How to Have a Succesful Mainstream Newspaper Blog

We are lucky to have the blogger from Fuck Politeness as a guest Hoyden this week.

Fuckpoliteness is a blog born out of frustration over society’s obsessive commitment to formal/semantic politeness – to the empty vision of ‘manners’ in which an insincere apology can cover the fact that the injury was intended, a linguistic ‘niceness’ which often hides darker currents of bigotry and violence. It is an attempt then to uncover the ugliness just under the surface of ‘polite society’ and to shout back that the bigotry it glosses over is unacceptable.

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I hate, loathe, despise the blogs of Sam in the City (“Ask Sam” and Sam de Brito (“All Men Are Liars”) of the Sydney Morning Herald. However I noticed that Sam de Brito’s has won, and Sam in the City’s has been nominated for a Weblog Award.

So, they are great at appealling to the lowest common denominator. Good for them! Just wondering if I can glean any lessons from them as to how to improve my chances of mass appeal.

Step 1/ It would seem that (and this appears to be a crucial step) I should take down the political message on my header and replace it with a personal picture of myself exuding a highly gendered sense of a stereotypically “hetero” “sex appeal” far greater than that which I actually possess. As a man, clearly this would come from being MA-CHO, as a woman, looking as non threatening, but simultaneously like the tired traditional version of “men’s ideal” as possible. Perhaps I could get one of those cheesy Westfield store ‘makeovers’ in which I come out looking like an oil painting of a porn star?

Step 2/ Change the title. Clearly, being a female I need to strip away all pretence of political engagement (and DEFINITELY that totally unladylike bad language) and instead go for some ride-on-the-coattails, done to death imitation of a succesful women’s novel, movie or tv show….Sex in the Suburbs? Desperate OfficeWorkers? The Bitch Wears Prada [actually, I kinda like that one].

I could (as done so many times, so very cringingly) try to write in the style of Bridget Jones without acknowledging my blatant theft of ideas and style…

Day One. Gosh! Got harrassed on train again. Whoopsy daisy! Meant to stop. Must try a little harder to avoid the unavoidable. Make sure I don’t raise it in polite conversation or bring politics into it. Must blame self. Dieting will help.

Day Two. Three fights over gender, two bottles of gin and a tragic singalong. Feeling FAT!

Step 3/ The type of blog. Now whether a male or female writer, one simply *must *make all sorts of gender generalisations, mostly about de wimenz. If I was a male I might make them provocatively offensive, jutting my jaw in the air while I say things like rape is worse for a man than a woman (and decry any political agenda or misogyny the whole time), or bang ON and ON about how women are all the same and need to be lied to, need to be more polite in bars, don’t care about the emotions of men (HELLO???You ever READ a women’s mag de Brito? They do nothing else OTHER than try to decode and manage men’s emotions).

BUT…given I am in fact a WO-MAN, I must take a different approach to my gender stereotypes. Gigglingly, shyly, flipping my newly blond hair extensions with my hands given a makeover by horridly chunky gel nails, I must raise a couple of semi-questions “tee hee hee, are women, do you think into *power* instead of *looks*?”, ask two random passers by and draw my conclusion from their answers “golly gee, YES, women are ALL the SAME!!! They are into POWER, not sex! They will shag men to get along cos they HATES to have the sex! [Intriguingly the same load of CRAP de Brito writes about, though he charmingly concludes that women in dating are all prostituting themselves for the flowers, drinks and meals he seems to think we all want/demand/get/refuse to date/put out if we don’t get…but I degress]

“Women like MANLY men, not “Metros” [they CERTAINLY don’t like WOMEN…and UGH feminists? How UGLY and last season and totally irrelevant, cos you know, like despite rape and domestic violence stats and a general lack of bodily autonomy etc, we’re like EQUAL now!??] But you know, I asked two people, how could my generalisation be wrong? Tee hee”.

Funnily enough the conclusions of the two blogs, while claiming to have different aims, while getting there differently, whilst couching it in different language, propogate the same gender myths. THEREFORE, if I want to succeed in a mainstream newspaper blog, if I wish for my genius to be rewarded, I must (male or female) expound on the topic of WOMEN, what they *are*, *how* they feel, *who* they wanna boink, and most importantly I must not forget that they are ALL the SAME!!! Yes! It is true, I asked two people passing my office and they said, like, TOTALLY all women are the same!

Step 4/ I must seek out a target audience who have insulting opinions on gender issues, and I must pander to them. I must put out a provocative sentiment, couching it carefully, then sit back and wait for the controversy and hate to ROLL in. In this way I avoid the work of having to say anything of intelligence or significance, avoid the responsibility for the vile and disgusting sentiments raised (see dredgirls earlier comment on this blog quoting a guy regarding punching his “Mrs”, see almost any days comments section on their blogs) and can rely on the joyful celebration of generalisations and misogyny to ensure that the numbers come rolling in.

Sigh.



Categories: gender & feminism, media

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18 replies

  1. They make me *headdesk* all the time, yet I can’t look away. Same name, same opinions.
    Sam (v.M): “blah blah misogyny blah did I mention I was a model? blah blah sex”
    Sam (v.F): “blah blah giggle blah i dunno but blah blah what do you think?”

  2. Step 4 is the big one since Sam in the City knocks out a couple of pars of tortured, provocative (in the most tiresome and obvious way) prose and lets the flying monkeys in the comments do the work.

  3. And here I was thinking I was the only one who couldn’t stand either of those blogs.
    I will say one thing about popular blogs is that they reach a point where the regular commenters think its a club, and get very exclusive about the whole thing. They sit there and comment endlessly all day and it reaches the point where they’re all feeding off each other and no one else wants to stick their oar in, lest they get their head bitten off.
    Dataceptionists last blog post..Why care What Not To Wear

  4. Sam de Brito recently had a novel published titled “Lost Boys”. Not sure if it was about his readership.

  5. Gosh, Amanda, Dataceptionist… I can’t imagine where they might have learned such techniques from. :-/

  6. Ugh, you should see what they’ve done with the WA Today opinion section.

    “Pep Talk” with Daile Pepper: “If you take your blogs with a hint of spice, Daile Pepper will satisfy all your cravings for the latest on dating crazes, Perth’s nightlife and health kicks. She’ll feed you all the must-have knowledge for living, breathing, looking hot and socialising in this modern world.”
    “You’ve Got Male” with Chris Thomson: “A gangster rapper trapped in a bush balladeer’s body, Chris Thomson likes to notice things. Like how even the smallest wave at Port Beach makes a big sound when it disintegrates on the sand. Join Chris for the news, views and interviews his editor won’t let him publish anywhere else.”
    The content isn’t any more inspiring than the blurbs. Yawn.

  7. “living, breathing, looking hot and socialising” Sums up my life perfectly, but not in that order.

  8. Strange, are you ladies passing through a youngish up-yourself nerdy tosser, burn yer bra for the sisters phase?…;)…hey, Helen started it.
    Bear takes off in his Uni-cycle & calls back
    “Luvs what yer doin!…keep knockin’ them walls down…but remember the wee ones who can’t speak for themselves…” Mutters something about “Emma Peel” & “crush”.

  9. Thanks for the post, fuckpoliteness.
    And: aren’t those blogs horrendous?
    What makes my hair stand on end even more is this. If you read one of the SMH articles from their “Executive Style” section (yeah, I know, but they sometimes have interesting articles, or at least, I’m curious about what they’re saying about, eg, the iPhone), then the only link in the right-hand sidebar is to All Men Are Liars.
    Yeah. Cos of course: All [wanna-be] Executives Are Men.
    Right.
    Good one.
    *sigh*
    (I mean, the Executive Style section is designed as if it came straight out of a guidebook for “how to design for the executive male”, so, y’know…)

  10. Oh yeah, wow…*headdesk* is certainly a term I’m borrowing to describe my reaction to those two from now on!
    And you’ve pretty accurately summed the two of them up there hellonhairylegs – but…WHAT? Sam de Effing Brito was a MODEL??? For REAL??? yyyyeeeeuuurrrgh!
    Do you know, Sam de Brito has been pulling this “I’m a caring decent fellow” schtick in the last little while did you notice? After banging on about how he’d never date a ‘fat chick’, and how older women were deluded and bitter and should just accept the fact that older men were attracted to younger women because only younger slimmer women with ‘elastic skin’ are attractive etc…he claimed that whenever he’s given ‘overweight’ people a ‘hard time’, it’s been out of a place of caring and concern…that’s the first time he’s ever made me laugh. Oh! Caring and concern from de Brito(wipes tear of mirth from eye)

  11. Nice post, aren’t they just the most tiresome faux-blogs you ever did see.

  12. We need a name for MSM faux-blogs, but I’m stuck between “fogs” and “flogs”. Or maybe “blaux”. As in, “This blauxz, dude.”

  13. Yeah, Sam de Brito totally ‘bleaux’. I like the insinuation behind *flogs* though – of flogging a dead horse, and… well…”Get your hand off it Darrel”…

  14. !!!! that’s great – ‘blaux’ kind of works well visually, but how about upgrading flog and add Spam in the City and Sam duh Brito to the FLOGROLL?
    Nothing says ‘gangster rapper’ like balding smug Very Old Man In Tie. Just as nothing says ‘must have knowledge’ like a cocktail dress in the middle of the day and the photographer’s shadow across your face in your professional profile photo.
    Thankyou fuckpoliteness for deconstructing epic piles of online donkeyjam. You treated them better than they deserved, but you’re probably a self-hating doormat type in desperate need of a man that pays more attention to his brand of hair product than you do.
    Coz Sam sez so.
    Both of them.

  15. And, where has Fuck Politeness been all my life?!?

  16. Aw shucks Helen, she’s been waiting for questions like that! ;p
    Mmm…that dude DOES have smug p*$&ck written all over him in that photo doesn’t he? Bush Balladeer kind of unduly romanticises his body type I feel…And Daile Pepper…I read her blurb and I wonder exactly what ‘must have’ information she can bring to the table about breathing…what am I missing out on???

  17. Late to the party, I know – but have to chime in with multiple nods and sighs of relief.
    I’ve actually posted on (both) of these blogs – due to my mouth-agape, speechless inability to believe people (multiple people!) can actually believe, debate and enjoy their rubbish. Not to mention the de Brito fanboys.
    In every case my slight suggestion that all women are not the same and there could be far more significant factors affecting the difference in point of view between one individual and the next than their genitalia has gone a little something like this:
    (Brett’s blog)
    ZOMG feminazi!! Don’t you know men are hard-wired (fav word for the crew) to leer at boobs/not do housework/want sex on demand/be dominant – it’s BIOLOGY, duh.
    (de Brito)
    ZOMG GOLDDIGGER!! I love how equality changes when you want men to pay for dinner/your house/child support. Why can’t you women realise that men aren’t automatically privileged at all. Ever hear of a little word called MISANDRY!?!?!

  18. Ulp. The bad HTML tagging. Hang my head in shame.
    [mod note: I added a close-em tag – was that what you wanted? ~L]

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