There was a time when checking in on my own blog filled me with trepidation. I got a pit in my stomach. A small handful of Hamptoloonies checked in bi-weekly or more to pronounce me stupid, cruel, careless, evil, in need of the salvation of Jesus Christ, ugly, fat, a horrible mother, and destined to be left by my husband. Why was I the recipient of so much ire? Because I dared to say I don’t like Kelle Hampton’s blog. And I made fun of it on mine.
Now, Hamptoloonies and others might say, “Well, you were mean to her. You dish it out but you can’t take it?” I can see where you’re coming from there, but what I have NEVER done is write mean things about Ms. Hampton or her husband or her children on her blog. I have said in my blog that I do not like hers.
Many have written to me that they do not agree with my assessment of her blog. That they do NOT think she is wealthy. They assume that it is much more likely that she got her over two hundred-dollar high chair cheap on Craig’s List than that she paid full price for it because she can afford it. Or that all her kids’ fancy clothes are bought on consignment. Or that her house in Naples, Florida really isn’t THAT nice. But they don’t call me a bitch or a “fat, nasty piece of filth.” Those are not the loonies; they are just the people who like the Hampton blog, and we can agree to disagree.
Hamptoloonies are not just the people who write to me and tell me that I am a pathetic, sad, evil shrew and that they are praying awful things happen to me and my family so that I can open my heart to Hampton’s bliss. They also write things on her blog that make me shudder. They tell her how they can’t get through their days without looking at photographs of her and her children. They declare her the most brilliant writer they have ever read. One even said that she printed a picture of Hampton’s children, put it in a frame at work and told people they were hers. What other word can be used to describe this kind of fanaticism except “looney”?
Recently I discussed with Odie closing the comments option on my blog. Even though I have written over a hundred blog posts with less than ten mentioning Saint Kelle, the posts that do lampoon her fantasy world get read most often and commented on almost daily. There are things in my life right now that I have wanted to process in my writing. Grief and trials that we are going through. I have held back, though, because I have felt afraid of the deluge of gleeful, “Yay, you’re suffering! Our prayers have been answered, you bitch!” comments that would flow forth from the Hamptoloonies.
My biggest frustration is being misunderstood. It’s like the people who read what I have written are not understanding the words. My criticisms of the blog are easy to summarize: I don’t like her style of writing. It fluctuates between an eleventh grader’s text messages (dude) and the self-conscious, overly constructed prose of someone trying to sound like Emerson. Another of my criticisms is coincidentally one I’ve always had of Emerson as well. It sure is easy to talk about choosing an attitude of “Everything is beautiful and the world is my oyster!” when you lead a privileged life. I think she takes a lot of pictures of herself. She seems to need tons of approval. And I think she wears WAY too much make-up.
Finally, I think her blog is fake. It’s like an airbrushed magazine cover. No one really looks like those women on the covers, not even the women themselves! One flips through the glossy pages of magazines looking at the perfect poreless skin and the sleek, size zero bodies, reading articles about all the crafts these perfect women do and how much FUN they have with their children. One can end up feeling like, “If only I buy that hat for my daughter or visit that island or wear that shade of lipstick, maybe I can be happy like that too.” Which is exactly what they’re SELLING. It’s all an elaborate advertisement to make you feel “less than” so that you will buy stuff. I see right through it, and am amazed that other people don’t. They are so convinced that this fantasy world is real, they strike out in terrible anger at someone like me who points to the cracks in the facade. How dare I pull back that curtain!
One particularly persistent commenter wanted to know why I was “picking on” Hampton and why I didn’t “hate on” other mommy bloggers (can we please retire that expression and it’s antonym “love on”?). She wanted to know if it was because she had a baby with Down Syndrome. No. It isn’t. In fact, I am glad that Hamptom seems to have opened many people’s eyes to children with Down Syndrome. This is an issue that is close to my heart, and even before Nella was born, I had read some heart-breaking statistic about how 90% of women pregnant with this kind of child abort. I am pro-choice, but I do not like abortion. I certainly do not think that Down Syndrome is a condition that should render someone unworthy of life. I myself am a pregnant woman who will give birth at the age of 39. I have been given a 1:53 chance of having a child with this condition. I am having an amnio this week, and I am having a baby in July, regardless of the outcome of the test. So, no, I am not “picking on” this blogger because she has a daughter with Down Syndrome. Someone sent me a link to her blog. I became a reader. I, too, have a blog, so I wrote about what I thought. I decided I don’t like it, so I don’t read it anymore.
Several of my commenters as well as people on other blogs (it ain’t just me, folks) have criticised her for not being more of a spokesperson/advocate for Down Syndrome. Here, I have to disagree. I don’t think that having a baby with DS obligates anyone to pick up a flag and march in a parade, or raise awareness, or even money. It certainly puts her in a wonderful position to do so, and I hear that she has, and I don’t care either way. Clearly her passions are home decor, clothing, make-up, photographing her family, and throwing parties. I care about none of these things, and so I don’t like her blog. It’s as simple as that.
And to answer some of you, why haven’t I printed the comments so you can see them? I’ve thought about it. At times, I have wanted to show everyone just how hateful and vile these people can be. I am particularly haunted by the person who says she (or he) prays for bad things to happen to me. Doesn’t that go against everything prayer is supposed to be? Or the person who bullies me incessantly with his (or her) insistence that I am a bully. Oh, the irony of THAT. But I don’t post them because I don’t want to fan the flame. I don’t want my comments section to turn into a debate between my defenders and critics, nor do I want my blog to be about her! I stopped writing about her ages ago, until now. And finally, these angry people are really looking for attention, and I don’t want to reinforce the behavior. I learned that from raising a toddler.