maarmie's musings

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Trend: becoming the Wal-Mart of blogs

Yesterday on dooce, Heather and hubby Jon lambasted a select few who had, at some time, sent her nasty or critical e-mails or left similar messages on her blog. Lacking her usual charm and wit, she displayed the messages as a post in themselves and STRUCK BACK! in the most benign and lazy of ways: She responded to their comments by spinning jokes off their choices of words, making fun of their use of the English language and, the old standby, telling one angry sot he just needs to get laid.

Of course, some of the people who posted were obviously religious nutbags who couldn't string a sentence together if you did most of the work for them. And most of the people also didn't seem to know enough about their own language to get punctuation and spelling right, either. These imperfections didn't get past the scrutinizing eyes of Heather and her most ardent of fans, cronies, brainwashed lemmings and blind ambassadors, the 100 billion fans who are served on her site every day. Heather and her witchdoocery have become a force to be reckoned with, y'all, and ya best not fuck with the dooce...or her peeps.

I must have coincidentally clicked onto her site the instant she posted that message yesterday. I immediately logged in to leave a comment relating to her topic of choice but one that had to do with my own site and the couple of shitheads who have enjoyed leaving cruel and offensive messages here, messages I didn't try and pretend never existed by immediately deleting them as Heather might have done.

Seconds later, my message appeared on her site, but, guess what? I was already number 11. That's high up on the chain for me there as far as messages are concerned, though, don't get me wrong. Her fans are everywhere, and they are eager to comment on her every breath, her every word, her every thought. Being a fan of the dooce myself, I've left a few messages in the past. This time, I was number 11 among 591 others who had something to say about this particular rant of hers. The others echoed her sentiments and gushed about their love for her and her husband, daughter and pooch. In their eyes, it seems, Heather can never do any wrong.

I think Heather is funny. I think Heather is charming. I think Heather is incredibly lucky to have the life that she does. I think she is brave for getting away from the church. I think she is cool for not being ashamed of her depression. I think she is entertaining. I think she is a good mom. But I don't know if she is taking her readers seriously enough, because some of the people she so immediately dismisses may, just may, have a point.

Here's my criticism: Heather plays it safe. I like Heather's style of writing and her sense of humor, but I would hardly consider her to be as controversial as she seems to think she is. Maybe she is controversial in the atmosphere in which she lives, but she's speaking to an audience that spans the globe. Her readers aren't just morons or ex-morons (yes, I spelled it right) in Utah. They come from Canada, Japan, Australia, California, Georgia, New York, Colorado, Texas - all over this country and all over the world.

Dooce has the visibility to really shake things up. To take a stand, to sometimes be a voice of reason in a really shitty world where men, women and children are being abused and killed on the streets and in their homes, senseless wars are being fought, millions are going hungry and homeless, the masses don't want to learn and the government doesn't care what you or I have to say about any of it.

Heather could learn from her readers be they hostile or friendly or somewhere in between. But, sadly, it seems you're either with her or against her. For her, and for her fans, there simply is no debate.

Note: This post has been amended since its initial publication to more accurately reflect my viewpoint.


queen of light and joy said...

I think that's the great thing about Heather, she knows who she is and doesn't give an quams about it.

I lick, she makes me pee myself-just a little bit *coy smile*

Anonymous said...

I had trouble understanding what your point was here, exactly.

Does it have to be about something? Everyone has a calling. Some of us have a calling to stand up for the abused/poor/lonely/misunderstood. Some of us have a calling to just be great mom's/dad's/employees and to impact the people we see every day, and some of us have a calling to entertain those of us who are just the regular 8 to 4:30 schmucks who need a pick-me-up.

I am grateful for the saviors of the world and I am EQUALLY grateful for the entertainers. Therefore, I am grateful that Heather doesn't look at her popularity and go "I can do SO MUCH MORE with this now" and change who she is and what she's been doing.

maarmie said...

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. If that is so, I apologize. I don't really have a problem. I am just commenting on Heather's post yesterday and giving my own feedback on the situation. I don't think critical comments should be deleted, I think fans and nonfans alike can provide constructive feedback and I think good can be done when you have a large audience. I used to be a reporter, I should know.

I'm glad you appreciate entertainers. I do, too.

Khali said...

I think it has a lot to do with what the goal of the site was when she started it.

Yes, it's a blog that reaches tons of readers, and as such has the potential to be ab avenue to affect change, but I don't think that was what she was looking to do. (Perhaps this isn't what you were getting at, but it seems to be the main point of this entry.)

As for the fact that she deletes hateful crap from her comments - she's well within her rights to do so, just as people are within their rights to comment in the first place. I don't see her dismissing them all out of hand either - but if it were me, I'd certainly wouldn't want the shit hanging around when I could mock it and get it out of my way.

maarmie said...

She can do what she wants to with her blog. For the most part, I like it. But it seems like she dances around controversial issues from time to time but is too scared to dive in. I'd like to see her dive in sometimes, that's all. And not all those comments were hateful, in my opinion. Some were just critical or negative. Not letting anyone read them smacks of censorship and government-controlled media. Scares me. Perhaps I take this all too seriously and perhaps my journalistic ethics are getting in the way and don't apply here. But maybe you're all missing the bigger picture and not realizing the huge responsibilities we should be taking on when we decide to self publish.

Another thing: You disagreed with me, but I still published your comment. Heather wouldn't have. Be glad you have a right to free speech here.

ExAfrica said...

Why do bloggers have a responsibility to take their readers seriously? I mean, seriously.

We write, we blog, we just do it. Blogging is just a thing. People read blogs or they don't. We begin to takes ourselves and our blogs WAY too seriously if we think we have a responsibility to our readers. It's blogging. It's not saving the world.

Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Not to beat a dead horse here, but from the short time I've been reading Heather's blog it does appear that she publishes negative comments.

Look at the blasting she took on her post about sleep training Leta ( She left up every critical comment, including those threatening to report her for child abuse.

I don't know that Heather avoids topics you'd like her to talk about because she's afraid of the reaction she'll get. She may just not be as passionate about those ideas as you.

I'm surprised you didn't voice any of these opinions on her comment section--presented in the intelligent manner with which you write, I'm sure they would have given her food for thought.

Kant said...

Dooce is an idiot. Anybody that thinks, in this day and age, that they can blog whatever they want about whomever they want, hoping that they are anonymous and nobody knows who they are really talking about, and not expect consequences when the "wrong person" finds out who they are and who they are talking about, deserves the full-body reality check that they get.

Freedom of speech? Sure there is. But just like in Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. Just because you can say it doesn't mean there won't be consequences for doing so.

maarmie said...

Summer -

I e-mailed Heather a link to my blog the day I posted this.