Tuesday, December 09, 2008

If you're not here to read me talking about me, move along please.

I've pruned the social media tree enough to have the energy to post on WFA again. I ended up deleting several weeks worth of bloglines posts, and my livejournal. I had starting using my livejournal friendslist as a quick linkfarm rather than add everything to bloglines. While I was doing that I discovered that the friendslock feature gave me a convenient place to gripe about things I didn't want to bicker with trolls over, and gripe about politics or work. I've long avoided blogging politics and work on this blog, but livejournal's friendslock gives a false sense of privacy that I slipped into. It was quick, it was easy, and it wouldn't get back to anyone I didn't want it to.

Well, as long as I didn't gripe about family it wouldn't get back to anyone I didn't want it to. I discovered a leak in this area early on when I tried to vent healthily and it resulted in a member of my family dropping me from the "on speaking terms" list for a short time. Never zeroed in on who the leak exactly was, but the incident itself was not worth digging too deeply into it. That incident was, however, a good reminder that the sense of privacy was a false one. Not only did everyone on your filter have to be trustworthy, you also had to go through a few coding hoops to keep your locked entries from manifesting on feed aggregators and search engines. Plus there's the whole matter of livejournal's changes recently, which let advertisers scan your locked stuff to decide what ads to put there. And--to use a completely random example--if I don't want my sister to discover that I was actually really fucking upset about the matter of the daffodils last Thanksgiving, for example, and that I was lying when I told her it was no big deal then it might be awkward if she sees the ads on my page are for florists and turkey farms lately.

Really, you may as well just blog without locking. And if I'm blogging without locking, what's the fucking point of livejournal? I like the Blogger and Wordpress interfaces better. I have Bloglines--in which I can divide the feeds into manageable folders rather than one stupid feedlist and which allows me to pin and mark read or unread. I like reading some people's locked posts, but not so much that I really need to stick around.

And there was one other result of the under-friendslock writing. I was becoming more reluctant to write about the little things in public. Because it was less of a hassle to just lock them and gripe within my little group than to go out with sword in hand and hack my way through hordes of trolls. Which had two effects, the first being I became a more cowardly writer, the second being I became a less adept reasoner. When you don't fight trolls, your reason and with dull. When your reason and wit are dull, you become reluctant to fight trolls. It's not so much a circle as an ever-lowering spiral staircase to the depths of stupidity and isolation.

And who the hell needs that?

So I dumped the livejournal, made a cute little "This is where you can find me elsewhere" and meant to never return.  I kept the account open for comments, but figured since it was already something I'd let lapse I wouldn't be tempted to return.

But I neglected one thing: Newsarama.

In the past, when I saw a particularly annoying comment on that site that I wanted to gripe about but not engage (because engagement would lead to a quick release of temper in many cases, and I'd been kindly asked to keep it under control on that site) I would gripe on livejournal and not have to engage the person.

And in the past, when a poster that I wanted to support or at least give a fair chance to said something that encouraged the introduction of the heel of my palm to the top of my forehead I would go under livejournal, vent, and keep a pleasant face.

This seemed to be a necessity as I was doing When Fangirls Attack and needed an outlet but didn't want to jump the gun. As things tend to spiral, I grew to rely more on livejournal and less on the main blog as that outlet, until things that desperately needed to be said in public were only said in private, and of course that private was not as private as it seemed at the time. This spiral also led to stupidity and isolation.

So, on the whole, closing the livejournal seemed to be the best thing to do. And as I had neglected the journal during my residency in the Gray Realm I figured I could keep the account without being tempted to write on it.

But again, Newsarama. In my distress this weekend at my apparent replacement, I asked the head of the blog if he was planning to bring in a feminist blogger. He responded that he had two. My relief was tempered only by the realization that I very probably should have heard of Sarah Jaffe before this, but hadn't. I don't like that sort of thing. I may not be the best blogger in the community, I may not have the widest audience but I always took a pride in knowing my way around the place. This was a new person, but one who had been writing about women in comics that I hadn't seen before.  I do not like this strange feeling of being the second or third person to notice new people.

So I tracked down the posts from both bloggers and found several WFAble items had already been posted.

And yes, this new person has already caused me to shift uncomfortably in my seat. (Smart, strong, sexy women as badass as the men? Nothing else you'd want to add to that, perhaps? Even a little "despite the difficulties" or "despite the criticisms"?) And perhaps shift uncomfortably over email. Still, the criticism was unfair. Plenty of perfectly rational women enjoy Frank Miller. I really liked Frank Miller's comics until I realized he was using the same creepy older-macho-man-gets-together-with-young-female-sex-worker plot over and over and over again. After that, his work lost of its charm.  The movie is visually fascinating. Lots of violence, that's fun. And this was just a happy nostalgic post on a site that encouraged positivity.   I wouldn't have blinked twice seeing it on a familiar writer's blog.   Well, I might've blinked twice if one of the major Girl-wonder.org columnists had said it, not because I would feel she just lost feminist cred but because because the mood on that site is so consistantly anti-Miller that I'd have to believe anything positive was sarcasm or mind control.

Now before I go on you need to know that the point of this post was never to criticize the new blogger on Newsarama. This post is entirely about me and my problems. That's what you're here for, I'm just including a free side of Newsarama-nitpickin' with the main meal of my introspection. (And enjoy this meal, because my tortured writerly soul is a seasonal item on the menu, available for limited time only.)

As unfair as it was, I had this little twitch when I read it.  And then when I read this post from her co-blogger (another person I haven't heard of.  This bothers me.  How far out of the loop am I?), and the resulting comment nitpicking. And then I read this post, referring to the previous post, and the resulting comment discussion. And then I introduced Mr. Palm to Mr. Face again.

THAT is when the urge to complain about the whole lot of them--bloggers and commenters--on my livejournal, in private, set in. And then I thought to myself-- well, why? What am I afraid of? Looking bitter? Everyone knows I'm bitter. It's one of the defining characteristics of my writing.

I narrowed my eyes at my livejournal profile, stewed in irritation for a few moments and realized something.   Livejournal and Blogger both support OpenID.  Perhaps I could free myself from the shackles of self-absorption in the living hell of eternal navelgazing. Perhaps I could climb that spiral staircase out of stupidity and isolation. Perhaps I could just delete the freaking livejournal account.

So I did. And I have thirty days to avoid using it, and then it can never come back. And then maybe I'll get my sharpness back.

And then maybe--just maybe--I'll be able to read a post by an unfamiliar blogger that irks me just slightly without turning the whole matter into a personal journey of self-discovery that leads to a fourteen hundred word essay on the true meaning of Blogging.


  1. Yes! You were born to slay trolls, Ragnell.

    And quite frankly, with the exception of Caleb, I've never heard of any of the new bloggers on Newsarama. Of course none of them have probably ever heard of me either.

    I must confess to being intrigued by the combination of daffodils and Thanksgiving however.

  2. Hey, Ragnell. First time I've visited this blog, and I gotta say I loved this post.

    Civility is overrated, as is privacy. Go ahead and grumble about those Newsramites in public! IF we can't share opinions on the net, then all is lost.

    (Though I do share your hesitancy about family matters. Which is why I never post personal issues on any of my blogs at all. Too much chance of that getting out.)

  3. I just have to say that I love what you've been writing. So much of it resonates with me.

    And now I have to go and be sad because of She-Hulk's cancellation.