Monday, July 16, 2012

Calling Bullshit

I swear that, after this one self-indulgent bit of navel-gazing metablognition, I'll return to posting cute pictures of Wasian kids and tales of their antics.  Swear.  On a stack of Norton Anthologies.

But it seems like now is a good time to bring up something that I've been thinking about a lot lately, in light of recent kerfuffles.   

What recent kerfuffle could Beta Dad possibly be referring to, you probably do not ask yourself right now; because you assume that if it's a kerfuffle and Beta Dad is interested there's a good chance it's got something to do with Single Dad Laughing.  And you assume correctly.

If you're not familiar with the saga of Beta Dad vs. Single Dad Laughing, I would advise you to either abandon this post altogether, or refer to this link as a primer.  If you're not interested in blogger drama or online discourse, I won't blame you at all if you come back when the regularly scheduled programming returns.

What I want to do here, as several others have done more effectively than I will be able to, is to use this specific controversy to discuss a couple of very general ideas.

But first, the briefest groundwork I can possibly provide about my perspective on the history of the troubles and how I figure into them:

  • 2010: A guy named Andy starts a blog called Beta Dad, interacts in the parent blogging community, writes a lot, comments on other blogs a lot; and after a few months over a hundred people are reading his stuff on the reg.  He is SO effing stoked. 
  • A guy named Dan starts a blog called Single Dad Laughing a few months later.  He doesn't really show up much in the dad blogging community.  Andy reads a few of Dan's posts and thinks they're okay, but a little corny.  Pretty soon tens of thousands of people are reading Single Dad Laughing, according to Dan.  
  • Andy notices that Dan's most popular posts are very schlocky and trite, and wonders why so many people love them.  Andy is very bummed that people love bad writing.
  • Andy drinks most of a bottle of wine and writes a blog post expressing the above.
  • A lot of people agree with Andy's drunken rant, and they provide many comforting theories about how Dan is lying and cheating, and how not as many people love his schmaltz as he claims.  Andy is comforted.
  • Dan's blog seems to continue growing more popular.  Lots of bloggers get angry and/or make fun of him in emails and on facebook, and even publish critical posts when Dan's shenanigans get especially outrageous; but lots of regular people post links to his stuff with no sense of irony.  Andy tries to shut up and go about his business.
  • 2012: Andy can no longer shut up and go about his business, and he writes another post, this time mostly while sober, focusing on one of Dan's most popular, and least convincing, deeply moving stories about how one person (Dan) can change entire communities, even ones that are steeped in bigotry.  
  • More people agree with Andy.  Hardly anyone defends Dan or chastises Andy for being a busybody and a jellus hater.
  • Dan's blog continues to seem very popular, but not so much with his fellow bloggers.  He passes out on a mountain and has to go home in a helicopter.  Afterwards, he issues a press release about the event, complete with photos, videos, and much 3rd person fawning over Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing.  The fawning, of course, has been composed by Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing.
  • DRAMAZ!  Parent bloggers come out of the woodwork to express outrage, disbelief, disapproval, mild amusement, etc. that anyone would pull such a cheesy and self-important stunt. 
  • Many blog posts are written, and although Andy gets involved in the various conversations, he is proud to say that he resists posting anything about it on his blog. 
Yes, you read that correctly.  This is not a post about Single Dad Laughing.

It's a post about calling bullshit.

When I first called bullshit on Dan in public, I thought other bloggers would scold me or shun me.  Calling someone a hack, an embellisher, and possibly a cheat from atop a soapbox is perfectly acceptable in gansta rap and politics, but it's generally frowned upon in polite society, where the preferred forum for that kind of talk is within small groups, in hushed tones.

And yet, I've been surprised to have received very little backlash for being involved in what some might call a public shaming.  Maybe people are just being polite.

But I have seen comments popping up on various blogs and facebook exchanges lately that express uneasiness with the scorn being heaped on a character the parent blogging community seems to have agreed is a charlatan.  Among these uneasy comments, there are a handful from Dan's readers, who don't like to see people being mean to their guy.  But the more interesting ones are from his detractors.  Although they agree that Dan is a hack, they think everyone should stop bashing on him.

There are three main arguments for leaving him alone, all of which are based on commonplace assumptions regarding social dynamics, and all of which I find problematic. 

The first argument is that paying attention to the attention-seeker only adds fuel to the fire.  Like a child who doesn't care if the teacher is yelling at him as long as he is the center of attention; the naughty "public figure" probably gobbles up any publicity, good or bad, like fistfuls of M&Ms.  For him, controversy means eyeballs, and that's all he cares about.

My quibble with that argument is that any public figure who is trying to brand himself as a saint obviously doesn't want his character flaws or indiscretions revealed.  The idea that "any publicity is good publicity" is only accurate in a few situations.  Usually, bad publicity is bad publicity.  If not, Anthony Wiener would be at the top of his game right now.  And Dan wouldn't have tried to convince me, and others, to expunge their critical posts about him from their blogs.       

Another argument against calling bullshit on a bullshitter is the "ignore him and he'll go away" theory.  I've heard this expressed in regard to the recent hubbub, and again, I don't quite know why this expression persists after millennia of being proved wrong.  Did Hitler just go away when other nations politely pretended they didn't know what he was up to?  Did Stalin?  Idi Amin?  Nickelback?  Has this approach ever made anyone go away?

The third argument for leaving Dan alone is that engaging with him is childish.  If we don't like his blog, we should just not read it.  We're acting like middle-school kids, according to the Huffington Post.   Maybe.  A little bit.  But we're acting like middle-school kids who have our priorities straight.  Aside from letting someone know he can't bullshit his way to success without any pushback; bullshit-callers feel like we're defending the credibility of our community, a resource we can hardly afford to squander, especially those of us whose blogs function as resumes.

Of course, this business of calling bullshit could quickly devolve into something like middle-school squabbles or beefs between rappers if it's done indiscriminately whenever there's a disagreement or a difference in taste.  But deployed judiciously, calling bullshit can at least raise awareness of a problem, and possibly keep the problem from getting out of control.

I'm really tired of talking about The Dad Blogging Community and Single...I can't even finish.  But.  A lot of interesting issues about discourse have come up as a result of this train wreck.  I would love to hear what your feelings are on calling bullshit on people in general.  Is it acceptable?  Only in certain situations?  Or is it always better to confine our bashing to phone calls, backchannel emails and twitter DMs?  Have you ever called someone out and had it backfire on you?  Or been called out unfairly?  Let's hear it.


In case you're interested in finding out more about the most recent SDL controversy, here's a list of some of the notable blog posts inspired by it.  In many of them, the comments from readers are the most interesting part.  If you're a rhetoric nerd, you'll love seeing how this story evolved.

Dan Pearce's press release about his mountaintop rescue.  Dan wrote this about Dan.'s article about the mountaintop rescue, based on the press release

Babble's follow-up to the rescue story and commentary on bloggers using press releases

Mom 101's piece on the problem of phony blogging 

Rage Against the Minivan's hilarious fake press release about getting sick at Epcot

John Cave Osborne's perspective, as a hiker, on the mountaintop debacle. From

Dan's defense of his marketing tactics on Babble

Dan's mea culpa on Babble

Daddy Types' scathing piece on Dan's business history and persistent flim-flammery

Cecily K's call to lay off on the scathing already.  From Babble.

A discussion about lying from The Extraordinary Ordinary


I had to add this link to the post where Catherine scolds all of us bullies on Her Bad Mother.  She makes some perfectly valid points, and--holy shit--the comments are epic!






  1. All this stuff just makes me glad I'm not much of a hiker or a gay man.

  2. I am hardly ever brave enough to call someone bullshit on anyone, although I daydream about it on a day to day basis. I do however sit on my porch practically all night on garbage night and literally harass anybody I see even come near my garbage (not even kidding I've had problems with people going through our trash).

    So that's kind of like calling bullshit isn't it?

    Oh and by the way Dad, I am very proud of you for sticking to your guns with that asswipe "mountain climber", although I don't comment I read your posts/comments with glee. He's obviously in it for the business and lies to make that happen, which to me as someone who finds blogging and the community of people involved in it an important part hobby/past time it makes me feel cheap and cliched.

    I think that last sentence was a clusterfuck but I have to get back to work so cluster eff it is.

  3. There is a beauty in being able to prove those that called you "unable" wrong and be the better person. It isn't ignoring them as much as surpassing their expectations quietly because you don't have to call attention to every fart and allowing THAT to be the rub in their face.

    1. Damn you and your perspective and strength, etc.!

  4. I'm glad I'm not a dad blogger.

    I'm glad BlogHer is two weeks away.

    I need a drink or 50. ;)

  5. I love when people tell bloggers to stop obsessively examining and commenting on things. Don't they know that is WHAT WE DO?

    I'm torn between wanting to discuss this Dan thing more and wanting my head to stop aching from pondering it. His blog reeked of bullshit right away to me. The description of his own blog as "one of the most popular blogs on the internet" (or some words to that effect) just seemed like self-aggrandizing crap.

    That he apparently has readers and defenders seems kind of weird, but hey, people watch Real Housewives and the Kardashians, too, so there's a lot about peoples' taste I don't understand.

    I see blogging as having several camps. One camp is made up of people who are using their platforms to try and say things that are honest and true and add something to our common humanity, and if page views come from that, fine. If not, they'll keep writing like they always have because they have to write.

    Another camp is people who will say anything for page views - they'll make stuff up or recreate scenes for photos or stir up drama because they want notoriety and money more than they want truth.

    The problem comes when someone from the second camp tries to inject themselves into the first. It's not going to happen. Dan will NEVER make "fetch happen" even though he insists he isn't bullshitting, even though some people defend him as a nice guy, even though he is writing for site(s) that employ members of the first camp.

    You come into blogging with a certain amount of trust front-loaded. If you behave well and with honesty, candor and decency, you get to keep that trust. But once it is gone, it is really, really hard to get back.

    Here's an example - a friend who is an investor in a restaurant group asked me and a bunch of bloggers out to dinner at one of her restaurants. Meal was free with no requirements to write about it. The food was terrible, but I felt like I should be nice because she was a I wrote a post on my little-trafficked food blog just saying I had a nice time and that the drinks were good. I tweeted a link.

    I heard back later from a reader that she had gone there on my reco and had been disappointed. She trusted me and I failed her trust by writing a post that wasn't entirely true. That taught me a lesson about my responsibility to my readers. Sure, it wasn't a hugely important situation, but thank goodness it wasn't. Still, I failed and broke my trust with her, and it probably will never come back.

    So calling bullshit is important, and sharing our bullshit stories is important, because I think we all want to keep learning and growing. That's pretty much all we have, as far as I can see.

    Sorry for the long comment.

    1. No need to apologize! I love long comments, especially from you. I've relished your commentary on this stuff, and I wanted to tell you how much I loved the "Tweeting like a press release" shtick. It was the best thing I've read in ages, and I don't know how I missed seeing it unfolding in real time.

      I understand that people are getting bored and weary from talking about Dan, but the situation is just such a great confluence of weirdness that it generates wonderful discussion. Too bad his specter looms over every conversation.

      I have no time to do anything on the computer machine today, but I didn't want another moment to go by without you knowing how much I've enjoyed your humor during this episode!

    2. Great comment, and a perspective that I hadn't really thought of. I started blogging as a release, and a way to document a transition from a truck driver to whatever comes next. It has turned into such a fantastic outlet for my thoughts, memories, and creative juices, that I'm constantly amazed that I hadn't learned about it sooner.

      That being said, I had never thought of it as a potential business until I started to come across some of the bigger blogs, but even as a business I don't think it's okay to mislead readers to gain more readers. I try to speak out against greed and corruption, so of course it angers me when I see someone who is basically doing the same thing that I am, but unethically trying to profit from it. I realize that a guy needs to eat, but if you are going to spout a bunch of bullshit, at least market it as fiction, or put a disclaimer, like they did on Man vs. Wild, when they finally caught him in a bunch of lies.

    3. Yeah, this is why I pretty much don't do reviews.

  6. I just found out about all of this yesterday, and it makes me glad that I have my quiet little corner of the Internet.

    Good for you for calling bullshit. I've only done it a few times, but it's been in a passive aggressive way. ;)

  7. As a blogger I feel so out of the loop. I had no idea all this drama was going on behind our computers. And yes, calling bullshit on a bullshitter is ALWAYS appropriate.

  8. Oh boy, my forte. I am the queen of calling people on their bullshit and I will do it to anyone's face. I HATE when someone bullshits me and so I don't bullshit anyone else. I have been called brutally honest, blunt, and of course because I'm a woman, the word that starts with B and rhymes with Witch. People that really get hurt by the truth shy away from me but my best friends have more than once thanked me for telling them what they really needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear. Sometimes you just need a slap back into reality. However, I do have my's only with people I really care about, because if I don't care about them why would I take the time or energy to pursue it. This makes me think of facebook. Are there plenty of people on my friend's list that could be called out on their bullshit? of course, but unless it's one of my best friends or a family member I don't even touch it. Also, even if it's a best friend, I don't do it on facebook publicly. I guess that's why I have mixed emotions about the SDL saga. I totally agree that his tactics are highly annoying and he is definitely a classified A1 bullshitter, but calling him out on forums, fb and blog posts makes some come off as jealous or nitpicky or .... like a group of middle schoolers. I equate this whole situation to The Pioneer Woman and all her haters. I have to agree with the haters most the time..I think her blog is much more a PR fueled conglomerate than the diary of a lil ole prairie wife she portrays. I also believe that she has a full staff devoted to running her blog and her home and is no Martha Stewart as she would also portray, but I think the women that devote their time to hating on her and running blogs devoted to bashing her are petty and silly and really need to get a hobby. I think in this situation I would take the high road and just ignore it. Given enough rope he will eventually hang himself. Just my two cents. Feel free to take the high road and ignore me :)

  9. I once wrote a drunken call-out post on a topic where pretty much everybody agreed with me except the person whom I called out. She ignored me, and nothing ever came of it except that I quit drinking for good the next day. So there's that.

    There's a woman in the mommy blogging community who has befriended a few and antagonized many. I haven't heard much from or about her in a long while though, which may mean that your second argument above actually worked in her case.

    On the other hand, a call-out post that didn't even name names effectively forced one blogger to drop out of sight entirely.

    I don't know, man. I'm all for pointing out facts vs. (perceived or actual) fiction for the sake of our own conscience; I'm just not convinced that doing so will motivate others to change their ways.

    1. I agree that being called out won't necessarily change anyone's behavior. But at least when the bullshit is out in the open, and it's general knowledge at least to a certain contingent of the population, you don't feel like you're going insane because you're the only one who sees the bullshit.

      That made no sense, did it?

  10. I am so freaking confused! You have been blogging for a couple years or more it looks like. That means you pretty much invented the internet and blogging or both from what I understand. Very few people, it appears, to stick with blogging longer than...
    I just quit.
    For real though, I have been doing this for a little over four months. I had NEVER read a blog before. Hello, am I not a demographic? I am 39, a woman, mother and middle class and I thought this would be easy.
    I write what I want and if people want to read it they do.
    Perhaps I am a simpleton.
    Hell, I don't know how to form a complete paragraph, sentence or use a comma and so holy crap bags I am supposed to be completely honest and tell everything as it happened EXACTLY and with "good" writing skills?
    I am not supposed to embellish the stories? I am not supposed to cause people to talk and "retweet" me?
    I figured it out! You almost got me!
    Well played Single Dad Laughing, well played.
    I may exaggerate, slather, or tell stories out of sequential order as I remember them. I have indeed had a Detroit police officer stick a gun in my face when I accidentally drove into a sting for a chop shop and no I wasn't going to name my twins "Squirt" and "Vernors" but I enjoyed telling people that. My husband says, "My writing is like an ugly porn star" but he has to talk sweet to me if he wants sex ever again.

    1. Ohhh...I think I am being ignored. This "dad blog" crowd is tough. SIncerely, I was asking if you can tell stories, entertain people that might enjoy your content without worrying that you exaggerated or changed things a bit to make the story better? I tell a story and I say I was being eaten alive by a "carnivorous river vegetation" and I am telling a story. Did it happen, YES. This whole thing feels very "Judy Judy" and smells of a guaranteed readership FOR YOU. Hey, I would do it to if it gets readers and people talking. I am not judging but asked if we would call bullshit and I was, above and in my way with poor grammar and sentence structure. When I read the comments about "good" writers versus "bad" writers with blogs it seriously (but figuratively speaking) knocked me over.
      I think of a blog the way Mena Trott talks about the power of blogs during her TED speech in 2005.

  11. I also have a dog in this fight, as I've poked fun at/mentioned Dan a couple of times on DadCentric (literally - twice. Here: and here:

    I weighed in on Dan's "Loved and Hated" Babble post because Dan called me and DadCentric out on his post; I pointed out to him that, yes, he did admit to staging at least one photo in one of his "true" blog posts and that was enough to give a lot of folks reason to doubt his authenticity. That prompted Dan to withdraw from the comment thread. Guess I struck a nerve.

    Personally, I don't really give a shit about what Dan does or does not do with his blog. A lot of people enjoy Thomas Kinkade paintings, and good for them; doesn't mean I have to hang that crap on my walls. The problem, though, is that what Dan does has the potential to reflect on those of us who've made a bit of a career out of online writing.

    1. We're pretty much in agreement, Jason. If Dan didn't self-identify as a parent blogger, and try to capitalize on whatever credibility/cachet our little subculture has, I would just laugh at him.

      When I first went after him two years ago, I used the analogy of a poser trying to cash in on the coolness of punk rock. Then I felt a little embarrassed that I had used such an overwrought comparison. Now I think it's apt again. It's like when Billy Joel but on a leather jacket and sold a billion copies of "It's Still Rock'n'Roll to Me."


      pee ess, lime popsicle

    3. I really agonized over whether I should bash on Billy Joel. Can I retract that?

  12. Calling bullshit on our own is the best thing we can do. We're trying to maintain a standard in dad blogging, and if someone is outside of it, we need to stand up for the good, point out the bad, and battle it out. I mean, in any other industry, this sort of thing would be quality assurance. This is admittedly a bad example, but last year, a law firm sued Taco Bell for only containing 35% ground beef in their taco meat. There was a back-and-forth, and it wasn't just catty "bullshit," it was a quality assurance test.

    So - consider yourself testing SDL for the content of reality in his meat filling.

    I say "call away", and always feel free to call bullshit on any of my stuff if you see a problem with it. If we don't, and someone "games the system," then in the unlikely event that money DOES start flowing this way, it'll all fall in one place, and hurt the many people that are doing an honest job and trying to squeeze by with 2 cents per click on a Google ad.

    Anyway, you've lost no friends over this, but Dan's widened the gap between him and the dad blogging community. Really, we shouldn't consider himself a dad blogger so much as a lifestyle blogger. And that's not a lifestyle most of us want.

  13. I spend much less time wading around in the kiddie pool than I used to because it gets old quickly.

    Something about SDL stinks and always has. There are lots of different ways to game the system. You can go to Fiverr and spend a couple of bucks and gain thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook fans.

    There are lots of other ways to build your own Potemkin's Village.

    But calling someone out on their bullshit isn't always a service nor always accurate. I don't buy why what Dan is selling so I am not saying that he is right here because I don't believe it.

    What I just don't care about most of the time is getting into the back and forth that comes along with this. Relatively few people are willing to have a honest discussion where they might change their minds about a particular position.

    So I don't see a need to waste my time with discussions that never go anywhere.

    People talk shit in the blogosphere. It doesn't always happen but it occurs because people are like that.

    What really kills me are the fools who talk shit in emails because sometimes copies show up in your inbox and the people who bashed you "anonymously" just end up looking stupid.

    Anyway, Dan is really good at hoisting himself on his own petard. I expect he'll keep doing it.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I like Jason's comparison to Kinkade; seems a pretty accurate analogy to me, both in terms of the product and the business tactics.

      The tricky thing to me, though, about calling someone out is trying to tease out where a sincere, sensitive guy ends, and where a calculating, arrogant, exploitative guy begins. I think it's possible for Dan to be both, although one of the sides of the coin may be dominant, or most obvious. Even Dan can share things that are valuable, and I just hope that we're making it more possible for him to be his best, and not just starting a fire that will burn him up. I'm not pointing fingers at Andy, but there are some in the scuffle who have gotten just plain vicious.

      I think about Matt Dillon's character in the movie Crash - how I kind of hated him, but then came the moments where you could see that despite his (very overt, very large) faults, there were still powerful seeds of compassion and selflessness in him.

      I wish Dan would grow some through these experiences, and that's probably the most frustrating thing about reading his stuff - he rarely gives the sense that HE's the one who needs to make some fundamental changes in his life. And if there's one thing I appreciate about a lot of the dudes in the dadblogging community, it's how we mostly acknowledge how fumbling and flawed we are about things, but damn it we're trying! Even in his kind of crazy abject apology, Dan blames stuff on being bullied and therefore being insecure, as though those things are somehow out of his control. I'll be curious to see where he takes it from here. And if he goes somewhere more positive, and transparent, then maybe calling the BS was really a good thing.

      Anyway, for better or worse, Dan's methods and notoriety have offered me a real crash-course into what I don't want to become, even though I DO hope to make a career writing/blogging. And I wouldn't have had that cautionary tale if not for you and others' editorials about it.

    2. Neal--The comment that you deleted was great! Did you delete it because it made me out to be to awesome? Anyway, I couldn't agree with you more about the deleted comment, and I wish you could un-delete it.

    3. actually, it was the same as this one, I just changed a few words in the previous one after discussing it with my wife, we agreed I used a mean term, not necessarily indicative of whatever Dan's issues might be.

      But now that I'm looking, I can't see the comment I left this morning...which is maybe what you're referring to? Don't know where it went. I'ma post this and try to figure it out.

    4. So, yeah, I posted one this morning but it's not there anymore.

    5. Yeah, the one where you pretty much said this whole thing is a great case study for people interested in online etiquette, discourse, group dynamics, communities, manners, etc. That one.

    6. Well, heck, I'll try posting again. I'm afraid it might have ballooned a little from the original. And probably said even less. But whatever.

  15. The biggest issue I have is the fact that his fake stories take away from people with genuine stories to tell. I call bullshit on people all the time. Dissenters and fact-checkers are not bad people.

  16. I scolded you. I will continue to scold. Because, look: every troll who has ever hounded me - and there have been a few - has made exactly the same arguments. They're calling bullshit on what I write or how I write. They're calling it as they see it. They think it's important to reveal me as a fraud or a charlatan or an attention whore because, dammit, to NOT do so would be to let me get away with it. The same is true of those who troll The Pioneer Woman (there are whole blogs devoted to revealing the fraud that is her down-home country life! because, people should not be fooled!) and Dooce and everyone else. It's a CAUSE. And they all think that they're on the side of justice.

    Well, justice is subjective. You don't like Dan, or how he writes, or what he writes. That's fine. You don't have to like him. But other people do, and he's had some success based on that. I don't love all the mom blogs out there, but I don't think that they should be expunged from the space. Policing our communities based on vaguely defined, subjective 'standards' - however much we love our own such standards - never leads to anything good. A quick review of, oh, all of human history will tell you that much.

    Dan's not hurting anyone, but he's certainly been hurt by this community. He's a human being, with a heart; he's a loving dad and a nice guy with whom I've spent time in person. And it really makes my heart sore to see him ganged up on, just because he doesn't meet this community's 'standards.'


    1. I really hate disagreeing with you, because you know I love you. But he's not being ganged up on because he doesn't meet this community's "standards", unless the standard to which you refer is actual truthfulness and authenticity, in which case I suppose you are right.

      We are all stewards of this community. Sometimes it's hard to know what's truth and what's not, but sometimes if it walks like a duck it's hard not to accuse it of quacking.

    2. Catherine, there's a difference. There is a truth to your words - to Ree's - to Heather's. There is this feeling of genuine pain and love and emotion behind what you write. You're not doing it to market yourself, and you're not doing it to get good search engine rankings.

      Every popular post by Dan has this foundation of half-truths and exaggerations, all designed to teach a lesson to his readers. Look at the post over at DaddyTypes that explores his mattress story and shows exactly how full of shit it is.

      He may be a nice guy, but he's also extremely deluded, self-satisfied, and a liar. How can you read Didactic Pirate's post about coming out to his daughter and read Dan's posts about his gay friend and think that they have that same depth of emotion? You can't - one is real and one is fake, and I have no problem saying that charlatans need to be called out.

    3. Catherine - prefacing this with a "nothin' but love for you". I don't recall anyone accusing Dan of being Eeeeeeeevil and a Horrible Parent; what I see are a group of writers questioning the guy's authenticity and practices, and where you see this as a form of mob vigilantism, I see this as a community acting to preserve some sort of ethical standard in a time when bloggers are still seen by "legitimate" media and print writers as amateurish, as respectable as James Frey or the so-called yellow journalists of the early 20th century. When you say "Dan's not hurting anyone", my argument would be that if he's viewed as a representative and leader of the dadblogging community, then in a sense he's hurting my site as well as others who don't engage in the type of marketing and "truthiness" that Dan has.

      There isn't an easy answer to this. What is "justice"? Hell if I know. I'm uneasy with busting out the torches and the pitchforks, but I also look to similar recent examples in the momblogging world (the whole Our Ordinary Life plagiarism thing) as an example of when a community does need to raise its voice to uphold some standards. Because who else is going to do that, if not that community's members?

    4. What Jason is talking about reminds me of that moment when John Stewart went on crossfire and had it out with Tucker Carlson. There was something both awesome and cringe-inducing about watching that go down.

    5. Catherine--I don't mind you scolding me. It would seem very strange if absolutely no one did. But I would just respond with exactly what Zchamu said.

      I feel bad for Dan sometimes. But, given that he's so big on treating his blog as a business, I suspect he's able to see this "ganging up" as just a minor business setback.

      And I really can't imagine why he would care what this community thinks of him, since he has gone on record as saying we don't really exist, and we certainly don't have much to offer him as far as business opportunities.

      I have never called for Dan's blog to be "expunged." I just want people to know that what he does is not what most dad bloggers do. Not all people have to know that, but I don't want people to feel like they have to keep their mouths shut because he's "popular."

      The amount of "ganging-up" that has happened against Dan has been miniscule when compared to the absolutely inexplicable volume of adoration he claims to receive. A couple dozen bloggers snarking should roll right off him.

    6. Catherine - do you think Dan's relationship with Babble and your position there might color your perspective a bit? I can see that it would probably be a lot more difficult to see him hurt by this criticism if you work closely with him and know him as a human, rather than just seeing his posts and press releases as I have. I've been pretty tough on him and I could have chosen some of my words more carefully. But I still think much of his behavior is beyond the pale and deserves comment.

  17. Plus, it's the middle of July and damn if we aren't all bored to tears. When does school start again?

  18. I'm pretty motherfucking pissed that Schadenfreudette and I continuously do not get a lick of credit for issuing the first ever douchey blogger press release.

    1. Your vagina and it's press release is a thing of beauty.

      Wait. That came out wrong...

    2. What that press release really needed was some video.

      Also, I would have left a comment on it, but the comment count was at 69, and I didn't want to screw with that.

    3. Mr Lady likes this comment.

  19. Isn't the true joy of blogging to read the comments inspired by your posts? Do they all have to be positive? What would be the point in that?

    If I feel the need to call bullshit, then I will call bullshit. If someone feels the need to do the same to me...have at it. (My posts are way too dull and non-controversial, however, to draw that type of heated response)

    I find dissention and debate a lot more interesting than "Stepford Bloggers and their Stepford Readers".

    For those who feel differently, possibly you could just practice what you preach, and not call bullshit on the comments you find unfair? Personally, I hope you don't. I hope those of you that feel that way continue to debate with the rest of us rather than taking your own advice.

  20. Black Hockey Jesus is the greatest dad blogger in the history of dad blogging.

    1. I can't find any evidence to the contrary.

    2. I haven't seen that press release so it must not be true.

    3. I hear he encourages windy vaginas, and that concerns me.

    4. There's a music video about BHJ on YouTube, so it must be true.

  21. I'll call someone out on bullshit in a hot minute. And I would hope someone would do the same to me. Probably why I have so many friends. *eye roll*

  22. Negative energy is a waste of my time. SDL IMHO isn't someone I will read or visit. Those that to, are welcome to him.

  23. The outline for a piece about this was knocking around in my brain when Tanis tweeted a link here, so here I am. Everything I have to say would in essence bully space in your comments section, but in summation, I chuckled at this guy, his nonsense, and all the junk swirling around him up until now. This whole thing has just aggravated me in a huge, pointed way. I am super-annoyed at Dan.

    Maybe this post should be in your round-up:
    While Heather doesn't call Dan by name, that piece speaks directly to situations like this, and is written beautifully.

    1. I read that last night. Was going to add it to the list, but then I got really really sleepy. I'll add it.

  24. I love that you care so much about the community to call BS on people that are gaming the system.

    That said, does it really matter? The competition level in the parent blogging community is out of hand. I'm just as jealous as you when others have success with less than great content.

    But does it matter? Nope.

    It won't get my kids bathed quicker. It won't get my mortgage paid off faster. It won't make my wife and I closer.

    It doesn't matter. Do your work. Do your work the best you can. Swim with people that care about what you do.

    Don't feed the trolls, don't sweat the small stuff. If you pour energy into junk like this, it's not SDL's BS that you're smelling, it's your own.

  25. I've followed this for awhile, actually, and given it some thought.

    I've described the kind of writing in SDL in my own head as "Who You Are" vs. "Who You Wish You Were." The average person is conscious of the gap between them and strives to make the two match.

    The internet and blogging comes along, and suddenly having to do the work to make them match is as simple as a game of writing stories, most often with a grain of truth to them, and slathering them all up with Who You Wish You Were so that you feel better about yourself....without doing the *actual* soul-stretching work.

    So, a group of contemporaries say, "Hey - we can see Who You Are behind that blog full of Who You Wish You Were, and you're not fooling anybody except yourself. Be genuine." I don't see a problem with that. I think ultimately it helps all writers - male or female - think more clearly about the gap between and being truthful with not only readers, but being truthful with themselves. It's the work of humanity.

    I think Dan probably is a really nice guy in real life. As he paints a larger-than-life portrait of himself on the internet he is missing a golden opportunity to admit to falling a little short of Wish He Was and making a *true* connection with his readers.

    Did that make any sense at all?

  26. He-who-shall-not-be-mentioned comes from a State where they believe that as a man you will be a god in the afterlife and you will have an abundance of wives. The dutch oven is the State pot, Gullible would be the State word.

  27. Blogs are a dime a dozen. What happens when those who present non- and half-truths as reality and achieve "success" from that is that those who are better are overlooked. It's no different, in my opinion, than calling bullshit on a politician or public figure who manipulates the truth to please or impress a constituency. So for me, calling bullshit is a necessity if we're going to maintain any sort of authenticity in blogging and in life.

  28. First, as a member of a different 'community' it's sort of nice to see that the drama is not limited to food! Although it seems accurate to assume that while many of us would like to call out many of the better known for some of their behaviors, there is a spoken and unspoken notion that there will be hell to pay.

    I've always wondered what could they do to me if I'm just honest about an issue. Well...I lamented about a less than satisfactory selection process for a food blogging event and though I did not name names or location in my lament, I heard from one of the organizers who was not happy with my opinion.

    I replied with a heartfelt response explaining that 'selecting' as they did and culling who they thought best for their event is indicative of why we are often labeled as being in a high school environment. Popularity reigns supreme. I removed one phrase that the group found objectionable (labeling them as 'sitting on high') but that was not enough and it was clear from the 5 word trite response to my reply that anything less than removing the post was not satisfactory.

    Was it just coincidence that the next day my blog was on the receiving end of an attack that forced my host to take it offline as they could not afford the resources to manage the processes it was requiring? Was that coincidence even more questionable knowing that a party involved in the event was a web developer? Lastly...was it another coincidence that when finally given the opportunity to login that the page creating the issue was several years old yet linked to the very party I had aggravated? And that once I removed the link the issue stopped almost immediately?

    I don't think it a coincidence but I do think it an indictment of what some people will do to members of their 'community.' We had better toe the line or we'll pay a price.

    Will this stop me from being honest or calling 'bullshit.' Probably not but it sure would thousands of others; especially in our food blogging community (really I need to put a ? after that word) where schmoozing and building relationships with both bloggers and brands matters...even those we think might have questionable ethics.

    My experience is that there can be a price to pay, so be prepared and then do what you have to do. I did and I will survive!

  29. i've been fascinated by the whole SDL phenomenon since he came out with tshirts in his second month of existence. for the longest time i was convinced he was actually a cabal of unemployed Oprah writers planning to spring a huge reality TV expose about how easily scale in social media can be gamed.

    but Catherine says he's real, and i trust Catherine, and so Dan as phenomenon ends up being even more interesting.

    to me, he represents the extreme end of where this "community" - such as it is, and it IS - intersects with business. which it also is. here's the thing. most of us see blogging and social media as a community. we manage our social media practices so they're primarily social, or partly social & partly business, but still with an eye to the community. that's been the norm in blogging for a long time, and people get attached to norms and practices: they become, in effect, a social contract. but Dan's practices are almost entirely business. and business of a particularly vulgar, self-aggrandizing, non-social sort that doesn't actually build community but only scale. he makes blogging feel like Amway sales.

    and many of us don't like that. we have the right not to...Dan's choices and practices are nothing if not strategic and intentional, and they are an overt rejection of the community-building that most of us share to some degree or another in favour of socially tone-deaf business. he practices alongside us, and companies like Babble will bring him in because he carries numbers with him - but he also represents a way of blogging that most of us will continue to have a hard time not needing to distance ourselves from.

    1. Thank you Bon. This is what I having been trying to clarify in my mind as I've struggled to articulate my opinion. His gaudy and self-aggrandizing marketing schemes and his insistence on how sincere and wonderful he is even as he overtly rejects the community, to the extent of declaring part of it doesn't even exist.

    2. "for the longest time i was convinced he was actually a cabal of unemployed Oprah writers planning to spring a huge reality TV expose about how easily scale in social media can be gamed."

      I will now fear a cabal of those writers as much as I love this sentence and never want to forget it.

    3. blushes. thank you. i will say, whatever his schtick, i'm impressed with his industry. i just kinda wish there was a gotcha moment...

    4. Bon--this was absolutely perfect. I'm not nearly smart enough to come up with this myself, but you expressed why I don't feel like Dan should care much what we think. Everything he does seems strategic and in service of the bottom line.

      The mysterious part is, why does he seem to be interested in his standing in "the community"? Is it just to maximize his Babble traffic bonus?

  30. I'm in favor of calling bullshit, always, but of course unless the caller has more smarts and/or integrity than the callee it's a waste of time and degenerates. One of my most-trafficked posts was a long-ass screed of compound, MIRVing bullshit calling. People like it when we say the things they're thinking but are afraid to say out loud. And bloggers, especially the tacky attention whores, represent a target-rich environment.

  31. I haven't read all the comments, so I imagine this has already been said, but I want to commend you, young chap, on this post. Being vocal and having an opinion about something that SEEMS unimportant to others does not a middle-school-tantrum-thrower make. It pisses me off when I hear that crap bubbling up from rubberneckers.

    If you need to voice your opinion, it's not a waste of time. It's not childish, and I don't think it necessarily makes you look bad. God forbid we have FEELINGS about the THINGS.


  32. If I have to question whether someone is real or not in the first place, I don't consider them a viable addition to my world, unless I am paying for a movie or a book. I also don't really consider it relevant or not if he's a "great guy." Somebody can tell me you're great all day, but if you make me feel icky, that's the facts, for me. I have met plenty of jerks who are great writers, and not-so-jerks who are meh writers, and everywhere in between. Sometimes I quit reading great writers because they're jerks. It's all subjective. It's awesome!

    I thought the press release was an Onion-like piece when first I saw it, and the mattress-selling fable was where I couldn't read anymore. I can't imagine a situation where I'd have the idea of even doing that release, much less making it come true, but I've been in enough industries long enough to know that there are people who will do anything -- ANYTHING -- for financial success. Money is obviously not my hugest value or I'd be reselling crap on Ebay or building an Etsy store rather than typing this nauseating comment to you, Andy. But in his case, watching the collective is kind of like viewing the infomercial of blogging. I turn them off when they come on my tv (well, except for the Slap Chop, because that is pure comedy, and the Rowdy Gaines one-lap swimming pool, because, well, come on) and I don't want them on my internet. I love not paying attention to things that irk me.

    He is also free to evaluate my blog as navel-gazing, creative writing 101 drivel. "No wonder you've made any money off of that crap. That sucks! Change it!" And I'll respect his right to say that, and I will do what I want. He can do the same.

    I do wonder what would happen if we, the baffled collective, stopped talking about him, like a universal digital OM, or a "We divorce you". I think that would be fun, and maybe we could all not jump whatever particular shark I feel like this might be.

  33. Maybe Dan comes from the Colin Quinn school of provocation. He intentionally writes the stuff he does 'cause he knows that it will get people fired up. That's why he's "laughing". He knows he's full of shit.

  34. I've been thinking about this for a day now and trying to figure out how to respond.

    There are two really astute comments over the past weeks that keep standing out in my mind.

    Greg from DaddyTypes who said "...his blog name, Single Dad, already carries in it a whole lifetime of break...if a dadblogging superhero alter ego is what he needs to get through his day, who am I to complain?"

    And then Kristine from Wait in the Van who said on Mamapop ages ago about the faux Girl from Damascus "By making up a story about a girl from Syria, he basically took a voice away from a real one."

    I suppose that the first makes me truly sympathetic towards Dan because I if it's true, then he's a guy that really, really, really wants to be liked. So much so that he'll send anonymous letters from himself telling bloggers how great that SDL blog is and hey, why not link to it? That would explain a lot, and it pains me for him, in a real way.

    The second quote makes me really sad for the world because I do think that passing off truths as lies and justifying it, for any reason, does have consequences. And to just dismiss it with "this doesn't hurt anyone" or "oh just ignore it if you don't like it" is wrong.

    In the end, if he has friends in the community like Catherine, I really hope that instead of just "calling bullshit" she can say, "hey friend...let me help you rethink some things." A lot of us have done that for one another. People have done it for me when I needed it. And I get a lot of letters from bloggers saying, "hey can you help me figure out x or give me some advice on y?"

    I don't know that I've ever said no.

    We're a nice group when asked for help. Less so, I suppose when we're deceived into helping.

    Whistleblowing leads to reform in all sorts of arenas. So maybe there's a way to turn the calling bullshit into something more productive. For Dan too, who--going back to the beginning--probably just wants to make some friends.

    Okay that's all I got.

  35. Interesting post and comments. One of the things that has always struck me in the blogging and parenting community is the tendency to express outrage at any criticism of oneself while simultaneously reserving the right to point fingers at others. Either we can call bullshit and also be open to having bullshit called on us or we just shut up. But trying to have it both ways just makes people look ridiculous.

  36. Well, what a fine discussion to get lost in. I've used up a whole day, but, I'm a SAHM, so, I really just missed defeating a box of bon bons....

    As a very new blogger, been here about 3 minutes, I can tell you why this matters. It matters because though many blogs now are monetized and all that jazz, most are still the online journals of people who like to write and share their passions. That's what I do; I write because I love the turn of a phrase and the chance to give my readers a look into my brain without painful futuristic surgery. So, to me, it sucks that people can dismiss blogging as reviews for money by people who are greedy and people who couldn't hack it as real writers. Worse? If blogging gets linked with shenanigans. It hurts the integrity of the group. I mean, we're already deemed less than journalists for God's sake!

    I had (have?) dreams of success with my blogging. The question is, what does that look like? It seems to me that when I try to be what I think will bring ads, etc., I'm not me. I lose my real voice, and I get my feelings hurt, and I'm all anxious. What matters most to me is having a good-sized audience who appreciates my take on things and my way of speaking. So, when I focus on that, I think people will read it because I'd read my stuff. Will I at some point try to make it bigger? Sure, but I won't do it just to be famous/rich/laden with swag. I would do it for the thrill of reaching new readers and getting better at my writing. And to meet the Bloggess in some bathroom at a conference somewhere.

    Point of the story: the way you market yourself matters, and the reason you write matters. It matters for your integrity and for the group's. Are there awful blogs on the internet? Dear me, yes. (Some with grammar and sentence structure that make my eyes bleed.) This isn't about whether or not a blog is good enough. It's about doing something you just shouldn't do. That simple.

  37. As long as you don't let it personally affect you, by all means, call bullshit on someone. Just know that you can never change people very much unless they want something from you. And know that you ARE getting him more publicity. And know that there ARE more stupid people than intelligent ones. If that was not the case, he would not be very popular.

    All I care about is that you don't get stressed out about this stupid sort of stuff. Just keep being you and don't pay the crazy man more attention than he deserves. If your stand on this is "I just want to make sure people know he's full of shit," then fine, do that.

    But don't put more energy into it than it deserves.

    Cause this bs is cutting into my reading of your entertaining stuff. This is affecting ME now. It's ALL about ME.

    1. I'm writing an apology post right now. It's called, "I will never hurt Frank again."

  38. I'm all for people calling bullshit, but I get a little uncomfortable when everyone starts talking about the "community" calling bullshit as a unit. I've been around blogging long enough to know how this is used selectively. If the disliked, it's fair game. If the person is liked, beware.

    1. There is, of course, a hierarchy of community. And $$$ to be made off that hierarchy remaining in tact. (Well, maybe it's only $$ or $, but people act as if it's $$$.) That will be protected. And that's not even the cynical me talking. There is much for those at the forefront to gain in perpetuating "we are all democratic and equal". In reality, that's not how real life works, let alone cyber life.

  39. I followed this controversy for a bit and find it absurd, but I also know that there is money to be made and some people blog for the love of doing it and others see opportunity and look for the areas where there isn't a "superstar" or market saturation.

    Calling Bullshit is fine, but the need to do so assumes that all people blog for the same reason. They don't. I started blogging in 2006 to chronicle my struggles with infertility and our adoption. I started reading a lot of blogs when I first stared and I have to say that I still read those that I read when I first started (as many of them were just starting then or had recently).

    Some of us share lots of our lives and some of us share glimpses and some of us offer commentary. I like to think that the bloggers I love and read post truthfully. I also think that is why I still read so many that have been around for a while, because there isn't this feeling of trying to be something more important than one is or the need for fame.

    So, Dan's personal blog might not ring true--if you don't like it don't read it. I hope those who love him and know him, give him the support he needs. Blogging isn't about competition. We could all certainly be jealous of those who are super talented, timeless and awesome who can make a living from blogging, but that is not the spirit of blogging--in my view.

    I read Kristen, Liz, Heather, Amy, Kelly, Jenny and others because their lives parallel mine in many ways. I am glad they write and am lucky enough to have confidence that what they write is truth. We just can't assume that everyone on the web is who they are--does this take away from those with real problems? Possibly. But we have to be critical consumers, because we don't/can't (thankfully) control who has a platform and who doesn't and how they chose to use it.

  40. Great conversation. I'd say more but I think I already stepped in this saga deeper than I expected, so I bow out. Except ... I think there are those of us who care so deeply about what we are doing - who painstakingly try tu ensure integrity and honesty in our work regardless of whether we make money - that we don't take kindly to being associated with those who don't seem to operate the same way.

  41. To, dammit. To ensure integrity. Damnable iPad.

  42. All of this is why I'm glad nobody (except my Mom) reads my blog.

  43. How did I not know this was going on? I stopped reading SDL a long time ago because his stuff just seemed so self righteous and soap boxy.

    Now I have a Tuesday mission: read ALL the links and follow every bit of this story. I do love me a good drama.

  44. All of this is why I get a bit leary of joining the blogging "community". I totally support your right to call bullshit. It seems, overall, that disagreement is not really very accepted, however, in the larger community. I like discussion, even heated discussion, but the world is not always comfortable with that.

  45. First: You write real good! Will you please write a press release for me? I almost ran out of gas on Union Ave...

    Second: I like you, you're awesome, this is a civil discussion in which we can speak freely, right? Right.

    To answer your question, I don't call people out in public. The only public call outs on my part have to do with politics and that's honestly only a function of what I perceive to be my responsibility as a participant in a democratic system.

    Side note... I understand you were trying to make a point funny by using hyperbolic allusions to Hitler and Idi Amin, but, dude, are you fucking kidding me? Hitler orchestrated the murder of millions of people, man. Amin displaced entire populations into homelessness -- are you FUCKING.KIDDING.ME, Betadad?

    People like Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin and, even, Nickelback are the realities of people who are living their lives this very moment. Right NOW... TODAY... these bastards are concurrently alive with Dan Effing Pearce And THOSE guys that are killing people and displacing populations? Are like Idi Amin and Adolf Hitler. NOT fucking Dan Pearce. What is messed up is that people reading about SDL have no idea what those guys names are, but know who Dan Pearce is. You don't want to write about that stuff, that's fine, but I call you on YOUR shit for trying to somehow use your cause as being remotely similar to the people who live with and fight against that reality every day.

    Aside from an exercise in self righteousness, this kind of has something to do with why I feel so irritated by the whole Dan Pearce thing.

    I've been trying to wrap my mind around why this is all so important to so many smart people that I respect, and I'm sorry, but I don't get it. My objection to this controversy has nothing to do with any of the "commonplace social" whatchamacallits up there. It's not about being polite or taking "higher ground". Plain and simple: the importance of calling someone out is directly proportional to the importance of the matter on which you are calling them out. While I agree with the accusations levied against the party in question, I have yet to be presented with evidence which makes a case for the level of importance said accusations are being given.

    My ire when it comes to this situation is less about my position when it concerns love/hate for Dan Pearce and is more with the idea that this is worth THIS amount of press. I feel tacky and trite, but I'm just going to be honest. It makes me incredibly sad that with the platform that each of the links you posted above have available to them that those parties chose to write about this petty, privileged, (dare I say it? FIRST WORLD!!), real housewives drama.

    (Did I really just make the "children are starving in India" argument? I totally did. You know why? BECAUSE THEY ARE. In fact, there are children starving right here. Maybe around the corner from you, but I digress. But, no, let's talk about Dan Pearce's bowel movements and how in-fucking-authentic they are for another hour or two.)

    You've been blessed with a talent and a gift to put together words in way that causes people to reflect, examine and perhaps reassess their reality. I understand that he's a phony, I understand that he pretends to be "face" of dad blogging, but, for me, you have always been dad blogging to me. Dan Pearce wasn't really even on my radar until YOU made him a topic, and, unfortunately, now, I can't un-know all the shit that's annoying about him. And, frankly, that sucks and is all your fault.

    I am aware of SDL's faults and how he is wrong, and I tell you that this awareness of his faults has made me no better of a human being, so.. why? Why did we have to know - if it doesn't make us better? Just to know? If he's Snooki, then everyone who is talking about him is TMZ.

    Which includes me. Dammit.

    I'm going to shin kick you in two weeks.

    Be ready.

    1. Also -- long comment. Sorry.

    2. Yes, I am fucking kidding you. I just can't help myself when I have a chance to juxtapose Hitler and Nickelback. That's mostly to get Tanis's goat.

      All good points, and I'm glad that there are people like you who are holier-than-me and can set a good example. I have a problem.

      I will wear shinguards.

    3. Faiqa, while you were writing this novel, four hundred children died of starvation. I can't believe you'd be so selfish.

    4. Yes, but, at least, I was writing about THEM. So, there's that. Also, screw you.

    5. @Betadad Nickelback DOES suck pretty bad.

    6. It took everything I could not to make a pointed comment about the Nickelback poke, but now that Faiqa jumped on that horse, well, all bets are off.


      Crap. I have nothing.


    7. Tanis--I've always admired your bravery in sticking up for Nickelback despite the universal revulsion toward them from people of good taste.

    8. Faiqa- I adore you. I think you hit the nail on the head with this: 'Plain and simple: the importance of calling someone out is directly proportional to the importance of the matter on which you are calling them out.'

      And also, 'If he's Snooki, then everyone who is talking about him is TMZ.

      Which includes me. Dammit.'


  46. Hindsy, anyone who thinks calling bullshit is bullshit, and calls you on it, is clearly a hypocrite.

    That said, I really love your stories about your life, and think they are more interesting and delightful than commentary on the blogging world - but that's because I'm not part of the blogging world. You have a variety of audiences, but it's your blog and you can write about anything you damn well please.. brush off the haters.

  47. In response I will go starve myself to death as a way to suffer penance for working my ass off to provide myself with food. I will then embrace Dan in a love hug that will hopefully stop him from continuing to lie to 300,000 people and counting. Sadly because I am already dead I am actually a zombie. My love hug turns into a love bite and Dan continues his blog as Single Zombie Dad Laughing. He then writes tons of blog posts about how awesome he is for not eating his neighbors. He also writes posts about how horrible I am for biting him and others. The entire time he will lie and blame all of his biting on me. So we are back to the fact that Dan LIES. He forced law enforcement to spend tons of money out of their tiny budget that they do not have to rescue him on the side of a mountain so he could film it and create a press release. So yes I am thankful to Betadad for bringing this to our attention. Excuse me I must go starve myself now.

  48. Beta: First of all most people may not realize what bad writing is.. Second of all, the other blogger you mention is obviously just seeking attention, sad isn't it? he happens to attract readers that are on his level... Now, would you want those same people following you? don't u want readers who are on the same page, smarts level, logical and rational reading and commenting on yours??? Numbers isn't everything.. Quality is... Besides, do all of his contacts read and comment?? I bet you they don't... So, as my bro would say " BFD"

  49. Well if it gets 85 comments... That can't be all that bad? I'm happy to get ten. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with blogs. It is not about good writing, or introspective thinking. It is politics, popularity, and drama. But then again this is life.
    Feel free to pick on me anytime! :)

  50. Tried to post this earlier, but it got lost in the 1s and 0s somewhere. I'll try again.

    I've been following this SDL drama, and what seemed like just another "kerfuffle" has become something more. I wasn't going to show it to my wife, because she'd be all, "go do something productive." And I'd be like, "What, like draw comics about poop?" 'Cause that's mostly what I do on my blog.

    Then more bloggers joined the fray - tons of the people I’d bookmarked months ago when I started blogging and then put in my reader once I figured out what a google reader is. It was kind of spooky.

    Beta Dad was one of the first blogs I discovered, and I bookmarked him mostly because of his Godzilla toddlers in the header. Then I started reading him. I was impressed and intrigued with the community that he's a part of. SDL was also one of the first, because my wife once pointed out his viral hit about "worthless women and men who make them" and then ripped it apart, saying, "If you ever start blogging, don't do it like this." It was a feminist's nightmare to her. And kind of sloppy. But I gotta be honest, I saw his marketing ploys and while some of them made me uncomfortable, I also started to think, hey, if HE can do it, should I? I started a blog in April, and I've been slowly trying to refine just what kind of blogger I want to be. How I want to interact as a blogger.

    Back to the present. Catherine Connors posted her piece on bullying, and then Beta Dad added it to his links, and I called my wife over and introduced her to the whole kerfuffle. Because this explosion of accusations and defensiveness and indignation and meanness and olive branches and efforts at courtesy and forgiveness and honesty and authenticity...this is what I needed as a primer to figure out what kind of blogger I want to be. I migth have really screwed up. This blog post of Beta Dad's, it's a gold mine of insight and research and perspectives from so many different angles. I don’t agree particularly with his public denunciations, but he's collated a really important conversation, even those bloggers who are calling HIM out. This should be a required course for new bloggers. Maybe for anyone who uses the internet. Ugh, melodramatic. But following all of these narrative threads has opened my eyes to the ways that bloggers (even the BIG ones) agree and disagree, and how they work out (and sometimes don't work out) their differences.

    I mostly side with Catherine, who's really worried about bullying. But I have to admit that I NEEDED to hear this whole tale, warts and all, hurt feelings and all, including the bully-ness and troll-ishness, including the qualifications and the re-thinking. It's really unfortunate if someone in this fracas ends up "the loser," and I think scoldings are appropriate. For some of the people involved, I might be inclined to say "this whole thing shouldn't have happened."

    But at the same time, I've not come across any other mess that better expresses this jungle of communities and mavericks and egos and courtesies and etiquettes and fact-checking (and money) that I'm considering joining. If for a single individual I feel bad, at the same time, I've got to see the value this conversation might have for a community, a community much larger than even than just the blogging community. We don't have required college courses in social media, in online etiquette. Which is ridiculous. I hope that will change drastically in the next few years. If there was a "Social Media 101" class (which probably there is, just not as part of a core curriculum), I would share this post by Beta Dad as a massive case-study, and his links lead transparently to a diverse bunch of places, many of which don't agree with him. And then those link to other thoughts. The beauty of the internet, you know? Frankly, I don't know if any other material would be needed.

  51. My take on all of it is that it's true we don't know if his stories are true or not. But being self-righteous is not a redeeming quality. And as we've seen in politics, if you say it loud enough and often enough, people will believe you. Thus, if you say you're the best blogger and famous and blah blah blah, loud enough and often enough people may believe you. That is irritating. Especially when there are so many wonderfully talented, kind, and humble people in the blogging world. NOT that you shouldn't believe in yourself or get your name out there, but there's a difference between letting people know and proclaiming you're famous, etc.

    As for the troll stuff, personally, I don't see how that fits. Dan mentions you and Jason in a ton of stuff. And it isn't all peachy kind stuff. The counselor at my elementary school said that it's bullying if one person is doing it to another and the person being attacked is trying to avoid or get away from the bully. If two people are going back and forth, that's an argument or disagreement. Not a bully.

    There's my two cents. For what it's worth.

  52. I think the way you feel about him is the way a lot of legitimate authors feel about E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey). For the record, I'm with you. (And them.)

  53. I just love this post. I do. I just came across SDL and read a couple of posts and thought, 'awwww' to many of them. Especially the pics of his kid, to be honest. :D Then I came across you today and have been totally drawn into this drama, reading post after post that you've linked to. Thanks for invading my life for the last few hours. I've laughed, I've cried, I've laughcried. It's been epic. Bullshit callers are necessary. Whenever one is called to it, I think there's probably a need for it. Hah!

  54. Oh my goodness. Does no-one remember Usenet? We used to do this stuff monthly. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  55. I just found Dan Pearce recently due to someone posting his 16 ways I blew my marriage post. Having had my marriage fail, and becoming a single Dad I was interested in what sort of self loathing, it's all my fault, bullet points this would include. When reading all the do overs he would like I winced. Closing the bathroom door, is a good idea, and the fact he didn't creeps me out, and makes me understand why he is two marriages down. But, to come up with all these cuddly things he would do to make the woman happy, that most likely could not be happy regardless of how attentive, obedient, and clingy he became, seemed way off the mark. I was shocked that he thought being a beta male would make him be a better mate, so I googled beta male and Dan Pearce and found you. I think you might be smart to build your own brand by dissing him. Just like Penthouse did with Playboy back in the day. I look forward to reading your blog, and hope you are the Penthouse to his Playboy.

  56. Whether or not Dan is a charlatan, it sounds like you are jealous. And what's more, it appears you are spending WAAAY too much time/energy focusing on him & his antics, rather than on yourself. This will only affect the quality of your work in the end...something to think about...

  57. So Dan had all this drama about coming "out" as bisexual. It was drama drama drama and now he no longer likes guys. What gives on this? I feel used!


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