Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Parenting Blogs Are Like Sitcoms, But I Need More Dimension


Dear Bloggers,

This is Rassles. I would like to apologize for the lateness of this review, but I currently do not have internet in my shitty apartment because the guy I scammed it from moved to South Carolina, so I've been writing this during my lunch breaks. Okay, and yesterday I took a three hour lunch break because I am devoted to you all, and because I am sick of working. Game on.

Let’s get one fucking thing straight: I probably don’t give a shit about your fucking kids. If I did, I would read their blogs.

But if you must write about your kids, and you have every right to do so, force me to care. These are the most important people in your lives, so fucking make it count. Be Studs Terkel or Ira Glass for your blog and give your children words that justify your adoration, give them quirks and vices that mean something to you, make your love for that little beast a main character in this tesseract of drama and sippy cups and diapers and parenting and bullshit. Most children do the same silly crap, and the fun in reading this stuff is learning how you see your child.

Embarrass yourself, because your devotion to them is more important than personal pride. Perceive and accept your own temporary insanity when you get that blinding excitement because your child like, does stuff.

Do it for me. Do it for your readers. Do it for your sticky children. Blogging parents usually don’t understand this. Oh sure, they say they get it. But they don’t. They speak in cliché’s and recite Hallmark cards (Oh, my child lights up my life and he’s the greatest gift God has ever given me and I am so very thankful for this journey called life that we are traveling together) instead of actually writing something meaningful.

Baff. You make me baff. Not like a drunken secret hand-baff, where you just swallow it right back up again. I'm talking like, ruined shoes baffing.

Blogs are interdimensional – I want your goal to be five. Five dimensions. Point, line, cube, gravity, time. That’s what we’re trying to hit here, people.

Point: You have to start somewhere.
Line: Connect your points.
Cube: Start adding corners (quirks and vices, for example).
Gravity: Your corners are connected, now pull. Fill them with something. Some corners are dirty, some are exposed, some are wrong turns, some bring about self-awareness. Some are scary-ass cliffs, some are fun, swervy curves, but all of them are a part of you.
Time: This is the hardest one, because people don't understand that it's cyclical. They don't think about the velocity of their words, about navigation and history. Your blog should be a maze of personality. It represents YOU, for chrissake. Everyone believes they are unique. Fucking prove it.

Just so you know, Daddy Files, I’m using some of your blog as a decent example. You are doing it right half of the time, even though I feel like you're gunning for a family sitcom. You've mastered the cube, and sometimes you have gravity and time, but usually? It's just the cube. Still, your child is a person to me, not another zombie brat.

You're unafraid to voice your opinions, and although I love that you have an opinion in the first place that isn't just a rehash of something you've read, sometimes that shit gets a little bit tedious. I think, in those posts, you're trying to be controversial, the way you start on the offensive and punch with conviction, but they just don't ring true for me. I kind of glazed over them. Like plain Munchkins.

I don't care for straight up opinion in my stories. I prefer artful narrative propaganda.

Also, any post that mentions Tiger Woods I skip on principle.

Technically, your writing is flawless. At first, you are careful, with slight, thoughtful humor. In reference to your early posts, I wrote this: Dude, I am sure you have a tirade lurching around inside of you somewhere, and you're straining to hold it back. WHY ARE YOU SO INHIBITED? I was bored. I was all set on Abercrombie-rating the fuck out of you.

But then summer 2009, you start spinning things around. You get a little feisty. Things don't vary in topic, just tone. You unshackled one manacle, but you still have one more.

I want to see you hurt, Johnny-Cash-covers-Trent-Reznor fucking HURT. You hide that, pretending it doesn't exist or shifting the blame onto something else, because you're afraid of...I don't know what you're afraid of. Public vulnerability? You follow the trend of aggressively berating things that should make you feel shame but are a secret source of pride (you can't hide it from me, I fucking invented that tactic). You never just soul-out. Which is fine, it takes time. I'm just letting you know I can see through you.

Template is fine, I guess. A little Aryan Nation, but fitting (I don't mean you're a neo-Nazi, but it's just...you know...OMG LOOK AT MY PEACHY BLONDE FUCKING ADORABLE SON POINTING AT SOMETHING). Your archives drove me fucking bitchcrazy, with the whole "one post per page" at a time thing. Your Twitter feed is just a black wordless box right now, which I strongly prefer to an actual Twitter feed. But the rest is fine and uninspiring.

So.

You write well. I've been reviewing seriously well-written blogs lately. In terms of sitcoms: The whole thing is a little Everybody Loves Raymond (and that show is hysterical sometimes, I don't care what anyone says), I prefer Roseanne or Arrested Development, but be careful: you're teetering into According to Jim territory.

I've used that before.

I wanted to give you three, but I just can't do it.






Because I feel like you're doing half of this just to be cool.


20 comments:

  1. Thanks Rassles. For both the good and the bad parts that made me wince because they are true.

    I'm glad you mentioned summer 2009 as a turning point. It's easily explained. That blog started out on my newspaper's Web site. And because I need to maintain objectivity as a journalist, I couldn't write my opinions on anything even remotely controversial and everything had to stay very PG. But eventually I got very tired of tip-toeing around and being so vanilla, so I branched out and got my own site (which is run by my brother since I'm technologically inept).

    It was actually a bona fide scandal at work because the paper viewed my blog as their property, and I disagreed because I did it in my spare time and for no extra pay. Even now that I'm on my own I still can't write about politics or anything else that could impact my impartiality.

    I disagree with the poseur badge but I also see why you'd think that. I've taken a lot of crap regarding the blog and it's crept into my professional life at times. So every time I let loose with a tirade I always feel like I'm about to be called into the principal's office, so I usually follow up with something lame and trite that won't rub people the wrong way.

    What can I say? I need my job.

    In the end I'll take your advice and my three stars for which I'm grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You should start a secret blog. I would read it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I actually tried for a bit, but it didn't work at all. To do what I want to do, I have to be out there and up front. Otherwise it just doesn't work for me. But I appreciate the vote of confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been reading Daddy Files sporadically for a while now, and more consistently of late. I like him quite a bit. Like Rassles, I'm not big on kids, stories about kids or pictures of kids...but his doesn't bug me.

    As for getting into the hurt, I think the post about money and mortgages must've hurt a lot.

    I'm adding him to my reader.

    ReplyDelete
  5. ¨Johnny-Cash-covers-Trent-Reznor fucking HURT¨

    Rassles, where do you come up with this stuff?

    As to Daddy files, I agree with the need to go anonymous. It worked wonders for me. Wait a minute, no it didn´t. I hardly ever even post anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. HIF, there was a smidge in there - but I want something radical. That post actually kinda pissed me off, since I've been a paycheck-to-paycheck girl for, well, always. OWNING a place? I don't own a microwave.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Microwaves are seriously over-rated. If you can only own one kitchen appliance (not counting coffee maker), make it a $15 immersion blender from Target.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I DO have a magic bullet though, which was the best Christmas present EVER.

    (the blender, you sick bastards)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Before I read you the parentheses I was wondering who the hell got you a magic bullet for Christmas.

    I'm in need of a magic bullet.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't write about my kids cuz what people don't understand is your kids are only interesting to you, i give fuck all about someone else's, shit is it cool if i talk about the fact that sometimes i might wanna shotgun beers and chew up valium at 7am cuz they are making me fucking crazy, followed by a lunch of two bumps of smack, another shotgunned beer and half a pack of cigarettes, i mean that doesn't make me a bad parent and all does it?

    ReplyDelete
  11. My boyfriend has a Magic Bullet. He lets me play with it sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Um, I'll may get stabbed for this, bit whatever. I haven't read his blog, and never will - anything that has parentage stamped on it is blocked from my browser... But from what I've seen of him here, I'm not a big fan. He reminds me of those spandex clad soft spoken fathers in Whole foods who buy organic salmon and low sodium soy sauce while their kids bump into my knees screaming bloody murder.

    You have a sanctomious tone that gets me all riled up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have a sanctimonious tone? The person who admits he hasn't read the blog under review but feels obligated to comment on something he admittedly has no clue about, is calling me sanctimonious?

    Just checking.

    I've also never been in a Whole Foods (or even a Trader Joe's for that matter) and my son has manners drilled into him everyday.

    But by all means, keep spewing forth your opinion without having perused the subject matter first. And please continue to bash all parenting blogs even though many of them (and certainly all the good ones) only use family life as one thread of many they use to weave their posts together.

    But at least you're riled up. I'd be more upset if you were merely indifferent.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Awww, did someone say something mean on the internet and hurt daddy's feelings?

    I have no clue about your blog, yes, but I've seen plenty of you around these parts to form an informed opinion. Read what I said the last time again and again till it makes sense. Here, I'll paste it again in case you missed it

    But from what I've seen of him here, I'm not a big fan.

    I've been tuning that shit out for last few months for all see when you speak is "blah blah blah" - your first comment in this post being prime example. Usually, it's your opinion about someone's blog, what do I care? This is your review after all, and what better place to state I find you to be a smug asshole? You're welcome.

    And no, screw all you parenting blogs - I've seen enough to know I have no interest in you or your precious progeny. I don't buy this silly premise of parenting being one aspect of life. Once the kid drops all the charmed parents talk about baby puke and shit. There's only 2 parenting themed sites I visit, and they both write like fuckin' beasts - don't see that in you champ.

    ReplyDelete
  15. From a cursory reading of your blog, Than, it appears you have no interest in anything that isn't about you. And while I'm not the best writer out there, I have no problem putting my stuff up against yours.

    I'll take being an asshole over a self-indulgent know-it-all any day of the week.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Newsflash asshole : having a blog is being self-indulgent. You're not doing the world a favor by writing whatever it is you're blogging about.

    I don't question your writing (your commnts here suggest it'll be dull and uninspiring), I'm not the reviewer, I just don't give a shit about what your blog has to say. I hope to die on a bed of rusty nails before my writing is compared to someone called "daddy" files.

    ReplyDelete
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  18. Yeah Thanatos. Because no one who takes pride in being a parent could ever have anything worthwhile to say right? But if you name yourself after the Greek god of war you must be so deep and hip and cool. What was I ever thinking trying to rebut the sage words you offered up on these pages?

    Notice that Rassles kinda tore me a new one. And other people who I respect have also been critical. And that's OK. I don't agree with it all but I listen to what they have to say. But when you come on a review site and comment on a blog review that fully intend never to look at, you just make yourself sound like an idiot.

    But maybe you're used to that.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The irony here is that you are 2 clicks away from finding out why my handle is Thanatos, and yet you berate me for not reading your precious blog.

    So you're now a sanctimonious, idiotic (your contribution - thanks!), smug asshole. This has certainly been an educative morning.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Alright, I'm done. It's pointless arguing with someone who has nothing of consequence to say.

    Keep at it if you'd like, but you'll be all by yourself. Which, I'm guessing by your bowel movement of a personality, is something you're also used to.

    ReplyDelete

Grow a pair.