Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why the Internet Makes Me Crazy.

You know, some days I just want to smack my computer. Or something. Not someone... because I know that's wrong.

Like the other day, I checked out my Instagram account while I was pedaling my exercise bike. I should probably say here that, while I like social media, managing several different accounts means that it can eat up my day if I let it. So my time on the exercise bike is the time I've set aside to pay attention to my Instagram (and Pinterest and Twitter) account. Anyway, I saw that I had several new followers. Okay, that's good isn't it? But when I checked out my new followers, I was surprised that they had chosen to follow me. Not sure what a shirtless, twenty-something male, for example, would find interesting in my posts. Me... a retired, middle-aged, book addict posting about walks in Algonquin Park, bike rides on the Rideau... or my new skinny jeans. I didn't follow back because, well, I'm not interested in the photos this boy posts. And then the next day I saw that I'd been "unfollowed" by the same four followers I'd gained the day before. Presumably because I didn't follow them back. Ah well... easy come, easy go. But seriously, what were they thinking to begin with? Who has time for this nonsense? I mean, I follow those accounts which interest me, and expect that others will do the same. Sheesh... sometimes the antics on the internet... who follows whom, and how many followers does whomever have ... just make me laugh. Or roll my eyes. Or both.


Rolling my eyes on Paris.
Big eye rolls (and too many chins) in Paris last year. 
And don't get me started on those incredibly silly, hyperbolic, and repetitive headlines on articles I see shared on Facebook. Headlines that go something like ..."So and so did something and when I saw what happened I... cried/ was amazed / was stunned / was blown away"... pick a hyperbolic description of your choice.  Those bug me. Well, any click-bait headline bugs me, actually. They're just ploys to get you to the site so you can mistakenly click on an ad because you can't figure out which of the sixteen arrows on the page is supposed to trigger the next bit of content. Speaking hypothetically, of course. Ha.  

And then there are those days when you see that someone somewhere is saying something incredibly stupid, or unaccountably mean, and putting it out there in the ether. And I want to say... "Really? You just said that?" But I usually don't because I really don't want to prolong a discussion in which brains and restraint are clearly not a requirement. 

Until today. I was reading my Bloglovin' feed, and saw this title: There's a Retiree in My Shopping Cart on the popular blog Man Repeller. I usually like this blog. It has cutting-edge fashion, witty and thoughtful content articles, interesting guest post writers. And the quality of the writing is very good. And even though I know I am definitely NOT in their target demographic, I read it quite frequently. But today, this particular article severely pissed me off.... if you'll excuse my lapse into profanity. In the article the writer pushes her shopping cart through a store, "with the shuffling gait of a grandmother" because in real life she's suffering from "stress-induced disc flare-up." She describes her unaccountable desire to dress like a fictional "retiree" she calls Dorothy. She is drawn to baggy pants and pastels and slippers. She says "I think I want to dress like I'm retired... like I'm up for a card game at any time. Like the only thing on my calendar this week is my granddaughter's soccer game...." And my first thought when I read this was..."Are you kidding me?" 

And so I broke my own rule and I commented. I said I was insulted by the depiction of "retirees" in the article and thought the site was usually more open-minded. Now, I should say that the writer seems like a smart girl and, to her credit, she responded apologetically to my comment, saying she had not meant to offend; she meant to convey that she finds the way her "grandparents and their friends" "quite wisely prioritize comfort" to be "inspiring." Uh, okay. But her image of retirees sitting around in their slippers and pastel baggy pants playing cards still rankles. I wonder... can we call this "age shaming" do you think? Okay, so I'm joking with that last comment. But did this writer and the "MR Team" not think that anyone over 50 might possibly be reading this blog? I guess not. Is this what generation Y or Z or Millennials or whatever thinks will happen when they retire? Sure sounds like it. 


Ah well. Not sure why I'm getting in a snit over the internet this week. It's just that every once in a while I find the whole ultra-slavishly trendy, hyperbolically emotional tone a bit wearing. I mean, who are those people whose comments on blogs or news sites are so ardently adoring or so vitriolic? What are they thinking? Who writes those click bait headlines? Or those over the top fashion blog titles? Can a pair of cutoffs actually be "insanely chic?" Why isn't it sufficient to say they are "chic?" Can we not like a pair of shoes? Must we be "obsessed" with them?  Must so many people jump to so very many conclusions... like the article which so obviously got my dander up? 

Sigh. Sometimes the internet just makes me crazy. And I have to let it out. I feel much better now. 

Writing that line about being in a snit took me back a few years. To the Animated Film Festival we used to run at my old high school. And made me think about this award winning short film The Big Snit from the Canadian National Film Board. A perennial favourite with the kids. We brought it back year after year. It's seriously weird... and brilliant. And only 8 minutes long. Have a look.





So, I'm going to go now. And don my slippers and baggy pants, and get the daiquiris ready for when Dorothy and the "girls" arrive for canasta. What the heck is canasta anyway? 





How about you... my wise and wonderfully sane readers... does the internet make you crazy every now and then?





Linking up with Thursday Favourite Things at Katherine's Corner  and Saturday Share Link-Up at Not Dressed As Lamb

52 comments:

  1. I hear you. I'm always especially appalled when the commenter or poster is someone I know who is usually very intelligent and articulate. It really does make you wonder ...

    I am always highly amused by some of the people who follow me on Instagram. They just *have* to be people who follow everyone, because there is no way in the universe that they have any real interest in my photos. :-)

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    1. I know. I've even blocked a couple of accounts after weird and frankly creepy comments have been made by a follower.

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  2. Agree with you whole heartedly...couldn't have said it better myself! Cheers, Alayne

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  3. Yep, the internet makes me crazy on a regular basis! But I can't seem to stay away. I enjoyed The Big Snit -- thanks!

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    1. You're welcome. The NFB has the best animated films.

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  4. Hear, hear! Of course, over at Man Repeller, young women are simply adding to their list of Dorothy's activities: between canasta dates, she apparently rants, occasionally, at being stereotyped in social media. . . ;-) . . . Despite her apology, I'm not sure we can win this one -- I mean, she might write well, but her powers of observation and her commitment to integrity seem sadly wanting if she can so blithely refer to a grandmother's "shuffling gait" with no self-consciousness that she's ignoring all those of us who are at least as physically active as she is. . . And she's obviously not alone. Here's hoping, though, that she might even get challenged by her peers. I do think there are many, many savvy young women (and men) who are very aware that possibilities for a rich active life continue well beyond, say, their thirties and forties. (although I do remember our generation's mistrust of anyone over 30 -- wow! that was so very long ago!).
    Rant on, sistah! and Happy Weekend to you.

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    1. I wanted to give the writer and the site overall credit where credit was due...with quality etc etc.... but of course you're right. I mean this woman lives in New York (I think) and yet she seems to think that everyone over 65 lives in baggy pants and pastel tees. Does she even look around her, one wonders. Guess I'll be content with ranting...because as you say, its a battle we can't win. But if I were her mother or grandmother....I'd give her a piece of my mind.

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  5. I can not agree with you more. However I have the power. Annoy me and I unsubscribe!!!
    P.S Always enjoy your blog

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    1. Thanks, Linda. That's why I eventually unsubscribed from Vogue.com... just could NOT stand one more Kardashian/Jenner story.

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  6. Yes I agree and as Linda says you can always unsubscribe. I think 50 60 70 can seem ancient until you near or reach those milestones yourself. While there are a lot of stylish older women with wide ranging interests there are many who opt for "comfort clothes" and more "traditional pursuits". Ari Seth Cohen's representation of older women might arguably suggest that older women become a little bonkers and eccentric in their style of dress - the suggestion of a number of my aunt's 70 and 80 year old friends on reading his book. I guess it's about generalisations and stereotypes. Gotta keep your sense of humour and you're good at that because of course the other thing about old people is that they're very grumpy!Keep posting. Cyberspace needs you. Iris

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    1. Good point, Iris. There a lot of middle ground between those wacky, over the top, shots of Iris Apfel (wonderful though she is) and the shuffling pastel clad Dorothy persona in that MR article. And we don't have to be one or the other. Thanks for the compliment:)

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  7. Yes, yes! A thousand times yes!

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  8. Well, you know Sue, without the internet I would never have found your blog, which I enjoy immensely! The humor in your post today give me a big belly laugh--thank you! And isn't at least one good laugh what we need each day? I'm going online now to see if I can find a source for my favorite granny panties.

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    1. Good luck granny panty hunting... I always go for high waisted panties under my skinny jeans:)

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  9. I love your blog but seldom comment... this time I had to: GOOD FOR YOU! I found myself nodding through the whole post.

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    1. Thanks. I actually enjoy the internet most days...hence my blog. But sometimes frustration bubbles over the top and onto my page.

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  10. Agree with you wholeheartedly, Susan. I used to occasionally make a comment, as you did with Man Repeller, but realized it was not worth my (too quickly diminishing) time, or stress. Now I just unsubscribe.

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    1. Yep. I don't want to wade into those free-for-alls on some sites. Too stressful.

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  11. This line made me laugh out loud: "Who has time for this nonsense?" Yes, really, who does?

    Lately I've been unsubscribing left right and center - as a commenter said above, we have the power, so "annoy me and I unsubscribe." And there are many ways to annoy: the blatant "age-shaming" (haha love that term) you describe, the "perfection fallacy" (#Iwokeuplikethis) and also the relentless product pushing and rally to buy buy buy every single day. Who needs to buy new clothes every day? So over the past few weeks I've unfollowed all the Instagram accounts and blogs that rankled me for one reason or another and it feels great!
    I am still following you though. :-) I like it when you call it as you see it.

    And actually, you gave me a great idea for keeping current on fashion trends: one time you said you kept an eye on the outfits shown on Net-A-Porter. I had never thought of doing that! While I still don't like subscribing to anything that is pressuring me to buy, I can filter Net-A-P's emails into a folder to look at at my leisure and ignore the sales pitch.

    So, I've said this here before but once again, thanks for keeping it real.
    --Catbird Farm

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    1. I love the Netaporter e-mails. The ones that just show products on sale I simply delete. It's the editorial ones that I'm interested in... just as good as a fashion mag and much cheaper! And... no Kardashians... ever.

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    2. I just checked out your comment on the MR article. Made me laugh out loud.

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    3. Glad to have given you a chuckle! :-) And guess what, I got a nice apology in response from the young writer. I think she got more than she bargained for when she took on a group she knew nothing about! MR might be reassessing their readership at this point!

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  12. You are absolutely wonderful, Susan! Keep reminding others not to think in terms of, much less reinforce by expressing, stereotypes based on age (or race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.). People who voice these stereotypes often don't realize how damaging, or outright destructive, they can be.

    That said, I must admit how oblivious I was, as a youth, to what aging might actually mean. The idea of being any age over 30 (then 40) was quite literally unimaginable. That continued far too long and was arrested only when my vibrant mother suddenly became ill and died at age 64.

    I think that the best ways to combat stereotyping are (1) to point out, when a stereotype is expressed, how ridiculous and insidious it is, as you did, and (2) to live life in a way that defies or discourages stereotypes to which one might be subject, which you do so very well. And, to keep from going bonkers in our stereotyping world, it is important to follow your lead and maintain a sense of humor (at least internally)!

    Appreciating your bringing this up, Leslie

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    1. P.S. I just "followed" your Instagram account, but not under my own name. (I don't have an IG account
      because, until recently, I did not have a smartphone.). Send me an email, or let me know what your
      email address is, if you want to know which follower I am. Confidentially, Leslie

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    2. Thanks Leslie. Being able to rant and then laugh is my strategy. That and living life as a non-sterotype is the best defense, I think. And then being very open about our age. I see that I have a few new followers on IG but don't know which is yours. You can e-mail me at susanburpee@rogers.com.

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  13. Best not to give my opinion of that blogger . I do wonder how she will cope with her own older years , as it isn't something that only happens to other people . It's for all of us if we are lucky . The broader subject , annoyances of the net , well I suppose there are vacuous folk & marketing ploys everywhere , not just on the net . I don't get involved with much social media , tried Facebook but it's not for me . Pinterest I look at occasionally but Twitter no . I've found a few intelligent bloggers that appeal to me ( like you ) but many of them aren't interesting for very long . I don't want to sound too grumpy as I do appreciate the extra dimension the net brings to my life , with all it's faults ( love your Lucille Ball face )
    Wendy in York

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    1. I've also had to unfollow and unsubscribe to some sites that are not to my taste... to fervent or annoying. As far as social media goes...I like Twitter for following publications that I don't want to subscribe to, such as The Atlantic, Slate, and The Paris Review.. and for other articles shared by some people who have wide ranging interests. But IG is mostly for the blog. And I've started using Pinterest now as a stash for shots that inspire blog posts...so it's linked to the blog as well. I just have to be very careful NOT to spend too much time doing all this. It helps that I don't have an i-phone (I know... shocking!) and have to use my i-pad. But works a treat to keep me pedaling my exercise bike. I remember you commented when I first posted that shot last year that it looked like Lucy. Ha. That made me laugh.

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  14. You've just made my blood boil. I cannot belive the way people put down older women. Clothes are Granny clotes, granny looks, granny this and that. I'm a granny and proud to be one. BTW, I played Canasta when I was around 10 years old. Now I have no idea how to play canasta or Mar Jong. But I will certainly go to MR and make my views known. Wait till these chic, cool, uber chic reach 50, 60 or 70! They think they never will be like we are.

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    1. Yep...time will tell, eh, Sandy? Whether these lovely young things turn into chic 70 year olds, or pastel wearing, slipper clad Dorothys.

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  15. Click bait is the worst! And still, knowing that, sometimes they get me.

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    1. Me too, Sue. Especially when they headline is always a cliff hanger. And then the story turns out to be nothing much at all. I should know better than to click.

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  16. "Mind blowing" : thats the one I hate the most. How many times can i have my mind blown before it is altogether gone? Always a worry for us baggy pants wearing slipper shuffling sorts. (Although for the record, I own nothing in pastel). "Not your Nanas knitting", as a fervent and stylish knitter, I hate that one, too!

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    1. Good point. And I hear that knitting and sewing are supposed to be "cool" again. I remember when I learned to knit in my twenties...one friend accused me of acting like a grandma.

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  17. Well, yes:).

    And I suggest the blog Time Goes By. http://www.timegoesby.net/ Ronni does a true professional job of reporting on "age-shaming," she pulls no punches.

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  18. I haven't read through all the comments here..but as to your first point about the "follower" in IG. Yes, I get those (as well as the girls looking for who-knows-what…) I just go and Block them right away. Always. I don't even want my faithful followers to maybe click on one of them. Ugh.
    The thing is: the internet and blogging has all changed so much.Time was, it was small community and we all, sort of, knew each other. Seems amazing now. But I still have some of my best "friends" from 8-10 years ago when we were all newbies.
    As to being retired. Don't get me started. I am looking at 70 and have never felt or been better! Up and out every day at 7 AM to exercise. So nice to know there are all of you out there!

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    1. I've done the same on IG... blocked a few other accounts. Had a few "creepy" comments. The more we are out there on the net the greater chance to meet a creep or two, I guess. Isn't it great though to "meet" so many like-minded women?

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  19. Absolutely! I agree on every count. And then there are the people who repost ridiculous and bizarre articles without checking to see if there's any truth to them. Where are their brains?

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    1. Oh those reposts on FB drive me crazy. I've had to "unfollow" a number of friends because I became so tired of the many, many reposts every day.

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  20. Hi Susan! Why would you read Man Repeller? I gave up on her awhile ago. I think she is extremely annoying, a bit too "It Girl" for my tastes. I am not surprised she wrote what you described. BTW, I think she is a millennial, Gen Xers are my age, in their mid to late 40s. I would NEVER write something so offensive and ageist. Hope all is well with you. xx

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    1. I read MR a year or so ago for the first time and found it a bit too strident...and too cutsey all at the same time. Then a few months ago I read an article (a guest post) and found it interesting. So I subscribed on Bloglovin' where I can easily read only the articles I choose. But even with that filter I find I'm tiring of it. Sorry to put you in the same category... I can't keep all those terms straight (Gen X etc)... must do my research better next time:(

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  21. Great post, Susan. All the things you described make me sometimes take a social media and Internet break; it just gets too much! I'm especially tired of the IG follow/unfollow game...

    I don't think I've ever read MR, but how sad that the writer views her grandma/women her grandma's age that way (or maybe she doesn't but thinks it's "cute" to write that way...). There are so many examples of older women who are strong, healthy & stylish. I have to say however that one's view of "older" people does change. I remember being a child and my dad was in his mid/late 40s (my age now) and he said that when he started to work people in their 40s seemed ancient to him. He always looked youthful and was very active and didn't seem that way to me at the time. But I do remember being in my early 20s and 40 seemed old. Now it seems young! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. I'm taking a bit of a social media break this week. Just replying to blogger comments etc. I agree it's important to do that.

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  22. Dear Sue, Your blog is like a breath of fresh air. You seem to be adapting to the ways of the internet pretty well compared to myself since I won't do Facebook or Instagram and certainly not Twitter. I guess I'd rather be doing other things. I do have a little blog addiction going on and now yours is one of my favorites. I used to check in with Man Repeller but who lives like that really? What bothers me about some of the blogs is the excessive life styles and focus on buying more stuff. I notice some of my step kids can be very dismissive of older people but I know that some day life will catch up with them. I love your fashion choices and your honesty and restraint and grace. I watched the Snit this morning and I never watch videos..it was great! Thank you for all the great posts!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Laurie. Glad I'm part of your "little blog addiction." I'm flattered.

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  23. Susan, I am so with you! I have been struggling with my website this week and it was good to see I'm not alone in my frustration. Sorry about the late notice, but I have chosen this post as one of my featured faves from last week's Thursday Favorite Things. I will be featuring you on my site this week!

    Shellie
    www.thefabjourney.com

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    1. Thanks Shellie. We've been away fishing with no internet access for a while.... or else I would have thanked you sooner:)

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  24. When I was a small time fashion blogger (fashionatforty.blogsopt.com), I would check out the man repeller blog from time to time. As a technical writer by profession, I couldn't stand her writing style. She seemed like nothing more than a pissy, privileged child playing dress up.

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    1. Blogspot - uh auto correct!

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    2. I do find some of the posts too intensely over the top, in style. Too self-consciously "it girl"... Sex and the City-ish. But there are several writers now, and some of the guest posts are very good.

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.