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what are words for?

what are words for?

I've been doing this weblog thing for almost two years. One of the nicest offshoots of this has been the friends I made and the community I've become a part of.

As within any community, there will always be different factions who go off to their separate little corners, making a sort of enclave for themselves and never venturing outside of it. Instead of embracing the differences and diversity that make up the community as a whole, they reject those differences and split the community into jagged little pieces, so it becomes more of war-torn area, complete with land mines and sneak attacks.

Let me digress for a second. In high school, I was one of those people who did not belong to a certain group. Some days I hung out with the jocks, some days I hung out with the burn-outs, and most days I hung out with no one, sort of flitting between groups, bumming a cigarette here and a ride there. It's not so much that I was a girl without a home as I was a girl with several homes.

It's the same way for me in the blogging world. I've made my mark as a "warblogger" or politcal blogger recently, but I am also emotionally invested in bloggers who have no interest in the war blogging or political community. I find that no matter what the main focus of a certain group is, there will always be that one person within the group - or more than one person - who will take it upon themselves to claim that the group isn't existing for the right purposes, behaving in the right manner or in general, behaving according to their wants and needs.

This is the thing about blogging; it is personal. What comes out of a person's mind and onto a computer screen is owned by that person. Whether they want to write about war or kittens or pollution or art is completely up to them. While the content and the general tone of what they write may be up for grabs as far way in which the words were put out there, the subject matter should not be open to discussion by anyone else.

If I want to write about war and you don't want to read it, that's fine. Just don't read it. If someone you know feels the need to write about the pain of divorce and you don't really give a shit about it, again, don't read it. But don't ridicule what a person chooses to put out there. Why are there some people who feel they can determine what the weblogging community should be writing about? Is there an unwritten code for bloggers that I am unaware of? Thou shalt not write about anything controversial. Thou shalt keep the weblog content limited to the entertainment world and fluff news.

Bullshit. Before you get your panties in a bunch and call me self-obsessed, let me assure you I am not talking about myself here. I'm talking about at least three separate instances I read about this week where a blogger was taken to task for their content or how they went about that content or whether or not they thought their content was worth putting a tip jar on their site for.

This is a job for some people. A job for which you do not get paid. I, for one, put a lot of time into my weblog. I do it because I want to, becaues I enjoy it and because some day I hope to make a living by transferring what is in my head to a hardcover book prominently displayed on the shelf of a book store. Sure, it's probably a pipe dream, but it's a pipe dream that's been a part of me for thirty years so I'm sure not going to let go of it now, not when I have the means to get my words out there to an audience. Yes, it's a non-paying audience, but if someone was going to offer to pay me for the time and effort I put into this site, even if it was $5, I'm not going to complain or turn it down.

But that's neither here nor there. I just find it hard to believe that there are people who would spend any amount of time and effort not only on their own weblog, but on the comments of other blogs, basically calling the efforts of anyone who is different from them stupid. Warblogs are stupid. People who have tip jars are stupid. People who use their blogs to get help or assistance for a friend, even if that help is in the form of making sure that person does not spend a holiday alone, are stupid.

The person who really got me going was someone who wrote a little rant about how much she hates warbloggers (her prerogative), how warbloggers are the lowest form of life on the food chain (like I haven't been called that before), and then asked the question "do bloggers in general actually feel like they are contributing to anything?"

Well, yes. Besides the fact that I think I am contributing to my overall sanity by venting here every day, I think there are many bloggers who have contributed to me in many ways. They have contributed to my life, which is in and of itself a great thing. There were bloggers at my wedding. I have not only cried and laughed with other bloggers but I have learned so much from them. I have been inspired and awed by the stories some bloggers have told. I have gotten lessons in politics, in business, history and math. Yes, math. I have learned things I thought I would never understand and become interested in subjects I never thought I would care about.

This person also left this comment in the blog of a friend of mine:

i absolutely hate what blogging has become. it's all "ooh, vote for me for this" or "hey, send me money so i can go out and party with my friends" and the always popular and ever-so-dreaded "hey, let's talk about the WAR!"

i've been really vocal about my disgust for other bloggers lately. maybe i should try being kind? but they're all such assholes! :)

So what is that she wants us to write about? Oh, wait, I get it. We should all, the thousands and thousands of us bloggers out here, write only what she cares about, only the things that interest her. Because if we don't, we are assholes.

This is what happens when a community divides. The people who have gone off to their little corner of the world always insist that everyone else are the assholes.

I have news for them. Blogging is a personal thing. Just because someone wants to write about the war and you think the war is a big, bad thing, that does not make that person an asshole. What makes you an ass is when you assume that everyone should be just like you and conform to your way of thinking and talk about only the things you want to hear and if they don't you dismiss them as stupid. That, my dear, is the definition of an asshole.

If you look at my links list, just run through a couple of sites on it, you can see all kinds of people represented. People who write about music and people who who are liberals and people who write slash fiction about boy bands in addition to blogging. There are women, men, teenagers and grandparents. I try not to surround myself with people who think only like me or want only the same things I want because if you do that, you build a wall around yourself and you will never see past that wall. That in turn makes you closed minded.

This weblog is the heart and soul of me. Everything I am is in here. Sure, I write about war and politics often, but I also write about my children and my job and music and movies. Yes, I spend a lot of time saying "vote for me for this!" or "contribute money to this!" but that's part of what a community is about; having fun and helping others. If you can do them both at the same time that makes it even better. To dismiss someone's effort to make another person feel good is pretty low. And to dismiss someone's dream of getting paid for what they do here is even worse, especially when you could not put forth the knowledge and empathy in seventeen pages that some people can put out in one sentence.

If you want to say "it's only blogging, get a grip," then say it to yourself. For me, and for countless others, it's not only blogging. It's a transference of all that his happening around them and inside of them into words. That's a pretty heavy thing to be putting out there every day just so some dipshit with a keyboard can ridicule it. But we do it anyhow, because those dipshits will years from now still be writing about what they had for dinner while some others will be writing words that are prominently displayed in a bookstore.

Foran even tastier rant on this subject please see:
Cato
Robyn

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» I can't see her 'til I'm foaming at the mouth from Ain't too proud to blog
So she seems to have a problem with what blogging has become. [quote] "It's all 'ooh, vote for me for this' or 'hey, send me money so i can go out and party with my friends' and the always popular and ever-so-dreaded 'hey, let's talk about the WAR!'" S... [Read More]

Comments

You said it so well, hon.

We're all stupid for caring so much about our weblogs. But, on the other hand, we get to know some nice people. Of course, there are plenty of others out there who don't play by the rules and seek to hurt others. Funny how they can ruin one's day.

I prefer to think of the people I know as genuinely good people. Whether they like me and support me or hate me and want to see me dead...that pretty much depends on my mood. But, the core group is there supporting me and keeping me on my toes.

Let the naysayers be doomed to a life of negative energy. Bah! Who needs 'em! Keep doing what you do and do it as you see fit. Be it smart or silly or stupid or all of the above....just keep doing it.

I hate to argue even slightly but I have to once again say who cares what a couple idiots think. Are you getting mad for the fun of getting mad and being pissed or do they really bug you? cause if they do then why are you wasteing your energy on them, my god life is to short.
Now if your getting mad cause your bored or feel like it then WOOHOO more power to ya.

that chick should get a blog of her own, y'know.

Goddamn you, you rising-with-the-chickens and indecently eloquent bitch! I was gonna say that!!! (Thanks for sparing me the trouble.)

As you say, most of us do this for ourselves, with absolutely no thought to what FoxNews or CNN has to say on the subject (unless we're Fisking them), which hey, might account for the highly emotional and speculative tone of our narrative, ya think?

And I find it particularly amusing that Laura particularly despises the female warbloggers. That's a whole set of issues right there, honey, that you might want to seek professional help with. Ta-ra.

Tom Robbins said it best, "Writing a novel is like dropping your baby down a well... and waiting for the splash."
That goes double for a blog.

Listen to the critics but consider who they are... being called an asshole by an asshole is either a small insult or a compliment...

You go girl! If you piss some people off, so be it

Rises to feet, applauding wildly
Looks around office and quickly sits back down

It's like the 'TV is brainwashing us' argument. The damn thing's got an off switch. If you don't wanna watch, DON'T WATCH!

She should love her spike in traffic between the two of us today. For completely different reasons she managed to piss both of us off at the very same time. Of course, you said it better, but damn pouring that out felt good.

Love,
One of your favorite tree-hugging hippie liberals

This blog is frequently the best part of my day. You've got passion and nerve, two qualities I greatly admire but very rarely find in the pathetic, narrow-minded world of academia that I frequent. It's incredibly refreshing to know someone who isn't reluctant to point out hypocrisy, willfull stupidity and idiotarianism whenever and wherever she finds it.

As for all the whinging and sniping and grousing you encounter from the pantywaists and handwringers out there...There are two kinds of people--those who help you live and those who help you die. For the most part, the best way to live well and stay sane is to ignore the negative energy brainsuckers. The ones you can't ignore, you grind into the ground like the greasy little roaches they are...

I won't have anything left to say. I think the three of you have said it all.

Nicely said. :-)

Oooh, I likes Pearl!

Let's see....do you think your blog actually makes a difference??? WELLLLLLL...I'll be honest. I'm like most Americans. I'm numb to what's going on in the world 98.5% of the time. Reading your blog at least registers in my awareness that something is going on in the world outside of my little realm of existence, and on more than one occasion, it's made me sit and think about what my own opinion is on things. Yeah, I don't always agree with what you write. I've hedged on whether or not I agree with going to war. Mostly just because I wouldn't want to put my own ass on the line, and I have a hard time asking our troops to do something I myself wouldn't want to do. Thankfully, they'll do it anyway. And I'll be grateful.

Point being, I've now at least thought about it. I've formed my own opinions about what's going on. So yeah, your blog did make a difference. It made ME think. I'm guessing it's made others think as well.

i generally prefer 'knickers in a twist' but yeah..:)

i love you for who you are and never once have i been dissapointed coming in here..your blog has made me laugh, cry, scream, shout and have wild passionate sex after that just because.

hehe

chicken dance!

I will be first in line to buy the book that you will write. You have a gift with words and I appreciate the stand you take on issues, wether I agree or not. And I like the occasional cleavage pics. Your blog is part of my daily routine. Thanks.

"There are two kinds of people--those who help you live and those who help you die."
Thank you, Pearl. I think you just changed my life. So see there? This blog did make a difference. Who would've guessed? ;-P

i second your thoughts. because i spend an inordinate amount of time in front of my movable type template, writing about my life, my thoughts, and the things that float my boat--yes, i think i'm contributing to something. i've single-handedly built an entertaining website that over 800 people a day take the time to visit. this doesn't make me feel self-important or any better than anyone else. (anybody can do what i've done, and many others have.) i'm sharing in the human experience. it's what bloggin' is about. to generalize every blogger in her oh-so-succint way is dehumanizing.

I just blog because I like having an audience; I wish I had grander reasons to it.

Wow. One of the posters on the ‘aries rising’ site said:

“I empathize strongly with your sentiment toward warbloggers, especially the part about sending them to Iraq. We could even save the Iraqi children at the same time by feeding them the corpses of warbloggers! I'm sure those young Iraqis would appreciate their tender, fatty white meat. The wrist tendons would have to be tossed, though. Too stringy and tough from all that typing and wanking.”

..and they call us bloodthirsty. They say they don’t like war, but they have fantasies of cannibalism. Those peacenicks are a bunch of sick puppies – negative energy brainsuckers is right.

We need to know about stuff like this – so thanks for posting, Michele. As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

God bless you girl. Keep it up.

Not only is my hat off to you for stating your principles, I might just think about taking off my pants, too.

Well said! (as usual)

It took a lot of time for you to finally nail your answer to critics. Even those critics return to your site for some reason. I agree with 50% of your material (and there's only a 30% chance of that). But every once in a while you express something so well that subjects I disagreed with you before become meaningless to me. That's why I read your site every day.

Having read your site, and "Aries Rising", I'd definitely pick yours. Your rants are much less whiney. :-)

I now have a bad taste in my mouth after reading Miss "Warbloggers are Evil!". I must go off and brush.

Thank you, Sekimori! I always wondered who She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed really was. I am known in my small circle of toadies, syncophants and minions (total population = 1, my husband) as The Voice You Can't Avoid. Nice to meetcha...

And Annastazia, glad I could make a difference. I must, however, give credit to Mr. Ed Larkin (originally of NYC, wouldn't ya know it) as the author of that particular bit of wisdom.

The Tip Jar is a great idea if it's actually used to help others.
Otherwise, I tend to view it as vitual panhandling.
I'm sure everyone knows that a hardcore panhandler can make alot of coin in a day.
Street days, I knew people who pulled in up to $60 in a few hours, and that was in the 80's.
I love this blog. First place I go after the browser opens. Long ago, I used to run a site called Girls Are Mean, which celebrated strong, beautiful women. This blog would have been perfect for that. It might be just me, but I find strong, opinionated, humorous bitchy girls highly attractive.
And I think some of MicheLe's opinions are starting to influence me.............

I really wish you'd stop talking about the war. Why don't you talk about something worthwhile, like Soylent Green? Soon they'll be breeding us like cattle! You've got to warn everyone and tell them! Soylent green is made of people! You've got to tell them! Soylent green is people!

(I feel much better now.)

I really wish you'd stop talking about the war. Why don't you talk about a worthwhile topic, like Soylent Green? Soon they'll be breeding us like cattle! You've got to warn everyone and tell them! Soylent green is made of people! You've got to tell them! Soylent green is people!

Sorry to hear about your problems with these morons. If you ever get a hate message and you'd like to track down the sender, I wrote a document that you might find interesting.

I called it "Stop the Hate", a technical tutorial to trace the origin of hate messages and you may find it at:

http://www.factsofisrael.com/load.php?p=/blog/archives/000450.html

David
http://www.FactsOfIsrael.com

You go girl! And thanks for pointing me to Melly's blog. Looks like she puts a lot of effort into it. I left the following in her comments and thought I might as well copy it here too.

...It really pisses me off when people say things like "I hate what blogging has become." What has it become? It can still be anything you want it to be. And what gives anyone the right to think they own blogging anyway? What makes people think they should be the ones to define what blogging is? Shitheads!

Amazingly well put, Michele.
The world would be a sad place if we were all carbon copies of each other.

People who say "I hate what blogging has become" sound like people who say "I hate how (insert minority) have started moving into the neighborhood. They've ruined everything!"

Wanna have a closed-in, protected community? There's a prototype out there that has existed since the Internet was a fetus. It's called the Well (http://www.well.org/), and it's paid-subscriber only. Password-protect your blog, only give out the password to your friends, and be all safe in your closed-in little universe.

Since you said you encourage non-Trackback linking, I finally decided to write something about this.

People who say "I hate what blogging has become" sound like people who say "I hate how (insert minority) have started moving into the neighborhood. They've ruined everything!"

I hadn't thought of it like that before but you are absolutely right!

Along the lines of what Andrea said, assholes are people who write the most hurtful thing possible and then put a little smiley emoticon after it. I knew kids like that in high school. If you called them on some nasty remark of theirs they would tell you they were "only kidding."