besides . . . the crying thing. The putting on the victim hat, it annoys me. There are, of course, always extreme cases: If Carol had wanted to shed a tear or two in public about "Calli," I think we'd all have understood. Notice, however, that she didn't do anything of the kind. Carol's got more gumption than that.

I think Jim Treacher was going off once on Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance, about how while it sure was fun to see Stewart call Tucker Carlson a dick on the air (and it was, it was), on the other hand it was kind of dirty pool of Stewart to simultaneously (1) demand that his opinions be taken seriously because of the serious subject matter, yet (2) deny that his opinions could ever matter to anyone else or have any influence on public discourse whatsoever because gosh, he's just a comedian for crying out loud! "Clown nose on, clown nose off" I think Jim called it.

That's sort of what I see some personal bloggers do. "Personal blog on, personal blog off" you could call it. When they're making their highly emotional cases, you're supposed to take it seriously because of the serious subject matter; but if you do treat it seriously and you happen to disagree with them, all of a sudden it's "Cor, why pick on me guv, I'm just an 'umble ol' personal blogger 'ere." As the Church Lady used to say, how convenient.

Of course, that's just how I feel about all this stuff. Big deal, huh? Now repeat after me:

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Especially me. I like you all bunches and bunches. So relax.

Posted by Ilyka at August 14, 2005 02:11 AM in i don't know you tell me | TrackBack

I'm more of a lurker now than I used to be mainly because of everything you say here. Lately, I don't have the time or the inclination for pissing matches with the "those who can dish it out" crowd. Unfortunately, most discourse these days is somehow always intensely personal, regardless of topic, and I salute those who care to wade in. As someone who swims against the tide more often than not, I leave most of my "feelings" in the voting booth. If you want to argue with me, it will have to be about sports, cooking, or something else. You know that the secret to boiling crawfish is to return the water to a boil, boil for five minutes, and then soak for 20-25 minutes. If someone tells you otherwise, they are an amateur and don't know what they're talking about.

Posted by: Rob at August 14, 2005 07:02 AM

I don't have the time or the inclination for pissing matches with the "those who can dish it out" crowd

Yes! It's not just me then. Thank heavens.

Like I was reading some guy who was intensely, violently angry because someone in the NYT had written an editorial calling for drug legalization. And as far as this blogger was concerned that was just WRONG! and BAD! and IF YOU COULD LOOK INTO THE EYES OF FRIENDS HE HAD LOST TO DRUG ABUSE OVER THE YEARS, YOU WOULD NEVER EVER SAY THAT!!!

Because of your FEELINGS, of course.

I mean, I wanted to argue with him, but he'd just come over and drip feelings all over everything and shit, this place is mess enough as it is.

Or this lady who's going on the must-not-read list because I just get upset every time I read her anymore. She's 100% behind assisted reproductive technology, in vitro, etc. If it accomplishes something she's after, technology = good. On the other hand, she believes most hospitals present a hostile environment to prospective mothers. Those patriarchal hospitals and those corporate-sucking medicos, see, they just won't allow a mother-to-be to "own" her "birth experience" with "dignity." What the fuck is dignified about pushing another human being out of your vagina? WHERE'S THE DIGNITY?

But, again: I would just end up knocked flat and sucked under by a tidal wave of feelings. So fuck it.

Posted by: ilyka at August 14, 2005 07:12 AM

I don't go to political sites, because politics is something that should be discussed over a bottle of whiskey in the kitchen. It's a face to face thing. The sites that do battle them make me tired.

That said, I did worry you were talking about me with regards to the too many feelings, mostly because I am one big emotional black hole and I am also terribly paranoid. And in your examples, I thought-oh God. I'm doing IVF. She is talking about me. But then I realized that I love hospitals (especially that rubbing alcohol scent, Ralph Lauren take note and please make a cologne of it, m'kay?) and I thought: maybe not.

And I know-it's so not all about me.

Posted by: Helen at August 14, 2005 07:49 AM

...and that's EXACTLY the same way I feel about it too!

...sorry, just couldn't resist. Late. Must. Get. Some. Sleep.

Posted by: brandon davis at August 14, 2005 09:08 AM

Helen I thought she was talking about me too because I have recently taken my blog in more of a "feeling" direction; more faith based instead of poitical. Because quite frankly I know my political "writnig" or whatever is not anywhere close to some of these ladies in the Cotillion. LOL OH well.

Damn leftist bastards with all that feel good politically correct, love not war crap. That's who I blame.

Posted by: Housewife at August 14, 2005 03:24 PM

Are you trying to make me cry?

Posted by: Hubris at August 14, 2005 09:55 PM

Great post! As one who mixes personal and political, PLEASE, come share your opinions. I promise not to call you a troll. Life would be so damn boring if everyone agreed with everything that I said!

I came searching an email addy to remind you to send your Cotillion link. I'm still gonna look for the email addy. But if I don't hear back from you, than I think I've found my post, lol.

Posted by: Tammy at August 14, 2005 11:35 PM

What the fuck is dignified about pushing another human being out of your vagina? WHERE'S THE DIGNITY?

There is nothing dignified about it. No way. No how. And, frankly, the maternity ward should post a warning on the entrance: "Through These Doors Pass Women Who Will Lose Their Shit in the Most Inexplicable Ways."

Dignity, schmignity.

But of course, that's how I feel about the subject.


Posted by: Margi at August 15, 2005 01:37 AM

I should probably also mention that I tried (I really did) to keep my pregnancy out of my blog.

I found that it was impossible for me to talk about much else.

I know that squicks some people out but I just couldn't help it. Still can't.


Posted by: Margi at August 15, 2005 01:40 AM

Well, as you know, I have no trolls. That's because I moderate comments and I delete all theirs! Feel my power! Bwahahahaahaaaa! Bwahahaha! Bwahaha! Bwaha! Ha. Hahaha.


Anyway, I sometimes worry that the trolls who worked themselves up into a lather to leave the omghowcouldyoubemeantoCindy Bushisevil diediedietroopsinIraq Abu Ghraib bababababa comments with the ten thousand links and all sit their waiting, refreshing my blog page over and over and over, waiting for their comment to appear, and when it doesn't, do they have nervous breakdowns or whatever it is spineless jelly people do? Then I feel the teensiest bit guilty about deleting their comment.

Oh I'm lying -- no I don't. :)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 15, 2005 05:07 AM

Oh I'm lying -- no I don't. :)

I know you don't and that's why all your regulars gots the mad love for yo spinster azz. MAD love.

Posted by: ilyka at August 15, 2005 05:32 AM

I was going to say something, but realize I'm way too sleepy for it to make any sense, so now I'm not. But tomorrow is a different story. I will just say that this is the kind of post I love you for. You post things I never have the nerve to :)

Now I'm going to bed.

Posted by: Ith at August 15, 2005 07:12 AM

Hi, name's Helen?

I'm here for the confidence building class? I think?

There are free cheesy donuts for the class, right?

*fidgets by the door*

Posted by: Helen at August 15, 2005 10:36 AM

I need the confidence building class too. Sometimes I wonder if I'd be a better blogger if I was totally anon, so that no one I actually know knows I blog. But then, eventually, I'd get fond of different readers/bloggers, and then I'd be self censoring all over again. I guess I've always worried too much about hurting people's feelings. I blame fourth grade :)

Posted by: Ith at August 16, 2005 12:55 AM

Having foolishly stepped into one of these places just recently, and had my online persona sent around the whirly blender a couple of times, all I can say is "I love you", and "why has it taken me this long to add Ilyka Damen to my blogroll?"

Posted by: Desert Cat at August 16, 2005 05:54 AM

Hey. I knew you weren't talking about me. Cuz I love doctors. And their wonderful prescription pads.

Besides: I figure I'm nearly a goddamned marvel of modern medical science and if I have to suffer through pregnancy and its attendant aches, pains, and general bat-shittedness -- I can share it with a few hundred of my closest friends (and a few strangers who unwittingly Google in).

But yeah. I am pretty much in need of that class, too. I still supress the desire to try and make everyone like me. It's soooo revolting.

Especially when I wear the big red clown shoes.

Posted by: Margi at August 16, 2005 08:03 AM

I sense a market here that's screaming to be addressed.

a) Moonbats feel compelled to generate lengthy coma inducing screeds. Obviously doing so take a lot of time and energy. So, I've decided to engage in a new programming project - which I'll call the Screed-O-Matic™ Give it a few keywords and it will auto-generate several pages suitable diatribe ready to be cut/pasted into the victims blog.

b) Blog writers similarly occasionally feel they want to delete some of the more outlandish, offensive, or tedious of these moonbat screeds. Enter ScreedAssassin™ - an indispensible application that will use AI, neural nets (and other vaporous handwaving technologies) to detect undesirable screeds and automate their removal.

Posted by: Tony at August 26, 2005 09:28 AM