I’m flying to Los Angeles on Friday for a couple of weeks, partly to take care of work-related matters. I’m already feeling the anxiety. Writing in Hollywood does not exactly fit my personality. Networking is essential and there is a good amount of backstabbing. In the entertainment industry, the aura of power is very important. While I do have a competitive side, I would probably make a better junior high school English teacher. That is more “me.”
One of the reasons I love blogging so much is that I can avoid this competitive nature of writing. Where else can I write a silly story and have pretty girls show up and applaud? I don’t have to deal with agents or schmooze with people I don’t like — and best of all, the hero in the story gets to be ME, not Matthew McConaughey.
As blogging matures and becomes more business-like, it becomes just like Hollywood, which is people struggling for attention and power. This used to trouble me, but now I just accept it. It is human nature. Sadly, life is less like a John Lennon song, and more like a game of music chairs or singing on American Idol.
I enjoy reading posts about the mom bloggers, because they are the most “successful” of the personal bloggers. They have the most at stake, so there is always some internal drama going on that rivals “All My Children.” “Important” moms argue over who is the most “influential,” as if motherhood was now a spectator sport. Some writers now spend more time fighting over the direction of mommyblogging — what to say, what to do, what to call “mommyblogging” — than discussing their daily life.
I learn from these strong-willed individuals, much as I did with Sophia. I have no problem with women being power brokers. I wish I could be as strong and as sure of my opinions and wants.
You can catch up on the latest drama as my friend, Erin, Queen of Spain, who once rallied mom bloggers to “become a business,” now outs new bloggers as “carpetbaggers,” because they skip the “content” part of the writing completely, and just do giveaways.
I don’t disagree with Erin. The bigger question is “who calls the shots?” Who decides what a mommyblogger, or any blogger, should or shouldn’t do? Who gives community leaders the power to speak for other individuals?
A commenter on Resourceful Mommy said it better —
What I find funny about this conversation (and several other conversations similar in topic and tone) is that the original Big bloggers were some of the first to push boundaries–the first pursued for reviews, the first to be paid bloggers and blog community leaders, the first to set up businesses connecting companies with bloggers.
It’s okay for one generation to redefine and raise eyebrows, but now everyone else must be controlled by their limits?
When there are limited resources, there will always be power struggles. It doesn’t surprise me that as the economy has faltered, there has been more nastiness online. People have agendas, sometimes personal, sometimes political. This is the same for men and women. Just watch an episode of “Survivor.”
On Saturday, I saw a production of Mary Stuart on Broadway, with Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter as Mary Queen of the Scots and Queen Elizabeth 1. As with many dramas that were first produced in London, the acting was phenomenal. I don’t know if I would recommend it to everyone. It is talky, and I found myself dozing off a bit during the first act. Luckily, during the intermission, I went into the lobby, turned on my iphone, and read about history on Wikipedia, filling me in on the backstory of this great power struggle of the 16th Century.
After the death of Mary Tudor, Henry II caused his eldest son and his daughter-in-law to be proclaimed king and queen of England. From now on, Mary always insisted on bearing the royal arms of England, and her claim to the English throne was a perennial sticking point between Elizabeth I and her, as would become obvious in Mary’s continuous refusal to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh. Under the ordinary laws of succession, Mary was next in line to the English throne after her father’s cousin, Elizabeth I, who was childless. Yet, in the eyes of many Catholics, Elizabeth was illegitimate, thus making Mary the true heir as Mary II of England. However the Third Succession Act of 1543 provided that Elizabeth would succeed Mary I of England on the throne.
This was an epic battle between two powerful women, between family members, between two religions, that changed Europe and the world forever.
Clearly, Erin of the Queen of Spain (funny how everyone wants to be a Queen!) is not going to chop my head off for writing this. She is a very nice women. As I mentioned earlier, I learn from these dramas. I shy away from conflict (at least in real life), although I admire those who take a stand and fight for it. We all have to push ourselves if we want something worthwhile. Even something as beautiful as all the money collected for the March of Dimes last week for Maddie required volunteers organizing and pushing for money, and focusing our energy on the importance of this charity, opposed to the many other good charities in the world, like prostate cancer or muscular dystrophy. Even Good Deeds requires leadership and someone (or some organization) getting slighted. Everyone wants the attention focused on them.
I perfectly understand the feeling. One of the problems in my marriage was this feeling of a power struggle, over “who was in charge.”
Today, my mother and I were walking in Times Square when we encountered men dressed as cartoon characters. Kids would run up to, say SpongeBob, and the parent would take a photo. At first, I thought these were sanctioned characters presented by the Disney Store, but then I noticed that Sponge Bob was pushing for tips, and that the “Elmo” character was in direct competition with SpongeBob. He seemed to be pissed that the kids considered him “2008” and only wanted a photo with SpongeBob instead. Two blocks away was the production of Mary Stuart, but I didn’t have to pay a hundred dollars a ticket to see great drama. It was right in front of me. Two hard-working guys (or gals), stuck in hot, uncomfortable costumes in the heat, battling for tips from tourists from Germany.
Another example of limited resources, and a power struggle for dominance.
Now, honestly. Where ELSE can you ever read a blog post comparing mommybloggers, 16th Century English royalty, and SpongeBob?
By the way, the exchange I had with my mother over these cartoon characters was amusing.
My mother and I encountered Sponge Bob in the center “island” in the middle of 42nd Street.
Mom: “Who’s that?”
Neil: “Sponge Bob.”
Mom: “Is he supposed to be a piece of swiss cheese?”
Neil: “No, I think he is supposed to be a sponge.”
Mom: “Kids play with sponges?”
Neil: “I’m not exactly sure he is a sponge. Let me ask my readers.”
I took a photo of SpongeBob with my iPhone.
Mom: “You should take a photo of Oscar too.”
Neil: “That’s Elmo.”
Mom: “Everyone is taking a photo of the sponge, but no one is taking a photo of Elmo. Look at him. He looks so sad. He must be shvitzing in that costume.”
Neil: “I don’t want to take a picture of him.”
Mom: (Jewish motherish) “Go on. Take a picture of him. You know you want to.”
We crossed the street and immediately ran into Mickey Mouse and Shrek. While SpongeBob and Elmo were doing their shtick for tips on “the island,” these guys seemed to be professionals hired by Disney.
Mom: “Hey, it’s Mickey Mouse! You want a photo of him?”
Neil: “I don’t like Mickey Mouse.”
Mickey waved at me.
Mickey Mouse: “Hello. Do you want to take a photo of me?”
Mom: “Go ahead, Neil.”
Neil: “No, thanks.”
Mickey looked disappointed.
Mom: “What about a photo of Shrek?
My mother looked Shrek over.
Mom: “I thought Shrek would be bigger.”
Neil: “It’s not really Shrek.”
Mom: “I know that. He’s in the Disney musical.”
Neil: (to Shrek) “Are you and Mickey working with Disney?”
I pointed over to SpongeBob and Elmo.
Neil: “And what about those guys?”
Shrek: “I don’t know WHO they are. They’re just doing it for the money. They don’t care about the children.”
Mickey overheard our conversation and came over.
Mickey: “Those assholes are stealing our customers.”
Mom: “No wonder they call Bob a sponge.”
Neil: “Don’t they need a license?”
Shrek: “Who knows? (to Mickey) We should tell the cops on them.”
Mickey: “Good idea.”
Mom: “C’mon, Neil. NOW you have to take photos of your new friends!”
I caved in and took photos of Mickey Mouse and Shrek. I lost the power struggle with my mother.