Have you read any posts by the anonymous blogger ViolentAcres?
In little more than two months she’s launched a controversial, self-promoting blog that’s catapulted her straight into the heights of many of the ‘what’s-hot’ lists and measurements. Sure, we’re not talking Technorati Top 100 – but then like I said, this blog has only been live since October.
VioletAcres, who doesn’t reveal her name or much else about herself for that matter, has courted popularity with such snarky (but strangely agreeable) view points as:
“I hate to be harsh here, but when you have children, you are basically choosing your life as it is. So if you’re living paycheck to paycheck now, you’ll probably always live paycheck to paycheck. If you’re in a lot of consumer debt now, you’ll likely always be in consumer debt. If you’re working lot of overtime, get used to it because you’ll be doing until it your body literally gives out. Very few families deviate their financial standing after there are kids in the picture.”
“I can’t stand it when people use the phrase ‘in my opinion’ in their writing. Of course it’s your opinion! You’re the one writing it, aren’t you?
Listen, if you don’t have the balls to write commentary without using those two phrases, you shouldn’t be writing. You cheapen and weaken everything you say when you puss out and proclaim ‘well it’s only my opinion!’ Your reader knows it’s your opinion because you wrote it. But now that you’ve invalidated your points by focusing on the fact that you’re allowed to make them (instead of on the points themselves) the only thing you communicate to your readers is that you don’t have very strong convictions.”
“I’ve spoken to a lot of college kids lately who regularly spend $200 for a pair of blue jeans. When I ask them how long it takes for them to earn that kind of cash, the answer usually falls in the realm of a week or so. At this point, I will stress that not even the very wealthy spend an entire weeks worth of salary on one article of clothing.”
And then there’s the tale of ViolentAcres vs the “mommyblogger” Sweetney. One day Sweetney, who writes and posts pictures of her children to her blog, discussed how disapointed she was that her daughter wasn’t more popular at pre-school. VA decided to comment on Sweetney’s post by reposting a picture of her daughter on her blog, and comparing the child to a child with Downs Syndrome.
In a later post, having been on the receiving end of much criticism for her actions (much to her delight, no doubt, as the traffic levels rose) VA wrote:
“In the midst of the whole Sweetney debacle, I read a comment that almost thawed my cold and bitter heart. A woman posted eloquently about how my picture insulted people with downs syndrome more than it insulted Sweetney’s daughter. I clicked a link she left to her blog and found out that she was the Mother of a child with downs syndrome and for an instant, I felt guilty. It wasn’t my intent to make fun of children with downs. It was my intent to make fun of Mina, who has an incredibly sloped forehead for someone who is not brain damaged. Her kid, on the other hand, was cute in a ‘God’s Clown’ sort of way. Briefly, I thought about constructing an apology and sending it to her.
But then I remembered how much I fucking hate retarded people.
But I’m writing abut her, and giving her further Technorati ranking in the process, because I want to raise some points for discussion.
The first question many will ask, of course, is “who is ViolentAcres?”. That’s a question people ask of just about every anonymous blogger. As I warn my wife (who has a very uncontroversial yet anonymous blog), most anonymous bloggers who gain notoriety get found out in the end.
With some bravado, ViolentAcres paints herself as a self-confident, financially stable women: (emphasis below is mine)
“Since I’ve started this site, a lot of people have said a lot of nasty things about me. I’ve had my identity, my sexuality, and my parenting techniques all questioned. But probably the most hurtful comments of all are the ones implying that I have a job.
See, the difference between you and me is that I invested my money wisely so I don’t have to spend my life doing shit I don’t like and you…..ah…..didn’t.
This is why it cracks me up that some of you are trying so hard to find my name, hoping against hope that you’ll find out where I work and get me fired. My portfolio is my ‘job’ and my portfolio isn’t going to fire me, people! Also, it generally doesn’t answer the telephone. So you’re going to be sorely disappointed if that’s what you’re hoping for…”
For me, the more pertinent question is “what is her motive(s) for having this blog in the first place?”. Everyone has a reason why they blog – and this would explain why a clearly intelligent and astute women has decided to take the snarky route over perhaps a more toned down but constructive approach.
And hey, I’m not knocking the bitchiness. People know I’m kinda infamous for it too – and in some ways I wish I could be more snarky on this blog. In my family it’s a shame I ended up being the boring married-early straight son and my brother the edgy gay son cos I can be the the biggest bitch in town.
But I also learned that although you might attract a big following as you rip people apart, there is very little you can do with it. To influence, you have to try to build things up rather than tare them down. That’s why I prefer GigaOm over Valleywag or TechCrunch. And frankly why Om’s proposition has a longer shelf life than Nick Denton’s or Michael Arrington’s.
At this point in my career and my blogging reputation, I’m caught in the middle – no longer snarky enough to get the masses but not a big enough (positive) reputation as I would like to be considered influential to the same degree as my partners in crime Chris and Tara.
Oh how I miss being snarky. And how I’m – just – a teensy bit jealous of VA. But ultimately I feel that my non-bitchyness will get me further in the long-run than ViolentArces.
What do others think of ViolentArches? Does anyone else know who she is?