I’ve shared as of late my likes and dislikes when it comes to the Denver live music and dining scene. I’ve lamented about having been called a cougar by cocksucking “journalists” over at the Denver Post. However, it seems I have a talent for something: pissing people off. But I also seem to keep all of you coming back for more in the process…curious behavior, my little blog lemmings.
As one of my Tweeps mentioned yesterday: “If @RedheadWriting tweets and there’s no one there to read it, are people still pissed off?”
Touché, mon ami. Touché.
So today, I’m going to teach you how to speak your mind, damn the consequences, and start a little online collection of literary fireballs all your own. And I won’t sell this to you for $199. NO! Not even $49.95.
I’m giving you this advice (are you sitting down?) for FREE! Yes, that’s right. It’s completely free. And if you don’t believe me, you might want to check out I Left My Salvation in Little Johnny’s Pants (also free). You, too, can be an incendiary blogger by following a few simple steps. Learn how to piss of your neighbors, alienate your coworkers, offend religious zealots and pick off humorless drones with a verbal BB gun. I can hardly contain myself…so let’s get started, shall we?
Tips for Becoming an Incendiary Blogger
- Topic selection is KEY. If you’re going to be a blogger who stirs-up controversy, you aren’t going to get there by talking about pretty flowers or baby smiles. Fuck that. You can be a helluva lot more creative. If you take those pretty flowers and shove them up the ass of the boyfriend who gave them to you as an apology for spending your family savings on blow and poker while in Vegas or attach that smiling baby to a woman so obese that she could don a tan and red shirt and be mistaken for a Southwest flight…you’re on the right track. They key to incendiary blogging is choosing a topic in which you’re emotionally invested – if only for as long as it takes to write the blog. Passion shines through. Just look at the entire Swift Boat movement that killed the Kerry campaign back in 2004. Full of shit? INDEED! Timely? Hell yes. Did they disappear after the election? Like KKK knights at a NAACP rally. As well, topics must have clearly defined sides and room for debate. Screw the grey areas (grey looks like hell on everyone, including blogs). Your readers must be able to agree, disagree, or be the raving, self-indulgent pricks who want to explore those grey areas by posting responses that merit being blog entries themselves. The subjects of your blog must also be specific. Avoid thems and theys and you peoples. Incendiary blogging (and purposeful writing in general) grabs someone by the balls and holds them accountable for a position, opinion, or action.
TAKEAWAYS FOR TOPIC SELECTION: be passionate about your subject, avoid generalities, and pick a side. You’re not here to make friends – you’re here to put forth your opinion.
- You’re not here to make friends. Blogging, and especially for those who choose to incite debate, isn’t about writing to please the masses. It’s about stating your viewpoint. There’s nothing I hate more than the friend who always agrees with me. For fuck sake – I’m not always right. Challenge me, dammit! If I wanted a pet parrot, I’d have gone to the damn pet store and bought one. The biggest mistake I see with beginning bloggers is that they’re afraid to piss anyone off. Guess what? You don’t live OR BLOG in Disneyland. This ain’t Andalusia and there’s no bevy of magical animals that’s going to make everything alright and everyone love you at the end of each blog entry. Get that out of your head right now. It’s awesome when people get pissed at what you write! It means you evoked a response. If people come to your blog and leave without feeling inspired to cut off your balls or cast a bronze statue in your likeness, you’ve done a mediocre job of presenting your case. If you choose your topics wisely and abandon the fear that not everyone is going to like what you write, I’m sure-shit bettin’ that you’re going to be a lot closer to conveying a powerful message than one that leaves me wishing I had spent 5 minutes diddling myself instead of reading your blog.
TAKEAWAYS FOR “NO FRIENDS:” It’s not high school and there’s no popularity contest. When you’re passionnate about a subject, your audience will identify itself. Your fans will chime-in with agreement and praise and your enemies will leave you thankful for “comments held for moderation.”
- Always hold comments for moderation. Since you’re choosing topics that inspire you to call it as you see it and are no longer worried about offending people with your thoughts, it’s time to deal with the comments. The lifeline of a blog and the source of much of my personal joy as a blogger, you’re going to get the fortifying words of praise accompanied by those vehemently opposed to the fact you walk the same planet. And then there’s the occasional comment that must be deleted through moderation because an ex-boyfriend finds your blog and writes some falsehood about how if you gave better head, he wouldn’t have slept with three of your best friends. That’s complete bullshit BTW, but it stands as a good example as to the douchebaggery you have to deal with when it comes to people who disagree with you yet are incapable of crafting an intelligent (or intelligible) retort. My advice? Establish a comments policy. My personal comment policies for all my blogs is REAL email addresses, no personal attacks, and no gratuitous/spammy comments left just for links. To up the “incendiary” factor, I’ve also been known to let comments that were especially inflammatory or opposed to my opinions “stew.” That is, held for moderation for up to a day or two, just to peeve the comment author. It makes me giggle a bit inside. Take note, however: you shouldn’t just publish the comments of those who want to build you a parade float for your intellectually superior thoughts. Keep your blog open to discussion and differences. Hell, I’ve had comment threads that became more interesting than whatever I was writing about.
TAKEAWAYS FOR COMMENTS: As the lifeline of your blog, treat them with reverence. Welcome the thoughts of those that agree and disagree alike, but have no qualms about squelching non-topical douchebaggery behind the scenes. It’s your blog and you’re entitled to keep it under control through holding all comments for moderation. Comments sections should be harbors for dialogue, not the last bastion for assholes to spew their bloated and ill-substantiated fuckery. As a blogger, you say what you mean and mean what you say, but it doesn’t give others permission to be mean – especially on your forum.
- Being mean – it’s not funny. Be surprising – that’s funny. Malice. It’s a short word with a flat bed truckload of weight to it. It implies an evil intent and a desire to harm. When you set out to be an incendiary blogger, you can easily take the low-hanging balls and kick them. It’s called being mean. Assholes are mean and there are a lot of asshole bloggers out there. Contrarily, you can take the more evolved approach and attack a person for their actions and inconceivable philosophies without attacking the person. Every person who stumbles upon your blog has a family. Someone they love. Maybe even a dog that shits in the neighbor’s yard. Don’t kick someone’s puppy. Rather, use the puppy to your advantage. Explain how the person’s ill-conceived and misshapen notions of right and wrong are the only plausible excuse for their dog’s behavior. Everyone knows puppies are sweet. Just like children. Ill-behaved puppies and children are the result of bad parenting. Address the parenting problem, not the fact that the parent is a raving prickmonster or the neighborhood whore. It doesn’t matter how true the prickmonstery or whoring may be — what matters is you’ve created a argument based on intellect instead of one that degenerates into one big “yer mama” joke in the parking lot after school.
TAKEAWAYS FOR FUNNY: Humor stems from truth and there’s no greater truth than being a blogger who can craft a coherent and smart argument directed at the object of your praise/disdain. Keep the schoolyard crap back in third grade where it belongs. No one stole your crayons. Shit, no one even wants your crayons. So don’t revert to “dick mode.” Open your mouth, find your voice, and when it comes to your blog, keep the “dick” out of your mouth.
- Find your voice and don’t apologize. I’ve never apologized for my affinity for the word fuck (or “linoleum” — I LOVE that word!) or my rampant use of colorful language. Why? Because it’s ME and frankly, I could give 3.5 frog’s fine ass hairs about what people think of ME. If you’re going to blog and have any success with it (incendiary or not) you need to have enough confidence in who you are to know when to use the phrase, “Go fuck yourself.” There are people who think I’m a potty mouth (which I am), that I’m evil (which I am not) and that I hate children (couldn’t be less true). I haven’t the time nor the inclination to care. I have a way of saying things that keeps people coming back because I write about topics that excite me and thus, they’re excited to read them. I understand that the people who like my shit will find me, tell their friends and keep coming back. I accept that not everyone will want to hug me for what I think and feel and am inspired by the challenge of good debate. I actually look forward to the moronic, non-topical personal attacks that line my comment moderation inbox each week, as they’re sometimes more fun than four hours with an old school Qbert machine. And I never kick people’s puppies — but I sure shit have no problem strategizing how to kick those who do kick puppies. I may be pointed, but I’m never mean. It’s The Redhead. My voice. Does it mean you can’t throw me in the shower, dress me up and take me to a gala? Not in the slightest. It does mean, however, that I’ll have no problem dropping the f-bomb wearing a strapless cocktail dress and some Charles David strappy sandals should proper occasion present.
TAKEAWAYS FOR YOUR UNAPOLOGETIC VOICE: Go back up to the number 5 above and re-read until blue in the face.
Here endeth the lesson (in my best Highlander/Sean Connery voice). Now go forth with confidence, wielding your shiny new toolbox of incendiary blogging techniques. And know that I’ve duped you — as everything I’ve said above applies to solid blogging techniques, whether you wish to be one who sparks controversy or not. Gotcha, motherfuckers…