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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Maria Kang Redux

Guys, I'm so sick of us. Aren't you sick of us? Here we write, day in and day out. Someone writes one thing, another person disagrees with it and writes his or her response, then another, then another ad nauseum.

And if any of us are ever good enough, sometimes we'll get recognized for our polemics, but does it ever do anything. Does it ever help anyone other than our own egos? And I am a huge offender, don't get me wrong. I will respond the shit out of each and every opinionated blog post and movement I come across. Because it's what I do. I see something, it makes me angry, and I have a platform on which I can yell about it. So I do and I will continue to do so. And I also get that awareness is important. I'm a huge proponent of using language precisely and correctly and fighting the little fights as hard as we fight the big ones, for human rights in all forms. In fact, right now, I have a list of about twenty things that happened recently that I have to write up, because God forbid the internet not have my opinion on it.

But gosh, isn't it so tiring, though?

Let's run through the process:
Write a thing.
Write lots more things.
People share some of those things.
Some of the things that were shared get picked up on aggregates.
People write responses to those things picked up.
People write responses to those responses.

Every single point of view is thoroughly explored with lots of feels and capital letters, and very little research. Journalism is dead. It's all feelingism now, and while I love that because it means I don't even have to do much work, I can just vomit emotion all over the page, I also hate it because it's boring, it brings nothing new to the table, it convinces no one, and honestly, it's not even any good.

Take Maria Kang. My favorite.

It was back in the early fall of 2013 that she went viral. And I wrote at the time a pretty popular response to her patent nonsense. There were response pictures, blogs, people defending themselves, people defending Maria, you name it. She got on the news, and on the talk shows, and kicked off facebook and the whole bit. Because even legitimate news organizations no longer understand what news is. It's all about clicks. And she gets clicks, so rock on.

Only now it's March of 2014. And being intelligent, she's done what any person would have done with the attention, and she's marketed. Well, no kidding. How is this news? If I were her, I would be doing the exact same thing. So, okay, she's pretty much a jerk who refuses to see the harmful implications of "What's your Excuse?" Do we really need to hash through all that again? We REALLY need to go over the link between psychological wellbeing and health again? We need to yell at her some more, or defend her some more?

Worst of all, we need people like this lady using the whole thing to piggyback to online mom bullying line, again?

I mean, honestly, since MK's decided to insert herself into the news, I've seen the countless new articles. I've read about her new stuff. It's not new. I'd write a response, but all I have to do is link to my old one. There is nothing new here.

And the only person who stands to make a buck or a name off Maria Kang is Maria Kang. So can everyone just stop trying? I am so bored with it.

You know what I'm not bored with? Action. We need to take all this pent-up angst we use to poop on each other with, and do something with it.

In this particular case, I've turned We Don't Need an Excuse into my thesis. I'm doing research right now to help concretely tie the psychological effects of this campaign to health negatives. Because as I've said before, it isn't about Maria. It is about the messages we send to people. And about the types of people who subscribe to those messages and what it does to them.

I'm not saying we all need to be out on the ground doing volunteer work or whatever. Blogging is great, it's fine, it's good. Let's go at it. You all know I do. I'm just saying, can we get some new material, though? We already had this fight, and I haven't heard one new thing about it. Let's figure out where we go from here, not stomp all over where we've already been.


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