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July 22, 2008



oh, how i wish i had been there! sounds like an amazing experience. so rich to have that time with all those women, especially the special needs bloggers. i was sending my gushiest from all the way over here!

i'm with your view on the celebrity issue. it's so important to remember that we are doing this to connect, to share stories, to create community. that's what i've always gotten from the blogging world, a way to break the isolation and in the process, i get to feel moved, inspired, informed, and to simply crack up.

sending xxx


It was so wonderful to meet you at BlogHer. I walked out of our last discussion with my head buzzing from your fantastic ideas. I think BlogHer was like getting an extra jug of energy. Let's see how long it lasts.

I think it's interesting how you can pick your path at BlogHer. I stayed away from the monetizing stuff because it's not my RFB (and if I wanted to get rich, writing would not be the way to go!). The social networking stuff passed over my head (except Twitter; I've finally gotten Twitter). But the connections and using our blogs for social change or to affect someone emotionally is a powerful thought.


I think we have to continually examine what our motivation is for many things we choose to do publicly. I'd love to think that we all do things for pure motives but, frankly, after reading some of those entires you referenced (and watching the video clip), I do have to wonder how many people do it simply for the attention.

That being said, I wasn't there and I don't have the context in which it all took place. I think it's dangerous when we hold any one (or some) blogger/politician/spiritual figure/etc. up as penutlimate; in the process I think we undermine the same greatness we each have within. The whole culture of "I'm better than you" or "S/he's better than I am" gets old fast and you lose perspective.

Just my not so humble opnion. ;-)
Wish I could have been there, though. And, um, about that pantyhose story...


Great post, Susan. Thank you! Wonderful wrap up to a wonderful event.



Your panel was my favorite (I was mic running) and you are fantastic.

However I think it is fair to point out that Jenny had already apologized to HEather when Heather used a microphone to humiliate her in front of 800 people. She talked about hate mail, hydrochloric acid throwers and doggie death threats and then invoked Jenny's post about her mythical status (read back, you will see that mythical also implies...never ever heard back from) and was insulted by being called a hobbit?
She has insulted many many groups and individuals on her own blog but takes offense to mythical hobbit?
To many of us who were there, it appears she used Jenny. I would have been incensed had a misconstrewed post been used along side of hydrochloric acid threats. Why didn't heather talk about the person who writes a blog from the perspective of Leta age 15? THAT is damaging.

After Arianna Huffington and Elizabeth Edwards, Heather @ closing was a real come down.

Special Needs Mama

Terrific, terrific. I absolutely agree there is a cautionary tale here, and the fact that people are buzzing about a cat fight in BlogHer's last moments is depressing and sad. I guess we've fallen into the trap set for us: celebrity, commerce, bullshit. I for one place to pull myself out of it and continue with my own RFB, and that is connection. Power to the people, right on.

Susan E

Hi Gwendo,

Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the additional context.

The point I was trying to make wasn't actually meant to be about the interaction between the two women. It was an ugly situation no matter how you look at it.

For me, the takeaway was that buying into this whole celebrity thing, either as bloggers or as audience, is a dangerous distraction and a trap.

I don't idealize Heather Armstrong. I don't even read her very often, though I do admire anyone who has the guts to blog honestly about depression, because it's terribly, terribly stigmatized. I just found the whole thing really sad, because to me she seemed like someone who let her notoriety take over her private life, realized it too late, and is now well and truly stuck.

And I do really believe that she was trying to send a message to us. A lot of people will disagree, I know, but I honestly read Armstrong's later refusal to address the followup question without Jenny there as an attempt at a direct confrontation (i.e., not talking behind Jenny's back in a public setting)--rather than as a means to humiliate her publicly.

But for me, the point is ultimately less about Jenny and Heather than it is about this question: what happens when we allow celebrity to become a motivation for blogging? I see Heather Armstrong as a cautionary tale. I don't think we have to respect or even like her, but I do think there is something to learn from her.

Thanks again,

Kristina Chew

I've never been a regular reader of Armstrong, and had never thought of her as a mom-blogger till after hearing her speak. I was interested that the persona she projects on dooce.com is, seemingly, different than the person who spoke on Saturday and it led me to think about how we, anyone, creates a "persona" in writing. And somehow the immediacy and accessibility of the internet feeds into this.

On the other hand, I was interested that Armstrong spoke firmly about blogging as creative work, and as, indeed, her job. I tend to think of blogging as something not so "creative," but I've started to see aspects of this (at least in my approach to writing).

Thanks for a provocative post,


In my opinion, Heather has exposed a side of herself that a lot of people just tried to ignore before. She's publicly embarrassed many people on her site in the past and posted their email addresses with personal information about them, including hints about where they work, etc. so that they can be attacked by a part of her fan base that's just as nasty as the people who attack her.

Perhaps she should look at why there are people out there who dislike her instead of writing it off as jealousy.

She's written terrible things about her family, her own daughter, some of her own readers - what does she expect?

She's written these things to get a "rise" out of her audience, to be controversial, which translates in higher traffic numbers, read money.

If you read far back enough, both she and her husband have insulted the autistic community several times - usually by approving comments that they agree with. They only allow comments they they agree with, after all. One commenter on Blurbomat called people with Asperger's Syndrome, "Ass Burgers" and another commenter called parents of autistic children "Fucktards".

Meanwhile, Leta is lining up her toys and she's a genius.

My son used to line up his toys. He's a genius in our eyes but not for doing that. He's also autistic. Therefore, I must be a Fucktard and my husband is an Ass Burger.

People need to wake and see that the Blurbodoocery is a big vat of hate and vitriol. At some point, smart people see through the celebrity and they are seen for what they really are.

They pretend to be nice, to be victims, Heather and Jon, but they have caused friction with certain people for profit and under the guise of helping others, sharing with the community.

Wake up people. They do it for the money. Every single post is written with money and traffic in mind.

As for the Leta Speaks blog which someone mentioned. Her own mother has said things about her that are much more damaging than that blog. Leta's own blog someday will probably not be funny but will in fact probably be very sad, as will the person who writes it.

Lori at Spinning Yellow

I hate, hate, hate, that BlogHer 2008 will be remember for some ridiculous drama/cat fight. I really don't know much about Heather, but I had read Jenny's post prior to BlogHer and chuckled about the "mythical" quality Dooce has. I hadn't thought of it the way you describe here, but I agree that she seemed to be saying, "don't aspire to be me, my life isn't all that great."

And I laughed out loud at your lather, rinse, repeat bit about the sponsors!


I think you are right about about Heather wanting to caution against the cult of celebrity. However, she had the perfect opportunity to do it after Jenny (whom I do not know personally) got up and clarified that she thought Heather was awesome. Instead of replying, Heather stared across the stage at the moderator and Jenny was left standing there while the room sensed this icy cold tension.

Thinking back on that, it's like Jenny was a real life personified blog comment that Heather chose to ignore. Ten minutes later, someone brought up the subject again and Heather was ready to talk...she'd finally figured out how to respond to the comment. But by that time, Jenny had already gone to the lobby to cry.

To me, it's an interesting parallel between how we communicate via the Internet and in real life. But I'm crazy ;).

Picnik is so cool! If you went to the photography session, they gave free premium memberships.

As for the gender sponsorships, the one that rubbed me the wrong way was that Velashape, a company that helps you get rid of cellulite and firm your stomach, was sponsoring the nursing room.


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