Stop Being So Defensive and Read The Damn Article

Woman Angry At LaptopI’ve been weekend editor for Madamenoire for a little over a month now. As I’ve mentioned before, editing has it’s pros and cons when I compare it to my days of simply freelancing. For the most part it’s a tedious, time-consuming task that requires little creativity. Thankfully I still get to contribute some of my personal pieces but for the most part I’m reporting the same stories about who owes child support, who’s cheating and who’s having a baby that every other celebrity blog is reporting. As I stated before, when blogging becomes a business there’s no longer the freedom that comes with random ramblings that catch your particular interest like musing about how much my life has changed for the better since I discovered espresso. My Dunkin Donuts addiction isn’t going to get the site hits, however Oprah telling Lilo to get her shit together will. It’s the nature of the beast and honestly I’m loving every minute I’m learning about this whole business.

But I must admit there’s still one pet peeve that although I am guilty of myself, I still can’t find it in my heart to forgive my readers for: Commenting before reading the entire article. Like the world, the internet is a very angry place. It’s painful for me to digest the fact that even if I was writing about Care Bears and cotton candy, someone would complain that Care Bears were simply covers for mental illness and cotton candy is sticky, worthless shit meant for the downfall of mankind. There are so many days when I want to close my laptop and write the whole world a prescription for Zoloft.

Yesterday I wrote a piece entitled Are Black Women Aiming to Be Marilyn Monroe? in which I expressed my thoughts on our culture’s obsession with the iconic beauty and if women’s fascination with her was unhealthy. In the piece I don’t just target black women, I place blame where the impartial shoe fits on all women from Nicki Minaj to Miley Cyrus. But no sooner after the piece had been up for ten seconds was the comments section filled with all kinds of clever observations:

“It’s not just black women… But I don’t understand the obsession…. Maybe I need to do more research bc all I know her to be was a mistress… Nothing more.”

“I don’t think it should be narrowed down to black women because every race of women want to imitate her. The topic is pointless.”

“Uh?! Women in general love Marilyn Monroe. It was NEVER a black thing. Who came up with this question lolol cuz its funny.”

You know what is funny? The fact that I verify exactly what the commenters are saying in the damn article. The whole article states the fascination with Marilyn Monroe is an American obsession and not just a black one and I go on to challenge exactly who is in charge of creating the beauty standard for all women. But readers didn’t skim past the headline before getting defensive and writing essays about how pointless my article was. It probably was pointless to them because they failed to read the article to see if there was one.

Want to know a little journalism secret that’s actually not such a secret? Blogs and websites know that with Twitter and TMZ the average person has the attention span of a gnat. The headline is merely bait. It’s meant to get your attention. It’s meant to misinform you. It’s meant to offend you. Like a methhead, as long as we get that hit, we’re good. And the article could clearly be about bat shit, but our stats say otherwise. And readers fall for it every single time. And this is what makes me worry. With so much information a swipe away, I’d venture to guess many of us are becoming less and less informed. We make too many assumptions. We’re all self-proclaimed, writers, experts, bloggers and media mavens that we’re becoming too smart for our own damn good.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my readers. They make my day. And in all honesty, they supplement my income. But that’s my readers, not the skimmers who think they know me because of my opinions on the workings of the world. I love to see a comments section filled with healthy debate, quotes from something other than the first paragraph and a general respect for my thoughts, time and energy even if they disagree. But the most disrespectful thing I think someone can do to someone’s work is spread ignorance about something they didn’t take the time to read. That’s like me saying The Catcher and The Rye was a shit novel and then being like, “Holden Caulfield, who?”

I understand there are only so many hours in the day and too many cat videos to watch on Youtube. I confess I’m good for skimming headlines. But when someone brings up, “Hey did you hear about that lady that drove her kids into the ocean?” I don’t pretend to know the details on something I didn’t take the time to read. And I damn sure don’t pen an essay on anything I haven’t attempted to educate myself about.

I also confess that I write too much. I am entirely way too wordy. But if not my pieces, please take the time to read others work before you begin commenting and getting defensive. You might learn something. Literacy, especially media literacy is the most powerful strength we have as a people. Because the TV will literally tell you anything and blogs will have you believing things that couldn’t be farther from the truth. One of the reasons slavery was able to continue for so long was simply because slaves couldn’t read. The fucked up part is we’re able to, but choose not to. And because of it we are slowly growing to be some of the most articulate fools in history.

We Didn’t Land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock Landed On Our Parking: Spike Lee May Have Had a Point With His Gentrification Rant

Whenever I tell people I’m from North Philly they never believe me.  Instead of being from Broad and Erie or 13th and Dauphin I’ve lived in a neighborhood all my life that’s recently come to be known as Northern Liberties aka NoLibs.  In my neighborhood the corner boys strapped with 380’s blasting bullets are replaced by joggers strapped with Iphones blasting Katy Perry.  Hipsters from across the city flock to the area in search of the Piazza and the Electric Factory, but it’s not the neighborhood I grew up in.  So when Spike Lee recently went on a rant against gentrification at Pratt Institute, it occurred to me I may know more about it than I thought I did.

After an audience member suggested that gentrification helps urban communities create more wealth, Spike Lee immediately took to checking them:

Here’s the thing: I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every motherf**kin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good. P.S. 11. Rothschild 294. The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.

Then comes the motherf**kin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherf**kin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherf**kin’-sixty-eight, and the motherf**kin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherf**kin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherf**kin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the f**k outta here!

Nah. You can’t do that. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherf**kin’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.

(You can read the rest of Lee’s rant at Ny Mag)

Get It Together: I Googled My Ex’s New Girlfriend And Now I Feel Kinda Pathetic

Maybe it’s because I had a bad case of cabin fever with all these snow days or because I hadn’t discovered the Netflix genius that is House of Cards, but I found myself googling my ex’s girlfriend a few weekends ago and I am absolutely ashamed of it.

You see, silly me believed some time ago, my ex and I could actually be friends, at least on social media anyway. Through Facebook messages we talked about mutual friends, career, aging parents, siblings turned sexually active and the inevitable topic we probably should have avoided: The good old days. After all my ex and I hadn’t been involved for at least 7 or 8 years and I was well on my way to building a life with my now fiance’. I honestly believed that there was no room for resentment or jealousy for a relationship that had been dead for some time now.

We followed one another on Instagram. We joked about my Drake stan-dom and he’d tag me in those “Drake The Type of Ni**a” memes. Most of all life was great because we kept much of our private lives off the internet. But as our messages got longer and longer and he began to post more and more pictures of the people in his life, I began to learn a lot more than I probably needed to about his new girlfriend. He began to tell me about how she was recently out of work and much of the financial burden was on him.  She was moonlighting as an event planner and had an awkward role-model relationship with his older sister. What I noticed most is that we started being less and less impartial about our partners and only revealing things about them we knew wouldn’t hurt each other’s feelings.

Since I sensed that I wasn’t getting the whole picture (she couldn’t have been as blah as he was making her out to be, because he was obviously happy with her before we began communicating again) I decided on a very bored pre Walking Dead premiere weekend to Google her after finding her tagged in one of his Facebook pics. Besides I had a few clues: a name and “event planner”.

So what did I find? Not much but some boring Pinterest boards and uneventful tweets from years ago and the worst part is I felt like a complete loser after “researching” her. Why did I even care? The truth is I didn’t. But my ego did, a hell of a whole lot. The first thing I had to figure out was did I have some kind of unresolved love for my ex or did I just not like to lose.

Now I know some of you are going to read this and think, “This girl is completely psycho.  Who the hell has time for this shit?” But I’m willing to bet we all have done some form of this on a particularly insecure day; I’m just the only one brave enough to admit it and try to make you feel like a little less of a lame for doing so. After I removed my Beats Solos, turned down Letoya Luckett’s “She Ain’t” and came off my FBI investigative high I realized I had just wasted an hour of my time. Here a few reasons for you not to do the same: