Monday, June 29, 2009

Clattering Bat

Bloggers are winsome talky creatures. I had the opportunity of meeting the lovely and talented Gwen Alison, in the flesh last week, and during our 3 hour dinner chat, she told me about a blogger gathering she'd attended in her hometown.

"The entire room was full of people who talked - a lot."

Welcome to Rattle Tat.

This is a woman who is truly in love with the sound of her own voice, a self-described "freelance journalist" (I can only assume that she gets a per-word quota because she sure tries to cram those babies in there a mile a minute).

Let me give you an example:
After the third question it was clear the entire process was going to comprise geometrical shapes in absurd formations in which I was supposed to glean some trend.

Wow. That's pretty fucking exhausting to read.

And I have to say, it doesn't get much better.

It's verbose and sloppy:

This blog is an outlet for my compulsive writing, a recepticle (receptacle) for my verbal squits (squirts?), a haven for my verbosity - an assylum (asylum) from the editor's red pen.

Everyone can have a typo now and again, as I demonstrated so facilely last week. But this is a girl with multiple typos per post, even in her "about me" page. I bet her copy is literally a bleeding gash of red ink. This is a writer who needs to buy a dictionary to set alongside her well-palmed thesaurus.

The layout is nice & neat, and I like the colors. I like the name of the blog. It doesn't need three columns, as most blogs don't, and given that you know how to clean things up and put them behind buttons in your header, I have to ask why you don't do this with your blogroll, at the least. And frankly, I hate the "continue reading" links on any blog, but especially on yours where we get a sentence of introduction and, then, after the link, are confronted by an exhaustive cascade of black words.

But truthfully, any design woes are the least of the concerns here. It's the content. Frankly, it's ALWAYS the content. If we like the content, we will generally ignore the overall crappy look of a blog, but no amount of pretty trappings can whitewash a load of shitty prose.

I could like the blog, but it all feels so forced and contrived, as if each post is a "column" she's test-marketing to the blogosphere.

Consider this. It's very convenient. I don't get the sense that the authoress is actually doing any gut-wrenching soul-searching. It's just for effect, or at least, so it seems.

Almost every post is like this, wry and shallow, perfectly tailored for sale to a women's publication. Every post is about the same tedious length. Every post is full of neatly turned but empty phrases. Every post is cloaked in the same cultural identity-speak (urban hipster mommy). MEH.

I mean, this blog isn't terrible, awful or horrid. She has a deft turn of phrase. But, I don't love to hear her talk nearly as much as she loves to hear herself. Nor are we the sort of place to reward such endeavors.

Cute but shallow can suck my left tit. Thanks, but no thanks. I like real, even if it is harsh, gritty, depressing, and ugly.

But, I know real is hard to sell to the women's publications.

I give it:


  1. I think it's great to have some vocabulary in a blogger's material. . . but when it's THAT much, I just. . . want to take a nap.

    Like now.

    Good review. ;]

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The last time I heard the word receptacle, it followed the word a certain body fluid ghost keeps alluding to.

  4. In this case, I think dumpster would be a more apt term.

  5. The one-line openers with "clickthrus" are infuriating. If it weren't for the fact that I kind of like her design and tend to enjoy wordy people in love with their own voice, I would never have clicked for more.

    And now that I have, you're right: it's all articles, which I guess isn't necessarily bad, but it's banal.

    I can see where I'd probably like her if she started getting a little real and less commercial.

  6. Thanny: You're referring to semen, aren't you?

    LB: didn't like this blog?

  7. I'm just jealous that you got to meet Gwen. :)

  8. Ghost : Indeed, good sir.

  9. Thanatos: Well played, friend.

    I think the Hooker and I need to fire up the old blog-o-matic and let everyone know what we've been up to the last seven days.

  10. Thanks, but I already have enough semen adventures in my real life. Yes, I got to meet Gwen, and she is fucking awesome. And, yeah, banal is precisely the right word for today's blog.

  11. Key: It was the sort of thing you'd read in your doctor's waiting room, and not feel bad about leaving behind after your STD checkup.

  12. Yeah, the doctors really don't like it when I'm all "Hey! Look at this shit! You have to look at my cock! Look at it!" Yeah, most uncomfortable visit to the clinic ever.

  13. The Meritocrat6/29/2009 4:36 PM

    Most recent post, first few lines:

    "I thought I was intelligent.

    Until I tired the new networking site for intelligent people..."

    Tried, I think. Tried.

    We all make typos but surely not when proclaiming our intelligence.

    Unless it is a sophisticated joke about her intelligence. Poking fun at herself, but I doubt it.

  14. I'd poke fun at myself if fun wasn't so sharp.

    And obviously I'm not today.

    I can't even believe I just typed that.

    I hate myself.

  15. I know quite a few bloggers who aren't so much winsome but warped.

  16. I actually do like this blog and I think the spirit behind it is good. But it does get a little...wordy. If something is too complicated then I just don't have the time to invest in it. I always chalked that up to me being not intellectual enough to really grasp the author's brilliance. I see million dollar words and am instantly impressed.

    Great review. It was so great to finally meet you in the flesh. I don't take a compliment all that well, as you know, but I appreciate that you think I'm lovely and talented. You are truly beautiful and awesome, and I'm still thinking about your boobs. Because they're that sexy.

    Zen Mom - That's sweet of you. If you're ever in Philly, look me up. I would love to meet you too!

  17. Trying to stay awake for a few more hours so jet lag doesn't ruin me tomorrow -- but Rattle Tat isn't helping. On the other hand, I do have two weeks worth of AASYR to catch up on--much more enjoyable than unpacking and laundry.

  18. Gwen: I am going to be in Philly in 2011...I think! Let's make dinner plans now, because I am completely jealous that you and LB met.
    LB: WHere do you live? I will plan a trip there in 2011 as well.
    And now I feel all internet weirdo stalker-y creepy, so nevermind. Ewww.

    Should I just keep typing to avoid the fact that I'm not even going to click over to that blog?

  19. Mongo, if you go visit LB you can kill two birds with one stone. Me being the other bird getting killed. Wow, that sounds bad.

  20. Is it wrong that the most significant thought I have about this blog and its review is, "LB and Gwen were having dinner together and I wasn't there? Crap."

    (Also? She should learn how to post to the root of her blog... all those clickthroughs are to a different sub-domain. Not all posts are setup like that, just some.

    Also also? When the first time a post runs is still on the homepage, it's a little soon for a repost, especially without indicating as much - "mind the gap".

  21. Re-post, we can do that? How long do you have to wait?

  22. Yeah, I didn't know we could re-post. I have some undiscovered gems in my archives I could put up when I'm struggling to write something new. Well, maybe not gems, but certainly undiscovered.

    Mongo Girl - 2011 is a long time for me to wait. But you know it will give me something to live for. If you promise to make me pumpkin muffins and get drunk with me.

    Sci Fi Dad - You really should have been there. We drank Margaritas and had lively conversation. LB is spectacular.

  23. Hey, kids, wanna watch some Ghost on Hooker action? Go check our blogs.

  24. Gwen is more spectacular. She's so tiny and cute and blond!


Grow a pair.