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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dooce and Discussing Dooce Blog(s) Review(s)

Blog review-
Dooce (mommy blog supreme)
Discussing Dooce (hates above mentioned blog and writes freely about it)

Ok, so not everyone likes a Mommy blog. I have made fun of some of them myself, in my former post about Blog Review Sunday. However, there is a certain level that a tiny fraction of mommy blogs reach- that many probably aspire to when they begin the blog, sadly, doomed to fail- You could call this "Doocedom", I guess, in honor of the blogging phenomenon known as Dooce (otherwise known as Heather Armstrong).
Dooce is perhaps The mommyblog of all mommyblogs. Her star had risen to amazing heights. She has legions of fans, devoted to reading every pearl of wisdom (or nonsense) that she pours out on her site. I haven't read it for long, myself, but from archives and other sources, I can tell you that Dooce has blogged for years, since she was single and looking for love in all the wrong places, through her subsequent meeting and marrying of Jon Armstrong, through her pregnancy and the birth of Leta, their daughter, the horrendous post partum depression she suffered from, and now she continues to blog almost daily about their lives with the toddler. She blogs about everything. She has no reservations in describing a bowel movement, what they ate for dinner, how Jon's shoes got cleaned, or the fact that she recently had a cancerous skin growth removed from her arm and it really frickin freaked her out. She posts pictures freely, without reservation, sharing her face, her husband's face, her daughter's, their dog's. She is highly intelligent, extremely funny, and possessed of the kind of wickedly irreverent sarcasm that I personally find beautiful. There are a lot of people out there who agree with me.
However, as the next blog will prove, not everyone thinks so. Discussing Dooce is a relatively new blog, but the writer, though anonymous, is also obviously female, highly intelligent, extremely funny and possessed of that same sense of sarcasm. In this case, however, she aims that deadly sarcasm straight at Dooce. The tagline of her blog is "Who knew you could make a living writing about shit?" and that pretty much spells it out for ya. She thinks Dooce is earning a living writing about shit. And she may be right.
When talk in the blogging world (or at least the slice of blogger world that deals with mommy blogs) first started about Discussing Dooce, there was a bit of a scene. All over the internet, women were outraged. Screaming for blood. Furious that someone would attack their beloved blogging icon and darling, Dooce. One of my personal favorite Mommy Bloggers, Karen, was really upset. And that upset me, because I am a fan of Karen's the way she is obviously a fan of Dooce's.
And yet, judging from the comments on Discussing Dooce, the woman who writes there obviously has some fans of her own. Not everyone enjoys Dooce. In fact some people find her sickening, and greedy, and cruel. Most comments are left anonymously due to fear of reprisal, which tells me that these commenters are the same women who belong to the Mommy Blog world under a recognizable name and they don't want to admit that they hate Dooce as much as crabbyolchick(the writer of the blog) does. She, and they, claim on D.D. (Discussing Dooce) that Heather is awful to write such horrible things about Leta (things such as, she walks like Frankenstein and was given an enema on her 2nd birthday) and that her child will surely be scarred forever when she grows up and finds out all of these intimate details of her life have been broadcast to the universe, via blog. They say that her husband is a lazy pig living off her website (Because Jon recently left his job to be a full-time Dad, since Dooce's website is now selling ads and apparently making enough money to support their family healthily). They claim that she is cold, and distant from her fans (because she doesn't answer comments or email), that she is a rapacious, rapacious pig living off the fat of her fans, that she even has paypal buttons on her site so people can donate to her bank account. They deride her trolling for blog hits and sympathy by talking about the (admittedly) small cancerous thingy on her arm. Recently, D.D. has been ridiculing and ranting about BlogHer, the convention currently going on for women bloggers, which is of course, only going to be attended by a select few (one of whom is MY Karen, by the way) that can afford to buy tickets and hotel rooms and time away from home and children. Such women, Dooce included, are scorned for leaving their kids and wasting their money on such a frivolous, stupid thing.
The nay-sayers have their point. I can see their viewpoint, is what I mean to say.
Perhaps Heather is earning a living writing shit, but so what? This is America, land of the free, right? If she can be smart enough to build a blog-following that supports her family- to me the woman is a friggin genius, and anything said otherwise is a case of Xtreme Sour Grapes. The fact that her husband was able to quit work because the site is so successful is splendid- to me. Why should he continue to work at a job he doesn't want to work at when he doesn't have to? Because the angry anti-fans have to work at jobs they don't want to work at because their blogs don't support them? That's just silly, girls. Now, I know no one ever told you life is fair.
Besides, her writing is good. She's funny as hell, but I know, better than most, that sometimes humor can be taken in the wrong way, offenses can built in an eyeblink, and rage sprouts easily from a careless phrase planted in the wrong ear (or eye, in this case).
As far as the cancer is concerned, if Heather were a small-time blog, like this one, with a handful of readers, no one would have thought of criticizing the manner in which she discussed her cancer-removal. It's her blog, after all, and anyone who has read it for any length of time should know that she deals with everything using the same brand of dry wit, and why they would expect her to not mention the cancer (again, on her blog) is a mystery to moi. (Hey, be modest. Don't talk about your cancer. That's not polite.) It's HER BLOG, knock knock knock. As for seeking hits, c'mon now, peeps. Dooce does not need to LOOK for blog hits. She has quite enough on her own, without inventing a sympathy ploy to spread her rep on the web. Her rep, folks, is made. DONE. She doesn't need to look for more readers. She already has them.
She doesn't talk back to the fans, true enough. However, considering the sheer numbers of emails and comments she must receive every second, I can see how she wouldn't have time to do it. I think if Karen ends up being as widely-read as Dooce (and it could happen, she is way funnier) she will still take the time to interact with us little people. Personally? No matter how famous I'd become, I hope I would still have time to talk to the readers that made me that way, but I'm not Dooce's fan, and if Dooce's fans aren't complaining, then why should the Non-fans of Dooce be complaining?
And the BlogHer Convention? Well, the nickering about BlogHer makes me think of the smart girls whispering viciously under cover of darkness how much they hate the cheerleaders. Yeah, the cheerleaders have all the breaks. That's the truth. Again, life is NOT fair. Yeah, it'd be really neat to go to things like that, to be popular like that, to have fun like that, to be able to afford life like that. Hey, to get away from the kids for a WHOLE weekend would be a trip to Heaven for a lot of us. But it's not their fault we can't have that. The key, my sistahs, is to want exactly what you have and stop looking at the cheerleaders as the enemy. The enemy, your rage and unhappiness and ITSNOTFAIR, is in you, not them. (NOTE: Although I might look like one of the cheerleaders, you'd be really wrong, as readers of my personal blog could probably assure you.) You might even discover, if you let it go, that even if you will never be one of them, you can really like the cheerleaders. Some of them are great people. One rotten apple and all of that blah-dee-blah.
If you take the time to read Dooce's site, with a sense of humor and without a glint of vengeance in your eye, you might discover what I did- that they love their daughter, absolutely adore her, and are just a little more honest about the frustrations each of us face as a parent daily. Embarrassing shit happens to them. Bad things crop up. The dog licks their plates. They load the dishwasher with strange things. They do silly things and she isn't afraid to laugh at herself, or her family, and she invites her readers in on the joke. To me, that's a pretty fricking cool chick, cheerleader or not.
Does Dooce have a paypal button on her website? Yes, yes she does, and to that, all I can say is, I said I can see their point.


Blogger The Pagan Temple said...

Sounds like a lot of jealousy to me, based primarily over anger that she's able to make a good living off writing a blog. So that's all it takes, huh, writing aboutyour bowel movements? Hummmh.

Hey, by the way, I love cheerleaders myself.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Hahaa, yeah well, they're loveable. That's why they're cheerleaders! And the girls who feel unloved, regardless of if that's true or not, tend to hate the Loved. It is jealousy, yes, but I'm certain in their minds it has a different name. Still if the blog serves as a venting place for their frustrations, then fine. Whatever works. I'm sure it's not going to bother Dooce, which'll probably piss them off even more.

2:00 PM  
Blogger alethegoodsoul said...

hahaha dooce is funny. I just read her latest entry. And you know what? You are right. Life IS like that and you've gotta learn how to deal. Besides, cheerleaders are real people (they don't practice a real sport, but hey). hahahhaha.

I want to support myself with my blog... how awesome would that be! Of course, before I would reply to any of my fans they would have to go through several trials such as... jumping through hoops and the like. Yes, I am mean but that's why they love me. (The masses like to be the victims of witty, evil people) Let's unite and kick ass in this world!

WOAH! Nonsense right there. Hey, what's up? See ya!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

Hi Meowkaat!
First off, thank you for all the lovely things you said about me. That was really lovely and I appreciate everything.

Yes, I am a huge fan of Heather's. Her writing and honesty helped me through some of my darkest days and I told her so this weekend.

Please know, Heather's blogging lifestyle is not all peaches and cream. She has deadlines to meet and she has 37,000 emails in her inbox since March. Talk about busy. I don't want that for myself. I love where I'm at, raising my kids and making a few bucks for the little extras.

Also, BlogHer was not something I could just throw money at. I saved for 6 months to go because I felt it was something that would be beneficial to me as a blogger, and a designer. I wanted the knowledge. I walked away with so much more (as you'll see by my recap post). I left feeling inspired, and with a few more friends than I ever thought I had.

Someone told me there that there was a "fan" who wanted to meet me, and I quickly changed that word to friend - I hate the word fan! I felt stupid about having one. Ha ha.

Anyway, thanks for this post - I like the way you thought everything through. Great job!


11:22 AM  
Blogger The Waghorns said...

You've summed up my feelings on both Dooce and these "I hate Dooce" websites perfectly. Seriously, I can't imagine being either Heather or Jon and know that there are people out there writing this stuff about them for public consumption.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

See, Karen is great. (And she is a better writer than heather, but go read for yourself if you don't believe me) And, I should have pointed out that she hasn't exactly lived the cheerleader dream herself. She is an example of someone who has used humor, hope and her present happiness to defeat the bullshit that preceded it. I admire her greatly... obviously!
Karen, you da bomb.
Interestingly enough, when I last visted D.D. I saw that crabbyolchick mentioned going to BlogHer herself next year. She might have been kidding. Or she might be sitting next to Dooce at next year's dinner. I hope she was kidding and not that big of a hypocrite.
Waghorns, thanks for stopping by and agreeing with me. I always like it when people agree with me. :) I think at any level of celebrity you lose a tiny bit of yourself, become something for the public to consume...either they take little, appreciative bites or they gnash and gash you up. Luckily, I think that Heather is tough enought to take it. I know the best policy would be to take the high road, ignore it, but wouldn't it be funny if she addressed this shit in her blog? I know it would be so frickin funny I'd pee.

9:26 PM  
Blogger karrie said...

I think where this conversation is off-base is the frequent analogies to cheerleaders, and the idea that anyone who does not understand the attraction of BlogHer or appreciate Heather's writing style, is just evil, jealous, mean, what have you. (Sounds suspiciously like "You're either with us or against us" to me.)

With regards to Heather, I do not enjoy her writing style, or the writing style that many of her imitators use. I do think attacking Heather as a person or (worse) dragging her child into the fray is inappropriate. I do not know her personally so for all I know I might like her well enough as a person, even though her blog does not appeal. Surely there is room to discuss her writing or notoriety from a critical perspective?

My distaste with the BlogHer event is that very few people chose to share much beyond praise for one another. Praise is fine, of course, but a lot of it rang hollow to me. My honest impression was a lot of shallow, shoe obsessed, conformist women, made up of former non-conformists hell bent on proving something. As I've said elsewhere, that's not my bag. A party or the promise of meeting specific bloggers would not be reason enough for me to attend.

Its also not a matter of affording a ticket or being shy or socially awkward. (No problem on either account.) I'm just not that impressed. And if a person or event is just so FREAKING AWESOME, at least explain *why* you feel that way. (General you. I actually think you seem to be capable of holding more than one thought at a time, and while I do not agree with you on some counts, you've written a thoughtful post.)

5:15 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Cliches come from somewhere. Hence the cheerleader/highschool labels. It's easy to build an analogy with them that people will understand. I read over at your blog about how you don't fit into the cliches, and that is great for you,(sincerely, I'm not being saracastic) but it is UNusual. Most people are completely comfortable fitting the molds of cliches, as long as they are on the side of "right". (read- whatever side they are on)And for the record, I don't think everyone who doesn't like Heather is evil, or jealous, or mean, just those who attack her viciously. Ok, maybe not evil or jealous- I can't prove that, but they ARE mean. That's the very definition of mean to me.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think dooce is intelligent, you need medical help fast. You are just a dumb as she is.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of Discussing Dooce was Lorrie C. Watson of

Just thought you'd like to know.

8:52 PM  

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