Posts Tagged ‘ internet ’

Would You Call Another Baby Ugly?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

I was an ugly baby. At least that’s what my Dad always told me. My mom would say, “Sam, that’s just not true.” But he’d say, “Yes it is. She was red faced and fussy.” This conversation would go on in front of me. But guess what? It was true. At least compared to my brother Kelly who had perfectly rosy cheeks, soft skin, and a sweet temperament.

Fast forward, oh, 40 years, and my slacker brother has a mullet and I’m on TV.  So there. Who went from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan? (And yes Kelly, the mullet needs to go. As do the side stripes. The whole look is obnoxious. Snap.)

Hmmmm, which mullet is real? Oh, right, my loser brother’s one in the middle.

My Dad was never trying to be mean. He was illustrating the ugly duckling analogy.

Thing is, I didn’t grow up in the internet age, so this was just a joke within my family.  Which brings me to the point of this blog. What the f–k is up with the mean comments about Tia Mowry’s baby? The gist of it is she posted pictures of her baby, Cree, online. A bunch of people started writing in about how ugly he was. Shame on all those idiots. And yes, they are complete a-holes.

But isn’t this the conundrum of the internet age? We have amazing information at our fingertips? We get jobs online? We are able to hold Big Business and Government accountable? But we also take the power bestowed on us to hide behind our keyboards and cut others down. We get to feel important and feed our egos and that primal need “to matter”–all at the cost of cruelty.  How sad. Pathetic actually.

At what consequence is this all worth it?

I’ve written before about how we need to check out of our personal technology hell.Our addiction. We are becoming a culture of zombies who scrunch over our phones all day. We ignore our children. We ignore our friends. White and gray matter is shrinking in our brains. But it goes beyond that. A lot of the internet isn’t making us better people. It is making us worse. The Tia story is just one small example of that.

When my editor, Sherry Huang, approached me with this story, she wrote:

What if you’re a cute baby but turn out to be an “ugly” adult?  Or what if the “ugly” baby grows up to be a person with a beautiful soul?  And what does all this say about us judging people – even innocent babies – by their looks?  Babies can’t defend themselves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – the baby is obviously not “ugly” to his parents. Just the sheer joy of bringing one into the world should be enough.

Now I will say, I got a chuckle out of remembering a conversation my mom and I had before she died. We were wondering, if someone has an ugly baby, do they know it? Or is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? And when you meet someone who has an ugly baby do you say, “He’s so cute?” Or do you just stick to, “Congratulations.” Or, “Cute outfit”. Because let’s admit it: there are some funny looking babies out there.

But that is beside the point. I think we all need to examine what our role on the internet is. What voice do we want to put out there? What are our motivations behind it? Greed, Envy, Ego? Kindness, Compassion, Strength? Because this feeding frenzy of negativity is disturbing and disheartening.

Okay, off my soapbox and back to my brother. He is a climber. Not talking social or career. He’s a real, hard-core Alpinist. Goes around the world climbing mountains of rock and ice. He tests gear for Patagonia and blogs for them. He also has a book deal. But for whatever reason, he chooses to look like a deadbeat. Why? I’ll never know. And it doesn’t matter anyway.

He’s the old guy, second from right, creeping out the young kids in the hot tub. Note the side stripes.

P.S. For the record, I got his permission to say all this. And post his pictures. Plus, I’m not doing this anonymously.

 

Hot tub picture courtesy of NYT Magazine.

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Are Modern Parents Guilty of “Oversharenting”?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

I know I overshare on my blog. Hell, I even posted during pregnancy about my ugly vag problem. I’m sure my pious mother-in-law was horrified by that one, though we’ve never discussed it. I keep thinking maybe she didn’t read it. I know my husband only reads posts I flag for him. Otherwise I think he’d be horrified too. He’s a private person. So private in fact that he, get this, doesn’t even have a Facebook page. Yes, you read that correctly. He will occasionally go on mine to surf and post obnoxious comments that I then have to go undo/overexplain to my “friends.”

All this to say that there is a new term. It’s called oversharenting.

I cringed when I read parts of this Wall Street Journal article. As in, “God I hope I’m not oversharenting everything I post.” When it comes to my kids, I’d like to think they won’t be horrified by my blogs in 15 years. I keep telling myself that since everything is so instant, everything is also instantly forgotten, right? But what if it’s not?

Will Fia care that her first boyfriend can find a picture about her first poop? Will Emmett care that the world knows he’s not circumcised? I don’t dare ask my husband this because I think his gut feeling is I reveal too much. He would probably be okay if my blog went away. He’s supportive of my writing—he just doesn’t want our family to have anything to do with it. But I’m a mommy blogger. So what line do I walk? My family is my blog. And it gives me a creative outlet that I cherish.

When it comes to social media like Twitter and Facebook, I’m pretty lame compared to most moms. I have less than 600 twitter followers (please follow me! @jillcordes) and I have a small fan base on Facebook (please like me!). I’m so bad at putting my links up that I have someone helping/teaching me to do it.  As ridiculous as it sounds, somehow this makes me feel like a superior parent in the online world. Well, I may be posting naked pictures of my babies, but at least I don’t live on the computer all day.

Ahh, we humans can justify anything, can’t we?

I have no right or wrong answers for oversharenting. I don’t know if anyone does because we don’t know where the digital age is leading us. Will our kids and grandkids be more open about issues? Will there be less passive aggressive behavior in the world because we call everyone out on everything? (That would help many an in-law relationship, no?) Or will we end up raising robots? Or worse—kids who hate us for all we’ve revealed?

I joke that when Fia and Emmett become tweens, we’ll all move to rural New Zealand and become sheepherders. But something tells me there will be a wireless connection there, too.

Where do we draw the line in dealing with online? Tell me. Help me. Share your thoughts for the world to see.

 

Picture of mom and baby on computer via Shutterstock

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