While making my blogging round the other day, I somehow found myself on a blog I had not read before reading about the Julie Controversy (Julie of Julie & Julia fame). First off, I was amazed there was controversy, so I had to read the article. Then, I was amazed at the fact people don’t quite get what she and her book was about.
Why the controversy now? Timing. The movie is out, she’s back in the spotlight, and unfortunately there has been an explosion in blogging between the time her book came out and today.
What is the controversy? Well, this is the interesting part. Basically, for the following reasons: Julie does not consider herself a foodie, she is indifferent about the food blogger explosion, she doesn’t consider herself a blogger, and she finds that bloggers can be clannish and somewhat evil.
So, bloggers everywhere are hating her.
I had to chuckle at what they were up in arms about, then wonder how anyone could think of her as a foodie. Then it made me wonder if public education has once again let us down in how people read and comprehend what they are reading.
The book Julie and Julia is a book about how Julie used Julia Child’s cookbook to break out of her rut. Julie was unhappy. She was not happy with her job. She was slightly depressed. And, she realized she had not accomplished any goal she set her mind to accomplishing. SO, she, on a whim, decides to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook in a year. Her husband, who is a technology geek if I recall correctly, suggested she chronicle her project online in the form of a blog. She likes to write. Seemed to be a good fit.
Do I think Julie is a foodie? Not in the way many food bloggers are. She enjoys food, she appreciates the process, but you won’t likely hear her wax poetic about how a dish changed her outlook on life. Or how summer raspberries make her think of her grandmother who used to make raspberry jam in that cute little apron and hand it out to all of her friends. This is why she is pretty indifferent about the food blogger explosion. She tends to have an Anthony Bourdain approach to eating. She loves it. She loves great food, she appreciates the process, but she will never be that type of writer – the one that waxes poetic about a dish. And, you know – I’m with her.
While I love some of the food blogs that grace my Google Reader roles, they also drive me nutty. Food does bring up certain memories for me, but I cannot always get my head wrapped around the writing. I appreciate it, but after a while, I realize I am on a different wavelength. I can see how she may not count herself in those ranks or find it sort of “eh”.
What about those comments about bloggers? I’m a blogger, I should be offended, right?
Nope. I kind of agree with her. Any community whether it be online or in real life, has a degree of clannish-like behaviors. I don’t care if it is your church or a professional group you belong to or even a mommy group – there is always a degree of us versus them that starts. While it is not a behavior that is accepted by all members of that group, there are usually a person or two (or more depending on the group) that can have this attitude.
Think about our own small and inter-tangled blogging community. Many of my readers are bloggers of other blogs. Not 100% of them, but a good percentage. And of those people, I am the reader of their blogs. It is one way to get your blog out there – commenting on other people’s posts. Inevitably friendships form, and you become part of a community of bloggers. Sound familiar to anyone? Familiar and natural, in my opinion. People like to feel part of communities or groups. It gives them a sense of belonging. And, in blogging, it can give you a place where you can talk about things not always talked about in everyday-walking-around life. Clannish? Yep. Not unexpected to me.
Are bloggers slightly evil? They certainly can be. Again, look at community in general. Communities will always be a mix of people with different personalities and opinions of the world. Some will take things to an extreme. Thanks to the Internet for making people feel anonymous enough to feel safe in taking things to more of an extreme. This is not universally true, but hell, look at what’s happening to Julie right now. She is getting raked over the coals by people who clearly don’t understand her. Think it has all stayed constructive? Me neither.
Besides the Julie evidence, if you will, there is plenty of evidence out in blogger land. How about the site I recently found dedicated to, get this, running down the mother of a sick child? Why are they doing this? Because a local news station had some of her comments about a local issue related to another child. I couldn’t sort out the specifics really, but didn’t care. Seemed pretty fucking stupid really. Disagree – that’s fine. But a whole blog about it?? Really? I should mention that this person also has a Twitter account and she follows anyone who is following the mother-in-question. I think, this qualifies as slightly evil.
People never cease to amaze me really. I liked reading Julie. Hell, I followed her online for a while when she was doing some blogging again – but I could tell she wasn’t really a blogger. She would post stuff periodically, but her focus was on her real writing not nurturing a blog. But, I will have to say one thing – she likes to say fuck, a LOT! Maybe that’s why I feel she’s misunderstood.