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.