Posted by Amanda Chapel
There comes a point in ALL relationships where communications is suspended. It's sometimes a temporary thing; but sadly, it's sometimes indefinite. Sometimes there's that deafening silence during a long drive home; and then there's when your attorney insists emphatically that, for your own good, you "refrain from any contact whatsoever."
Well, I heard a pretty emphatic "just shut the fuck up" come from the Web this week. LA Times columnist Joel Stein wrote an Op-Ed last Tuesday that sums up a growing feeling in the blogosphere: "Have something to say? I don't care. Don't bother sending anything -- BECAUSE I DON'T CARE!"
I remember the exact date and time when I said almost the exact same thing to my ex. No matter what he said, it was like nails on a blackboard. Arrrgh. I remember exactly when the straw broke the camel's back. I stopped him mid-diatribe: "I don't care about your stereo or your God-damn computer. I just fucking don't. Please... Shut up!" I took refuge in the bedroom, locked the door, and called my attorney directly.
Okay, I hear ya. "But divorce is down," you say. Let's put that in a little perspective. Generally speaking, committed "relationships" are down. According to a study by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University: The U.S. divorce rate is about 17.7 per 1,000 married women, down from 22.6 in 1980. But the marriage rate is also on a steady decline: a 50% drop since 1970 from 76.5 per 1,000 unmarried women to 39.9. Bottom line: society is far less stable. Cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples.
Now apply that to the virtual world. On the frenetic Web, the make-believe land of porn, podcasters, petty thieves and pedophiles, where "friendship is a stranger who thanks you for the MySpace add," “relationships” seem to be at a breaking point.
How bad is it? This week Web celeb Steve Rubel called for a “Cease Fire at Blogosphere High.” Sherrilynne Starkie of Strive PR responded saying: "Stop all the sniping and nastiness? Of course it would be delightful, but it’s highly unlikely. What Steve asks people to do is to go against human nature... and that’s never going to happen." David Cote, principal at AgencyNext in an article titled, "Can’t we all just get along?...NOPE," characterized the problem thus: "The majority, however, are posting in their underwear at 2am after watching a re-run of Jerry Springer and wanting nothing more than to argue with someone, anyone."
The evangelists of this whole social-networking fad forgot one essential thing: people, i.e the dirty masses... the uncouth-drunken-my-Name-is Earl-trailerpark-meth-crazed-idiots struggling with the decision of whether to pee or puke.
Stein's solution is actually quite polite in its directness. His conclusions are fundamental. Simply, Joel has relationships; he doesn't have the extra time; and incorporating sporadic uninvited external input compromises his creative product. In his words:
Simple enough. Joel's right on the money.
See... whether we want to admit it or not, all relationships are about cost/benefit. It's becoming more apparent that this blogging thing just isn't worth it. And the long tail grows more weary of all the bullshit with every day. The lying, the pretense, leaving the seat up, the constant flatulence, blogging just isn’t working out.
I don't know. Maybe it's the time of year. All my friends are getting divorced. I suspect it's good for the real estate business. Oh, well. Here's to new beginnings.
PS Joel... are you single? Would you call me?
Link love for January
Thanks to everyone who linked here so far this year. You know who you are, but just in case you’ve forgotten: Richard Bailey refreshed his blogroll, I think. Amanda Chapel gave us a mention in her post about blogosphere manners. Owen Cutajar gav...
Weblog: Strive Notes
Tracked: Feb 03, 03:44
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I always advise people to get blogs only as content delivery systems to catch the attention of search engines, and that's all they are TRULY good for. Community? Who needs it? I have enough friends already, thanks.
I get a real kick out of Edelman's "join the conservation" crap... they really just want to "drive the conversation"
Thanks Strumpette.... love your site
Put your money where your mouth is Strumpette and get rid of the ability for readers to post comments or win $500 in caption contests.
Like it or not the world is a community and although it sucks, it's really fucking crowded and we certainly don't all get along, we have to share and we have to empathize if our messages are to be responsible. (Springer is not responsible. Springer is porn. And it's not even good porn.)
For instance, my neighbor, who is not home right now, has a dog which has not stopped barking for 15 minutes. I want to kick in his door and murder his pet with a baseball bat. Alas, I cannot. I have to share society... even though I want to be selfish and not care. If I didn't share when I didn't want to, or at least give it an effort, society would divorce me.
I think you may have missed the point a hair. The article was about the marketing buzzwords du jour "relationships" and "conversation." The point is that neither today is practical or realistic. Most relationships end in divorce. Fences and shotguns make for good neighbors.
Hi Strumpette, it's tough to know whether to commit the time and energy into crafting a full response to your article - of course who cares, so is it worth the effort?
Everything costs. Relationship costs. Good relationships are expensive. Great relationships are to die for. There's a price to pay for being in one, for being "alone", for being casual. Relationship is essential for survival. Fleeting moments, ships in the night, that quick in and out provide for continuance, but don't guarantee survival like a strong relationship. Pay the price. Die - or die anyway.
Of course it takes 2 - and who can say for sure that the other 1/2 is a full 1? Difficult choices for sure; make the wrong one and your dead again.
Motive - what's the point? Why not want a relationship? Can't get out of it what was put in? Small wonder we die. If a relationship is for getting a return it's destined to die. Surely it's for giving from the endless reserves of the wonderful "who am I".
What reserves? Nothing left to give? Sapped dry from all the take? Yeah that's tough, and we've all been there. Like I said, it takes 2, and it ain't easy. Lonely & happy - sure why not. go for it!
I agree society is on the fall - we're too cheap and paying the price. I agree blogs are soap-bytes. I don't agree relationships have to be so tragic (although I ungraciously "accept" they all too often are). Don't get me wrong. I ain't saying it ain't tough - it is. But have you seen my daughter - she is so beautiful I want to pay. Have you seen my wife? She really makes me work hard (in our relationship) and it costs me - but it's for the good of us all. And I think she's wonderful for it. And I know it's my shortcomings that are more painful for me to face than the cost of relating to my wife and kid!
Hope Joel proves to be all the man he was made to be - even if he ends up with some other "Mrs Right" just as long as you get your Knight in Shining armour (with a strong back and a joint in the knee!).
Funny huh - I was looking for information on Martin Luther and I found you!
All the best,