April 02, 2004

a life changing event

Tears literally welled up when I opened Dawn's blog today and saw that she'd brought home her new baby girl. I'm so very glad for her. I've found myself thinking about her situation, about J. and what she must be going through, and about adoption in general on and off all week. Someone I don't know personally, I only know through her words on her webpage, and I feel emotionally touched by her experience. This is the power of the blog world.

Coincidentally, I was reading some of the archives at Apartment 11D today and saw Laura's commentary on why women don't write as many political blogs. (Her thesis: we do, but they're more of the personal-is-political ilk as opposed to analyses of current events, partly because of our bias and partly because we don't usually have as much time.) I think there are a whole host of reasons, and that Laura is right about some of them. And of course she's dead-on right for herself. For me, well, time enters into it. I can't do a link-filled exegesis because I don't have that kind of time. If I have extended writing time, it has to be about career-building work, not blog-building play.

But frankly, for me, itís about something far simpler. I prefer to read personal accounts than I do someone pontificating about current events or ranting about how screwed up the world is becoming. For me, yes, the personal is political but also the personal simply touches me more deeply. As Iíve read Dawnís story over the past months, Iíve thought for the first time about the toll giving a baby up for adoption must take on a birth mother, about the benefits of open adoption but the costs of it too, the delicate balance that must occur so the birth mother doesnít feel overly pressured to make that irrevocable decision based on someone elseís overwhelming desire. Dawnís grace and thoughtfulness through this has amazed and informed me and has deepened my understanding of the human condition. How is that less respectable than Atrios blogging on Bushís latest idiocy or Boing Boing linking to yet another snippet of fact?

Personal blogs, usually written by women, are considered lesser in this blogoverse. That's fucked.

I have more to say about this, but thatíll do for now. I have to go be a mom right now.

(And Mazel Tov, Dawn. She's beautiful already!)

Posted by Tamar at April 2, 2004 09:49 PM

"Personal blogs, usually written by women, are considered lesser in this blogoverse. That's fucked."

Can you really compare the two? Hollywood blockbusters and documentaries are both 24 frames a second and on a movie screen. A photo of a sunset in Bali and a picture of a jar of peanut butter for a catalog both are captured with cameras. VCR instruction manuals and teenage love notes both use words in sentences. MT or any blogging software is simply a content management system. There is no requirement for content on a website, or cameras, or movie screens, or words in sentences to all be designed for the same purpose, same audience, same emotional response. Why would you think they're being judged on some sort of greater/lesser scale together?

I don't think you're going to see anything other than the existing self-selection of what's interesting. Sure, I'm a guy, but I'm a guy with a kid but without much interest in sports, a rare political leftie in a very right-leaning state. And I'm a geek. So I skip over most of the political blogs - I won't tilt at windmills here, and if I did preach, it would only be to the choir - and I don't read sports blogs and stuff - because baseball is pretty, but you can have the statistics. I read two Mac news sites, some 'real' news sites, one guy's site, mostly about writing, and six women's sites, because I like the personal stuff, and new baby stories, especially if they're about parts I've already lived through. Greater? Lessor? No, just taste.

If someone is 25, very political, very talkative about it, that's their life, that's their focus, I would expect that to be their blog, either to read or to write. I don't think there is any value judgement compared to the personal blogs, that's just their taste.

Remind me not to write comments at 2am, they're always too long.

Posted by: otto at April 3, 2004 12:51 AM

I know what you mean about the caring about people that you've never met, but feel you know them from their blogs. I have a whole bunch (well, probably a lot less than most!) of people that I will never meet, but whom I think about, care about, I watch their transformations when they grow, feel their joys and sorrows, oh, all the trite sayings that express such thoughts. Its because they take the time to share. Its because they offer this gift of self. I am not explaining this very well, but I am so grateful for all the people who blog, for all this sharing, whether I agree with them or not. Tamar, your writing sustained me during my pregnancy. You filled me with hope. There is a surprising amount of autism in my family and you made me feel as if I could deal gracefuly with whatever might come up. Now I save reading you for at the end of the day, when I am unwinding. I can always know that there will be something thought-provoking and meaningful there. Plus, I am sure that you've been told that your writing is excellent. Yes, you are my ice cream...

Posted by: annie at April 3, 2004 03:45 AM

Annie, wow, thank you. Being compared to ice cream is probably the highest compliment anyone's paid me. Ranks up there, at any rate. And I'm very glad if I could give comfort based on my experience with Damian. It's been an awakening for me, certainly.

Otto, I think you're right and wrong and maybe missing the point. I'm too tired to go into it more right now, but the poltiical bloggers are the ones with much of the linkage and media attention. The more personal ones are mostly relegated to "Oh yeah, they write little 'dear diary' entries, don't they?" And I do think it's a sexism issue: despite the men who read and write the more personal form, it's still dominated by women.

Which doesn't make you wrong. Because yes, not all blogs are the same or should be considered in the same ways. It's like comparing horror novels and narrative nonfiction. Still, some genres get all the attention, and that understandably rankles the authors of the other sorts.

Posted by: Tamar at April 4, 2004 09:59 PM