Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sometimes the word 'Drama' is an overdramatization

I could never speak of this again, but that would be a personal compromise. There was too much backstory left unsaid with my rush to be so cutting edge and post video twenty minutes after shooting it. I usually spend more than zero minutes reassessing my words, having to live in the present is so much work that writing in the present would probably have me crushed under a metaphoric time-clock. So that last post about Blogher was a challenge for the virgo in me to post without review. I also did it because I felt so jaw-droppingly blown away by the scene which unfolded and the buzz of inaccurate gossip that seemed to follow.
And to those of you who think I am writing/publishing this to perpetuate the 'unfortunate drama', I say to you this: It is unfortunate that an opinion is called 'drama'. The fact that it is being called 'drama', I find amusing.

Backstory: Night before keynote closing speech at Blogher '08, Jenny approached Heather at a party and apologized if her post had offended Heather in any way. It was apparently brushed off, not with an 'it's okay', but with an understanding of an apology offered.
Jenny apologized to Heather for comparing her to a mythical creature, like a Hobbit or Santa Claus, and she apologized. I still don't understand the offense in Jenny's analogy to the elusive dooce, but it was nice of her to offer an apology for this slight remark to someone who has called her own nephews devil monsters, and accused the mormon church of being full of pedophiles.
At the closing keynote, Heather was asked (by the interviewer) about receiving hate mail. She mentioned that she occasionally posts some of it so that people can see what she has been through. Someone was so angry with her for 'exposing' her daughter's life that she said she wished she could throw hydrochloric acid on Heather, to expose her to the world. Pretty damn harsh. She also mentioned she has received doggy death threats. Then she mentioned that someone, someone who was perhaps even in this room, had written a post in which she was compared to a mythical hobbit.
Right after the death threats. Hobbit. Really.
Well, that someone was in the room, and she caught the context herself and wasn't particularly thrilled about her company.
Someone asked me to translate the video, so here is the closest approximation:

[before camera was turned on:] "yeah I said you were like an imaginary hobbit, but I said you were like a fuckin awesome imaginary

[camera on]hobbit!
I also said you were like jesus and santa claus...
and I bought your fuckin book!!
...and then we went to the party together and I was like... I apologized
and I... I really love you
and you said that thing..
and then everybody at the party was like
you fucking said that??
and I was like
NO!! and then half the people were like
IT WAS GOOD ...and I was all
I'm not sure what I WROTE!
...and I might have been drunk...
but I am now..
and I
but I didn't think hobbit was bad!"

Heather responded with a very uncomfortable look. And nothing more. End.

I wasn't expecting to video anything, but grabbed my camera when I saw that Jenny wasn't going to slink away as I would have done, had that person called me out to humiliate me in that crowd.
Oh yes - another interesting thing happened at our table, versions of which I later heard, which I thought worthy of the Onion.
Perhaps 8-10 minutes after the awkward exchange, a woman of incredible patience, objectivity, and compassion stood up at our table and asked for the mic. She mentioned that there felt like a lot of tension in the room, and did Heather wish to respond? Heather asked if 'That Person' was still in the room, and a number of people replied that no, Jenny was not.
Heather responded to Tricia (with the mic) that she would not respond if 'The Person' was no longer in the room. Here, she was applauded for her ethics.

After the keynote closing, Jenny was taken to a private suite in which Heather was signing her book. Jenny again apologized, but was again not 'absolved', and was told that she hurt her feelings and then ignored. (umm...hello? ethics committee on break?) **see edit below**

Later that evening I heard so many arguments about the 'drama'. For the record, I also heard a good many conversations about the fabulous panels and all-around Blogher experience.
But most of the snippets I overheard (and then broke up or started fights about) were of the 'can you believe she stood up in a room of 800 people and shrieked at Heather all drunk like that?!' variety. Hey - not drunk. Seriously. I happen to know. And why shouldn't she stand up after being lumped in with death threats? Was that not expected by the accusor?
My other favorite snarkfest was the one that claimed 'that beyotch - meow - who stood up and stirred up the shit by asking Heather talk about it more after the dust had settled!!'
OMG that was the funniest thing of all, because guess what? SHE WAS MY ROOMMATE and they could not have been more wrong. Ever.
All weekend I would come steaming into the room talking excitedly about the fun awesome people I met or re-connected with, and then spewing about the bitch snubbers and rib-elbowers (yes, it happens) I had had contact with. And Tricia, without fail, would have another take on it. (Okay, maybe not the time someone handed my card back to me, because that was the ultimate and obvious snub, but every other situation without fail).
See, she is, by nature, compassionate, objective, and lovely.
I am, by contrast, cynical, insecure, and pissy.
So when she asked Heather to respond to Jenny, it was because she saw Jenny in pain, as I did. But she also saw what she believed to be emotional pain in Heather's expression, and that's why she asked her to respond. Not because she was trying to stir up any shit, or even because she felt sorry for Jenny. Just because clearing the air is what a mother of eight children does best; and because who the fuck has time for any more dramantics when you are the mother of eight children?

So (::sigh:: ::phew::) that is it about that.

And now on to the rest of Blogher and the pics of ass pinchers and party queens.

**EDITED: *THAT PART DID NOT HAPPEN - Apparently there was NO book signing AT ALL and NO private suite. There was a lobby in which an apology was delivered and then kind of, somewhat accepted. There was a misunderstanding in which Heather thought Jenny was drunk (because Jenny said she was drunk) and reasonably did not want to respond to someone who was all drunky. But Jenny was actually not drunk, she just likes to say she is drunk when she is uncomfortable and rambly and afraid she said the wrong thing. There was some other stuff but I wasn't there for that so I will shut up now and not step any deeper into this pile.


Tracey said...

Bless you for your bravery in standing up for a friend. We all need more friends like you.

I wasn't present for the drama, but have heard enough to know I'm glad I wasn't present for the drama. :)

I do know that Jenny has a big heart. I wish her peace.

Zip n Tizzy said...

yes, Thank you for putting some clarity on the situation, because while I was in the room, it got muddled... probably why all the divisiveness, huh?

Thank you for the T-shirt Sat. night. It was a great help and I plan to keep on wearing it!

I can't find my blog said...

Thanks for your perspective.

I'm glad that I'm just a noobee and not involved. Although, commenting on this could put me on the fringes. It's cool, no one reads me anyway.

Using your lighter as we speak!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not a blogger, just a big fan of yours. I read the original post out of pure curiousity and thought the hobbit/Jesus/Santa Claus thing was a compliment. I totally got the compliment thing. I think that people certainly have their own issues and project those issues onto other people. Maybe that is what happened to Heather. Maybe she got caught up in her own issues....

I'll just sit back and continue to enjoy your blog now.

Welcome home.

Rebecca F.

Stimey said...

This is a great post. I'm a big Jenny fan. It's gotta be tough to be called out that way and then get slammed for responding.

Anonymous said...

Being called a mythical creature is almost a compliment. It's not like Jenny called dooce a house-elf (ala Harry Potter) or a centaur or said she smelled funny. I admire Jenny for apologizing but I do not think there was any reason for her to offer any apologies. Dooce was just mean.

I often think of Gwendomama as a mythical princess momma that loves in a forest full of fairies and butterflies and microbrews and yummy cheeses... I wonder if she exists! But that is only because she is awesome, not because I don't like her.

I have to say though, the pic posted of Heather's emotional discomfort actually just looks like she is constipated.

furiousBall said...

if i could meet dooce, i'd show her what a bad ass hand farter i am and i'd do my unstoppable rendition of Prince's Let's Go Crazy

Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time.... toooooooooooot

Lunasea said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah...but let's get to the real drama! Was someone trying to impersonate me or maybe was their name Boonacee and had a big bubble in front of their face and you thought it was me? Let's refocus on me, please. ;)

Me me me me me me me me.

Anonymous said...

the ads on the left cover up some of your content, fyi. At least on my browser...

Anonymous said...

Well gosh. This explains it all.

Kevin McKeever said...

Either dooce can't take a joke/complement or this was just a big set up. Either way, Jen did no wrong.

And I thought my blog's take on BlogHer '08 was going get me in trouble. Oops, still might, based on your post.

Denise said...

Wow so much drama. Not for me.

CecilyK said...

OMG, I wasn't the one who handed back your card was I? Cause I totally really did already have it. I swear. Tori is sucking on the lollipop right now. I swear. :)

This is the best summation of the issue I've seen. I've linked to it, and I thank you for changing my opinion. About everyone. And your roommate? Is AWESOME. She totally made sure that I had water at the Macy's party.

gwendomama said...

LUNASEA (aka c--leen)

YES she had a tag on that said LUNASEA and was all 'umm...what?' when i said HAI ITS GWENDOMAMAM DUDE LIKE ME IN THE FLESH and you/she were/was all 'oh huh? right. you. whatever. you boring in person woman.'
and i was all 'you are one suckfest in person you big poseur' and then she tripped me and i got up and suckerpunched her. i CANNOT BELIEVE y'all didn't hear bout THAT dramafest which made jenny and heather look like sistahs.
most or some of that story is true.
email me and then i can email you in person. or did i already? did you get the party invite? i am giving you another chance in person.

becky s said...

I didn't realize Tricia was the one who asked that. I met her at the Macy's party and thought she was absolutely fabulous. Talked to her for quite a while and she was wonderful.

Becky (misspriss)

Debbie said...

this is exactly how it went down, and thank you very much, on Jenny's blessed behalf, for taking your ovaries in hand and writing the truth.

you fucking rule.

Swistle said...

It is so, so lovely to read anecdotes like this. They keep everyone else's "hey-yeah it was like that superest sisterhood of all time!!!" anecdotes from seeming fake and syrupy.

pam said...

Wow, seems maybe the fame has perhaps inflated Heather's ego way too much. I read Jenny's original post and I just thought it was funny.

Maybe Dooce's 15 minutes are just over!

Tricia said...

I think we need to be careful about making judgments about Heathers response- and yes, I know this has gone on long. enough. already.

There was a misunderstanding between two women with a very large audience.

Let's hope they are both at peace with how things stand now.

Anonymous said...

oh, good. now i don't have to write about the experience, because you just said everything i would have.

The other me said...

The very IDEA of blogher makes me sweat, thousands of women, who all do the same thing and really want to be the BEST and the FUNNIEST and the most important, all in one place, with alcohol and egos? I cannot imagine a more horrible place to be! I can't see a thing wrong with the Hobbit thing, it is plain to see that it was a compliment.
Good for you for telling the whole story and supporting your friend.
Yours is not the only blog that is not painting blogher as a happy floaty we are all best friends type of place.
I shudder again at the very idea of going to such an event!

TheHMC said...

Is it wrong that I'm completely entertained by this? Strangely enough, I'm enjoying the drama from my seat. It's always soooo much better when you're not involved yourself.

Chick drama can be awesome when you're not in the center of it.

Nice blog, by the way. I shall return.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, truly, for telling this side of the story. I'll admit as somebody with no understanding of the backstory, I was uncomfortable when Tricia (whom I don't think I met during the conference--I didn't know who she was until now) got up to ask Dooce to address the question. I hadn't read the original post and didn't know that Jenny had already spoken to Heather about it, and to an uniformed bystander, it felt as though she was just "keeping the drama going". Later, I read Jenny's words in context and thought "...huh. That's it?" I was really surprised that Dooce had chosen to call Jenny out publicly over something so frankly UNOFFENSIVE. And I do think she deserved to be challenged on it. Unfortunately, many people in the room, like myself, were not aware of the backstory and really had no idea until later how screwy it was that Heather/Dooce did that in the first place--so good for you for shining some light on it. I do tend to roll my eyes at drama, but in this case, I think I was directing my eye-roll toward the wrong person.

gwendomama said...


thank you for your comment.. you just embodied exactly why i left the post up.

i am not trying to higlight the drama. i just felt that too many people were looking at it one-sided because they only HAD one side.

Anonymous said...

This happens every time I go to Blogher. So...uh...twice! What a record! I have an amazing time and just love everybody and blogging and want to pinch the Internet's ass.

And then I belatedly learn about some crazy bit of crazy that I completely missed that just makes me sad and colors the whole experience with yuck.

I met Jenny at the Macy's party post-keynote for the first time and am SO GLAD I didn't know about any of this, so I could focus on making a fangirl ass out of myself instead of trying to be all motherly and "are you OK? oh my GOD" which I know would have just made it worse.

"T-Bone" Lee said...

Wow. Somehow just came across your blog and loved that I even had some idea of who you were talking about (as I occasionally read Dooce) and can't believe how much Blogher now strikes me as a high school cafeteria. I thought it would be a fun thing to one day maybe possibly go to if I ever get to that level, but now it seems like too much work! eek!

I also really can't see how after receiving death threats on your DOGGIES!! that someone calling you a hobbit would bother her so much. Hobbits are cute! With their hairy feet.

Anonymous said...

Just a question: on average, how many hours a day do you spend at the computer?


chris said...

I would rather take my ear off with a cheese grater than read Dooce (oh look, she's so naughty, she's talking about poop again!)and honestly, I read the Bloggess' post and all I thought was "another blogger, sucking up to Dooce." She certainly wasn't trying to be rude.

Suburban Turmoil said...

This all seems like a tempest in a teapot to me. I mean, seriously, can't we gossip instead about how much Macy's merchandise was ruined by spilled food/ alcohol during the cocktail party? That's what I wanna know!

It was a pleasure meeting you and I loved our late night chat on Saturday. Oh the stories you can tell....

gwendomama said...

tempest...teapot....lies...backstabbers...mean girls...

man what a pile i stepped in here.

i almost ruined a pair of $180 pink pumps with my wine and my huge bag o shwag.

how bout you?

and ps....SHHHHH...on THOSE stories. and YKWIM.

carolinagirl79 said...

You? Rock the house.

Her Bad Mother said...

*madly applauding*

(And? I met Tricia. She held my baby. She was so obviously a gentle, loving soul. I WILL HEAR NO TRICIA BASHING. NONE. Or I will cut those bitches.)

(You rock.)

becky s said...

speaking of macy's, i had to move a broken lamp to sit down on a chair. um, yeah. it was just lying there on its side, base broken. it made me wonder how much stuff had been ruined by food drink. that macy's staff is BRAVE.

Mandy said...

I found your post through HBM's link. Glad to have stumbled upon it.

Re Tricia, I'm glad you wrote this, because it seemed to me like she was trying to stir things up. I'm glad to know it wasn't true.

In my personal opinion, I thought Heather showed herself to be hurt but used it to be small and petty, while Jen, also hurt, was not.

Either way, I guess I'm glad I live on the fringes of the blogworld.

Anonymous said...

Dooce needs to let it go already. Interesting to read she has not mentioned the incident. Far too BUSY!!

Jen apologized already. Dooce was less than sympathetic and probably hates that her less than civilized behavior has been broadcast near and far.

Jen did nothing wrong, just idolized another peer; apparently far too much.

Jon Armstrong said...

Heather didn't do a signing at BlogHer. And Heather certainly didn't speak to Jenny in a private suite.

They did speak in public, in the lobby of the hotel. It was entirely civil.

Interesting to read your take on things that did not happen.