Guest review today by Mongolian Girl.
When Hellbilly and I were first dating, we hung out at my house a lot. In the beginning I kept many things hidden from him. Mostly the things in my kitchen, pantry and my fridge. No, I don't keep my Black & Decker Power Pecker collection in the kitchen; that is kept in a colorful Easter basket in the bedroom closet. I didn't want Hellbilly to see the way my kitchen items were organized. Spices all faced forward and were in alphabetical order, refrigerated items all faced forward and were kept in like categories, and having more than two kitchen towels in use at the same time was highly disturbing to me.
One night I finally decided to reveal the truth of my kitchen to him, "I want you to see the stuff in my kitchen pantry and the fridge," I said, then led him to the kitchen, opened the doors to the fridge and pantry, and stood back and watched him 'oooh' and 'ahhhh' over the tidily organized, facing forward, alphabetized items.
When he finally pulled his head out of the pantry he turned toward me with a strange look on his face and said...
Don't worry Askers, I'll get to that later.
The first thing I want you to know is that Jay is fucking hilarious. I mean, I've read some funny shit on the internet, but rarely do I come across a writer who is consistently so funny that I wish they had been a life-long friend. I am not kidding when I tell you I wish I met Jay in first grade or something and had been entertained by him ever since.
His humor is not forced or contrived. It seems completely natural when he writes of a giant spider as something "You would beat to death with your mother if that's what it took," or watching Carmen Diaz in the movie 'In Her Shoes' and then writing, "Her portrayal of a functionally illiterate alcoholic whore was shockingly dead on, almost as if she had been preparing for it her whole life."
He made up a 'pink taco' rating system for chick flicks he forced himself to watch during the entire month of May, and takes a boring old 'My best friend barfed in a bar' experience and turns it into something I wish I had been there to witness.
He even gets away with posting about Craigslist (something that normally makes me want to shove a very sharp pencil into the ear canals of bloggers who try it) by recounting a story of having communicated with a photographer about taking pictures of the events of the fictional 'Furry Fandom & Fantasy' club. Read it for yourself. Yes it's long, but Jay carries it off so well that I even found myself wishing he had responded to our ad on Craigslist for free horse manure with some kind of contrived story about needing a trailer full for some kind of feces fetish club meeting.
(No, no you don't have to start going on and on about the fact that Hellbilly and I actually would take a trailer full of horse shit to some fetish club meeting and watch them slather it all over their nekkid bodies.)
Let's get back to that story about my fucked up facing-forward-alphabetized kitchen, shall we?
When Hellbilly finally pulled his head out of the pantry he turned to me and said,
"Um, that's just straight up fuckin' scary."
And he was right.
Yeah, finding a kitchen full of alphabetized, facing forward items is fascinating and even funny at first. But it's also scary because it was one of the strange ways I had been compensating for the fact that my life had been completely out of control in the years before I met Hellbilly. I had been in a horrible marriage, moved three times in two years, and had been dealing with a bizarre and vicious legal battle with some of my own family members. Being obsessively organized was a busy, albeit ineffective, way to control something in the middle of a bunch of shit that was out of control.
I kept feeling like something like that was going on with Jay's blog. Yes, I kept admiring his writing, his humor and his made up Craigslist character and pink taco rating system. But I also kept having a gnawing feeling that something was going on. Something was 'off' or 'underneath' or....
...and then I found this, and this, and this.
These posts all contain Jay's great writing and sense of humor, but something was causing him to to use those natural abilities to degrade others. It was a classic case of going for the low hanging fruit. There is a tinge of making fun of victims of domestic violence. Instead of being curious and fascinated by a crazy old story teller on a bus, he turns him into a worthless and smelly waste of space. And *gasp* he makes fun of those of us from the south, which, of course, makes me want to go all southern on his ass by lathering his backside up with an extra special personal lubricant we like to call 'Ass Jack', and then letting a few of our neighbors assist him by helping him become stump broke.
But you know all of this, don't you Jay? You actually state you have a policy of 'non-transparency' on your blog, but then get clear about this.
Throughout your blog you also slide in little one liners about dealing with 'mama drama', alcoholism, having financial stress, something like 42 different jobs, a wife and three children. At first I thought you might be one of those bloggers who doesn't get into things you consider too personal or too 'past', but then I realized you link to your wife's blog, and she says it all.
You have this about wanting to achieve balance, but it is something that makes me think of that thing people say when someone isn't fully in touch with their heart or guts:
"You are living from the neck up."
You even titled your blogroll 'mental crushes' and decided this (www.geniuspending.com/2008/10/your-turn.html) was the only information you really wanted to know about your fellow bloggers.
One of the challenges given to me when my blog was reviewed (by Miss Missives, whose leg I am still planning to dry hump) was to, once a month, choose a topic I was afraid to write about and do it anyway.
Yeah, some of the crap that has come out of that challenge has been painful, but getting rid of it has also lightened the load and, if I do say so myself, made my writing and sense of humor even better.
Maybe that would help, because I would hate to see you keep your policy of 'non-transparency' and keep dipping into that crappy territory of using your talents to, even slightly, degrade another person or class of people. You just don't seem like that kind of guy.
Yes, I read your post about how you think part of the reason people blog is to gain readers. That may be true, but is that really why you are blogging? I don't think so. I think you know you have talent and humor falling out of your ass and it's time to get busy with whatever it is that is getting in the way of it from time to time. Bottom line, I think you will end up more disappointed if you use your natural talent to degrade others than you will if you never end up with a huge amount of readers.
Having an 'About Me' page would also help. Actually, it's a must. Otherwise you don't give us a place to start. I also think your sidebar is crap. So you Tumblelog, Twitter, Facebook, have a reader and a Picasa Album. Whoop-tee. Whatever. It's just too much, especially when it's slapped into the middle of your polls, tags, followers, recent comments, 'seen elsewhere' thingy, and popular post. Jesus Harold Christ on a rubber crutch, Jay? What the hell is going on over there? Get rid of some of that shit or, at the very least, just make a whole page for most of it to get it off of the front of your blog.
1. Figure out how to make a decent (i.e.. less than 10 fucking minutes and contstantly interesting) vlog here.
2. Examine using a brilliant sense of humor without degrading others here.
Take a lesson in dumping the rough stuff here.
I really do.
But this and this is what I'm going to haunt your comments section with for the rest of my wicked life if you don't get to whatever the hell it is that has that lame ass degrading bullshit seeping out of your system from time to time.