Live and Let Live

I’ve been blogging since 2001. For many years, I remained content to write in my little corner of the universe, rarely reaching out to other bloggers and vice versa. In fact, I never promoted my blog, included its link in comments, or spoke about it much at all. Part of my seclusion arose from the feeling that I could never be a part of what was going on in the blogosphere. It looked “closed” to me, and I didn’t want to invite myself to the party. I’m way too underconfident for that.


Then, something happened. I noticed more and more bloggers practicing a spirit of inclusiveness and sharing. Why, these bloggers were actually inviting people to the party, and suddenly? I wanted to be part of the community. No longer did I feel like the geeky kid hanging out by my locker ostracized by the popular kids. Now, that clique appeared irrelevant, and another group stood in its place — one that smiled at everyone and beckoned me from my locker.


So I started a new blog and joined the fun. It turned out to be the best thing I could have done. The friends I’ve made in the few months since the launch of San Diego Momma in January are supportive, nurturing and accepting. And I hope they feel the same about me.


But every now and then, I see vestiges of the way it used to be, and it saddens me. Most recently, I witnessed a top blogger snark on the blog of one of the “newer” bloggers — a blogger I read occasionally whose posts are delightful, witty and wise. The “A List” blogger launched her attack on the very public Twitter forum, accusing the delightful blogger of copying from a pastiche of other venerable bloggers. The snark did not go unnoticed — in fact, the delightful blogger read it firsthand. The aftermath proved divisive, with supporters on either side facing off in the comments section of both parties. In her own blog, the A lister defended her criticism as being a combination of freedom of speech and non-conformism. Reading this, I thought two things: one, the A lister’s own blog seemed derivative (as are most of ours, the thing making us all unique is our voice, not necessarily the content or the theme), and second, that her definition of non-conformism rang untrue.


I’ve encountered this type of thing before. Not the blogging meanness, but one supposedly “enlightened” person condescending to someone they consider “unenlightened.” I know a few people who grow irritated or intolerant of those they consider as lagging on the path of self-actualization, positioning themselves as so far up the road, that they cannot deign to look back with understanding or empathy at those behind them. To me, this is not enlightenment, this is judgment. Not so self-actualized.


So too with the non-conformist. In my opinion, a true non-conformist lives his or her life outside the box, and lets other people live as they will, too. Pointing out someone’s conformity is not non-conformist. It’s mean. And decidedly inside the box. If you’re so busy living your non-conformist life, why does it matter so much to you what others do? Seems as if the label of “non-conformist” is more important than actually being one.


The A lister is most definitely entitled to her opinion. She absolutely holds the right to share that opinion. But to broadcast it so publicly calls her motivation into question. I heard (from Dr. Phil, no less. How’s that for conformity?) that anger (and her snark certainly smacked of anger) comes from hurt or fear. I’m wondering if the mean comment came from fear. And if so, what is she so afraid of? Exclusivity, in MY opinion, is born from fear. Fear of not being the big fish in the pond, of not being top dog forever. Exclusivity is not guaranteed when other people are allowed in…and maybe that was the motivation.


I don’t know really. What I do know if that the community feeds us all. Poison that, and we all suffer. There’s all kinds of blogs out there of varying degrees of greatness, but please don’t make it personal. Just move on and read something else. There’s enough content out there. That’s the beauty of our community.


38 thoughts on “Live and Let Live

  1. Amen, sister. Preach. On. I happen to intensely dislike an A-lister. I could turn that dislike into mucho traffic for my own blog – her adoring fans are ever rabidly loyal. However, I don’t see the point. I don’t like her; I don’t read her. No big whoop.

  2. I’m always amused when people holler free speech as a way of justifying their behavior.

    Free speech huh? I dare them to go to the airport and announce they have a bomb in the name of free speech.

    I mean, after all they’re just words, right? Well words have an impact and it sure would be nice if people would think before they blabber. (says the queen of blabbering idiots)

  3. I have never understood why big fish want
    to humiliate little fish (spoken of course as a little fish).

    On another note…does Twitter ever work right or is it just me?

  4. Thank goodness I had Tootsie Farklepants explain this to me last night so I know what you’re talking about.

    Someone’s mama forgot to teach her one very important lesson growing up–If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

    Definitely not interested in Twitter after this debacle.

  5. Steph: YES, m’aam. Exactly.

    PJ Momma: Coming from a blabbering idiot herself: I’ve often put my foot in my mouth and voiced a mean opinion…but I like to think I recognize it as such and don’t defend it as ridiculously as she is…
    Sorry for the pastiche. I’m enlarging my vocabulary. :)

    Clink: Also. Coming from a little fish…I look at it as the big fish marketing their territory. And. No.

    Deborah: Thank you!

    Rose: WHAT???? ***running to your blog for the details*****

    Jenn: That’s the crux for me, I guess. I certainly understand she’s got her opinions and I even understand her voicing it. But would have liked to see it voiced more responsibility and intention. It’s clear to me her intention was just to be snarky.

  6. Again, with the whole impressing me thing. I’m WAY too little of a fish to have experienced anything like this first-hand, and I hope and pray I never cause anything like it myself. I agree with you in that saying bad stuff does happen, it’s how you handle the fallout from it that marks your maturity.

  7. Who is delightful? Who is the A-Lister? Why AM I ALWAYS out of the loop? And really, why can’t we all just get along.

    Look, when I was doing March NaBlaPoMo, someone commented on my blog that she wanted to “steal” one of my ideas. Steal? No, I said, don’t steal. I told her that she was welcome to freely drink from my stream of thought, or something to that effect. I started putting caption-ey things on my photos ’cause I liked how Mrs. G. did it. She may have liked how Bossy did it. I don’t know where it started. My point is that we are better as individuals when we work together as a community. I think you’re right on the money — anger comes from fear and hurt. So let’s send a positive thought over to the A-Lister and hope she’s having a better day today. As for the delightful blogger, I’m hoping she knows that her work was appreciated enough by others to be noticed by the A-Lister. As for me and you, Girlfriend email me the links to the A-Lister and the delightful bloggers so I can see if they have any good stuff for me to steal.

  8. you’ve pointed out such an interesting paradox: when one thinks they’re being a non-conformist and calls out someone for conforming, they’re clearly acting out of fear that they aren’t conforming enough. maybe that doesn’t make sense in print, but it sure speaks to me. i don’t know who you’re talking about, don’t really need to. all i know is that i’m just so lucky to have fallen into such an incredibly talented and supportive group of women who pull me up, not down. that’s why i finally threw my hat into the blogging ring.

  9. I just wanted to say, thanks for being one of the people who has made me feel welcome and supported. I hope that I can follow your example and do the same for others.

  10. echoing myra’s sentiments re: the conformist/non-conformist stuff.

    even though i’ve only been blogging for barely 12 mos now – i was even attacked once. FOR VOICING MY OPINION. omg, if i go to a blog and i read one sentence that offends me (actually, offending me is virtually not possible, but i’ll move along here…) or is something that i just don’t give a F about – i leave. and i never come back. i would never even THINK to leave a scathing comment to an author i don’t like.

    i love the community that i’m involved in – that’s for sure! :)

  11. Having been the target of a vicious campaign to deblog and delife me in the past due to a self-inducted A lister without manners or the sense God gave her, I can honestly say I feel terrible for the delightful one. The blogosphere is big enough for everyone and most of us are here not to compete for traffic or popularity or even inclusion into the big dogs’ inner circle. Some of us just want our little patch of blog to be where we can express ourselves and maybe make a friend or two along the way.

    I spent 0.0058 seconds in the upper echelon once and it was way too much work to have to keep trying to impress everyone. I didn’t start blogging to impress folks. I just wanted to ramble and rage every now and again. I’m happy sitting at the back of the bus. I get the breeze from all the open windows and I can people watch from here. And I think I see a few familiar, friendly faces back my way.

    The delightful one should remember that one blogger’s snark is likely a combination of bad judgment, a sense of self-importance, and a bottle of vodka (peroxide or arsenic) gone wrong.

  12. Hello, friend of my friend Kate!

    You have been a stellar example of how to handle oneself with maturity & grace. Please tell me it took you a few drafts to not curse when writing about this nonsense… :D

    Regardless, you’re right on. There is no sense in publicly bashing someone; it only serves to drain your credibility. I’m saddest for the mean one, thinking she has to behave that way and defend herself vehemently.

  13. Boy am I late to this party! But I think I’m caught up now. Deb, as usual you’ve come up with the perfect words.

    If a group of people identify themselves as non-conformists, aren’t they actually conforming in their non-conformin-inity? Made more sense in my head.

    Publicly humiliating someone generally only ends up making the humiliator look bad, not the humiliatee.

    And knowing that this person is speaking at a conference intended to motivate and inspire makes me (almost) feel better that I’m not going.

  14. I posted about it too — and you are right, we should be uplifting each other, or keeping out mouths shut (unless surrounded by like-minded friends and lots of wine).

    Nothing wrong with having an opinion, but why try to pick someone apart on the very things (unoriginality) that you, yourself are doing too?

    We are all re-telling the same stories over and over again in our own voices. And that is what makes them ours.

    Good perspective.

  15. Wise and calm words.

    Who makes these bloggers ‘A’ listed anyway?

    When I worked, I had some very high profile clients…and the ones who behaved the worst were always the new kids on the ‘A’ list block…and you are right – they behave badly because they are always looking over their shoulder.

    Hen (found you via Juggling Jen)

  16. Wow. I commented on that post, because I thought it was very well-written and “real”. I never realized there were BLOG POLITICS behind it. I hate politics.

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  18. wow…i’m such a little fish, i don’t think i even register on the ‘fish scale’. i’m also confused about all that’s going on…twitter? A-lister? what? hell, i can barely figure out blogger!!
    you are totally ‘spot on’ on all of this…why do people feel the need to lash out at someone for just writing what they think or feel. ~~sheesh~~ it’s like junior high all over again. and if someone is an ‘a-lister’…who put them there? how did they get there? i think i will stick to my small yet friendly and warm group of bloggers…i don’t need anymore negativity in my life, i’m having a hard enough time as it is staying positive!

  19. It all sounds most unpleasant. It does seem to me that as blogging develops and becomes bigger that more of this will take place, as people jostle for position (particularly those who do it in hope of fame or financial gain) and blogger type cliques expand and grow.

    The great thing about blogging is that there should be a place for everyone. We do not need to fight for space or attention. And it always feels unpleasant when a big fish picks on a little one – surely that is bullying rather than free speech?

    I personally avoid trying to associate myself with any particular blog group/clique – I like to visit a range of blogs and not “join” any groups as such. But that’s me and my choice. I do love to watch some of the supportive groups that exist (like Mrs G’s crowd) but I would not want to be part of it as such. It’s great that blogging has worked for you in the way that it has (and for many others besides). Let’s just hope it stays feeling informal and does not become too competitive, nasty or politicised.

    Interesting piece anyway.

  20. Everybody made such excellent points. There’s such wisdom here!
    And as Reluctant Blogger said…when you are part of a group in any way, you’re subject to the competition, politics, and so on.

    I am, too…and I’ll have to watch myself so as not to end up a hypocrite!


  21. I had this dream that all the big name “A” bloggers got together and decided that collectively that their readership was one million readers a month.
    They decided that they would do some good with this number.
    They decided that rather than ask car companies for free cars to ride around and visit each other in, with the promise of writing about how cool the car is, they would aks the car companies to give money to help education.
    They would meet to plan wonderful action to make their communities better.
    They could still have the wild colored shooters and nachos, and the obligatory photo of shoes could still be shot. But not before some good would be done. Some action worthy of discussing on next days blogs. Keep it rolling and growing.
    Grass roots!
    Changing the world one post at a time.
    The bloggers decided that they would continue to post about families but they would remove the narcissistic view of how much they have, and talk about how much they help others.
    Awareness would be raised of others in need.
    Conscience would be enlightenend as to what we can do to make this world better.
    Recipes would still be swapped, but they would be only those that were mindful of our global food shortages.
    Humor would still be used as it is the best medicine, but ego’s would be left at the door. Always.
    In this dream the power of a few grew to a power of many.
    Those that were read in big numbers, realized the power they had to change the world.
    The bloggers from every corner of the country and planet discovered how easy it is to change the world.
    Snipping stopped, egos were used to do good, monies were raised for good and not for second incomes in well off families.
    I like to dream.
    One day!

  22. Wow… I go out of town for one lousy weekend and the few blogs that I’m able to catch up on all have posts about being nice.

    I really have trouble understanding how one blogger could put another down. Aren’t we here to support each other?

    Oh the ridiculousness of it all…

  23. What is the point of being all snarky? I just don’t get it. Well said SD Momma. I for one love the bloggers I’ve “met” (especially fond of the SD bunch) and can’t imagine being called out like that. Horrid.

  24. I adore that you’ve created a network of supportive people–the “A-listers” vying for position and publicity may get what they want, but how sad to consider how they get it.

  25. Yikes, where have I been on this one?

    “Pointing out someone’s conformity is not non-conformist. It’s mean. ”

    So true. Really well said here, my friend. Now that I’m all caught up, wanna sit together at the lunch tables today?

  26. When I heard about the bruh-ha-ha happening on Twitter, as upsetting and disappointing as it is, it no longer surprises me. It seems to be happening more often, but with different perpetrators and victims.

    It makes me angry to see a grown adult blogger slinging verbal and malicious mud at another adult blogger. Don’t we already have enough to contend with in the blogosphere with children and teens being bullied online? To see adults doing it is shameful and a disgrace.

    Anytime I read or see statements, comments or posts that viciously attack someone else, regardless of their “reasons” for it, I never go back.

    I doubt Ms. A-Lister has thought or cares about the long-lasting ramifications of her online words, especially in years to come when family or friends try to build their genealogical history and find her nonsense. That’s a family legacy no one should be proud of.

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  28. Yeah, I saw this happen in real time. I stupidly made some ridiculous comment akin to, “You go girl!” Obviously, I was drunk and totally missing the intent behind the tweet. When I finally DID get the whole picture, it was 25 minutes before I could delete my comment.

    Brother. I’m a ridiculous ass, Twitterville.

    I HATE getting in the middle of crap like that.

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