Friday, February 17, 2012

I Understand Shadenfreude But Come On

Man oh man. I went over to Dooce last night because I used to be in love with her when I found her which was when she was just a young thing writing about sex and stuff and I discovered that she and her husband have separated.
Whoa Nelly!

I am not surprised. What did surprise me though, was how hateful a lot of people are about the fact that this has occurred. I mean, people are like THRILLED that she has gotten her comeuppance and it shamed me for the human race. She and her husband may have made a fortune (or probably not really) and bought a big house and hired nannies and office workers and so forth but still, they are people and it hurts when love gets fucked up and besides that, they have two children.

Two children who, no matter how the separation is handled, are going to suffer. A lot.
And so are the adults. This is just the truth of it. And why in the world would we want to see any family suffer?
Are we so filled with shadenfreude that we are tickled pink when the mighty are laid low?

And let's face it- Heather Armstrong didn't just lay on a chaise lounge and have the bon-bons of good fortune fall into her lap. The woman has worked hard. She seems to know no other way but to work hard and I think that's the deal. When she was just a lowly office worker blogging about her coworkers and her boss, we could all relate. Same when she first got married and they had to live in her parent's basement. But she didn't just stop there. She and her husband pulled it all together and struggled through hard times and severe depression and Salt Lake City winters and she wrote books and she got help and she talked about it and she ran a marathon and oh hell, I don't know. I haven't followed that closely. But I do know she is not a lie-about. Say what you will about her but she surely isn't lazy. She has worked harder at it than most of us are willing to do.

I say I was not surprised to see that they have separated. It has seemed to me for quite a while that Jon, the husband, has felt redundant in the situation. The empire which they founded was quite frankly the Dooce Empire. He may have worked as hard as she did but the glory was hers even if the benefits came to both and let's face it-it is hard to stand in the reflected light of someone else's glory for a long time. Real hard whether you are a man or a woman. And he got called terrible names. Sexist names. Let's not even talk about how hard it is to live with and love someone who suffers from depression. And we will never know exactly all of what happened behind the doors they have kept closed to the world. Nor should we. Ain't our business.

It also seemed to me that they couldn't get enough of the "stuff." New bathrooms, new furniture, new this and that and then a house. And Dooce was suddenly every where. HGTV? What happened with that? And I was like, why would they pay her to talk about decorating when that's not her job? Cooking? She admits she can't boil noodles. It seemed that instead of sticking to what she was so good at which was writing about everyday life, she was suddenly living a very NOT everyday life and so in success, she lost her focus, her very reason for being who she was.

And everyone (or a lot of people, anyway) have applauded that. Because she reached too far and fell from the ladder? What kind of crap is that? She writes a blog, for god's sake and she has been tremendously successful at it and hell, we're always saying you should reach for the stars. Is it that if someone actually catches one or two we then are allowed to hate them?

Hey. I'm not defending Heather Armstrong and I'm certainly not saying that her relationship is any more important than anyone else's on this planet but I AM saying that it sure shows a meanness of spirit to be glad of her problems.
At least she, unlike another famous blogger whom I will not name (but who has also built an empire and she sells cookbooks and her husband is famous for his butt in jeans and chaps) hasn't pretended for one moment that she is untroubled or perfect and yes, she does take too many pictures of her dogs for my taste but at least they're not beagles. And she hasn't been afraid to discuss religion and politics and sex and sadness and she hasn't pretended that she lives in a perfect world made up of photoshopped vistas of cowboy kids and herds of cattle as far as the eye can see under a perfect sky.

Wait. Hold on. I'm doing it too. I admit it. I begrudge Pioneer Woman's (whoops!) every bit of fame and fortune. I have no idea why. But I do.

But would I be happy if she and her husband broke up?
I really don't think so. Every bit of unhappiness and sorrow in this world makes this world a less than beautiful place.
Suffering sucks, no matter how famous, how rich, the person doing it is.
And all of the fine furniture and book contracts in the world aren't going to change that.

Well, that's what I'm thinking about this morning. That we are all, at the very least, connected by our sorrows. That to celebrate the sorrows of another shows smallness of spirit and lack of compassion.

Owen will be here soon. It is time to close up this computer and become MerMer and then to get ready and drive to Monticello and become Harriet Copeland, feminist romance novel book publisher (haha!) and all of that takes all of the energy I have. I am so grateful for this life. I, too, have gone through separation and divorce. I, too, have been a single mother. And here I am now and it's because of the sorrows I've gone through that I can be so grateful for the sweetness now.

And I ain't gonna be happy for anyone else having to go through it but I know that it's human to want more and to suffer and to feel as if the world is crashing in on oneself and that eventually, things get worked out and we go on.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I came upon Dooce when she was quite famous and people were drooling - when blogging was at its height and everyone thought they could do it too - but I didn't like her. I didn't see what the fuss was about. She was ordinary. Just as you and I are ordinary. I didn't need to follow famous ordinary people who would never reply to a comment among the hundreds, I would rather follow ordinary ordinary people who would be able to read my comment and hopefully, actually pay attention and care about what I've said.
    I don't care if she's separated. It gives me no joy. But I think success is hard on couples. Especially if one is in the limelight while the other remains unrecognized for their true worth. The limelighty one may become bossy, a diva, selfish and believe all the hype that they are the important one. Or the neglected one takes a lover. Or any number of scenarios ensue to kill the relationship.

    But it is human nature to be fascinated with train wrecks, car pileups and messy divorces.

  2. I think I can explain the HGTV tie-in. Katie from Mamapundit is a Scripps network employee social media manager, and I know a number of highly visible bloggeres have now HGTV tie-ins....Heather Spohr, etc. I just thought it was interesting.

    Not being a Mommy, I'm not too into Mommy bloggers unless they are excellent writers and write about other things too (Katie, Heather) so I never connected with Dooce. I've tried to read her a couple of times...but just didn't click with her. Nonetheless, I'm not happy about her separation, and it strikes me as just mean and jealous that anybody would be.

  3. Maybe it is the name. I was disappointed when Lance beat the rap.

  4. Well, I have no idea who Dooce is not the other you mentioned but it's a small heart that rejoices in the troubles of others.

  5. I just "discovered" Dooce through another blog about a month ago. A little late to the party, it was impossible to figure out what made her so famous. My feeling was that maybe someone ought to call child protective services before her children found her hanging in the garage. I prayed that she had a couple true friends to get her through her sorrows.
    Your phrase, "connected by our sorrows" will rattle around in my brain all day. Right now I'm thinking that if we were connected by them we wouldn't rejoice when someone falls. So maybe we ought to think more about the sorrows of others, That's a tough job, and I don't know if we're wired for it. We're wired to survive at any cost, I think. And sometimes that means destruction. A sorrowful thought.

  6. I never fail to feel amazed at the meanness of spirit that makes people abuse others in comments sections. The internet is beaming the world's foolishness and cruelty and lack of understanding and compassion round the world in seconds these days, from Republican bigortry to god knows what other horrors. It's all a bit much.

  7. OK. I'm with you on most of this, although I've never been a big Dooce fan to begin with (too slick and snarky for my taste). I have a question for you, though. Would you be happy if you found out Rick Santorum was having an affair with a man and was getting a divorce? :)

  8. Completely out of the loop on Dooce. Have I been living on Mars?

    Always sad when love goes bad, especially when children are involved. For their sake, people should just back off.

  9. Elizabeth- GREAT question. I think that if S. came out as gay and admitted it I would be happy for his honesty. If he were caught in an affair I would be sad for his family's probable humiliation and also sad for the "other man" but no, I would not be sad in the least for Santorum. You can't decry something as strongly as he has gay sex and not expect scorn if you are caught having it.
    You think he's having it?

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  11. Don't know who these people are... but I do agree that we think of our culture as kind. We Americans, but the fact is that we generally, are not.

    I don't really expect compassion much anymore, although I do want it.

  12. Jeannie- Well, yes, it is human nature to be attracted to train wrecks but we do not have to be glad for them. I think.

    SJ- I think that jealousy does have a lot to do with it which is sad.

    Juancho- Were you? I did not care.

    Ellen Abbott- Exactly.

    Denise- Well, we all have sorrow in common. Each and every one of us, although the sorrows differ. Should make us more compassionate. And I am not saying we should dwell on the sorrows of others but just realize that we all have them.

    Jo- The internet does make it easier, doesn't it?

    Taradharma- Well, in a way, she is one of the reasons we all blog. So we need to give her props for that, at least.

    Ms. Fleur- I think the same number of people as ever are probably compassionate. It's just that those who are not have a bullier pulpit.

  13. i like your blog better, and it seems wasteful to wish ill on someone i don't even know, seeing as i have enough people to hate on that i actually know already-


  14. I am ignorant of their existence. People can be a bunch of hyenas at times.

  15. I go away and then I come back and read something like this and this is why I have to keep connected in this blog world so I don't miss profound musings on our human condition like this and freakin great questions like elizabeths. Forgive the brevity. I'm on a handheld. I feel sad for dooce though I wasn't a fan. She felt too slick and I'd rather the realness right here. Have a great performance and enjoy. And thanks. And love.

  16. I have never heard of Dooce before today. Maybe now that they are separated, they are finally happy. It is a possibility.

  17. Mrs. A- "i have enough people to hate on that i actually know already-"
    I loved that!

    Syd- Ain't that the damn truth? Hyenas.

    Angella- All of our blogs are different and we find the ones that mean the most to us. That connect to our own hearts. I am SO glad that mine connects with yours and that I have found yours because it connects with mine.

    Angie M- They both seem to be suffering.

  18. I think it's sad, and I also get SO sad when I read the nasty comments that people like to make on some famous and not so famous blogs/sites. If you look at them long enough (and I do, I've had some pretty boring receptionist jobs where I've been able to look at shit like that often), there are regulars who just comment nasty stuff ALL DAY. They are the queens and kings of internet shadenfreude and it's just pitiful.

    I begrudge Pioneer Woman, too. It's that damn ranch and that pale weird husband. And I think they beat their cattle. I don't know why but I do.

    Can I also say that I think that a lot of ladies might have the weirdo hots for Jon Armstrong, and they're hoping that by typing some nasty comment on Heather's site (and then typing a nice, hyper comment on Jon's Blurbomat site) that he will leave Salt Lake and move into their creepy basement or something. It is weird. Weird. Weird.


  19. Oh my gosh, that lines slayed me, "At least they're not beagles." Great commentary though. I agree with you.


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