It is true, however, that many paid bloggers are dependent upon the will and/or clicking power of the public to survive. Some of them cannot deal with this! They go crazy! They start writing pieces that are basically just designed to piss other, more well-known bloggers off, in the hopes that they will get links from those other, bigger blogs (ah, yes, the “this person is a dick” link: the blogoworld’s most honored form of Aiding Thine Enemy) and therefore PAGEVIEWS PAGEVIEWS PAGEVIEWS! $$$$$$$$$$$! Etcetera! These bloggers shall remain nameless, except for the fact that they are Linda Hirshman and Susannah Breslin of DoubleX, about whom you have read things already. And will read things again!
In this edition of Sexist Beatdown, Amanda Hess of the Sexist and I will discuss the limits of controversy, use the word “snark” far, far too many times, and tell the heartwarming story of how my e-mail inbox taught me a valuable lesson in tolerance. Also, talk about how terrible dolphins are! THAT’S RIGHT, ALL YOU PRO-DOLPHIN BLOGGERS. I HATE THE FLIPPERY LITTLE BASTARDS. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THAT?
SADY: hello! are you ready to speak? or are you too busy KILLING FEMINISM?
AMANDA: i actually just thew up a blog post, which, as you shall see, is what i actually think is “killing” “feminism.” let me start with the Bust quote on DoubleX’s dead feminism obsession, though: “We don’t know about you, but we’re disappointed. (And we also need to figure out the best way to fight off this new undead feminism before it eats our brains.)”
SADY: yeah. I mean: any new publication that focuses on lady issues is exciting! And, Katha Pollitt! Latoya Peterson! That is super exciting!
AMANDA: did you follow XX Factor religiously (or, subscribed to the RSS) like i did?
SADY: Yes, I did! Every single day! So this new DoubleX thing, with its lead off of “7 reasons why feminism is boring/stupid/dead/anti-feminist” is kind of puzzling to me. the quote of the day on the first day was about hating feminism!
AMANDA: … april … fools
SADY: fortunately, today, it is about how dolphins are rapist babykillers. which is a slightly less controversial opinion. FUCKING DOLPHINS, man. they think they’re SO GREAT.
AMANDA: it’s just kind of bizarre, i think maybe the “conversation” format which worked so well for the blog hasn’t really panned out as a “magazine” yet
SADY: yeah, exactly. on XX factor you got to see people talking back and forth, which was exciting! this time around, it’s just weird and hard to navigate, because you don’t know who’s saying what or if anyone has yet spoken up to disagree with them.
AMANDA: yeah. did you read breslin’s piece about how DoubleX is an entity “beyond” feminism after its death? her point is, basically, “let’s shut up and just do it.” But isn’t the point of writing in general to “not do anything and just talk about it”? or more positively, “do something BY talking about it”?
SADY: oh, susannah. i’m happy that she writes in-depth stuff about porn and all, and i like what she writes, but every once in a while she’s just like “feminism! I hate it! I ran it over with my truck! Now it is dead! You are all victims!” And it’s just like, huh. I like your reading of it, though. That makes more sense than mine. And, you’/Susannah are right, it does make more sense for folks of this generation to LIVE their feminism, given that we have more opportunities to do that than elsewhere.
AMANDA: i don’t mind the “death of feminism” so much—hell, i’ve written a eulogy for feminism before, mostly because it’s kind of fun and pretty easy—but the way it’s weirdly tied in with rape victims is unsettling.
SADY: yeah, and that “Jezebel is hurting women” piece – it made no sense at all, or rather, made sense on a level I really can’t get down with, which was: (a) Megan Carpentier has taken exception to my stuff before, so I will write about how she is a bad rape survivor who makes ladies get raped, or something, and (b) what is a way to get traffic for our feminist blog? Attack another feminist blog in a way that is certain to cause controversy!
AMANDA: rape + Jezebel = $$$$$$$$
SADY: it’s odd. i am the first lady in the world to say that feminist (or “post-feminist,” whatevs) disagreements are enlightening and good and awesome. HOWEVER. It seems weird to me to lead off your (initially marketed as feminist) site with all of this stuff that is, basically, contrarian for the sake of contrarianism.
AMANDA: and i think that’s a problem that affects the blog/commentary world in general: what’s around, and how can we be different—let’s find something to criticize about something else. i do it all the time, you do it all the time — we just choose different targets. and if they think feminism is boring, i think that’s okay! but it’s more interesting than talking about why feminism is boring. i’d rather they talked about the dolphins.
SADY: RIGHT? we have got to end this mindless social acceptance of dolphins. and, you know, it’s fun to make fun, or to criticize, and sometimes it’s easier to define yourself in opposition to something else. like, “see, this is what I DON’T believe, so now I can talk about what i DO.”
AMANDA: i think they should have gone meta and asked their contributors what the problem is with DoubleX instead of what the problem is with “feminism”
SADY: yeah. and, you know, probably all of this “AUGGGH DOUBLE X LAUNCH” is going to open up conversations that we can use. at some point. i have a story with a moral about snarky blogging. can i tell you my story?
SADY: okay. so, a million years ago, when i was a tiny little blog person with a blog that was read by 3.5 people in the whole world, i wrote a very snarky post about john devore from the frisky. and this morning, when i opened my e-mail, there was a message! from john devore of the frisky! telling me he liked my blog! and i was like, “ha ha, um… THANKS?!?!” but the moral of the story is that this dude i wrote a cranky post to make fun of turned out to be a totally reasonable dude who writes very nice e-mails. and this established for me some of the things that you DON’T know when you sit down to write a weinery post about somebody else on the Internet. and, yeah, i like the fact that double x is committed to writing stuff that can be snarky (MUST STOP WRITING THIS WORD) or harsh or controversial. still. maybe peeing all over feminism’s bloody corpse is not the best tactic, given the fact that the people who are going to read your new lady blog are likely to be… you know. feminist, and stuff.
AMANDA: definitely. and maybe we should think about why it’s almost a guarantee that people who write mean blogs also write really nice emails. ALWAYS TRUE. So i usually just write the blog stuff off as a big game that we’re all trying to win, but isn’t personal—but that gets complicated when you write about personal stuff (rape experience) and a writer takes that personal life (not reporting your rape) and turns it into snarky commentary. in short, bloggers are people too. people who need pageviews.
SADY: ha. yes, we do. which is why my latest story, “How Linda Hirshman Is Hurting Women, and Me Specifically, Because She Made Dolphins Give Me an Abortion” is going to be SOLID INTERNET GOLD.