Strange Brouhaha

Monday, March 14, 2005

Blogging and the confessional impulse

If you want to sit through an ad, you can access this article at Salon written by a blogger who thinks she knows how severe her confessional impulse is, but really has no idea.

I was really disturbed by this article. I'm not sure I even know where to start. First, there's the hall of mirrors. "I wrote about my suicidal thoughts and now I'm writing about writing about my suicidal thoughts! I wrote about the time my daughter screamed at my husband, and now I'm writing about writing about the time my daughter screamed at my husband!" Then there's the rest of it: "And how is this affecting me as a novelist? And, oh! My children! My children! How angry they will be at me someday. After all, not only have I revealed their childish outbursts on my blog, I have now quoted their childish outbursts for my article, which is adding insult to injury! Meanwhile, let me tell you about my son's tearful confession that he feared I would kill myself." [FYI: she wrote about these subjects, but these are not quotes]

The author seems aware that this all has something to do with her personality--but not aware *enough.* She seems to feel that blogging by nature *is* a confessional form, or at least that it's natural for it to be used that way. I'm going to be really mean and snotty here, and say: *Not if you have other things to talk about besides yourself.* You know--interests? Projects? Some dim awareness of the world beyond the length of your nose?

'Course, talking about your late lamented Unix server (or whatever the hell julius actually was) ain't as sexy as pimping your oh-so-precious "suicidal ideation" (which didn't sound like such a big goddamn deal to me, except for the part about how she leveraged it to punish her husband, get her friends to drop everything, and oh yes, induce tearful proofs of love from her children, because, as she tells us, she made damn sure to use sufficiently poor judgment to talk about it in front of them).

(Note: This does not mean I advocate ignoring people who talk about suicide.) (It just means: come on. If you can't handle a couple of sessions of casing your medicine cabinet or wondering if your bedroom window is high enough, you've got to be one of the biggest wusses on earth. I have never known anyone who has *not* "suicidally ideated!" *My* friends are the kind of people who like to laugh about it, not use it to frighten their children for publication.)

Everyone who encourages this woman by reading either her blog or her new column (which I will never do again) should be ashamed.


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