Sunday, December 23, 2007

The "Yes, I Actually Have To Write This Post" Post

Dear People Who Don't Understand That My Most Recent MSNBC.com Article Is, In Fact, a Satire:

Exactly three people have emailed to express their disagreement. I sent each one a reply. Two wrote back immediately to apologize and admit that they'd misunderstood the piece. One copped to reading it too quickly, which interfered with his comprehension. I may yet hear from the third, as I answered him just an hour ago. I am beginning, however, to see a pattern here. UPDATE: I just received an email from my third correspondent, the opening line of which is: "My heartfelt apologies." Huh.

As to the rest, well...

Thank you for your concern about what you assume was an unhappy childhood, not to mention your express wish that I not celebrate Christmas at your house. However, please rest assured that I don't curl into the fetal position in front of my TV while watching "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" because I am so very, very upset over that poor dead roast beast.

What fascinates me about this entire affair is the source of the many kind comments and emails from people who did like the article. (And thanks to those who took the time to send along these much-appreciated words.) They all came from people with traceable addresses or OpenID accounts.

The rest of you were content to take to take time out of your lives two days before Christmas and click away to an anonymous MSNBC.com forum, where you typed very earnestly, sometimes in ALL CAPS, sometimes with expletives, that I really needed to lighten up about life. Some then proceeded to dedicate a great deal of time, a few in several different posts, to announcing that you wished you had the five minutes of you life back that you wasted reading the article.

Allow me to reiterate that at least three different editors had to clear this piece before it was posted. I'll admit the headline--which I didn't write-- might be misleading. I asked the features editor on call to change it to something less ambiguous, such as "No, She Doesn't Actually Sit Up Nights Worried That Yukon Cornelius is Busting Up ANWR." She wrote back that she cannot believe some of the reactions regarding the piece. Another editor, who guided me through the drafting process, is flummoxed as well. I can't speak for the third higher-up, the one who originally approved the concept, but I'm fairly certain she wouldn't OK 1000 words on the hatred and fearmongering to be found in "Frosty The Snowman."

Dave Barry once said that if a reader doesn't get a joke, it's the writer's fault. So maybe it's my lack of clarity, and I over-trusted and under-worded. If it really is me, then I'm honestly sorry that you didn't like the free entertainment section commentary upon which you clicked, and I'll try to do better next time. However, I figured lines like "May God have mercy on their cartoon souls should any of (the Charlie Brown characters) appear on 'Dancing With the Stars,'" would tip most people off that I was demonstrating absurdity with absurdity.

Writing is about community, and in no way do I expect every single person to faint away in transports at every single word I write. I certainly don't view my own writing that respect, and am constantly in need of constructive criticism. But good heavens, please do let us discuss this as rational human beings.

I'm not sure if God has called me to have children just yet, but I'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't type that you hoped that I never have any.

Yes, I did get paid for this article. And many, many others.

I am not part of a mass media agenda to take down the George W. Bush administration.

I'm also pretty sure that my 66-year-old parents, a retired Catholic school teacher and a small business owner, are not hippies.

You may now stop calling me a bitter, angry bitch who hates the baby Jesus.

Have a very blessed Christmas, and a peaceful and happy New Year. And yes, I'm quite serious about that.

UPDATE: Thanks to all for a good discussion. There were a handful comments which I did not post, both against the article and in defense of it, because they violated the no-flaming commenting policy of this site. (In case you missed it, which I understand can happen, it's spelled out at the top of the comment form.) Although I appreciate the sentiment of those of you who wish to defend me, I really don't want any insults flying here in the Tasting Room. It's just not that kind of place.

As I'm sure we all need to get on with our lives and concentrate on the true meaning of the season, I'm locking the comment thread. Scat, now, and make Christmas the verb it is meant to be.

I mean, really at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

23 comments:

WiserlemmingAZ said...

Oh MB, you poor thing! I can't believe that you actually had to write such a detailed explanation for such an obviously satirical piece!
I hope it helps that I was driven to fits of giggles both by the original piece AND by the post that you just wrote. Maybe teaching third grade has given me an over-developed ability to analyze these holiday specials. Whatever the reason, I'm just relieved to know that I'm not the only one who realizes that Blitzen needs to get over himself, or that poor Max must truly be in need of therapy (not to mention medical treatment)after being forced to wear a horn on his little puppy head that must be at least twice his body weight just so the Grinch could try to stop Christmas from coming to Who-ville. I've just never had anyone to share these insights with before.
Don't let the clueless people of the world get you down this holiday season. Anyone who doesn't get your sense of humor ought to at least follow that childhood rule that I enforce on a daily basis. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and keep the observations on life, satirical and otherwise, coming! Thanks for all the smiles, giggles, and most of all, my favorte article ever on the subject of Professor Snape!

kelebek }{ said...

I have read this article. And I have to say I am vaguely familiar with these cartoons. I found it enjoyable because I am familiar with MB's writing style by now. Even if I wasn't it was rather clear it wasn't meant to be taken seriously. It's in the entertainment section!
MB I want to thank you for the many laughters your writing has provided me with for the years I've been writing your blog. You rock! And I truly admire your use of commas.

Eric said...

Great. So you "apologized". All better now, right? Three "editors" had to "clear" it. Wow. That changes everything. I don't think so. You put one non-joke joke about "Dancing with the Stars" in the article and claim you're writing satire. The fact that you're only "fascinated" by the handful or less positive e-mails you got proves all the rest of us right about you. And so many negative e-mails cannot possibly make it an isolated coincidence that people don't get it. "Please do let us discuss as rational human beings", you say? Kind of hard when the writer can't handle being disagreed with. I "get" and enjoy comedy as much as the next person. You didn't write comedy. Finally, don't you DARE invoke the name of Dave Barry in talking about YOUR "writing"

Amy said...

Satire? Okay. But I watch these Christmas specials with much the same ear and grating feeling. Last Christmas my parents got us a collection of the holiday classics. The most egregious of them all: "Cricket on the Hearth" in which Marlo Thomas (?!) voices the helpless charge of the character voice by her own father, Danny Thomas. Here's a woman I know for being a leader of self-empowerment and the movie, in my adult eyes, is practically revolting today.

The great news is we have all grown to who we are because of / in spite of the social engineering of media in the 1960's and 1970's. May our children fare so well from the influence of today's media.

Thank you for your satirical words. It was a joy to read them and feel validated for that inexpressible feeling of "I used to look forward to this?". I still like watching them because of the warm feelings of childhood they evoke. Merry Christmas.

Natalie said...

I apologize for not showing enough love. That article was entertaining and refreshing. Everything you write is. (It's not flattery if it's sincere.)

laura said...

The best satire does not hit the reader/viewer over the head with the obvious (think of the very coolest Saturday Night Live skits...think Jonathon Swift, Mark Twain, etc). Just to note: Those individuals who thought that the piece on Christmas specials was not satire and hence-"did not get it"---Please lighten up and grow a few more neurons when you have a spare moment!
Laura from Kansas

p.s.Please Ms Blonde Champagne--please tell me that you are not a secret communist who uses the flag for kitty litter pan liner and may also be a vegetarian (worse than the communist thing)...I just defended you-and could my upcoming presidential run in jeopardy otherwise. Just checking...

Ophelia said...

What has flabbergasted me is that people generally find the link to the MSNBC articles through this blog, which is usually filled with amazing satirical inferences and witty commentary of life around you.
Do they not expect the same from an article that you write?
Yes, not everything you write is satire but anyone that has read your writings for longer than 30 seconds can usually pick up on the tone of the piece from the first paragraph.
MB - I love your writing, whether I agree with your point or not. Opinions are like you-know-what. Everyone's got one and everyone thinks the other one stinks.
Keep up the good work.
And very merry Christmas to both you and JTP.

Rachel said...

I'm sorry that the internet has decided to be so un-Christmaslike at you. If it helps, it never occurred to me to take it as not-a-joke. Just remember two very important sayings of the season: Merry Christmas, and don't let the ******** get you down. I

shannongmac said...

I have to admit that at 28 years old I watched Frosty the Snowman this year and thought to myself...who's parent allows their 8 year old to be gone for hours on end without calling out the National Guard. How on earth did this child get up to the North Pole (or however far she got on the train) unsupervised.
Then I sat in fear of myself for the next half hour.

MB said...

Dear Eric,

Goodness, such anger! If I couldn't "handle it" when people disagree with me, I certainly wouldn't invite discussion, or email people back when they do, or publish your comment here. I'm sure there are things which you find funny and I do not, or I find funny and you do not. I think that's what helps to make life interesting.

Have a very merry Christmas. I wish nothing but joy to you.

MB said...

Dear Laura from Kansas,

I own no cat and am a first-rate destroyer of steaks. I'm pretty sure that disqualifies me as a Communist. Thanks much for your kind words, and I hope to see you around BlondeChampagne in the new year. Merry Christmas.

mntRosie said...

hi MB
I read your article and left it up on my screen so i could read it to my daughter and husband! OH how we laughed! You are hilarious!
In the name of Donner...Dont hate!
come on folks....we were LOAO!!!

MB...never forget....half the population has an IQ under 103 and well....some folks aint gonna "get it". more than likely they dont understand the meaning of the word "satire" and that doesnt mean it isnt funny.

In the future....i will actually look for your articles after reading this! im grateful to have found your humor.

a VERY Happy Christmas and Blessed New Year to you MB. Peace on Earth many many belly laughs for all.

MB said...

Dear mntrosie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to send along your much-appreciated words. It means a great deal to me that I was able to make you and your family laugh at this hectic time of year. I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2008.

If you'd like to see more of my writing, you are always welcome here at BlondeChampagne. Hope to see you around.

Katie said...

I just read all the comments at MSNBC.com about your article and the majority of them boggled my mind. I enjoyed your article (as always!) and it made me laugh. I hope you have a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful New Year full of many more amusing articles, but hopefully less haters.

Jules said...

MB -

I knew it was satire before I even finished reading the title, and appreciated it as such. :-)

I love your writing. In fact, I wish I could write with a similar sense of rapier wit, and I mean that sincerely.

I hope you and JTP have a blessed "first Christmas" as husband and wife, and as was mentioned above, don't let the you-know-whats get to ya.

hugs!

college gal said...

I <3 your writing, MB!

On the positive side, at least your article had over 1,400 ratings. Which means there were a heck of a lot of readers out there who clicked on over to your article. Congrats :-)

Merry Christmas MB & JTP!

Red Pill Junkie said...

Well, thank God the article wasn't about Disney movies, otherwise there would be an angry mob with pickets and torches right outside your house!

Merry Xmas to all of you guys. Yes, even those who fell into a diabetic comma because they didn't get the satyrical nature of the article.

op_tomlinson said...

You, my dear Mary Beth, are a loon; an engaging and entertaining loon I must admit, but still, a loon. And yet, had I learned, or even had it actually occurred to me that I should learn, how to handle my blankie, as Linus, (most apparently did with much deft) I may haps would have had a happier and I am quite sure, safer childhood … I am quite serious about that.

Here's wishing you, continuing wit and the Merriest of all of your Merry Christmases.

Your humble servant by the grace of the One whose birth we celebrate,
W.A. Tomlinson & family

pyro-pyrate said...

Just goes to show you that truely brilliant writing is lost on the general masses. LOL, I'm sorry you had to deal with such sillyness. Merry Christmas MB!!!
PS - Just bought/read your book, and as a fellow woman's college attendee (from the other Saint Mary's in Indiana) I can only say that it, also, is brilliant!!

Mossback George said...

I read your piece twice. The satire is there. If, however, you feel you need to explain so extensively about your original work, whether it be to three readers or to a thousand, your satirical pen may need to bleed more wit and humor, and less wit and invective.
To a long and successful career.

kelebek }{ said...

ahem, "writing" your blog. Sheesh I wish! I meant "reading" your blog!

MB said...

Dear mossback george,

Thank you for your kind wishes. However, the term "invective" implies violence or abuse, at least where I come from, and I would not place this post in that category. As I mentioned in the post itself-- have a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year.

MB said...

Thanks to all for a good discussion. There were a handful comments which I did not post, both against the article *and* in defense of it, because they violated the no-flaming commenting policy of this site. (In case you missed it, which I understand can happen, it's spelled out at the top of the comment form.) Although I appreciate the sentiment of those of you who wish to defend me, I really don't want any insults flying here in the Tasting Room for any reason. It's just not that kind of place.

As I'm sure we all need to get on with our lives, I'm locking this thread. Scat, now, and make Christmas the verb it is meant to be.

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