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March 26, 2007 - 3:00 pm

In the post asking “Is the blogosphere just a bitchfest?” over 800 of you have weighed in with your opinion so far. The majority of the votes (302) went to “the blogosphere is emnot/em a bitchfest.” In second place with 231 votes at the time of this post is “you say that like it’s a bad thing.” The emAllure/em article I mentioned had a poll asking readers what they thought about the “rise of the bitch.” It’s not up on their internet site yet so I can’t link to it, but my guess is that if they were asked about the blogosphere, many of the emAllure/em readers might answer that “yes,” the blogosphere is a bitchy place. Why? Ken, a commenter in the previous post, put it best:br /br /”The blogosphere is a giant conversation. If you stand around with the bitches, you get bitchiness. But you can find anything, presented any way you want.” br /br /I think that the emAllure/em readers are probably into sites that are celebrity driven like a href=”http://www.celebitchy.com/”Celebitchy/a or Perez Hilton.com. Hilton was interviewed for the emAllure/em article and stated proudly, “I’m pretty out there. Just ten minutes ago, I published something making fun of Britney’s baby! I’m not afraid of ‘going there.’ And obviously people seem to be enjoying it: I mean, I’m getting four million hits a day.” So yeah, apparently bitchy sells if you have certain celebrities attached to your bitchfest. Hang out at Hilton’s site for a while and you will probably understand the definition of bitchy pretty quickly. But Hilton’s is a gossip site, so what can one expect? Bitchiness is the emraison d’etre./embr /br /But what about political blogs–outside of Wonkette–are they “bitchy?” Well, yeah…look at Atrios’s a href=”http://atrios.blogspot.com/2007_03_25_atrios_archive.html#117492789261177612″”Wanker of the day.” /a If that’s not bitchy, as well as a bit childish, I don’t know what is. What purpose does “Wanker of the day” and other bitchy political commentary serve or what purpose does bitchiness in general serve? emAllure/em says that “Bitchiness is even a form of social seduction in certain circles–a way of drawing others in.” One study at Bringham Young University even found that kids as young as four engage in “relational aggression.” “They know that there are certain kids they need to be nice to and others who are throwaways.” The kids think, “I don’t need to be nice to them and in fact, I may raise my social status if I am not.” So imagine, you call others names and try to make them subhuman, then your inner circle puts you higher in the social strata. What a plus. If you are a sadist, that is. br /br /If “bitchy” is defined as speaking up with an opinion about political issues that are important to you, then maybe bitchy is a good thing, but if bitchy is done with the sole intent to harm others or to dump your bad feelings onto the world, maybe it’s time to re-examine your etiquette on the internet (and maybe elsewhere in your life). So how bitchy is too bitchy? Perhaps someone should ask blogger Luke Ford, a supposed friend of Cathy Seipp, who recently died of lung cancer. Ford has posted a href=”http://lukeford.net/blog/?p=180″negative things /aabout Cathy on his blog, stating:br /br /blockquote”Where is Cathy’s daughter Maia Lazar in all this? After I explained my intentions, she said Sunday that she does not care what I write, be it negative or positive, about her mother. And even if Maia did care, I’m not going to soften my approach to a public figure such as Cathy to spare anyone’s feelings.br /br /Cathy was magnificently polarizing. She was easy to love and hate. That she was overwhelmingly wonderful to me does not change how I will report on how others’ felt about her.”/blockquotebr /br /Okay, this goes way beyond bitchy. It reminds me of a story a supervisor of mine told me in graduate school. He stated that one of his patients wanted to just “be himself” and would take a dump in front of anyone without regard to their feelings about his decision. Ford has decided that regardless of how anyone feels, he will continue to “be himself” and dump his negativity onto his blog for posterity. His choice. But it is reflective of cruelty, not bitchiness–he may not see that, but it is clear. br /br /So, perhaps the right question is not, “Is the blogosphere a bitchfest?” but rather, “What purpose does this bitchfest have?” Will I or others learn from it? Get information from it? Be a better person for it? or am I just here to take a dump on other people to get my jollies? If the latter, perhaps you should be spending more time reflecting on why you are sadistic rather than just a bitch.

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