Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Lighter Side Order of Pseudo Tween Angst

Is it just me or has there been a distinct whiff of curry about the place lately? Sorry, not appropriate? Well too bloody bad - RedPen Reaper is here. I may be an Ask and Ye Shall Receive reviewing virgin but being an asshole? I popped that cherry a long time ago. Now that the pleasantries are out of the way; my pen is uncapped so let us begin.

Today I am reviewing a blog from India belonging to a young lady by the name of Matangi Mawley who purports to be part of the technology industry. Since I am new here I am just going find my feet and lay it all out, starting with the thing that whacks you in the face first - the template. If a manga inspired tramp-stamp hippie vibe is your thing, it isn’t bad. But it isn’t mine so this, along with the font-fuckery, does my head in. This ‘prettiness’ is especially distracting when the colours chosen engage in a passive aggressive tango with the fading blue to white background.

Squinting at all of the lovely colours made me feel a bit drunk, which inspired me to invent a game with Ms. Mawley’s punctuation. I named it RedPen-must-take-a-lengthy-sip-of-the-alcoholic-beverage-at-hand-every-time -Ms.-Mawley-uses-an-exclamation-mark. She is not a heavy poster yet in a 2 post month there are enough exclamation marks to put me into a coma. I won’t put in a link – just go and pick any month in any year and you too can play. Just keep a spew bucket handy and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This exclamation mark orgy flows into her poetry. Yes. The P word. Though dare I say it, it isn’t all awful. This is cute but spoiled with too! many! of! these! There is also an overuse of the recently fashionable ellipsis. Why use them when a colon, a comma or even a colon of the semi variety will do? Ms. Mawley is only 22; definitely not crusty enough to have her sentences rambling into unfinished dotage.

Before I dig into the actual content I have one more whinge regarding her functional literacy. (Ha! Look at me pretending to be all expert-like. You buying it yet?) Potentially interesting stories are spoiled with an inability to format dialogue correctly which looks lazy. I am not getting too pedantic here (bugger it if I can remember if the punctuation goes on the inside or the outside of the quotation mark) but for the love of baby cheeses put each new speaker on a new line.

The content consists of the aforementioned poetry as well as short stories and soul searching. Most of it, while noble in intent, is airy-fairy. Ms. Mawley asks questions that are too big, and to my cluttered, uncultured and unenlightened mind, mean nothing. Often it is the minutiae of life that connects people but I can’t connect with her if I don’t know what the hell she is on about. What is going on here? Goddess of Sin? Goddess of What Drugs Are You On? But I can’t even take that jibe and stick with it because although she says she is 22, it is the most innocent 22 I have seen. It may be a cultural difference but even then couldn’t we get an angsty arranged marriage or something out of it?

Ms. Mawley needs to know that she is allowed to tell a story straight. While I applaud her experiments with format, her style verges on 10th grade academic emo. I did that course too. In 10th grade. This story was too choppy and didn’t get the time it needed to be meaningful and while this was quite nice, it started off vague and irritating. I want her to delve, get dirty and get that everything doesn’t have to end with a big tragic cliché. Is this a Bollywood plot device type deal? She says she is not a good daughter but offers no details. We need a pervy snapshot of this bad girl rather than all the grass is green, the sky is blue malarkey – although here she gives a little more oomph to the ‘big’ questions.

I don’t want to totally bash Ms. Mawley’s earnest spirit – she is due some props. She wrote some stuff that I was tempted to google to see if she had whacked it from somewhere else. This story was lyrical and lovely, and with a bit more work, this post could be masterful. I started to think ‘by god she has it in her!’ ... and then this happened. A talking table? This post caused me to ponder that while her English is generally faultless, there are some odd phrasings that hint at a lexicon that Western readers may find twee and trite. Regardless, that post received a nostril spraying of caffeine 39 comments. Oh, that sound you hear? That’s my blogging alter-ego surfacing its comment starved head. It has green eyes and is a monster.

In perusing her blog, Ms. Mawley took me on a journey which is inevitable for a thorough reviewer. From the ages of 18-22 this should have been a real, live bildungsroman. However there was no growth or dawning realisation; her journey is a meandering one, spending too much time inspecting belly-button fluff and looking at the unobtainable stars from start to unforeseeable finish. But I do appreciate a blog that gets me thinking and Ms Mawley did do that. I mulled over my shallow Westernised values and wondered if her subject matter and style is a new wave that I haven’t been exposed to; pseudo-tween? Perhaps her vision is purer and loftier than us Ask and Ye Shall Receiver muck-rakers are used to. Or it could be complete crap. Who am I to say from my culturally imperialist vantage point?

Call me a soft touch, but I am feeling more pokey red crayon than stabby red pen for my first review. I give Ms. Mawley 1 star for just being so darned idealistic! There you go. That exclamation mark was on the house.


  1. Indian Blogger Week at Ask is almost as bloody as Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

  2. It always smells of curry in here.

  3. Thanny, I'm pretty sure your scent glands were removed years ago.

  4. Also? Check your sp in the title of this post. Hint: rhymes with 'menudo'.

  5. I must have cut 'em out during my emo years.

    Key, you weren't kidding about being back eh? It's been like 2 days and there hasn't been a single joke about orifices and secretions. Are you feeling ok, man?

  6. Fuck. How embarrassing. PsEUdo. Meh. Put your hand up if you're perfect.

  7. Sorry, I don't take kindly to being 'meh'd'. Don't throw a wiffle ball on my fucking sacred ground. Title, really? This neighborhood has gone to shit.

  8. We should probably blame the title on me and not Reaper. I pay attention to shit, don't worry.

  9. I'm so good at paying attention to shit they put me in the Senate.

  10. Artist - not meh-ing you. Just meh-ing my obvious lack of editing skills. (and the 'you' was a general call out to anyone)

    But whew - I did spell it correctly in last para. I spent so much time angsting over the title that I had no energy left for proofing. This reviewing shit is harder than it looks.

    Why blame you Shiner? I'm the idiot who couldn't get my shit together.

    My God. Listen to all my whiny self justification for a mistype.

    Tell me Artist, was the rest of the review to your satisfaction or could you not get past the first offense to your sensibilities?

  11. I posted the damn thing. Fuck you. I feel like wallowing.

  12. But um, Reaper? I thought yer review was pretty.

  13. oh sorry. I didn't realise you were my editing bitch. Good to know for the future.

  14. Incidentally, her blog asks me to install/enable flash on my browser. WTF?

  15. 'angsty arranged marriage' - isn't that a tad racist????

    I went and had a look...does she know that she has received yet? Maybe she needs to be protected from the knowledge.

    I have always wondered though...what happens if someone else has nominated your blog?

  16. Typos aside I thought it was a pretty good review. Anything that introduces me to the word bildungsroman and the idea of a talking table is good shit. But I did kind of get the idea that the blogger was really 12....

  17. "How do I look to you"? asked Urmi, angrily.

    "As beautiful as ever", replied Parth, smiling!

    I don't know why but that last ! annoyed the hell out of me. it doesn't need to be there. Is he smiling emphatically? Angrily? Suggestively? Like a cow? I don't get it.

    She writes better in her other (Tamil) blog than here, although she uses way too many !s there too.

    You guys love the smell of curry in the morning.

  18. I'm getting old apparently. The 'psuedo' thingy really chapped my tail. Now that it has been corrected, I firmly (ha ha, I said firm) feel that this is a solid review. Anyone looking to buy cheap viagra?

  19. Couldn't be arsed to read the blog you reviewed beyond the first couple of sentences. It was total shite. I shall take your review as read. Dunno how you managed to read so much of it, guess the alcohol helped :)

  20. Arjun - don't get me wrong, I do love a bit of curry but bloody hell - it has been a non stop smorgasbord around here lately. You hit the nail on the head with the exclamation marks. I did read a post where she said she was starting her Tamil blog to practise it but I can't read that one, mono-lingual sad-sack that I am. I will take your word for it.

    MR - maybe she could come over and you could braid eachother's hair?

    Grumpy - racist my arse. Shhh and go chuck another shrimp on the barbie.

    Narrative Self - alcohol ALWAYS helps.

    Shiner - thanks for being my editing bi... uh, guru.

    Artist - chapped your tail? I expect that sort of comment from Johnny Raptor.

  21. [RedPen] Hey, I'm not saying you shouldn't complain about the relentless curryfest here. I'm getting sick of it myself. And now I see there's one scheduled for execution this week too. Oh, the schadenfreude!

  22. Red Pen: "it is the most innocent 22 I have seen. It may be a cultural difference but even then couldn’t we get an angsty arranged marriage or something out of it?"...hahaha...right?! As a curry gal myself, I expect some good 'n juicy angst, given our "restrictive" upbringings ;)

    and umm...The Artist Formerly Known As Keywork: I remember you!! Still blogging? Oh how you'd make me laugh; sorry I lost track!

  23. Well Romi it is like the more restrictive your upbringing the juicier your shit tends to be. I mean get a load of those catholic school girls......


Grow a pair.