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Monday, October 10, 2011

“Crazy bloggers” may think their content is popular, but it’s all about schadenfreude

Has America become the home of the crazy and inappropriate? What happened to admiring people with character and boundaries? Apparently, for a growing segment of our society, crazy is the new brilliant. There is a trend towards admiring abnormal, obnoxious and dysfunctional behavior. Case in point, note this article in Forbes Magazine, “Why crazy people make better bloggers.”  You don’t say?  Sorry, I’m not buying it.
The author’s reasons, in a nutshell are:
1. We’ll say what you won’t.
2. We speak the truth.
3. We’re more entertaining.

And now I will state my rebuttal to this premise.

I am so confused by reason #1, I had to re-read it a few times to fully digest the concept. It is depressing that we have come to a point in our civilization where people have come to believe that just because you CAN say something, you SHOULD say something. I vehemently disagree with that entire concept. I am an extremely open and candid person. Some people would even say outspoken. BUT, I maintain sensible and healthy boundaries and limits. I admire transparency and openness, but there are many, many things that should not be shared in a public forum, especially a blog. (See my other posting on a similar topic To blog or not to blog )
I love that we live in a free nation and we have the ability to say just about anything we want to; but we have gone to an extreme level of personal information sharing that much of our society have started to become desensitized to outrageously inappropriate  content- on their televisions, in blogs and articles, and in “real life”.

Bullet #2, is also very disingenuous. Truth?

Here is how Webster defines the word:

Sincerity in action, character, and utterance
(1) : the state of being the case : fact
(2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality
(3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions

So, I suppose by definition, a “crazy” person would certainly not always have a very clear concept of TRUTH. They may have their own truth, but I doubt that any rational person would believe that a mentally unstable individual would be someone who is capable of understanding what truth really is.
And last, but not least, #3, which makes the claim that crazy or unstable individuals are more entertaining. I thought long and hard about that one. I supposed for people who love chaos, thrive on drama and embrace madness- yes, a crazy blogger would certainly be more entertaining.
Is that the reason people are reading blogs? Isn’t that what television shows, ala Jerry Springer, “The Real Housewives of here and there”, “Desperate Housewives”, any daytime soap opera or “The Jersey Shore” are for? Those shows are supposed to be “entertaining” with all the crazy and drama anyone could possibly absorb without having to go on medication themselves. If you want a fix of crazy, any of those programs will give you a front row seat.
I love that line in the Jack Nicholson film, As Good as It Gets - “Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.” Do most people really need more “crazy” in their lives?  I know I don’t.
The last place I want to see crazy is in a blog. I love reading blogs that are funny, clever, honest, thoughtful, inspiring and give me something to think about. When I go “blog shopping”, the LAST thing I am looking for is crazy. To me crazy does not bring a good image to mind.
Here are a few definitions of the word:
full of cracks or flaws : unsound  crooked, askew
being out of the ordinary
distracted with desire or excitement
passionately preoccupied : obsessed

Another article which got some attention last spring was an article in Vanity Fair, which USA Today covered‘Robert  Pattinson admires Charlie Sheen: 'I like crazy people...'  
 and He tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales that he admires Charlie Sheen and his "little escapades," explaining, "I like crazy people who don't give a f---."
Frankly, I don’t believe he would enjoy being related to Mr. Sheen or any other person who doesn’t “give a f---“for very long. They tend to wear out relationships and go through friends rather quickly. There is hardly anything entertaining about a psychotic, madman on a path to self-destruction. But I digress.
To sum up, I don’t believe crazy should ever become a “virtue” or be celebrated as some kind of wonderful, fun, truthful or valuable condition. Most of the time, it is exhausting, confusing, erratic and pitiful.

My feeling is that the one and only reason people enjoy reading blogs written by “crazy” people is the same reason they enjoy watching crazy people on television. In one word, it is called schadenfreude. It isn’t a compliment and it isn’t a reason to write a blog filled with mad ramblings or telling all of your personal business. It makes people feel better about themselves because YOUR crazy is so much crazier than THEIRS.


  1. If someone needs a "crazy" person to make them feel better about their own life, who is REALLY crazy in that scenario?

  2. Most bloggers use the word "crazy" to connote out-of-the-ordinary or unusual - thing is, it's become a catch-all phrase. If we're all "crazy", who stands out?

    There's a lot of mentally unstable people who have found an outlet for airing incendiary views via the internet - hell, there's a whole segment of people, sane and not, who've found an audience via the interwebz. Should I give them some validation by calling them out? You know the answer.

    If we shut down those who use "crazy" as a byword for "unique", "stand-out-ish" or "unusual", we shut down other points of view -however supercilious & silly - that do have a right to be expressed. The journo who said he admired Sheen was, I almost feel sure, hooking up his wagon to someone with a lot of publicity. I wouldn't take him seriously, just like I wouldn't take the "crazy" word being bandied about online. Our vernacular has shifted and morphed, so the word is more about trying to stand out and perhaps even being a jerk (which, by the way, society applauds -and *we* make up society, it should be noted) than it is about serious mental dysfunction. It's become a kind of "cool" pejorative in the way "gay" has in some circles.

    Anyway, what am I trying to say? Well, I suppose, ignore the supposedly "crazy" types (esp journalists who align themselves with the poor behaviour of spoiled Hollywooders) & be conscious of the words you use in everyday language. Speaking for myself, I don't take any of the "crazy" types seriously whatsoever, but I'll argue until I'm blue in the face about their right to express whatever they want online. It's their choice to write bs; it's my choice to pay attention (whether positive or negative) and therefore validate it via attention, or ignore it altogether. Attention goes where energy goes. And "crazy" isn't the same as crazy.

    Thanks and goodnight. Whew!