Sara Whitman

Blogs: Going Cold Turkey

Filed By Sara Whitman | March 02, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: LGBT rights, mass media, Network News, P. Diddy, read a book, reading blogs

"Wake up in the morning feelin' like P Diddy..." Not.

Kesha might be groovin' that way but I'm not today. It's rain/snow/sleeting out. I have taxes to do, piles of work to go through and the ever coldturkey.jpgpresent laundry pile has grown to epic proportions.

I read over the weekend about a police blog that has hateful homophobic rants from cops on it. I'm not going to give you the link because I don't think it should get a single click.

And people wonder why I don't trust cops as a general rule.

There is also going to be a mass, moonie style wedding of 400 gay couples in DC to get a world record. I know we fight for rights, and part of that means the right to be foolish but geesh. Does anyone think about the frame the right can use on this?

Which brings me to my thought de jour. While I was in DC last week, a friend talked to me about how he stopped- cold turkey- reading blogs and list servs for a month. He said, hey, I like what you write, what a lot of people write, but I felt like I needed perspective on the movement.

I couldn't agree more. Years ago, I was at a conference and a presenter said, Stop watching the TV news. Read a book about a subject. Or at least a magazine. Get away from the soundbites.

I have never watched the TV news again. I don't. I find it hysterical, focused only on the bad, and rarely all that informative. But I do read online newspapers, and blogs all the time.

What would it be like to take a break of that size? How would I feel at the end about the LGBT movement? It's an interesting question. Part of me loves research, digging in where a blog post or a list serv email brings me. How many police blogs are there? How often are they homophobic? Is this a rare instance, or an example of a deep rooted problem?

I get curious and I have to say, I like knowing the answers.

But what if I stopped? What if I took time to read some books on the movement, it's history, or evaluations of the current political environment and put down the instant gratification blogs and online news brings?

When I dropped everyday news coverage, I know it made me a more critical thinker. I became more keenly aware of how that coverage is used to manipulate. In fact, I became quite good at creating those frames myself.

On the other hand, we are in a time when little steps are being taken every day. The President has nominated out lesbian Laura Duffy to serve as U.S. Attorney, the chief federal prosecutor, for the Southern District of California -- the district that encompasses San Diego and surrounding areas. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of plans to establish the first national resource center to assist communities across the country in their efforts to provide services and support to older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

I don't want to miss it. I don't want anyone to miss it.

So while I'm really not going to "brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack," because that's simply nasty and I have to unload the dishwasher, go to the grocery store, I'm going to spend some time today thinking about what it would be like to go cold turkey for a month.

Maybe then I would wake up feelin' like P Diddy.

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Perspective is critical.

I read a lot of blogs. About 110 overall, checking in with them at various times during the week.

Only about 12 of them have anything to do with LGBT stuff. Less than 20 are "news/political" or "entertainment". There are about 20 trans blogs, which are inclusive of the 12 mentioned earlier.

Most of them are just people living their lives, and they don't talk about this stuff. They talk about kids and jobs and advertising and charity and all manner of things that interest me in the sense that they enable me to have that perspective.

And when I don't get that perspective, I lose sight of the *why* and just end up thinking of the *how* and the why always matters more than the how.

I blog, but I would never use it as a legitimate news source. It's a way to feel the pulse of interest groups, and to be introduced to something you haven't happened to think of before. Going without reading blogs is probably a way to lead a simpler, less hectic life. I am a firm believer that the merits of reading a book beneath a tree vastly outweighs those of surfing through hundreds of blogs. If you find a few that truly enrich your life, keep them. Don't worry about the rest.

I usually pick one day a week and check out- it'll most likely all be there after 24 hours anyway....

I like reading you, too.

I love blogs. I read some all the time. But I do think it throws my sense of the movement out of whack.

because to be a good blog, you need to get attention.

Instead of There is a stove in the kitchen, it's

OH MY GOD, a STOVE, often used to create extreme levels of heat, was found standing alone, without supervision, in the kitchen.

You know what I mean?

I LOVE THAT! (ironic- but I do)
My blog's a bit more low-key. Keeps the riffraff out...

I have no problem with you going cold turkey and giving up blogs for Lent.

But if you stop WRITING, that's where we'll have a throw down. :)

I have a separate folder in my RSS reader called "Favorites." The rest of the folders build up hundreds of posts, but that one stays pretty damn empty since I actually read every single post.

You, my love, are the 3rd blog listed in that group. I find myself disappointed when you don't post for a couple of days. You are a VERY important voice in our community - not for your wonderful insights into the movement really, but because you tell compelling and interesting stories about life in general.

Chitown Kev | March 2, 2010 5:22 PM

I read all of the "major" LGBT blogs and a couple of news blogs.

I considered going cold turkey on the blogs for a month or so; in fact, I may still do it but I do find that I can get so immersed in blogs that I lose sight of perspective or, in other words, many things that are going on outside the blogosphere. So...I may just do that month without the blogs.

A. J. Lopp | March 3, 2010 1:05 PM

Blogs are my reasurance that, just in case I wake up one morning and find that I have been amputated at the neck and my isolated head is on a heart-lung perfusion machine, I can still go forward and have a complete, fulfilling social life. All I'll have to do is learn how to move the mouse with my tongue, not difficult since I already use an IBM-style trackpoint.