Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fight For It

In lieu of reviewing a new blog today, I'm going to get all expositional and metaphysical on you. If you don't like that sort of thing, skip it, I'm sure there will be another review up later on this week. We're all a little lackadaisical here this week, especially me, this is a holiday week for us in the U.S. (Veteran's Day), which interposes a day off in the middle of the week, and makes it difficult for me to focus on the online world. And like many of you, I'm sure, my real life has a tendency to overwhelm my digital life. I've made the healthy choice to prefer real life to the pale, imitation sort of life that is largely found online. I hope you have, too.

But, today, my point is to address why people blog, and what it means.

Three years ago, my relatively new, fledgling blog was scathingly reviewed by an online review site. I was alternately and simultaneously sad, horrified, ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, and enraged. Who were these horrible people to judge me so lacking in talent and depth? Nevermind that I'd willingly and voluntarily submitted my blog for an ass-reaming, I was full of righteous indignation. I considered, briefly, deleting my blog, and never writing online again.

Within a few days, however, my zeal had cooled. I realized something profound. In many ways, their review was dead-on. My template was hideous, my writing was self-involved and had the depth of pudding, and I'd posted semi-nude pics of myself online to build an audience in lieu of reaching for anything real inside me. They were right. I did suck.

But, they were also wrong. They told me to stop blogging, that they were tired of seeing blogs like mine online, and that I was essentially a waste of skin and oxygen.

And frankly, that's bullshit. I may feel that way about the overwhelming majority of blogs out there in the sphere. In fact, I probably do. But, blogs are a combination of personal/private and open/public. They are, and should be, a passion, an addiction, a labor of love. And, if you believe in what you are doing, or even if you just enjoy doing it, then you should never let a stranger push you into quitting. Oh, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop saying it. In some cases, it's tough love, the same kind of tough love I got in my own ass-reaming. It's meant to push people further. I don't want you to quit. I just want you to QUIT SUCKING. I want you to take the words of our reviewers here, weigh them in your hot little hands, let some slip like mud through your fingers, and the others, keep them and internalize them, like shiny rocks in a collection. In the great scheme of things, I want you to figure out why you are online, and stretch. Be more. Be braver, funnier, stronger, edgier, sadder.

I love blogs. I love MY blog, and this blog, and quite a number of other blogs. It is never my intention to get someone to delete his/her blog, and quite frankly, I think that doing so, after a review, denotes a certain lack of courage and integrity. If you enjoy what you are doing online, and it means something to you, why would you EVER let a stranger take that from you?

But, on the other hand, if you do ask, you should be assured of receiving a blunt, truthful assessment, that, no matter how painful, will challenge you to improve. That's what we do here....we will point out the good, the bad, the transcendent, and the hideous. And, for those of you who submit here, please be clear that this is not a site full of warm fuzzies and care bears. It's a place where you are likely to be rolling the dice between a bored meh and a full-on ass plunging by people who find you insipid, dull, pointless or cheesy. Because frankly, in my opinion, most of what's online is all of those things and worse. The odds are good that we won't like you, and if you can't handle that, best not submit.

But if you do submit, don't delete. Fix what's wrong, keep what's right, and grow a damn spine. If you love your blog, even if we hate it, fight for it. The world is wide, and we surely are not the arbiters of all that is good and bad. We're smart. I'll give us that. And most of us can write the shit out of something. But, ultimately, the only opinion that matters about your blog is yours.

Own it. Love it. Change it. But, for god's sake, be fucking passionate about it.

58 comments:

  1. Bravo LB. This is exactly why you'd get away with dissing me off.

    Im asking for trouble now, i know.. but this post sounds a tad more like a defense of AAYSR and it's (ahem) principles than one of Bloggy Whodunit / Whydunit 101.

    *ducks back under rock*

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  2. great advice! I submitted myself here a while back, and after reading some reviews of bloggers I enjoy, regretted it for a moment. Should I ever fall on your chopping block, I fully intend to take it as constructive criticism.

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  3. Well said Love Bites.

    Although I would momentarily wonder why if someone I reviewed deleted his or her blog, I'd never feel responsible in any way.

    I liken it to the people who say someone committed suicide because of a heavy metal album they listened to. Listen, if a rock song pushed someone over the edge, something was bound to get them eventually.

    Likewise, if the cleverly wrapped criticism of some online review site drives you to delete your blog, nearly anything would have done it. Do playwrights stop writing plays because some reviewer slams them, do the movies stop running because Ebert and Roeper say it's a waste of ten bucks?

    Of course everyone who submits here is hopeful that we'll recognize their genius and give them infinitesimal I fucking love yous, just like I muse about someone reading my personal blog and showering me with lucrative book deals. Fun, but hardly reality.

    Perhaps we should submit a secondary review site where all we hand out is pats on the back, and everyone can leave with a shiny new badge to add to their sidebar.

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  4. I guess it is a defense of this blog, and me, and what we do here. Someone I reviewed turned around and deleted his blog, and heaped the blame for that decision on me. And, I think that's bullshit. Hardcore Jesus would never delete his blog, not in a million years, not if you drove nails through his palms, muthafuckas. Be like hardcore Jesus. Have some balls.

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  5. LB, have I told you lately that I love you?

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  6. And really, if after a bad review you can't stand the idea of a bunch of other readers coming by to check out the trainwreck, and it's getting under your skin, go private.

    But to delete? That is so "I'm taking my toys and going home." Way to give up.

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  7. I am reasonably new to blogging. I learned of your site because a blogging friend was reviewed. I have learned a lot in the couple of months I have been following the reviews. I have read some interesting blogs and some simply disgusted me. My problem is I don't understand how to put in a different template, or make the blog accessible to more readers. I need tips and am willing to take a bad review to learn how to improve the site.

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  9. Nicely done. And I second Ghost's remark of vagina.

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  10. Oh, and Miss M, I love your private blog and I do think you should get a book deal.

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  11. If someone deletes their blog after a bad review, they deserve that Abercrombie logo thingermajigger.

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  12. What makes me want to pry apart my own ribs with a fork is the fact this needs to be said at all.

    Boring, self indulgent, or navel gazing blogs are one thing, but a halfhearted blog is a fucking crime.

    Speaking of crime, I don't know what anonymous Joe over there is prattling on about, this is no defence, this is fact, people can read the sign over the door or fuck off.

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  13. If you delete your blog after a "bad" review, how in the crap do you handle the rest of your life?

    And some of my favorite blogs got less than stellar reviews from this site. Their owners were passionate, though, and damned if they haven't wormed their way into my blackened heart.

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  14. Give me a bad review and I will come after you humming Diamanda Galas and armed with two frothy lipped feral cats.

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  15. I fucking love lesbians. Gap,I'm talking to you here.

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  16. Dearest, ky

    I don't really love lesbians too much right now but I could physically love you, were you not such a silver tongued devile. Ah, in another time and diminsion and a full body impenetrable steel encased condom, I suppose.

    Love,

    me

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  17. Um, thanks Gap. You're fucking insane.

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  18. You already know I adore you - and this is why. You have taught me more about blogging, and enlightening and encouraged me more about my own blog so very much.

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  19. "You're fucking insane."

    You may be right -but the parallel universe of so-called social appropropriatness continues daily to lose the battle between the distinction of sane and insane.

    I prefer the term misunderstood

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  20. DPH-

    Of course you love my 'private' blog, you love all of my very private places. You are my favorite hooker ever, that's why I pimp you, even if in the process I call you a lush and maybe tease your gok about a little girl on girl action.

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  21. Pablo y Linda, can you give me a hint as to which of the three blogs you are asking about?

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  22. Oh, no, Gap, I understand quite well. I'm at least eighty percent crazy.

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  23. MM: you are such a dirty tease.

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  24. Ky, my sanity will begin to return when I find the right kitten.

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  25. Miss M, thank you! I don't mind being called the resident lush either. When in Rome. Sorry, I watched Anchorman too many times this week.

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  26. To Love Bites,
    I was referring to Lindi's Ideas.
    Linda.

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  27. Maybe if the guy in question had animated some angry baby he would have been better recieved, that's something I could have gotten on board with.

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  28. FF, if I can angry baby a pregnant woman's stomach (as I did on my blog today), then this guy could have animated some angry baby.

    That's awesome.

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  29. Man, I thought I was the lush. Guess I'll have to up my game.

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  30. But if anyone's going to be the lush, and it's not me, then I'd want it to be DPH.

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  31. Thanks Rass. But I'm actually ready to hand over the title right now. This is the worst fucking hangover ever. I'm sure I'll be drinking again by tonight though.

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  32. I love my blog and I can't imagine anyone saying anything that would make me delete it. Of course, I haven't been reviewed yet (I think I submitted properly, but who knows). But I have learned much from reading your reviews and have found many new daily blogs that I adore.

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  33. great words, though I have to agree with some here that this is kind of hypocritical - that's my review of this post.

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  34. Wow. Still, lol, you deleted your blog. Wait, she was talking about you, wasn't she? You fucking 'accidentally' deleted your blog because of something she said? You might want to ask your physician about getting you started on some sort of testicle growth treatment. Actually, a spine would probably be more important in your case. Start there. Also, who are you agreeing with? Mouse in your pocket?

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  35. ghost of keyword: WTF dude, I accidentally deleted my blog because I ACTUALLY DELETED IT ACCIDENTALLY, besides she hasn't reviewed my blog yet so the situation you're suggesting is non-existent.
    get informed before you start talking shit please.

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  36. oh and you asked who I agree with, joe (second comment)

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  37. K E Y W O R K.

    Right, no, I'm sorry, I'm such a prick sometimes. I'm just trying to understand how the fuck you could accidentally delete your blog. Really, who reminds you to breathe every other second? Please consider giving that person a raise. I was just laying out some bait because I CANNOT FUCKING BELIEVE A BLOGGER WOULD EVER POINT THE MOUSE ANYWHERE NEAR THE 'DELETE THIS BLOG' BUTTON. Tell me you were on acid, please. I almost want to buy you a bunch of beers. Seriously, if I deleted my blog, there would be a monastery involved. I just hope you never ever do something that fucking stupid again. I cannot fucking believe that in this crowd, nobody found it necessary to give you shit about this. Also, I don't talk shit. I speak and truth is born.

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  39. ghost of keyWORK (SORRY i'm not using my my glasses) don't judge, what happened is, back when I had my blog I created another one just for fun to try new layouts, I was gonna delete it and when I did I realized I had acctually deleted my main blog instead of the one I was testing.
    and yes you talked shit and I quote "You might want to ask your physician about getting you started on some sort of testicle growth treatment. Actually, a spine would probably be more important in your case" AND "who reminds you to breathe every other second? Please consider giving that person a raise" Talking as if I had deliberately deleted my blog, unless you were me, or were there with me when the acident happen then you can't judge.
    +
    This post is not about me or directed towards me.

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  40. I know this isn't about you. But I have been reassigned to night watch in the blogosphere and I need some entertainment. That wasn't me talking shit, I stand by those statements and believe that you really should take my advice. You should also get really pissed off and make an attempt at matching wits with me because I'm bored.

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  41. Ok. Let's do a 'Q&A'.

    So, do you feel that blogging helps you get more out of your life?

    Do you think that blogging is robbing you of a really good time?

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  42. "I speak and truth is born."

    Ghost, I love you a little, there's only a few people I know who are filthy and wise.

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  43. FF, that was way better than any fucking blog award could ever strive to be. Stupid beer.

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  44. Gene,

    Anonymous or not, it doesn't change my take on it. And, don't know if you're being deliberately thick or if you've been with em altar boys too long, but LB answered my comment and defensive or not, explained the reasons behind it. If she didn't have a problem with it, I don't quite see why you should.

    Blogging is personal. Likewise, perception. You have your perception on how the post reads, I have mine.

    If that's too much for your defrocked self to accept, might i suggest a spiritual holiday in the Phillipines on Good Friday. Look it up, in your case, it'll be best of both worlds.

    Franco,
    Don't quote me outta context. I said defensive, not hypocrtical.

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  45. Miss Missives - I would love to read your blog! Permission? Pretty pleas!? I promise not to dry hump your leg on "new tights day"!
    And...thanks for this LB. I liked the review Miss Missives gave The Cusp. She gave her general impressions and then led me to specific places in my blog (and brain) that further explained those impressions. I admit I'm not too fond of reviews here that are only general impressions. "I like it." "I don't like it." So...here here for the specifics. This could, of course, just be 'cause I need lots of specifics. That's a different conversation entirely.
    I could not agree more about those who ask to be reviewed and then complain about having been reviewed. These are the exact same people who have been under my employ, asked how they are doing, and then given me all kinds of hell over what I say. Fuck! I don't even expect complete agreement. I expect to have a mature conversation. To work together to make the whole thing better for everyone.
    LB - I'm glad you love 'Ask'. And I'm glad I love my blog as well. I think you loving yours and me loving mine make them both better. For me anyway.
    Now I feel like I should say, "Anybody got a cigarette?"

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  46. And Key finally obtains the girl on girl action he's been begging for all week.

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  47. Yes. Not quite how I drew it up, but a win is a win.

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  48. Oh gods...you guys are hilarious!
    I submitted.
    Panicked for a brief moment, got over it pretty quickly and am now ready to take it where it hurts.

    I can safely say, nothing that anyone could ever say would make me delete my blog. I like my blog, whether or not anyone else does remains to be seen. Either way, its mines, I keep!

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  49. Love,

    I love it. I agree completely and by the way, I really miss all of you guyses. Well said, LB, blog on.

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  50. I agree that every blog should be written with passion, just as I reserve the right to dislike said passion.

    Can you imagine me going home with my tail between my legs if someone told me that my reviews were shit?

    Laughable.

    Don't stop blogging, just don't come crying to us because you suck and we told you so.

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  51. I love it when you're all sensitive and shit. :)

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Grow a pair.