Tuesday, March 09, 2010

In Which I Talk To a Dave Matthews Band Fan For the First Time!

People in the Sun

Brooke moved from the US to a penal colony called "Australia" because she found love. Now this is pretty much a perfect blog to review, because the writing is fun and everything else is horrendous, which means...

Hooray for constructive criticism!

So let's get to it:

What's a blog? Well, probably not a good name for a blog, for one. Not much we can do about that. Here's a start, though. While you and I are very different people in real life, blogging allows us to dig deeper and find the things that unite us. You know, the important stuff. While in real life, for example, I will never know a fan of Dave Matthews Band, and consider that name blasphemous, especially so soon after the death of a real musician (Mark Linkous Rest in Peace), blogging allows us to connect on another level, where musical tastes are meaningless.

So, the design. You need to move this blog away from the iWeb platform and onto a real blogging tool like Blogger or Wordpress, which will get rid of most of the annoyances. It's very easy. You will no longer have "Read More..." links that add one line to the post. You will no longer have a strange URL like http://www.whatsablog.com/whatsablog.com/home/home.html. I mean, I don't even know what's going on there. And you will have posts named after their titles, rather than after the caption for the pictures. Look, you like your blog enough to submit it here, so it's time to do get rid of the weird stuff. No big deal. I'm not angry or anything. But come on. COME ON!

Man... Sandra Bullock is making me cry. Goddamnit.

Where was I?

In your About page you say you love shocking pink. Now, I don't know what mental disability or childhood traumas make people like shocking pink, but you know everyone else hates it, right? I'm not saying people hate it like it's a quirk. If I see you chew gum with your mouth open I get a little annoyed. But if I see shocking pink on a blog I want to kill someone.

And as long as you're asking What's a blog, I can tell you it's no excuse to use i instead of I. Most likely, your response to that will be "That's MY style." Well, it's your style, and it's the style of many other bloggers who write annoying blogs with no capital letters, because HEY, it's the Internet, and it's our democratic right and duty to choose our style and do away with the Fascist capital letters. You know who writes with capital letters? The Man, that's who!

But that's just another example of the same problem. You don't hate your readers, so stop treating them like they're your enemy. Get rid of "Read More" links, use a real blogging tool. No more pink. Capital letters are there to help the reader. If they're not there, you shift the attention from the content of your writing to your style of writing. And why does your font turn bold when I click on individual posts? What's going on here?

And I'm saying all that because it's a damn shame. I like you and I like your husband with that perfect hair of his. I like it when you write, "and i said to the universe, ‘fuck you, universe’!" I think you're funny, you know? And honest.

But then you had to take it too far, didn't you? I like butts. Some of my best friends have butts, but it's a thin line between putting it out there and putting IT out there. It's okay if you decide to write three posts about a butt problem, but "i finally had the mother of all turds" is off-putting. To me. I mean, if you wrote that to test your readers, then I guess I failed. I failed to see brutal honesty in the pooping-blood stories, I was too conservative to get over the use of i, I failed to click on "Read more..." and I failed to appreciate the shocking pink.

But it's your job, as an intelligent writer, to ask yourself if the failure is not actually yours. Take your time. Your defense mechanism might dismiss this review. But then, go back and think about it all. Are you confusing brutal honesty with over-the-top poop-stories? See, you write about your pre-turning-30 feelings and mention a letter you wrote to your 30-year-old self when you were 20. Now, printing that letter on your blog would have been honest. Showing me your 30th birthday-party underwear is nice, don't get me wrong, but when you wake up from your hangover, maybe we should all reflect together. Let's read that letter, think what we did wrong and what we did right, think about our 20-year-old selves, and most importantly, rethink those underwear.

You get spray tanned. You like E! Channel. You read Perez Hilton and Dooce. You call your husband (who surfs, by the way. Yep), Hubs. You like Dave frickin' Matthews. We're different people is what I'm saying, Brooke. Yet we're the same. And your job is to show me that I'm right. Your job is to show me that even though on the surface we're different, our humanity unites us. I see your humanity when you write about offending your father, and I see our common bond when your husband is away and you write "it’s so damn quite in this house." But there are not enough posts like that, and when they're there, you quickly move on, as if you're afraid to come out as depressed. Living in Australia, you might appreciate this one: Nick Cave was asked in an interview why he left sunny Australia to live in dreary London, and he answered, "Because in London you're allowed to be depressed."

Honesty is not about poop-related injuries, but about writing to find the truth about yourself.

Because I want you to move to Blogger, I give you this button:

And because I love you and believe Your Truth is Out There, I give you


  1. The mother of all turds. And I thought it was going to be a post about the evil female who shat out Ann Coulter.
    No, scratch that. Evil has no mother.
    MEH - that is my entire experience of the reviewed blog. I feel motivated to think, do, consider not one damn thing after reading several posts.

  2. For some reason, I really really like her. To the point where I would probably subscribe to her blog if I hadn't already sporked out my eyes (gut template reaction)

  3. Fascist capital letters? Love it.

    This review was awesome, full of good advice and constructive criticism. The post on her dad was a good one to link, the idea of her getting other people to email him was funny.

    Well done, one of the best reviews I've read in awhile, nice to get someone who sucks in a tangible, fixable way with lots of goodness peeking through.

  4. This was an excellent, user-friendly review, and I hope she pays attention. Some bloggers, I literally wish they would disappear from the blogosphere. Others, like this chick, I just wish they'd do a better job with blogging.

  5. Awesome review.

    Psst - PITS - your blog template's completely broken on my filter laden work pc and slow as hell iPhone.

  6. Oh, thanks. I didn't know that. It's time for a change.

  7. Her husband is a hottie-patottie!

  8. The two of them look like they're brother and sister. Uber-whitey-white people. I hate to say it but initially, it's a bit off-putting.

  9. Thanks, Thanatos. Hope it works now.

  10. "Honesty is not about poop-related injuries, but about writing to find the truth about yourself."

    Nice. But what if your life-changing epiphany occurs after a rectum-wrecking bowel movement?

  11. I think that's how gravity was discovered.

  12. There's actually one blogger I read that only writes in lower case and for some reason she gets away with it - seems almost humble in a way. But I've never seen anyone else be able to pull it off.

  13. my response/defense to this thrashing is up:


  14. The comments on her already priceless "response" are hilarious.

    Hadn't visited this blog before, that shocking pink destroyed my eyesight while simultaneously reminding me of slutty girls in college.

  15. I think you offer some good constructive comments, but to tell you the truth, she is refreshing to read, honest in that she says things that others only think about. She is funny but not obnoxious. Everyone can use improvement. Everyone should read several of her blogs before deciding if you like it, not just judge from one. Its not easy living so far from one's home, so blogging is a way to keep in touch and i bet her ariends are happy to know what she's up to, with some exceptions!!!

  16. Here's the problem. Brooke wrote her post in the same way she writes her blog, which meant that even though she did take some things to heart, her post comes out as combative, even if it is in a lighthearted way. This means that even though I believe she really wished her readers added some criticism, her fake/fun-combative post meant all we get is the usual "How dare these people say anything about you! We love you" that you get every time anyone writes a post about a bad review.

    I can deal with Brooke's readers hating me, but I don't think that's what she had in mind when she wrote that post.

    And Jane, I agree that she's funny and not in an obnoxious way. And I agree that it's hard to live far away from home, because you lose the sense of home, and you lose the definition of home, and that feeling never leaves you. But do you get any of that from the blog? If the whole point of the blog is to update friends, she might as well stick with Facebook.


Grow a pair.