In 2012, Zoe Kazan, the writer and star of Ruby Sparks objected to the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”, which had been applied to the title character of her movie, dismissing it as the work of a sexist “blogger.” Needless to say, I was not overjoyed at being called sexist but I was equally insulted by being called a blogger.
Five years ago, I was the head writer of The A.V Club, an enormously popular website, not some weird amateur on the fringes of society, jabbering away about nonsense on my blog. I was weirdly insulted by the implication that I was a blogger because blogging, and bloggers, occupy a place in society just above Juggalos, mimes and prop comics, and I only identify as one of those, but I'm getting much, much better at wordlessly conveying what it's like to be inside a box or a wind tunnel. Appropriately enough, I have a blog with a name based on Juggalo culture, yet you beautiful people tolerate me all the same.
Bloggers were not professional writers. They were rank amateurs who were notorious for yammering on and on about what they ate for breakfast that morning and various other self-indulgent horse shit no one, but no one, could possibly care about other than themselves. When our society does not value something, we tend to associate it with young girls, particularly teenagers. Accordingly, the universe of blogging, particularly in the WordPress days, was synonymous, in the snarky comment sections of the world at least, with the melodramatic self-pity and self-absorption of 14 year old girls.
That was not me. I was a professional! True, My World Of Flops began life on the A.V Club blog ten years ago but it was quickly moved out of the blog and onto the main page in part because we never quite figured out what the A.V Club blog was supposed to be, or how it fit into the rest of the site.
I regretted coining the phrase Manic Pixie Dream Girl (to an extent) because I did not women like Kazan to have to go through life being asked what it’s like playing a sexist archetype like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Kazan and I have subsequently patched up whatever differences we might have had and out social media friends. And, five years after I was dismissed as a sexist blogger by a talented actress and writer, I have become a blogger.
And that’s kind of weird! It seems like maintaining a poorly copy-edited, self-indulgent blog on a homemade website you write and edit and run is something you should do at the very beginning of your career, to build your voice and following in hopes of finding jobs in publishing. Who knows, if you really, really work on your blogging, it might net you a dream job at a place like Pitchfork or The A.V Club! It does not feel like something that you should begin in your early forties after two decades of getting your skull kicked around by the industry.
Yet here I am all the same, 41 years old, battered and bruised and aggressively rebuilding and reinventing my career in part by being a daily blogger who takes to the internet every day and tries to say, if not something necessarily profound or elegant or important, then at least something substantive. To paraphrase the words of Pharcyde, gotta say something that means something, that means something, that means something.
And oftentimes what I have to say is self-indulgent, or excessively personal, or is exclusively about what coffee I drank that morning or what sandwich I plan to eat for lunch.
And you know what? I fucking love it. I love being a self-indulgent, amateur blogger screaming my muddled truths from the mountains. I may be reverting professionally. I went from being the head writer of an extraordinarily popular website to being a fired staff writer for a much less popular site to being the sole writer for a personal website with a readership that is a tiny fraction of The A.V Club. That suits me just fine.
It turns out I was a self-indulgent personal blogger all along. It just took me twenty years to figure that out, and embrace the blogger within.
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