Saturday, June 13, 2009

Die meme, die! I AM wearing pants

Okay, can we call a moratorium on lazy, predictable decriptions of bloggers as anti-social weirdos who snark at the world (from their parents' basements while wearing stained pajamas) because they haven't the skill to get out and do something like the celebrities, politicos and other folks they write about.

It didn't surprise me when Sarah Palin and John McCain were talking shit about bloggers during the campaign--new media isn't exactly the Republicans' bailiwick. It doesn't surprise me when some bitter journalists take a few shots at the genre that is helping to kill the print news business--I understand that (though I don't think it is helpful). But when a supposedly "hip" pop culture icon repeats the blogger = basement geek meme, I snap. "Daily Show," I'm looking at you.

As we speak, you’re putting the finishing touches on your segment about The New York Times. Can you give me some sense of what it’s about?

We were trying to make comparisons on the up-to-the minute blogger versus the in-depth analysis you guys call yourself. We were making correlations. One thing you guys apparently utilize more than the casual blogger is pants. Have you been to the blogger tents at the conventions? They do not smell good.

You are aware that The Times has a Web site and blogs, too? This very interview is going to appear on one of them.

Yeah, that doesn’t really count. I’m talking about the guy in his mom’s
basement, with his fedora on.


Yeah, I know. Jason Jones was doing schtick in his interview with The New York Times, done in advance of the Daily Show debut of his interview with Times honchos about the alleged demise of newspapers. But this particular joke has become so hackneyed as to be eye-rollingly unfunny.

The characterization would be funny if it fit even a fraction of the bloggers I know. If that were the case, I would snicker along in that "it's funny cause sometimes it's true" kind of way. But the bloggers I know are professors, small-business owners, attorneys, activists, non-profit professionals, journalists and freelance writers.

As I type this post, I am showered and clothed after a morning workout (I know you can't see me, but trust me on this.), and sitting at my dining room table in the house that I own (with my husband). Later, I'm going to work on a writing assignment for a class I'm taking and look over a grad school application, because I am thinking about building on my journalism degree with an MA in creative writing. I'll also probably spend some time playing The Sims 3, shouldn't mention that cause it probably hits too close to the stereotype. I never said I wasn't a geek, just that I wasn't a loser. My point is that I have a life, as do most other bloggers that I respect and admire.

The success of The Huffington Post and Daily Kos, and the high profiles of their founders, should have been enough to kill the basement-dwelling blogger meme. Still it persists.

I know...I's just jokes. I really do have a sense of humor. It's just that every time I hear someone spout some snark about bloggers, I take it as an affront to folks like Professor Tracy and Jennifer and Latoya and Mac Daddy and Jill and Monica and Renee and Julia, who are pretty cool, smart people, who have harnessed new media--not because they are frustrated with their real lives, but because they have something to say and they understand the power of the InterWebs.

Everytime I hear some crack about drooling, lonely bloggers, I want to scream.

"Jason Jones, I am too wearing pants, dammit!"


Tracey said...

Thank you for this. I get the same itchy feeling everytime SNL has their parody of a blogger on Weekend Update.

Anonymous said...

I don't relate to any of the parodies on the malestream so-called "comedy shows." There is no single type of blogger out there.
My partner is an author who has published 10 books, one of which was reviewed by the New York Times Review of Books. She has three blogs, and networks internationally with artists and queer spiritual commentators.
We both live in the home we own, and are solidly middle to upper middle class professionals.
Blogs enhance newspapers, we read everything out there.
Blogs also give voice to those shut out of the malestream... black women, even plain old white bread lesbians!
Blogs and newspapers can compliment each other. I'm into all media.


Renee said...

Thanks for the shout out. Today he would be right, I am not wearing pants. I am however wearing a beautiful white skirt. I spent the morning cleaning the house which I own with my spouse, correcting my childs homework and teaching my smallest to write his name.

I blog because I know that the media does not have the time to reflect on the issues of marginalized bodies, much less offer decent analysis. Bloggers are threatening because we cannot be censored and answer only to ourselves. It disturbs the current power structure and therefore they demean our work at every turn in an effort to render us irrelevant.

Unfortunately, you cannot unring a bell and therefore we cannot be denied and this is why MSM is increasingly attempting to invade the internet. In years to come we will be looked upon as brave new pioneers we are.

They can continue to spout the meme about bloggers in pajamas but in truth that will not decrease readership. The more the MSM tries to encourage censorship, the more the curiosity of the population will increase. Each day new blogs are created as people learn that they too can raise awareness, thus changing the face of what we deem relevant.

I personally always encourage small blogs or new people to enter the medium. No longer should the voices of the affluent be able to stand as the voice for us all.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the love Tami, and right back at ya! Although I have to admit that I tend to do my blogging first thing in the a.m. with my morning cup of tea/coffee, so I am often in an un-showered state. However, like you, I am a homeowner and while I used to own a fedora during a phase in the 1980s (who didn't right?) I'm currently hatless but not pantless!

Anyway, in a more serious vein, I absolutely agree with you. I think many of us, especially under the social justice umbrella, blog because we see it as a form of action--another way we can talk the talk and walk the walk, and hopefully it gives us a larger audience.

Jill said...

Thanks as always for the shout-out, Tami. :)

Here's how I start to process it:

You know, if the naysayers would like to take care of all the unpaid time I spend trying to keep my lame-o no-paying no-ads silly little ole blog afloat, then hey - then can berate it and me all they want.

In the meantime, they're still the ones making the money, of any kind, and I'm just trying to get a little community that needs to see where it's been and where it might be able to go by writing my fingerprints off my digits.

I just do not get why they care so much - it's like the bullies and people who tease us - if I'm so lame, why are you caring so much? Just leave me alone. :)

How's that for a rant?

You are the people that matter, Tami. But yeah - I know - it IS infuriating to see newspapers in particular complain about their decline and they write such ridiculousness.

Anonymous said...

I love it when women rant Jill!

Newspapers are on the ropes these days, because they foolishly didn't figure out a way to charge for their content that they put on the Internet.

They could cover local issues much better, which are overlooked but hey...

And wow, I wore a fedora in the
80s too! :-)


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