Blog-Bashing Spelling Fascist Meanies: Turn Back Now
(FYI this post is not about Rebecca Eckler. There's a segue coming. Bear with me.) (Oh, and if this post is too long and preachy for you? Just skip to the baby pictures. Really. I understand.)
Rebecca Eckler, for those of you who are not from Toronto/from Canada/readers of Canada's national newspapers (of which there are only two, because, um, this is Canada), is a columnist of the Candace Bushnell-confessional variety, which is to say that she writes about the minutiae of her own life, which is basically just like keeping a blog but getting paid for it. Anyway. She's best known for having chronicled her experience of getting Knocked Up and everything that happened thereafter, and now she is a mommy, and is blogging, and is writing about mommy-blogging for one of the aforementioned newspapers. You get the picture. (Students of post-modernism/post-structuralism/Critical Theory - there's a thesis in here somewhere for you! Something about the Self-Referential Sign, maybe? Go nuts!)
Some people really have a problem with the kind of writing that is her bread and butter, I'm guessing because to such people, some girl getting paid good money to just blather on about the petty details of her life seems either a) unfair, or b) further evidence of the decline of Western Civilization. And as it turns out, these sorts of people also have a problem with her doing same for free as a blogger. Only a few days up, and already, apparently, she's getting the hate mail. Can't comment on that directly, cuz I don't know what was said, so let's put it aside. I can comment on the periodic blog-bashing that occurs in the comments to her blog, however, about which I'll only say this - STUPID, full caps. The bashing largely pertains to her spelling, with a smidge of class-warfare mixed in for good measure. (1) ( I was on the receiving end of some contact bashing when I commented, at this post, that spell-bashing was stupid, which, apparently, makes me some sort of evil spell-basher basher. These people have issues.) (2) But this post isn't specifically about the spell-bashing, either...
This exposure to the ill-considered outbursts of those who can only be called blogtards got me thinking about good mommy-blog (and daddy-blog) citizenship. It's tempting to view the Internet as one great big experiment in anarchy, but as a political scientist (3) I'm gonna have to pull rank here and assert the contrary. It's full of communities, big and small, and all communities have norms of decent behaviour. And (warning: preachiness ahead) I think that there are a few obvious norms that apply to the community that is parent bloggers, and they're kinda like the ones that apply to the schoolyard (yeah, I know that analogy has been DONE but my mommy-addled imagination isn't currently stretching beyond the tropes of childhood.)
1. Be nice.
Duh. As mothers everywhere have long said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. This does not mean that there isn't all sorts of room for debate, critique, dialogue, etc., etc., but dudes? Slagging spelling (4) and getting pissy about Prada bags does not count as any of these. We all know how to discuss/dispute/debate things nicely - if you disagree with something, do so politely. Related: if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, maybe don't say it (so, if you're planning to log in to comment as 'anonymous,' consider rethinking that.)
2. Practice playing well with others.
Respect the terms of the discussion at any given blog: if folks are talking about embarassing kid moments/potty training/swim club politics/whatever, don't bust in with some unrelated rant (you are a bad speller, Prada-toting whore!!!). Again, be nice.
3. And DO play with others...
Most bloggers are out in the mommy/daddy-bloggin' playground because they're looking for some company - for support, commiseration, some reassurance that they are not ALONE. Everybody does some lurking, but sometimes you gotta just jump in. Leave a friendly comment at a post! Let other bloggers know that you know that they're there. If they wanted to be alone, they'd be keeping a private diary.
4. ...especially new kids and the kids over there in that other corner...
Hey, I think that Dooce and Amalah are super cool too. But if everyone spends all of their time clustered around the cool kids, they miss out on making new friends and playing new games. Visit new people! If you follow the link from a comment that grabbed your attention and find an interesting new blogger, let them know that you sought them out. Invite them to visit you. Maybe, if you really like them, you might even link to their site ('cause people? We already know where the cool kids are.) Spread the love!
5. If you don't like somebody, don't hang around them.
That is, if you don't like a blog, don't visit it. (I suppose that it's worth making a related point here, given that blogtards seem to LIKE blog-bashing and so will inevitably continue to visit blogs that they hate - if some blogtard is being an asshole, ignore them. Am repeating this to self like mantra.)
6. Be nice.
That just bears repeating.
Do it for the children...
1) Apparently, there is some rule, somewhere, which states that people who do not have exemplary spelling skills should not own Prada. Or that people who do own Prada are obliged to have such spelling skills. I can't even think of anything funny to say about this.
2) And there's a clause to the above-mentioned rule: people who own Prada and can't spell should not, under any circumstances, be defended, because after all, they own Prada and so any and all criticism of them is unassailable. Very simple principle at play here: People With Money are inherently evil. You know, like Nazis. Judge them by different standards.
Nietzsche called this ressentiment (which is commensurate with things like 'slave morality,' so you don't need me to give you a primer on Nietzsche to know that it's bad), and it is, apparently, flourishing in the blogosphere.
FYI: I don't own Prada, so this isn't a sympathy bitch. Pettily peevish people just bug me, is all.
3. Not a scientist. Oh god, so not. That's just what they call the broad academic field in which I practice (clear throat) my particular discipline.
4. I'm usually the first to go all spelling-fascist on the asses of the illiterati. But I usually reserve that impulse for marking papers and that kind of thing. I don't think that blogs should be policed for spelling because a) spelling errors on parent blogs are usually typos that are the result of crafting posts while clutching an infant or wrestling a toddler (and let's not get all holier-than-thou about spell-check. Most of us are writing under challenging conditions and things like spell-check and editing often fall by the wayside.) And, b) just kinda unneighborly given the informality of the blog.
Although I, having blathered on about community and spreading love, am clearly not Nietzschean, WonderBaby (aka ÜberBaby), who is continually demonstrating Will to Power, emphatically is.
So, note to the blogtards - if any are reading - courtesy of WonderBaby, Imperial Leader:
Thanks for reading, Last Men! Now you may go back to your newspapers!