Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Ugly American Speaks

I am unabashedly American. Not in a jingoistic, patriotic sense, but in the stereotypical manner. I am overfed and under-exercised. I have too many TVs, computers and cars. I have too few…hmmmm….don’t think I have too few of anything because if there’s something I want, I go to the mall and buy it. My house is big and so is my ass.

But unlike most Americans, I have traveled quite a bit. Granted, the majority of my international travel has been to Europe, which is easy. However, a trip to Japan last year reminded me of what it really meant to be in a foreign land. In Europe I can fake it—thanks to a few years of Latin topped off by several semesters of French, I can decipher most anything in a romance language. But in Japan, I couldn’t even tell you the name of my hotel. It was daunting.

Aside from a few places in Africa, I can’t imagine a place more foreign than India. What I know of India comes from Kipling, Ghandi and Eat, Pray, Love. It’s not a place that’s high on my wish list of vacation spots. But then neither is North Dakota.

All that brings me to Kavitha Murali and her blog, Namesake. Please, for the love of Ganesha, why do I have the blog of a young Indian woman to review? Kavitha, you seem like a perfectly lovely young woman. You seem to have an energetic mind. So here’s a thought—why not open up the eastern branch of AAYSR? You could be queen of the realm and then all the Indian bloggers could be reviewed by their peers. I think the franchise price is low.

Because, dear Kavitha, as nice as you seem, I just don’t give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut hole about your blog. Equally, why do you give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut hole about my opinion about your blog? When you submit here, you roll the dice on which reviewer you get.

I’m sorry, but you got me. A small-town Southerner. About as far away from you as I am from the moon.

Your writing is fine. Like 90% of our submitters, you need to edit. When you write a post, check your word count. Then decrease it by 100. I promise you’ll have a better blog.

White type on a black background should be illegal as far as I’m concerned.

It’s the content that’s the problem. I read blogs from around the world. Good bloggers are storytellers. They grab my attention from the first sentence and keep it until the last. Dear Kavitha, you did neither.

Mundane. Mediocre. Middle of the road.

But, like I said: why do you care? Why do so many of your countrymen submit here? This is not a rhetorical question—I really want to know.

If your blog makes you happy, keep on writing.

In the meantime, I bestow a








I don’t hate you. I don’t love you. I just don’t care.

73 comments:

  1. If you ever do, HIF, become a 'jingoistic' American, I call dibs on being the first to be informed.

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  2. Oh, and how about that? How about an Eastern branch of AAYSR? Where did that one guy go? The East Indian attorney? What was his name? He did a few reviews here and was able to intimidate me a bit. ME!
    He could do it.
    The first person to convince him to do so will get 1 dozen pumpkin muffins and a promise of no personalized crow bar threats for a period of one year.

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  3. You ask some very pertinent questions dear HIF. I too would like answers to these.

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  4. MG--You're thinking of Mister Crawley. I think he got married and gave up his keyboard. But he probably has the answer to the question.
    RPR--You know, the day after I submitted this I emailed Shiner and told her I had reviewer's remorse because I felt like I'd been too harsh. But I truly would like to know what's in the subcontinent's collective blogging psyche that seeks approval from AAYSR.

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  5. I don't think it really matters what continent they're on, as long as the blog is in a language we can read.

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  6. I mean, personally I read a bunch of Indian bloggers. But HIF, you've got the gist exactly right: good bloggers are storytellers.

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  7. And I miss Crow! Where is he? He always gave me a fucking namedrop in his reviews, and I'd be all, "Fuck YES I'm the standard for which all bloggers should be measured."

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  8. Oh, I meant to namedrop you, Rass, and I completely forgot. You should work out a deal with Shiner whereby she inserts your name into every post.

    So, did anyone actually click onto the blog in question? I'd love to know if anyone makes it through more than three entries.

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  9. Thanks for the review. Asked for it, got it.

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  10. Kavity--can you shed any light on the questions raised in the review?

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  11. That's right - Mr. Crawly. Where the hell is he?

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  12. I think it's because you review 1 Indian blog, everyone on his/her blogroll submit without really understanding what happens here. Also, this.

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  13. I'd totally bang that demon chick from Ugly Americans.

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  14. Raptor--I'll let her know you're available.

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  15. I gotta tell you, looking over my figures I don't see India as being any less competent in blogging than their American counterparts. Suckage is globalized.

    And I fucking love Mr. Crowley. He's getting ready for his honeymoon.

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  16. Madame--My question isn't about quality, it's quantity. I just wonder why so many submissions are from India as opposed to other English-speaking places. How many Austrailian blogs have been reviewed here? (Nutjobber--as resident statistician, can you get on that?)

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  17. Did anyone even read my last comment? It's a networking thing. The only group of yanks that networks as much as we do is Camp Mommy blogger. Which is why you'll see a pile of Indian blogs followed by stack of brightly colored confetti adorned blogs. Guess you won't get it if you don't belong to either group.

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  18. I love the idea of opening AAYSR branches! Like fucking rolling doughnuts! Woohoo! I mean Yeehaw!

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  19. ps - love the review, HIF. Catchy. Succinct. Right on.

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  20. Okay, we need to find a way to bust into the network of Hot Male Bloggers That Are Good At Doing It. And Writing.

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  21. Wait - revision.

    Put a "Single" before that network title.

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  22. Look, Rass, I offered to allow you to use my husband as your "First Husband" when you're President of the United States. What more do you want?

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  23. G'day mate, shrimp on the barbie etc etc

    I was the last Aussie that was reviewed and that was in June of this year.

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  24. No. I want to be Queen. And all the little bloggers who didn't think I could do it will be my gladiators.

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  25. Do you know how hard it is to floss if you have claws?

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  26. I'd assume the lack of thumbs would also make things difficult. Halitosis?

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  27. Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot everywhere, to the point that his feet became quite thick and hard. He also was quite a spiritual person. Even when he was not on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became quite thin and frail. Due to this diet, he wound up with very
    bad breath. Therefore, he came to be known as a ... Super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis.

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  28. Wow. Oh wow. That is one of the lamest, most ridiculous things I've ever read in my life. I'm spreading it like herpes.

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  29. Thanny--Sorry--just not sure what you're saying. I get the part about everyone on the blogroll jumping in, just not sure about the confetti remark. But if you have any more insight, I'd love to hear it.

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  30. HIF - confetti blogs = mommy blogs. We get them in batches too, which tells me they behave like Indian bloggers because they're all about mutual admiration (didn't someone call us that too?). It's only a theory, of course, for Shiner and co. probably have the best insight into Ask's queue. I think you review 1 Indian blog, it has 5 readers that sign up, and you'll see 5 reviews in the span of a week - all 3 months after the "first" Indian blog was torn a new one. And company loves misery, if the first one sucks, so will all its referrals.

    As far as why my people show up in such impressive numbers (and I'm making a dangerous generalization), many of them sign up just to get a widget in between "Which Tolkien character are you" and "Go Team werewolf". When in front of a computer, my people communicate a *lot*. I'm not comparing to any other nation or demographic, but there's so much chatter from that part of the world you wouldn't believe it. There's a site called "Orkut" which as of 2 years ago was swarming with Indians (and others from the subcontinent) all trying to befriend pretty girls and post silly messages. Don't know if that's changed, but it gives me strong insight into why so many Indian blogs turn up here. It's not for any "validation" or "recognition" or even traffic. I think it's a side effect of living in a place where you see thousands of faces everyday - communication is "meh, whatever" and submitting your blog for review is just a couple of clicks. For every 1 "Indian blog" that wants genuine feedback from the crew here, there are 10 that just want to "check it out" and treat it like a joke forwarded 10 times by email.

    Bonus thought - Being Indian, my reaction to today's blog is also "Meh". I don't think there's a cultural divide here - compelling writing stands out, no matter where it comes from.

    Bonus thought 2 - I *honestly* don't see why you chaps love ol' Crowley so much. I think better Indian bloggers have been reviewed here. Meh, whatever.

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  32. The thing about Crow wasn't really his blog - because let's face it, he let that thing fall apart. You hear me, Crow?

    It was his comments.

    But Thanny? While we're on the subject, if I had to pick one, you're my favorite Indian blogger. And Blues and Ellie are my favorite ex-pats that live in Spain. And Grumpy is my favorite Australian, and HIF is my favorite Tennessee-eeanenen.

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  33. Whee, I got a thumbs up from Rasso. This is the first time I'm on a list that's not about sucking. This promises to be a great week!

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  34. Thanny--your response is exactly what I was looking for and I thank you for the insight. I wish the reviewee would reply, but maybe she's only after the widget.

    And Rass--you're my favorite Chi-town-WindyCity-ite evah!

    P.S. The only way I can spell my state is to recall the cheer from my college days:
    T. E. Double N. E. Double S. Double E. TENNESSEE.
    Followed by a chorus of Rocky Top.

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  35. And MG has ponies.

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  36. I see London,
    I see France
    I see Sharta's
    Sharty underpants

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  37. When at first you don't succeed and it causes you to shart your pants, run to the bathroom to remove them, walk very, very slowly for the rest of the day just in case you are at risk of sharting again, and don't try again if what you are trying to accomplish causes you to strain and, thus, shart yourself again.

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  38. I wish Peter Parkour would come back so I could threaten to kick him in the taint again.

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  39. Which reminds me, where the hell did the "Quote of the Whatever" go?

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  40. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck was afraid it was going to shart its pants?

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  41. If I was in charge of the "Quote of the Whatever" it would always have to include one of the following words:
    Shart
    Fuck
    Ass clown
    Cock smith
    Jagoff

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  42. Oh, and twisn't. I love Nutjobber for introducing the word twisn't into my vocabulary. And my psycho, er, I mean psyche.

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  43. Pumpkin muffin? Anyone?
    Pony ride? Anyone.
    Introduction to the word twisn't? Anyone?
    Anyone?

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  44. Twisn't this a good time for discussion?

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  45. Twisn't indeed, Nutjobber! I perfer it along with pumpkin muffins followed by the sharting of others and a good old fashioned Methodist hymn.

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  46. Oh, and Jerry Brown is the Governor of Cali again. I had the biggest crush on him when I was something like 12.
    That explains a lot.

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  47. I smell a True Lies sequel.

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  48. Nope, they're making a Mr. Freeze spinoff.

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  49. @HIF - The reason why there are so many Indian blogs up for reviews at AAYSR is not because 'we' (Yeah, I am one of the guilty parties as well) are hungry for widgets. The problem runs way deeper than those irritating little wall hangings on the blog template. We in India, no matter how good or talented we are, feel the need to be told so. It doesn't work any other way. It just doesn't. This is primarily due to insecurity and a lack of confidence; and that, leads to a constant need to be reassured. I wouldn't be surprised if an Indian blogger makes a resubmission after receiving an initial "Meh" or a few burning fingers. While am at it, I wouldn't be too surprised to find myself trying to improve my two stars I received a month back. :D

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  50. Mongo is at it again. What is in the water around her parts? Wait - that came out wrong...

    Thanks Rass, but aren't I your ONLY Australian?

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  51. Rassles, I'd vote for ya. Yunno, if you were running for queen.

    And widget hungry???
    Ooooh. Yes. I remember those days. Much like when I couldn't wear enough candy/bracelets? The good ole' days.

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  52. For MG - Ancient words of wisdom...

    She who stipulates the sobriquet Sharta shall soon shart she own self.

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  53. Rass: You can still borrow my husband if you're going to be Queen.

    ZM: Shartfest

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  54. @phoenikhs - The %age of people seeking a pat on the back is the about same, irrespective of origin. You wouldn't believe the hissy fits I've seen over the years when bloggers have been told they aren't the next Hemingway or Wilde.

    I did consider the "I want approval from whitey" angle, but then again most Indian reviewees simply don't bother responding to the review, much less implement the changes that were suggested. That tells me most of them don't care, submission for review something to do on a Wednesday night.

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  55. Honestly, I think most of them don't really care what we say, they just hope to get readers.

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  56. @Thanatos - I still believe that the % from India has a tiny edge over the rest. As far as not responding is concerned, I think it is an attempt to avoid further embarrassment. Or maybe, the moment of realization. :)

    @Shinerpunch - Honestly, it is the exact opposite. We care too much. And a review as scathing as the ones here lands a heavy emotional. This leads to a majority just not showing the guts to show their faces. And nobody is here in hope of getting more readers. I can assure you on that one.

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  57. I could get that. I really don't know why anyone would come here for readers. We're assholes, and honestly there aren't enough of us anymore.

    I still read and write here to find good blogs. Haven't in a while, but whatevs.

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  58. Have I ever told you folks that it is a goal of mine to use the word "Shart" at every single family gathering in hopes that they happen less frequently? So far, I am very successful at the usage, and unsuccessful at the reduction in get-togethers.

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  59. I didn't even realize this word existed until last week. And now it's my name.

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  60. Replace "r" with another "a" - that's Shaata, meaning pube in my language.

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  61. And to think I didn't even know the word existed until last week.

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  62. [Johnny Raptor] The Gandhi comment -- brilliant. Kudos.

    [Thanatos] Ah, we speak the same language, then. Good to know.

    Crowley might not be the best Indian blogger around (that would be Bosey) but he is funny. He doesn't ramble on and on about his feelings or, worse, write poetry.

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  63. @ Arjun - I agree doc. Bosey is definitely one of the funniest Indian bloggers.

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  64. Mister Crowley--Good to see you!I hope you'll let us all know when the blog is up and running again.

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  65. Fuck that, no India chapter. There is only one AAYSR.

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  66. Does Crowley have some kind of email alert that makes him popup when he's mentioned?

    Much the same way we can't stop reviewing blogs from India, we can't give them a separate chapter either.

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Grow a pair.