Last Sunday, I – like many – spent the majority of my day relaxing and perusing around the Internet. For the most part, I was just minding my own business. I giggled at memes of Grumpy Cat. I issued the obligatory Facebook ‘happy birthday’s and ‘congratulations on your umpteenth pregnancy’s. I pinned a bagillion-and-one Halloween projects to Pinterest. Like I said: pretty much minding my own goddamned business.
Eventually, I did as I always do: gave in to the temptation of the Google News Aggregate. I have a love-hate relationship with the news. For the most part, I believe it to be biased, uninformed, lacking facts, and discouraging. All over the world people are dying of famine, terrorism, disease; and the top stories are generally about Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. It (sort of) leaves a sour taste in my mouth; but then I say “sort of” because I also like to be informed about what is going on in the world. So I checked, before turning off my computer and moving on to some other form of weekend laziness.
That is where it hit me: an opinion article responding to an interview with Martha Stewart on Bloomberg television; which only took a few more clicks to view first-hand. In it, Martha said unfathomable words. I mean, they are fathomable; but at the same time so gauche for her to say. “Who are these bloggers? They’re not editors at Vogue magazine.” She said. “I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts.”
I forgot about this major Martha faux pas for a few days until I headed today to Michael’s to buy some craft paint for pumpkins. As I walked down the aisle, I was then confronted with the Martha Stewart line of overpriced satin, pearl, and heavy-glitter colors. Satin, pearl, and heavy-glitter colors that none of the other brands offered, and which made me feel shame for wanting them, in spite of Martha’s crude and unfair comments on Bloomberg. Standing there, in the aisle, I felt light-headed and vomit-y over this clear conflict of my interests, and so I knew what I had to do.
I had to write Martha a letter.
Dear Martha –
Every recipe I have ever made from your website tastes like total shit. And to top it off, they’re always way less healthy, and way more expensive, than the comparable version that I – a blogger (not an expert) – end up putting together on my own.
Sometimes I wonder if you know of any recipes that do not include heavy cream or $100 worth of supplies.
Occasionally I think you are more concerned about the presentation of your dishes than the actual taste and healthfulness of them. By “occasionally,” I mean all the time, because it is a case-in-point fact that all the sprigs of rosemary and garnishes of parsley will not make something overcooked, heavily creamed, and under-seasoned edible.
I’m talking about your dishes, Martha. Your dishes are overcooked. Your dishes are heavily creamed. Your dishes are under-seasoned. Your dishes, Martha – your dishes are inedible.
If I had a dollar for every slideshow I got sucked into when looking for a D.I.Y. homemade gift project that turned out to be something available for purchase on your website, I may actually have enough money to buy your overpriced non-D.I.Y. homemade gifts.
And if I had another dollar for every actual D.I.Y. homemade gift tutorial I was able to find that was just a cheap piece of garbage, I would be able to fund my own popular, lifestyle website. Where I’d actually share quality tutorials. Quality tutorials that people can do and that don’t end up being total crap.
I mean, come on: felted slippers? I know a ton of people that would love to get those one-time wearers.
A few weeks ago I was at Staples looking for a calendar book. You know: one of those little booklets you can keep in your purse or in the kitchen drawer. You write all of your appointments in it for a few months, then lose it or forget that it exists, or remember that your phone has iCal. I saw one in your new “Home Office” line of products, which had no dates printed. No dates. A calendar book. With no fucking dates. Right. It was twice as expensive as the Staples brand calendar book, which had the dates.
Now I’m just a blogger (not an expert), but it seems to me that if a calendar book has no calendar dates printed in it, then it should probably be less expensive that the one that actually took the time and effort to print the fucking numbers in the book. That’s just me. I’m no expert.
I’d like to thank you for getting this whole decoupage thing going. Not really, I’m not really thanking you. I’m being sarcastic. Bloggers (not experts) do that a lot. In any event, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Vases, furniture, cabinets, plates, linens – not a one of them was nice or acceptable until it was decorated with tiny paper cut outs. Tiny paper cut outs of leaves, trees, birds, and victorian designs, to be precise. Now I spend my days looking around my house for places in which I can add a hint of gold leaf so that my home is as nice as everyone else’s. Fucking thanks a whole lot for that.
And let’s not even go into how many of your supposedly-unique home decor projects are really just putting flowers in a vase. No, Martha. Let’s just not go into that.
That’s the thing about us bloggers. We are not experts. We are not editors at Vogue magazine. We are not the inventors of this whole lifestyle thing. We are just people. People that have opinions and ideas and lives and experiences.
I think that those experiences – of trying recipes and finding them to be too much on the heavy cream; of making our own decorations for the season; of gifting on a budget – I think that it’s those experiences that make us sort of like experts. Experts of our own tastes and interests and likes and dislikes. My recipes and my crafts and my homemade gifts and my lifestyle ideas may not be tested by anyone but my family and friends, but I think they are good, healthy, affordable, and fun. What’s great about being an inelegant blogger, rather than an editor at Vogue or an ex-felon with a manly voice and a daytime TV show is that I have a place where other non-experts feel comfortable enough to come and share with me in our untested, unedited mediocrity.
In the end, that’s really all that matters. And anyway, does it really take expertise to put flowers in a vase, or to know that curry needs curry powder? I don’t think so, Martha. No, I just really don’t think so…