Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Happy Families

Dammit. Seems as though perhaps this blogger actually didn't request a review. So the darts and laurels, while apt, may be unsanctioned. Sigh. Stay tuned. 

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Right, well I've taken down the links and identifying characteristics in this post to protect the innocent. The blogger has been awfully gracious about this mix up, so apologies to her for the un-asked for reaming. 

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I like hippies. You probably wouldn't know that to look at me, what with my professional attire and fastidious grooming habits. Though I own several pairs of Birks, there's not a flowy skirt or artsy messenger bag made of hemp in my closet. I hardly even recycle. But the hippie philosophy and lifestyle is interesting and attractive to me in some ways. I'm down with being green, peaceful, accepting, alternative, global, and friendly to plants bearing red hairs and crystals. If I weren't so lazy and greedy and averse to vegetarianism, I'd be a fairly decent hippie. Well, no, maybe not; but I'm a sympathizer, a sideliner, a champion of hippieness.

Except when it gets as preachy and holier-than-thou as the local Bible thumpers at a tent revival, where speaking in organic is akin to speaking in tongues. I tend to agree with the Greeks: moderation in all things. [Redacted], my reviewee, is a kind of extremist mother hippie with very definite ideas about parenting and child-rearing and birthing and holistic living, which are all well and good except kind of fanatical.

Her blog has a pretty design, although she doesn't need three columns. No one needs three columns. And I was a three column culprit once upon a time! Paxye, get rid of the recent posts and comments, roll up your categories, move your archives, and drop it back to two columns. You'll thank me. Think about tabs instead of the links at the bottom of the page -- best to have those options right up where we can get to them.

Now. The content. Look, I get it. Kids are important. They are, as Whitney so gloriously proclaimed before she discovered that crack is whack, our future. But I don't have kids. I don't want kids. The cult of the baby is completely beyond me and quite frankly a little distasteful. If I had little Mini Me offspring I might feel differently, I grant you, but basically the industry and focus and obsession with tots is, for me, weird. I spent several bewildering hours last Friday listening in on the mothers of young children and it was like hearing about a well-tended garden when I have a black thumb.

And this blog is devoted entirely to parenting, babies, birthing, "unschooling" (don't ask me), child development, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and any number of other bits of parenthood and family making that I just can't get into. She's all about "alternative parenting," which I find both ridiculous and inspiring, depending on the topic. There are things with which I agree and others I find frankly disturbing. But this isn't about judging her parenting habits or philosophies (a task for which I feel woefully unprepared and yet strangely inspired to perform), it's about judging her blog.

To that end, her blog is one of those here's what we did today types, which I really don't give a flip about. Add in some thinly veiled lifestyle smugness and a crusading atmosphere, and you've just completely lost me. Her 100 things talks about a lot of things that will really offend her: hello, off-putting. There is ellipses overkill, my particular bugaboo. And I get the sense that she has very little humor, silliness, ribaldry, or inappropriate behavior in her life, which is disappointing. Perhaps that's just what she's presenting here, but that's all I've got to go on. It's all peace and happy families and art projects, none of which are bad things, they're just not all that interesting, especially how she writes about them.

Now, let's get to that: the writing. There is no artistry or craft in posting something like this or this stupendously boring post. I'm guessing she doesn't edit or review or experience her writing. This isn't writing, it's typing. People who share her parenting views might get a lot out of this blog, but they could get so much more if she'd tighten up her writing and tell a story instead of enumerating what she and the kids and sometimes her husband did each day. And then there's that -- there's not a lot of writing about the hubs in this blog, which seems curious.

Plus there are recipes with, like, vegetables. I ask you. Where's the bacon? Where's the booze? Where's the SEX?! And, more importantly, where's the weed? I mean, "hippie" is right there in the title; I expect some herb.

In all seriousness, though, we talk so often about what makes a good blog: having a unique voice, being an outstanding writer, or being a hot mess. Paxye, you're not giving us any of these things. The writing isn't enough to keep me interested, the subject is totally outside the realm of my experience, and there's no dirt to speak of -- so, you've lost me.

What you have going for you are some cute kids and really nice photos, a niche audience, and a willingness and commitment to write frequently. If you want to gain other readers, get off the kid train and tell us something else about your life. If you want to better serve your target readers, pay attention to the words you put on the screen, edit yourself, post things that are relevant, meaningful, and above all well-constructed. Never use another ellipsis again, capitalize things that should be capitalized, pay attention to grammar and structure, refrain from telling us your weekly schedule unless you can make it interesting or informative or funny, and for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (in whom you do not believe -- for shame) don't post for the sake of posting.

49 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I can't stand it that there's little distinction between hippies and vagrants these days. Hippies made woodstock happen. These bums beg for dollars.

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  3. There was no spanging going on in this blog, Than. Get it right!

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  4. Dang, I wasn't talking about her, I hadn't even seen her blog yet (great review by the way). I was referring to the dirtbags I see in Boulder, CO.

    "hippie with a minivan" - these kinds are rare.

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  5. Vivian VonDoom6/02/2009 1:11 PM

    Just reading her 100's thing list made me dislike this blog, strongly.

    I'm a little anti-judgmental at the moment, which makes me a complete hypocrite.

    That's okay, I'll take that.

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  6. Yeah, that 100 things is not exactly "pull up a chair and stay a while" for me.

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  7. Ok. I loved breastfeeding and all, but this woman breastfed her son until he "weaned himself" when he was almost 5. What the fuck?

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  8. I have to admit that I loved all her pictures of food. But I think it's because I'm so hungry right now. My arm is starting to look good to me.

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  9. The pictures were nice. Even the one with the half a nipple.

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  10. I love the idea of eliminating the self-serving, authoritative aspect of teaching. Really. I would be more inclined to appreciate public schools if I trusted teachers more. But, alas, I don't. Which is a shame, because I value the teaching profession more than almost any other, I just don't get along with teachers.

    I am conflicted.

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  11. Breastfeeding until almost 5 creeped me out too. I used to have a friend who did this. I say used to because it freaked me out when her son would stop what he was doing, run up to her, ask to be fed and she would whip it out. I had to stop hanging out with her because she had 3 more boys after that and this is going to go on for years.

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  12. My sister nursed both her kids well past three years, so while I find it odd, it doesn't give me the same heebee jeebees I'm sure it gives some people.

    As for the rest? Honestly, in one breath she's lamenting about intolerance for homeschooling in Quebec, and in the next she's listing the things she is intolerant of (like non-breastfeeding moms).

    You want to teach your kids something useful? Teach them to accept everyone, not just those who think like you and/or share a commune with you (item 19).

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  13. I had a friend who was fucking a young mother that breastfed her son until he was at least four. She also brought him over to poker nights and would sit there breastfeeding while we were drinking and smoking and playing cards.

    We did not like her. But stayed with her for nearly a year.

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  14. "But HE stayed with her"

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  15. So he stayed until the milk went dry?

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  16. SFD, I thought the exact same fucking thing.

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  17. Aren't hippies all about universal tolerance, man?

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  18. Thanatos: Although not a hippie myself, that is my understanding.

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  19. The breastfeeding thing is cultural, so I can get beyond the weirdness of it - hey, I don't think it's BAD for the kid to breastfeed at 4 years old. It certainly is odd to me, but hey, certainly there must be benefits, right? Either that or the sole purpose is for shock value, wherein you can give a sermon about breastfeeding and cultural intolerance when people show disapproval or wonder at a four year old suckin teet. Where I live, I've hardly ever seen a woman breastfeeding in public. Hell, I've barely even seen it in a private family situation here.

    I don't like people pushing shit on me, that's why I left the evangelical community as soon as I turned 18. This, sounds to me like the same dame thing with a different name.

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  20. There really are adults who breastfeed, it's some kind of weird sexual thing.

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  21. check this shit out

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21805283-663,00.html

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  22. When I worked at the video store I was amazed at the number of folks who wanted to rent the lactation porn. They often had "squirt" in the title, which was charming. Of course I guess you can say that about many genres of porn. Squirt.

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  23. Hold the phone. This may not be a legitimate review. Seems the reviewee may not have asked for it.

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  24. So we got all angry for nothing? Pass the roach, man.

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  25. All that work for nuthin'! Ah well.

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  26. Nothing wrong with older breastfeeding.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8orUaCJ0GY

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  27. In Canada, where I live, all kinds of p0rn can be bought and sold EXCEPT if it depicts lactation. I met one of the guys at Customs whose government job it is to watch imported p0rn all day, to make sure there is no lactation.

    He told me that after about 3 days there was nothing sexy about his job. In fact, he saw too many things that turned his stomach to enjoy the bits that didn't.

    There is one other thing that's not allowed, either, but I can't remember what it is.

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  28. Colleen, what does Canada have against mothers?

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  29. Xbox - GOOD. GOD. That was funny.

    I think the fact that we've managed to discuss breastfeeding as something sexual may be one of the most annoying things we can do to this blogger.

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  30. YouTube 'Little Britain' & ' bitty'.

    They did several sketches.

    I'm heading for 32 and have no intention of weaning.

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  31. I breastfed my daughter for a year and a half and she didn't want to stop but at some point I just HAD to. She still talks about it and how she misses it and she's almost 4. I heard that breast milk has a morphine like substance in it. I guess that's why she still craves it. I don't mean to sound judgmental about nursing a 5 year old. To each his own, I suppose. It does strike me as really odd and pointless. 5 year olds can eat regular food. Why breast feed?

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  32. Calamity, it beats the hell out of me! Just some dumbass rule, I guess.

    This prohibition is strictly in a pornographic context, you understand. New mums can watch 'how-to' videos and breastfeed in public places. Which makes the rule even more dumbass.

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  33. Damn, I guess we can't hate on her maverick breastfeeding views anymore. Well, Xbox isn't hating. He's a strong advocate, if you will.

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  34. I can see the benefits to the left and the right of the argument, so to speak.

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  35. I wasn't breastfed and look how well I turned out.

    Wait... that might not have been the best argument.

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  36. never too late to start.

    bring a camera.

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  37. I think I can add lactation play to my lean folder marked "Sexual Things Not to Try." This folder includes such things as pony play and hot lunches and letting him wear my panties.

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  38. Pony play? Is that the same as horseplay? Like, No Horseplaying In The Pool? Or is that...oh wait. Nevermind.

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  39. Cal, I think my folder on "Sexual things I didn't know could possibly be sexual" is much bigger than my folder on "Sexual things not to try".

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  40. I'm ok with horseplay. Pony play is... different. Think bridles and tails and riders and footwear that resembles hooves. And whinnying.

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  41. I've "heard" of dinosaur on car porn.

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  42. "a task for which I feel woefully unprepared and yet strangely inspired to perform"

    I feel similarly inpsired on a daily basis about all kinds of things.

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  43. Cal: I once attended a function called "Spirit Quest".
    Unfortunately, the maker of the t-shirt spelled it "SPIRT Quest" and the entire weekend was, well, entirely changed.
    What's an oversexed, yet prayerful, ho gonna do?

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  44. "What's an oversexed, yet prayerful, ho gonna do?"

    I'm placing that on my business cards.

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  45. ok, so I am a little late on reading this post and all the links have been taken down. Now I have to see this to believe it. Someone please send a link to me:
    rushfordmm@aol.com

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  46. It's unfortunate she didn't actually want this to be judged. I'm all sorts of curious now and want to read some of her blog. I like much of the things you mentioned, but at the same time. Im in search of good shit to read not shit i already know.

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Grow a pair.