February 6, 2011

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Don't Be a Hater

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Happy Sunday all! Any big plans? I hear there is a football game on. ;)

The week has been full of internet drama: lists, chats, articles, pick your poison. The 'book bloggers are evil' argument came up again with this article from Spectator. This old chestnut. Critics were writing about this when I first started blogging- 4 years ago. Yawn. I'm not going to comment on that and reveal my book blogger "persecution complex". Buuuuuut.... I am going to comment on this.
I’d rather hear what Julie Myerson has to say about the latest AS Byatt than Lynette, full-time mom and doglover from Arkansas.
Oh yes, the M word. Cause moms are stupid, right? Everyone knows a woman's brain is removed during childbirth. It's attached to the placenta or something. That's a fact. When you become a mom, you give up the right to an opinion. Back to the kitchen with ya.

Word to your mother
Yes, I'm a mom but that's not all I am. I had opinions before I was a mom and I have them still. When I started this blog, it was because I wanted to discuss the books I was reading with other book lovers. I can't say that being a mom doesn't influence my opinions because of course it does. So does my gender, my age, my nationality, my experiences as a human being.

funny pictures - Close your eyes sweety.   Mommy's about to open a can of whoop-ass.

I'm really tired of people using 'Mom' as an insult. It's not the first time I've heard it and I'm sure it won't be the last. Why is that? Does a person see the word mom and assume the only thing they'll discuss is diapers and baby-wearing? We may not be as interesting as mountain climbing millionaires but if you give us a chance you might find that we have something unique to say. I may not have thousands of followers but the ones I do have come here because they want to hear my opinion and share theirs. And I'm grateful to them. I may not get a pay check but there is value in being heard.

28 comments :

  1. The author of that article by the way who said that you can't say anything meaningful on Twitter due to the 140 character limit, is on Twitter. I certainly didn't have my brain removed during child birth.

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  2. It's kind of funny (but not) that the word "dad" is never ever used in the same derogatory way. These articles do indeed seem to pop up every few months. They're tiresome and predictable and boring, but the condescension DOES get to me every time :\

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  3. Strictly an elitist attitude from that "author," how revolting. I hope to have kids soon, perhaps sometime this year (fingers crossed), so I assume I only have a few months left before I become completely brainless and useless.

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  4. What a big nonsense! Who knows why Lynette used to be before she became a mother? Was she a lawyer, or maybe a literary critic? Right?

    Somehow women are always mothers first and everything else second, whereas men are judges, bankers and miners. Odd, isn't it?

    Ok, enough ranting from me, Judith H. PhD. Full time erm, home person AND mum AND blogger and a few other things.

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  5. Well said. This has always irked me as well.

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  6. Not sure why this argument continues...haven't they seen the influence we, book bloggers, have? I mean, come on! Moms do more than just raise kids...give me a break!!!

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  7. Pam- Do as I say not as I do, huh?

    Ana- I know! It's always the moms who get picked on. I try not to give into my feelings when I read those articles which are meant to cause trouble.

    Coffee- Better get all those opinions out now! ;)

    Judith- That's seems to be the way.

    Shelly- Yes, it's the same old, same old.

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  8. Fresh from the pathology lab, I can assert that there are no brains in placentas. ;-)

    Usually when some people resort to insulting other whole groups of people it has more to do with their own insecurity than anything else. It's odd that pet-loving, bad-writing, child-rearing, oppressed-by-the-literary-establishment bloggers like us should draw such ire and insult simply by daring to be passionate about books and write about them in our own "mindless" way. I'm not battling the literary establishment or trying to take anyone's job or pretending I'm a great critical authority, I'm just enjoying and writing about books, and if the professional literary critic is still so significant in this day and age, why on earth should they feel the need to take shots at bloggers or anyone else?

    Professional critics and their supporters do themselves no favors by making snide comments about moms and bloggers and dog lovers, for that matter. They only succeed in making themselves look kind of sad and threatened. Bloggers aren't doing that to them, they're doing it to themselves. The funniest thing is, though, that you can pretty much insult bloggers all you want, and I won't notice unless bloggers start talking about it. Ironic, no?

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  9. I'd much rather get a review from a blogger than a professional. I felt this way long before I became a blogger. I feel like their reviews are much more honest.

    It's unfortunate that when you add Mom to your list of responsibilities you are automatically discounted.

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  10. Am I supposed to know who Julie Myerson is?

    Oh, right. I'm a mom. Never mind, then. I'm not supposed to know ANYTHING.

    Sheesh. I hadn't heard of this latest brou-haha, but you're right, enough is enough already. This debate is old news.

    Poor Lynette. :)

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  11. While I agreed with the authors statement in the article that "Book-bloggers are passionate about reading, which is lovely, but it doesn’t make them good writers." I will also agree that the dig toward full time moms was unnecessary - but it was more than that. It also encompassed an insulting attitude to those from Arkansas and dog lovers. And that's my rub. The whole statement taken together is actually more upsetting to me than one small part because of it's elitist attitude.

    We've all seen bloggers who aren't writers. I include myself in that category. I blog. I'm passionate about reading. I'm not a writer. I can recognize good writing when I read it. But why on earth does Anna Baddeley need to make her fictional book blogger "Lynette" a full time mom, and dog lover from Arkansas? What's wrong with being a mom? I'm assuming Baddeley had one. Many people love dogs - no harm in that. I'm assuming Arkansas was chosen simply to depict "Lynette" as some backwards unsophisticated woman.

    But Lynette, full time mom and dog lover from Arkansas could have her master's in nineteenth century comparative literature, as well as currently being a license veterinarian. She could be breeding the dogs she loves on her farm in Arkansas while raising her kids at the same time. If Lynette wants to blog about the books she reads in her spare time, then more power to her!

    disclosure: I was a full-time mom, but my children are adults now. While I am admittedly a dog lover, I'm not nor have I ever been from Arkansas.

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  12. There are three really interesting things I think are worth noting about that article:

    1. The first sentence of the paragraph you quoted kind of makes the point for why bloggers like reading reviews by other bloggers:

    The other advantage that professional reviewers have is that you’re more likely to have heard of them.

    We get to know each others' taste and can count on their recommendations. It's not just that we've "heard of" each other. Our understanding of each other goes deeper than that. Therefore, reading the reviews of fellow bloggers is actually of greater value than reading those of professional reviewers, especially if we're not familiar with a "professional's" writing. I think that's become true of the general population, as well. It doesn't take all that long to become accustomed to and favor a personal style of reviewing and anyone can easily go directly to his or her favorite blog reviewer's site to see what's new.

    2. Julie Myerson is a mother. And, not only a mother but a mother who is notorious for having chronicled the behavior of her children, eventually exposing them to ridicule. At least one of Myerson's children has referred to her as "crazy".

    3. The author of that article is obviously pretty shallow, having chosen Bookslut as a representative of the blogging world, obviously because of the negative connotations of her name. She (the author of the article) admits that professional reviewers occasionally dash off hack reviews early in the article and mentions no particular qualifications that they hold as expert writers while making the broad, sweeping assumption that bloggers have none. Anyone who reads book blogs regularly knows that there are retired professionals, students and teachers of literature and others who are equally qualified if not more qualified than hack journalists.

    But, yes. Some of us are "just mothers". I've had that insult directed at me for years. When I was working in a bookstore for minimum wage, I was respected and treated as intelligent and worthy. Um . . . minimum wage, people? It was a fun job that I took to cover the cost of my son's braces. My intelligence has not been dulled by my choice to stay home the rest of my mothering years.

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  13. I meant to say "can count on their fellow bloggers' recommendations". Oops, how very unprofessional of me. I left out two words. LOL

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  14. The thing that I thought was funny about that piece was that she accused bloggers of having a persecution complex and then went on to say, in essence, that 95 percent of us can't write. Hmmm, wonder where such a complex would come from?

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  15. For the record....before today, I had never heard of Anna Baddely OR Julie Myerson. Using Anna Baddely's logic (that the only people worth listening to as far as books are concerned are people you've heard of), then the opinions of each of these ladies is worth diddly-squat. In fact, it's rare that I've ever heard of the "literary critics" who have by-lines for reviews. The people who review books that I HAVE heard of are usually well-known authors or...gasp...my fellow book-bloggers.

    But...wait...I'm a mom (and dog-lover) from the cornfields of Indiana. Pay no attention to me.

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  16. With my hand in the shape of a "W", I say, Whatever!! LOL

    Says a mom from Texas and a cat-lover. Does that make me better?? :-)

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  17. I hate, hate, hate these discussions and do not understand why they keep popping up every year or so. I feel that they are typically written by the same people who felt that Facebook and Twitter were a flash-in-the-pan phenom that wasted time. Yet, now we have social media directly linked to the democratic revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. If they are changing the world, they are not a waste of time.

    I always wonder what makes someone a professional writer versus a blogger? Is it the mere fact that they are getting a paycheck? Does this mean that because I (used to) write for a paid website that I am now a professional writer? Does the fact that I stopped writing on there because of the horrible requirements and limitations that stifled my ability to write mean that I am no longer a professional writer?

    Enough is enough. Blogging and social media is changing the world. It means that these so-called professional writers need to learn how to actually write. It means that they can no longer spout their opinions without reaching out to the very community they are supposed to be representing, i.e. readers. It means stepping off the podium and interacting because that is the way of the world these days. It also means that someone who does not know enough to do a Google search about subjects before writing a rant need to reconsider writing said rant.

    Don't get me started on the Mom thing.

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  18. Megan- Ha! That is true! I only know about this article because another blogger tweeted about it. Good to know that placentas are brain free. :)

    Teresa- I've preferred the opinions of bloggers I know over those in publications.

    Melissa- I think they get bored and write these things to stir people up.

    Lori- Yes, the whole statement is insulting to moms, dog lovers and people from Arkansas. But I've seen a lot of mom bashing lately and this was the last straw for me.

    Bookfool- Exactly! We trust each others opinions because we have taken the time to read each others blogs and get a feel for that blogger. You can be a lurker and still feel that way. If we discounted someone because they loved dogs, we'd never know whether or not to value that opinion. Yes, I'm another one who is "just a mom." And that's ok with me.

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  19. Teresa- The irony!

    Bev- It's really in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

    Michelle- Where is the line drawn? Is reviewer Maggie's opinion better because she has a PhD is literature and writes novels? But wait reviewer Bob also has a PhD, writes novels, went to clown college and is an astrophysicist. Maybe I should trust his opinion over Maggie's. Readers aren't just going to follow these guys now because they say so.

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  20. Geez, that is insulting. And I'm not even a mother!

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  21. In my opinion, one of the main problems with "professional" book reviews, is that they oftentimes seem to be written by friends of the author. So I buy a book, only to find a gigantic problem with it. I find more thoughtful insightful reviews in the ranks of the book bloggers. For the most part that is -- sometimes there is simply plot regurgitation.

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  22. As someone who writes about moms, I know as we all do that motherhood, properly done, actually enlarges one's intellectual capacities incredibly, rather than diminishing them!

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  23. That kind of generalization bugs me, especially because I too have experienced it firsthand.

    Several years ago my husband was being honored with an award at the university where he works and I went to the banquet with him. The woman sitting next to me at the dinner table asked what I did and when I said I was a stay at home mom she abruptly turned her back on me mid-conversation and started a talking to the person on her other side.

    I've also had doctors speak to me very slowly and with basic vocabulary after seeing that I had written down on my form that I was a stay at home mom. Sometimes I feel like I need to follow up my job description with "and I have a degree in linguistics so you don't need to talk down to me." Not that any mom should be talked down to.

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  24. OMG, Alyce, that's horrifying! And unbelievably rude on top of it.

    I'm not a mom, I'm a cat lover and I'm from California. Does that freight intelligence in my favor? Geez Louise.

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  25. Oh I love this post. Unbelievable. I totally agree that I'd love to hear a "real" person's opinion because hell, I'm going to be a mom too and want to hear it from someone like me. By the way, as a almost full-time mom and dog-lover...I have a master's degree, as well as a bachelor's and associates. Do they take into account those facts beside the idea that we are just moms and animal lovers?

    Love the post!

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